A History of Milan under the Sforza

By Cecilia M. Ady; Edward Armstrong | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV
CONCLUSION (1535-1859)

THE death of Francesco Sforza brought fresh perplexities to his imperial suzerain. Francis I. might tolerate a native ruler under imperial protection, but he was not likely to acquiesce tamely in Charles V.'s assumption of direct control over the Duchy. The Emperor, for his part, was well content to remain the virtual master of Milan, allowing another to enjoy the nominal authority. Yet, in the absence of direct heirs, there was no obvious successor to the dead Duke. Christina bade the Milanese ambassador inform Charles V. that she had been promptly recognised as sovereign in her husband's stead, and that she was surrounded by wise and faithful counsellors, who would aid her in carrying on the work of government, pending further instructions from the Emperor. At the same time, loyal adherents of the House of Sforzawrote to express their joy at the prospect of having Christina for their patron. The rule of his niece, however, unless it were accompanied by her marriage with a native or a French prince, afforded no solution of Charles V.'s problem. After the failure of a scheme for the creation of a Hapsburg-Valois State under Christina and the Duke of Angoulâme, the former left Milan to wed the Duke of Lorraine. This marriage closed Christina's brief career as Duchess of Milan, and it was only after various vicissitudes that she returned to Lombardy in 1557, to end her days in retirement at her dower town of Tortona. If there had been any member of the House of Sforzaat all suited for the ducal throne, Charles would probably have been willing to consider his claims. But of all Francesco I.'s legitimate des

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