Hilliard had gone aboard with his young wife, Alice Brandon, in order to 'obtain money and knowledge' and he was able to establish himself at the court of Francois, Duc d'Alençon.2 In the summer of 1577, the duke and his retinue, including the Hilliards, travelled south to Poitiers and it is thought that they also visited, Marguerite, the duke's sister, who was at this time ruling over the court of Navarre at Béarn.
Marguerite de Valois was the daughter of Henri II, King of France and Catherine de' Medici. In 1572 she married her second cousin, Henri of Navarre, who was crowned King of France in 1589. Famed for her beauty, she is one of the greatest figures of the period, a reputation that continues today thanks, in part, to Alexandre Dumas's novel La Reine Margot, which was published in 1845.
1. R. Strong, Artists of the Tudor Court, The Portrait Miniature Rediscovered 1520-1620, London 1983, p. 70
2. E. Auerbach, Nicholas Hilliard, London 1961, p. 11
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