Maria of Cleves

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"Mary of Cleves" redirects here. For the princess of Condé, see Marie de Clèves (1553–1575).
Maria of Cleves
Duchess of Orléans
Charles of Orleans & Marie of Cleves.jpg
Born 19 September 1426
Died 23 August 1487 (aged 60)
Spouse Charles, Duke of Orléans
House House of Cleves
Father Adolph I, Duke of Cleves
Mother Marie of Burgundy

Maria of Cleves (19 September 1426 – 23 August 1487) was the third wife of Charles, Duke of Orléans, and the mother of his only son, King Louis XII of France. She was born a German princess, the last child of Adolph I, Duke of Cleves and his second wife, Marie of Burgundy.

At age fourteen, Maria married Charles of Valois, Duke of Orléans, a man 35 years her senior,[1] on 27 November 1440 in Saint-Omer.[2] They had three children: Marie of Orléans (19 December 1457 – 1493) who married John of Foix, Count of Étampes in 1476; Louis XII of France (1462–1515); and Anne of Orléans (1464–1491) who became the Abbess of Fontevrault and Poitiers.

Maria was a patron of letters and commissioned many works; she was also an active poet herself, producing ballads and other verses.[1] After the Duke's death she was secretly remarried in 1480 to one of her gentlemen of the chamber, the Artesian "Sieur de Rabodanges", who was some years her junior.[1][3] She died in Chaunay.


  1. ^ a b c Wilson p. 258
  2. ^ Arn p. 41
  3. ^ Holt, p. 231


  • Arn, Mary-Jo. Charles d'Orléans in England, 1415-1440. Cambridge; Rochester, NY, USA : D.S. Brewer, 2000. googlebooks Retrieved August 17, 2009
  • Wilson, Katharina M. An Encyclopedia of Continental Women Writers. Vol. 2 New York: Garland Pub, 1991. googlebooks
  • Holt, Emily Sarah. Memoirs of Royal Ladies. London : Hurst and Blackett, 1861. googlebooks