Leonora Dori

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Leonora Dori Galigaï

Leonora Dori Galigaï (1571 – 8 July 1617) was a favourite of Marie de' Medici, mother of King Louis XIII of France. Galigaï was married to Concino Concini, the later marquis and then marshal d'Ancre, during Marie's reign as Queen Mother and Regent of France.


Galigaï suffered from debilitating depressions and paralyzing spasms, which may have been symptoms of epilepsy, which the queen and her courtiers believed to be due to demonic possession, but which were resistant to exorcism. She was treated by the Portuguese-born, Italian-Jewish court physician of Marie and Louis XIII: Filotheo Eliau Montalto (died 1616).

In an age when people believed in witchcraft, sorcery, magic and demonic possession, Galigaï was hired by the queen to perform exorcisms and white magic to counter black magic and curses. She earned huge sums of money by these tasks, as well as from bribes for giving people access to the queen. Galigaï amassed an enormous fortune, which she invested in banks and in real estate in France and Italy.

In 1610 King Henri IV, the husband of Marie de Médicis, was assassinated, and his widow became the Queen Mother of Louis XIII and the Regent of France. After Concini was murdered by his political enemies in 1617, his wife was arrested, imprisoned in Blois and charged with lèse majesté through practicing black magic, witchcraft and "Judaizing". Galigaï was judged guilty of having bewitched the regent. She was decapitated and her body subsequently burned at the stake at the Place de Grève in Paris.


Galigaï's life is the subject of Alfred de Vigny's 1831 tragedy La Maréchale d'Ancre.