Biographical Information
I was born
Caterina Maria Romula di Lorenzo de' Medici, on 13 April 1519 to Lorenzo II de' Medici, Duke of Urbino, and Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne, comtesse d'Auvergne in France, countessa of Boulogne in Firenza (Florence). My mother died a few weeks after I was born, and my father shortly after my mother. King François wanted me to be raised at the French court, but my uncle, Pope Leo X, would not allow that as he wanted me to rule Florence with my cousin, Ippolito.
With my parents having died young
and so soon after I was born, my first guardian was my grandmother, Alfonsina Orsini. I was not with her long, and next went to live with my aunt, Clarissa Strozzi. When my uncle Giulio became Pope Clement VIII, he had me brought to live at the Palazzo Medici in Firenza. The citizens of Florence called me their duchessina. After the coup in 1527, I was a hostage to fortune and lived in several convents in and around Florence for the next several years. The nuns did their best for me, and I learned much while in their care. Those years were difficult because at every moment I expected a mob to come to the convent to kill me.
In 1530
, His Holiness, Pope Clement had me brought to Roma and started the search for a husband for me. Very soon after, King François proposed his second son, Henri, duc d'Orléans and His Holiness was happy to make this match.
The date was set for the wedding
as 28 October 1533 in Marseilles. I was 14. When my uncle died the following year, and Pope Paul refused to pay the remaining part of my dowry, the French court turned against me, calling me awful names. With Henri dallying with other women, the chiefest of whom was Diane de Poitiers (she may deny it, but my belief is they have been lovers for longer than she will admit), my love for him and my desire to do my duty to France was crippled.

Madame Catherine de Medicis,
regent douairière, et la comtesse d'Auvergne et de Boulonge, baronne de la Tour
reine mère de France

In 1536, François, Henri's elder brother and the dauphin, died suddenly of a chill and the pressure to produce an heir grew even more because now Henri was dauphin. Many advised the king and the dauphin to repudiate me since I had yet to produce an heir to continue the Valois line. I consulted with everyone I could find who would help me in this endeavour.
I was delivered
of a son in 1544, whom we called François - after his grandfather and uncle (King François II). We were further blessed by another 9 children: Elisabeth (Queen of Spain) (1545), Claude (1547), Louis (1549), Charles-Maximilien (King Charles) (1550), Édouard-Alexandre (King Henri) (1551), Marguerite (1553), Hercule (François, duc d'Alençon) (1555), and twins called Jeanne and Victoire (1556). I almost died birthing the twins, and had no more after them.
When le roi François passed into eternity in 1547
, Henri allowed me to be crowned as queen consort even if he didn't allow me to have much influence for France. He also gave my Château Chenonçeau to that viper, Diane de Poitiers. She acted as though she was Queen rather than my humble self - telling the nursery attendants how my children should be tutored and things of that nature.
At Elisabeth's betrothal (and proxy wedding) to Phillip of Spain, the festivities included jousting - in which Henri took part, wearing her colours. He was killed by the comte de Montgomery when the comte's lance broke and was driven through Henri's eye. Soon after, he passed from this life. I gave her instead Chaumont, took Chenonçeau, and banished her from court. It was justified. Above my hôtel in Paris, the Louvre, and Fountainebleu, it is my favorite home.
With François just 15, he needed guidance to rule over France. I worked with the Guises (even though I do not trust them) for the good of France. When it was apparent François was not long for this life, I convinced Antoine de Bourbon to give up all rights to be regent for Charles-Maximilien in return for the release of his brother, Condé. The Conseil privé created me gouvernante de France at the passing of François.
I do not understand
what has caused many citizens of France to turn against the Church in Rome, but it is my belief that all of France's citizens should work for the betterment of France and the unbelievers should not be exterminated the way the Guises and Phillip of Spain would like, so long as they worship in private and do not take up arms against the crown.
In January 1564
in order to create loyalty to the crown, Charles and the court started a royal progress around France. I took the opportunities presented to speak and visit with several notable people: Queen Jeanne d'Albret of Navarre; my daughter, Elisabeth, who was now Queen of Spain; and others.
Charles married Elisabeth of Austria in 1570, and in order to unite the Valois with the Bourbon princes, Marguerite wed Henri of Navarre in August of 1572. Jeanne d'Albret became ill just before the wedding, and did not live to see what occurred afterwards. Untrue rumors have been spread about me poisoning her. I did not!
St. Bartholomew's Day in 1572
will be the bane of my existence forever. Charles gave the order, but I do not think he understood what would happen to France as a result. Two years later, I wrote to Henri, "My only consolation is to see you here soon, as your kingdom requires, and in good health." I was named regent for Henri until he arrived from Poland. He soon married, but not to a princess... instead, he married a minor duc's daughter - Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont. I don't understand it, but so long as mes beaux yeux finds happiness with her, I shall be content.
My youngest son, François, duc d'Alençon, is truly a thorn in my side. Since he is his elder brother's heir until a child is born, he is doing everything he can to stir up trouble between the Huguenots and the Catholic League. I only hope my efforts to pacify the troubles of France will have some effect. I will do everything in my power to keep France whole for Henri.

Characterization Information
How do you come to be traveling with this group?
My favourite son, Henri, is king. I travel with him to advise him and keep him safe. As he isn't always interested in the day to day necessities of the government, I must hold myself ready to take up the slack.
I take the air every day possible by riding, hunting and hawking. I also will do handwork (embroideries) on linens.
What is your favorite meal?
Rabbit stewed with vegetables, served as a meat pie and marchpane soteltie.
This changes from time to time... at present, I am allied with my son, Henri. He is mes beaux yeux, and I will help him with governing the country and keeping the different factions from warring with each other. I just wish he'd listen to me more.
The Guises, Admiral Coligny... just about anyone who is trying (for their own reasons) to cause problems in France.
What is the worst thing ever to happen to you?
There are several dark points in my life... one was when I was young and expecting to be killed at any moment. I thank God everyday for the nuns who took care of me. The second was when I realized Henri would never give up her... not even to save France. It took her convincing him that he needed to get me with an heir for him to actually share my bed. Disgraceful! The next was hearing the news that my uncle, Pope Clement had died. And the final was when Charles gave the order for the massacre on St. Bartholomew.
What is the best thing ever to happen to you?
That would have to be when Pope Clement brought me to France and betrothed me to Henri. His father, King François was always good to me, even when Henri was indifferent. I brought my chefs to France, and they brought with them artichokes, sauce recipes, and gelato.
What are your ambitions?
Keeping France whole and free of conflict for my sons, and while I wish Margot well, she will inherit nothing from me (except maybe some jewels).
What makes you happy?
Seeing my children prosper.
What is your greatest virtue?
Wanting the best for my children and for France.
What is your biggest fault?
Not understanding that religion could cause so many problems. Who knew?
How is your health?
I am in good health.
How do you feel about love?
I loved my husband... he loved another. Now, I love my children.
How do you feel about sex?
It is necessary for procreation.
What is your favorite book?
I enjoy many books... some of which were recommended to me by King François.
How are your finances?
They are in excellent shape.
What is your deepest, darkest secret?
:::blank stare:::