The last letter of Madeleine of Valois

madeleine valois
(public domain)

Madeleine of Valois was the fifth child of Francis I of France and his wife Queen Claude. She was born on 10 August 1520 and was just 16 years old and in delicate health when she married James V of Scotland. She arrived in Scotland but would die there just two months later. On 8 June 1537, Madeleine wrote to her father that she was feeling better. It was to be her last letter to her father.

Original: Monsieur, depuis que le roy d’escosse vous a envoye demander maistre Francisque le medecin, il m’est bien amande, la grace a dieu; car tous mes maus me sont diminues, mais s’il vient il ne laissera pas de servir pour m’ayder a du tout guerir, et principalement, monsieur, pour les bonnes nouvelles que j’espere qu’il m’apportera de vous, et s’il vous plaist scavoir de miennes plus au long, ce pourra estre par monsieur de Limoges, lequel suivant ce qu’il cous a plu lui commander m’a tres bien conduire jusquas icy, faisant tout les service qu’il a pu pour mon aise et sante, de quoy je me sens tenue vous faire entendre et vous supplier, monsieur, tres humblement que ce service vous soit agreable, et qu’il vous plais l’en avoir en meillure recommandation, vous suppliant aussi, monsieur, m’avoir en vostre bonne grace, a laquelle tant et si tres humblemant que je puis me recommande. Monsier, je prie dieu qu’il vous donne tress bonne en longe vie.

Escrit a l’islebourg le 8 juin.

Vostre tres humble fille Magdelene de France

Translation: Sir, ever since the King of Scotland sent you to ask for the physician, master Francisque, things have changed a lot thanks to God as all my aches have disappeared but if he comes he will work and help me be completely cured  and mainly for the good news that I hope he will bring about you and please if you want to hear from me, you could ask Monsieur de Limoges who whatever you have asked from him, took great care of me during the journey, doing everything he could to make me comfortable and healthy. I feel I should let you know and beg you Sir very humbly that you enjoy the service and that you consider it the best recommendation since it comes from me. I am also begging you to let me be in your good grace, to which I do humbly recommend myself. Sir I pray God that he gives you a good and long life.

Islebourg(Edingburgh), June,8th

Your humble daughter, Magdeleine of France.

A devastated James wrote to her father on the day of her death.

Original: Monsieur, combien quil ny ait chose en ce monde dont pourrois estre plus deplaisant qui loccasion qua yay de vous escripre presentement que est le trespas de votre fille ma treschere compigne, laquelle a este ce jourdhuy apres longue maladye. Pourtant je nay point vollu estre negligent de vous advertir. Et si ce nestoit la grand confort et fiance qua yay en vous que voullez tousiours demeurer mon bon pere comme ne fouldray jamais a demeurer votre bon en humble filz je seroy en  beaucoupt plus grande peine que ne suys, vous asseurant que ne trouieres (sic) jamais fault en mon endroit que ne face tousiours envers vous comme le filz est tenu faire envers le pere; et pource que jay presentement depesche labbe darbro pour aller en Angleterre pour les affaires que vous ay parcedevant mandez et de la pardevers vous, lequel vous fera entendre toutes choses amplement et par lemenue. Je ne vous ferray plus longue lettre pour le present, monsieur. Je prie le createur vous avoir en sa tressancte garde. Escript a notre palais en Edinburgh le viime de Jullet.

Translation: Sir, there is nothing in this world that could be more unpleasant than this occasion where I have to write to you regarding the death of your daughter, my dear spouse, which happened today after a long period of illness. I did not want to forget to inform you. And if it was not for the comfort and trust that I have for you that you still want to be my good father like I forever want to be your good and humble son, I would be in a greater pain than I already am right now, assuring you that I could never fail you just like a son must be loyal to his father and that I have sent the Abbot of Arbroath in England for the affairs that I have sent you, he will fully give you every single detail.  Sir, I will not write to you any longer letter for now. I pray God that he keeps you in his holy watchfulness. Edinburgh Castle, July, 7th 1

With much thanks to Samia Chebbah for translating the letters!

  1. Hay, Denys, Letters of James V, HMSO (1954)

About Moniek Bloks 2592 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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