Blanche of Montferrat
Blanche of Montferrat or Bianca di Montferrato (1472 – 30 March 1519), was the Duchess of Savoy and titular Queen consort of Cyprus, Jerusalem, and Armenia as the wife of Charles I of Savoy. She acted as regent for her only son Charles from 1490 until his accidental death in 1496.
Marriage and regency
Blanche was the eldest daughter of William VIII Palaiologos, Marquess of Montferrat and 16-year old Elisabetta Sforza, daughter of Francesco I Sforza, Duke of Milan and Bianca Maria Visconti, after whom Blanche was named. Elisabetta died, at age 17, when Blanche was less than a year old. Blanche's father remarried to a French noblewoman who died in 1485.
On 1 April 1485, Blanche married Charles I, Duke of Savoy and titular King of Cyprus, Jerusalem and Armenia. The marriage produced two surviving children:
- A stillborn son (September 1486)
- Yolande Louise of Savoy (2 July 1487 – 13 September 1499), married Philibert II of Savoy; died childless at the age of 12.
- A son (born and died in May 1488)
- Charles II, Duke of Savoy (23 June 1489 – 16 April 1496).
- A daughter (born and died in March 1490)
Soon after the death of her husband in 1490, Blanche gave birth to her youngest child, who did not survive. She then acted as regent for her young son, who had succeeded his father in his regnal and titular titles. She remained the ruler of Savoy until her son, who was seven years old at the time, was accidentally killed in a fall at Moncalieri. Her surviving child, Yolande fell ill and died three years later, without having produced any children; therefore Blanche's line became extinct.
In December 1518, Blanche fell seriously ill, possibly with tuberculosis. In her will dated 12 February 1519, she named her choice of burial place which was the chapel of the Church of the Blessed Virgin in Carignano. She named her heir as Charles III, Duke of Savoy, and in default, the latter's younger brother Philippe, Count of Genevois. She died less than two months later.
|Ancestors of Blanche of Montferrat|
- Charles Cawley, Medieval Lands, Savoy