Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Russian Empress-Consorts

Elena Glinskaya
Regent of Russia
Grand Princess of Moscow
Regent of Russia

Daughter of: Prince Vasili Lvovich Glinsky & Princess Ana Jaksic, Serbian princess

2nd Wife of: Vasily IV of Moscow mar 1526.

"Elena was born circa 1510 as the daughter of Prince Vasili Lvovich Glinsky and Princess Ana Jakšić. She was married to Vasili III of Russia on 21 January 1526 and reportedly she was chosen by Vasili for, “the beauty of her face and her young age.” To marry Elena Vasili had to divorce Solomonia Saburova and she was forced to take the veil under the name of Sophia at the Nativity Monastery of Moscow. Solomonia and Vasili had had no children in their twenty years of marriage. Elena gave birth to her first child, the future Ivan IV (better known as “the Terrible”) in 1530. A second son, Yuri, was born in 1532. Vasili did not live to see his sons grow up. He died on 3 December 1533. Elena acted as regent for the three-year-old Ivan, although it is unclear if she was ever legally made regent." (History of Royal Women)
Master of the Horse; Member of the Boyar Council 1534

Son of Prince Feodor Vavila

" . . . The Regent Elena was strong-willed like her uncle, and inevitably there were quarrels. When she took as her lover the young and handsome Prince Ivan Obolensky, Prince Mikhail Glinsky protested vigorously. It was unseemly; it was disgraceful; it was against state policy. It was also a threat to his own position as the wielder of power behind the scenes. He argued so persistently that Elena used the only weapon left to her. He was summoned before the Boyar Council and accused of wanting to rule despotically. Arrested on August 5, 1534, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, having enjoyed supreme power for a little more than seven months. He died, according to the chroniclers, in 'the stone building behind the Kremlin Palace' on September 15, 1536, having outlived Prince Yury by little more than six weeks. Elena ordered that he should be buried quietly, without honors, in the Church of St. Nikita on the farther side of the Neglinnaya River. Once again the chroniclers remembered that an attempt was made to remove the marks left behind by his chains. A few months later Elena suffered a change of heart, and the body of the man who had once held all the reins of power in his hands was dug up and reburied in the Troitsa-Sergeyevsky Monastery with all the pomp appropriate to the burial of a great prince. The young and personable Prince Obolensky was now the power behind the throne. His sister Agrafena was Ivan's nurse. The Regent Elena had appointed him Master of the Horse and a member of the Boyar Council. He was therefore in a position to dominate the small circle around the Regent, and since Ivan liked and trusted him, and Elena loved him to distraction, there appeared to be no reason why Prince Obolensky should not continue in power. The Boyar Council, consisting of about fifteen members, was torn by factions, with the Belsky and Shuisky families playing the leading roles. As the only member of the Boyar Council continually in touch with the throne, Prince Obolensky was able to maneuver the councillors according to his wishes. His power, as he knew, depended on the survival of Elena. If she died, he could expect to feel the full weight of all the enmities he had aroused, and to this extent he was at the mercy of the councillors." (Ivan the Terrible: 33)

The Princess-Regent's lover & prime minister.

" . . . Prince John Obolensky, surnamed Ovchina, (a sheep's-skin), was the lover and prime minister of the Grand-Duchess Helen, widow of the Grand-Duke Basily IV, and regent, during the minority of her son, the Grand-Duke John IV. He had distinguished himself by his talents, courage and patriotism; and being overthrown by a revolution of the court, he was strangled in a dungeon." (A Handbook of the Principal Families in Russia: 51)

"Ivan Vasil'evich, better known as Ivan IV or Ivan the Terrible, was born on August 25, 1530... He was the son of Grand Prince Vasilii (Basil) III, the titular ruler of what was still known then as the Kingdom of Muscovy, and Ielena Glinskaia, member of the well-known boyar (princely) family of Glinskiis... Ivan's father died when he was but three years old and his mother and her lover, Prince I. Ovchina-Telep-nev Obolenskii, ruled as regents until 1537, when apparently she was poisoned by boyar plotters,. . . ." (Blumberg, 1995, p. 126)

"But with the accession of a young heir in the charge of a Grand Princess in her early twenties, the direction of the central government slackened. Whether on Elena's initiative or that of the boyars, a new member was added to the Council in January 1534, Prince Ivan Telepnev Obolensky, and it was soon rumoured that he was the Grand Princess's lover. Acting together with her, Obolensky proceeded to eliminate potential dangers such as the younger brothers of Vasily III, Iuri of Dmitrov and Andrei of Staritsa (who might as well become rivals of the younger Grand Prince). . . ." (Ivan the Terrible)

"Ivan Vasil'evich, better known as Ivan IV or Ivan the Terrible, was born on August 25, 1530... He was the son of Grand Prince Vasilii (Basil) III, the titular ruler of what was still known then as the Kingdom of Muscovy, and Ielena Glinskaia, member of the well-known boyar (princely) family of Glinskiis . . . Ivan's father died when he was but three years old and his mother and her lover, Prince I. Ovchina-Telep-ev Obolenskii, ruled as regents until 1537, when apparently she was poisoned by boyar plotters. . . ." (Blumberg, 1995, p. 126)

Elena's physical appearance and personal qualities.
". . . She was young, eager, well-educated. She was not so devout as Salomonia, and she had a fund of gaiety which kept Vasily amused and happy. The court would be rejuvenated by her presence. She brought excitement and pleasure to a court that had become monotonous and stuffy." (Ivan the Terrible)

Elena's personal & family background.

"Vasily III entered upon his marriage joyfully and lightheartedly. His bride was Princess Elena Glinskaya, by origin Lithuanian, now living as a refugee in the Russian court. She was the ward of her uncle, Prince Mikhail Glinsky, whose adventurous career had led him to fight in the armies of the Emperor Maximilian and Albert of Saxony. His ward was about twenty, strong-willed, exuberant, beautiful. To please her the Grand Prince shaved off his beard, even though the Orthodox Church regarded it as a sin for a man to shave off his beard. But though he doted on her, he was not especially enamored of her family. Prince Mikhail Glinsky was at that time spending his days in a Russian prison; he had been arrested for treason, he was in chains, and his lands were confiscated. He was not finally released until February 1527." (Ivan the Terrible)

Affair's aftermath.

" . . . Prince Vasily Vasil'evich Shuisky, one of the executors of Grand Prince Vasily's will, took control of the Council and within seven days Ivan's governess, Agrafena Chelyadnina, a sister of Telepnev Obolensky, and Obolensky himself suffered the fate he had inflicted on members of Ivan's family: he was starved to death in the prison to which he had condemned Mikhail Glinsky." (Ivan the Terrible)

"Elena died on 3 April 1538. Shortly afterwards, her lover, Telepnev-Obolensky, was arrested. Power was seized by the two Shuysky brothers, Ivan and Vasily Vasil'evich, who released Ivan Fedorovich Bel'sky and Andrey Mikhaylovich Shuysky from prison (they had been arrested by Elena). . . ." (Prince A.M. Kubsky's History of the Grand Prince of Moscow: 9)

Empress of Russia

6th Wife of Tsar Ivan IV of Russia, mar 1575.

Her lover was:
Prince Devletev.

"Ivan IV continued to repudiate the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church, and decided to take a sixth wife in 1579. However, unlike his previous marriages, this marriage was different as his 6th-wife was a widow of a prince who served in the Livonian War. Ivan was attracted by her beauty and sweet nature, but a few months after the marriage, he discovered to his horror, that she was having an affair with a prince named Devletev. The fate of the lovers were sealed given the despotic nature of the much-feared king. He forced Vasilisa to watch her lover being impaled, and then buried her alive in a cloister." (Internet Stones)
Eudoxia Lopukhina
Empress of Russia

Daughter of Feodor Abramovich Lopukhin & Ustinia Bogdanovna Rtishcheva.

Wife of Pyotr I of Russia, mar 1689, div 1698.

Her lover was:
Stepan Glebov (d.1718).
Lover in 1709-1718

"In 1696, during his prolonged journey to Western Europe, Peter asked his Naryshkin relatives to persuade Eudoxia to enter a monastery. This could not be effected until 1698, when she was finally banished to the Intercession Convent of Suzdal.[1] The local hegumen, however, allowed her to live there much as a lay woman would. She even found herself a lover, an officer named Stepan Glebov. nine years later, when Peter the Great got the news about their affair, he sentenced Glebov to execution by quartering. According to the legend, the Emperor also ordered the soldiers to force Yevdokiya to watch her lover's death." (Wikipedia)

"In 1698, after he learned that her father was plotting against the state, Peter forced Evdokiya into a convent in Suzdal (120 miles from Moscow). The former tsarina, however, continued to lead a secular life in the monastery. In 1709, she had an affair with Major Stepan Glebov, who was sent to Suzdal to conduct an army draft, but who instead found himself in a long-lasting love story. "Their happiness lasted for 9 years, until in 1718 Peter found out about the affair from other nuns put under questioning. Caught and tortured, Major Glebov confessed to having an affair with Evdokiya, insisting it was all his initiative, trying to protect his love. Evdokiya was taken to Glebov’s execution, and legend has it that soldiers forcibly kept her eyes open so that she could not turn away from the gruesome sight of her lover suffering (he was executed by impalement). Sadly, Evdokiya was not the only Peter’s mistress to suffer from his cruelty – another one, Lady Hamilton, was executed because of the same reasons – she dared to have another love affair." (Russia Beyond the Headlines)

She was the first wife of Peter the Great of Russia. He divorced Yevdokiya in 1698, and banished to the Convent of the Intercession in Suzdal. Yevdokiya was allowed to live like a lay woman outside a the monastery.

In 1709, Yevdokiya met a captain of the guards, Stepan Glebov. They fell in love with each other and lived together secretly. When Czar Peter learned about his ex-wife's affair, he had Stepan arrested, tortured and killed by impalement in 1718.
Empress Elisabeth Alexeievna by Vigee-Le Brun (1795, Castle of Wolfsgarten).jpg
Elizabeth of Russia
(Luise von Baden)

Wife of Aleksander I of Russia, mar 1793 
Adam Jerzy Czartoryski 
Her lovers were:
1) Adam Jerzy Czartoryski
Lover in 1798/99.
Polish aristocrat, statesman & author.

Husband of Anna Zofia Sapieha, mar 1817.
File:Dawe-Adam Jerzy Czartoryski.jpg
Adam Jerzy Czartoryski
"A close friendship united the young Emperor to Prince Adam Czartoryski and the young Empress Elisabeth was romantically attracted to him. For some time Prince Adam Czartoryski directed the foreign policy of Russia, but the main work of his life was the creation of the Vilna educational district, at the head of which Prince Adam remained for twenty years (1803-23). The district was centred on Vilna University, an old centre of Polish culture founded at the end of the sixteenth century by King Stephen Bathory. . . ." (The Ukraine: 234)
Son of Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski & Izabela Fleming.

Husband of:Anna Zofia Sapieha. mar 1817.

"His [Alexander I] marriage was not a source of comfort, either. Alexander was married unhappily to Elizabeth of Baden, a German princess with ash blonde hair and sparkling eyes, who was described by one as 'certainly one of the most beautiful women in the world.' The two looked like angels together---Cupid and Psyche, Catherine the great had said. But they were not well matched, and ended up living almost separate lives. Elizabeth, for her part, was stuck in a foreign country, feeling, as she put it, ' alone, alone, absolutely alone.' Both were certainly having affairs on each other: the tsar with his mistress Maria Narishkina, and some speculated ever his sister, Grand Duchess Catherine; and Elizabeth with a number of people, ranging from soldiers to certain 'ambiguous intimacy' with a lovely countess. Empress Elizabeth also had an affair with one of the tsar's advisers, Prince Adam Czartoryski, the Polish patriot who had come to Russia as a hostage after the destruction of Poland and won Alexander's trust. The tsar, however, never seemed disturbed by his wife's relationship with his adviser, and in fact, by most accounts, encouraged it as only fair, given the liberties he was taking himself." (Vienna, 1814: How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made Love, War, and Peace)

"On May 18, 1799, Elizabeth gave birth to a daughter, Maria. Everyone in the palace was soon laughing at the Grand Duchess's expense: The infant had black hair and black eyes. At the baptism, when Countess de Lieven presented the baby Maria to Paul, the Emperor asked in a dry voice: 'Madame, do you believe that a blond husband and a blond wife can have a dark-haired baby?' Flustered she stammered: 'Sire, God is all powerful.' By now Adam Czartoryski's career in Russia was definitively compromised. Paul gave him a diplomatic mission in Sardinia. 'Send him as soon as possible,' he ordered Rostopchin, who noted it in the journal of imperial decisions. The farewells of Adam Czartoryski and Alexander were heartbreaking. Then shortly after losing her lover, Elizabeth lost her daughter as well. 'As of this morning, I no longer have a child, she is dead!' she wrote her mother on July 27, 1800. 'Mama, it is horrible beyond all expression to lose one's child; I cannot give you any details of this calamity today.' A little later: 'It is a long time since I have spoken to you of Mauschen [Maria], but not an hour of the day passes without my thinking of her, and certainly not a day without my giving her bitter tears. It cannot be otherwise lo long sa I live, even if she were to be replaced by two dozen children.'" (Alexander of Russia: Napoleon's Conqueror: 44)

"In the summer of 1799, Elizabeth became pregnant. Everyone at court were rejoicing for the upcoming birth of an heir. She gave birth in the spring of the following year, but to the disappointment of everyone at court, the baby was a daughter. She was dark-haired and dark-eyed as opposed to the baby's blond parents that the Emperor Paul remarked how could two blond parents have a dark-haired baby. Malicious people at court began to gossip that the baby's father was not Alexander, but instead it was his best-friend, a Polish prince named Adam Czartoryski. Prince Czartoryski was handsome and intelligent and he was attracted to the then Grand Duchess Elizabeth. It was said that Alexander encouraged his best-friend's affection towards his wife so that he could be free to pursue other women. Whether Elizabeth did succumb to the charm of the handsome Polish prince was debatable. There was no strong evidence to suggest that Czartoryski and Elizabeth had sexual relations. But almost certainly, he was in love with Elizabeth and he admitted this on his journals. Nevertheless, his association with Alexander (and Elizabeth) caused him the ire of Emperor Paul and he was sent on a diplomatic mission in Italy." (Arrayed in Gold)

"Empress Catherine II died in 1796, disappointed that her eldest grandson and his wife had not produced a son, and Alexander’s father Paul became Emperor. Elizabeth Alexeievna did not like her father-in-law nor his policies and avoided his court as much as possible. Alexander and Elizabeth Alexeievna’s marriage started to falter and she sought affection with her husband’s friend Polish Prince Adam Czartoryski, a Polish noble. In 1799, Elizabeth Alexeievna gave birth to a daughter Maria Alexandrovna, who had dark eyes and dark hair like Prince Adam Czartoryski and unlike the blond-haired and blue-eyed Elizabeth Alexeievna and her husband. Sadly, the child died when she was 13 months old. In 1801, the behavior and policies of Emperor Paul led to a conspiracy to overthrow him. Paul was assassinated and his eldest son became Emperor Alexander I. Elizabeth Alexeievna fulfilled her duties as Empress, but by this time their marriage was really one in name only. Alexander started a long-term affair in 1803 and Elizabeth Alexeievna resumed her affair with Prince Adam Czartoryski. This affair lasted until Elizabeth Alexeievna began a new affair with Captain Alexis Okhotnikov. In 1806, Elizabeth Alexeievna gave birth to another daughter, Elizabeth Alexandrovna, who died of an infection when she was 17 months old. Rumors circulated that Elizabeth Alexandrovna was really the daughter of Alexis Okhotnikov. In 1807, Alexis Okhotnikov was killed and suspicions arose that either Emperor Alexander I or his brother Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich had ordered him killed." (Arrayed in Gold)

"Both were certainly having affairs on each other: the tsar with his mistress, Maria Narishkiva (sic), and some speculated even his sister, Grand Duchess Catherine; and Elizabeth with a number of people, ranging from soldiers to a certain 'ambiguous intimacy' with a lovely countess. Empress Elizabeth also had an affair with one of the tsar's advisers, Prince Adam Czartoryski, the Polish patriot who had come to Russia as a hostage after the destruction of Poland and won Alexander's trust. The tsar, however, however, never seemed disturbed by his wife's relationship with his adviser, and in fact, by most accounts, encouraged it as only fair, given the liberties he was taking himself." (Vienna, 1814: How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made Love, War, and Peace at the Congress of Vienna: 27)

Aleksei Okhotnikov
2) Aleksei Okhotnikov (1780-1807)
Lover in 1803-1807.

"Elizabeth Alexeievna, for her part, found solace in her relationship with Adam Czartoryski, who had returned to Russia at Alexander I's ascension to the throne. This liaison ended when she started a love affair with a handsome staff captain, Alexis Okhotnikov (1780-1807). All the correspondence between Elizabeth and Alexis Okhotnikov (and some of her diaries) were destroyed by the Emperor Nicholas I after her death. The affair with Okhotnikov had a tragic end. The staff captain died in 1807 after an attempt on his life. Many contemporaries[who?] considered that Alexander I or his brother Grand Duke Konstantin had ordered him killed. On 16 November 1806, Elizabeth gave birth to a second daughter. There were rumors that the newborn, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Alexandrovna, was not a child of Emperor Alexander but of Okhotnikov. After his death, Elizabeth Alexeievna felt more abandoned than ever and poured out all her affection on her daughter Elizabeth, "Lisinka". Fifteen months later, the little girl died suddenly of an infection blamed on teething. "Now," wrote Elizabeth to her mother, "I am not longer good for anything in this world, my soul has no more strength to recover from this last blow.'" (Wikipedia)

" . . . After her affair with Czartoryski, the twenty-eight-year-old Elizabeth had fallen in love in love with a Guards captain, Alexis Okhotnikov, aged twenty-three. and become pregnant. This infuriated the unstable Constantine, who, devoted to Alexander, almost certainly ordered the captain's murder (without the tsar's knowledge): Okhotnikov was stabbed coming out of the theatre. The empress visited him before he died and afterwards gave birth to a daughter Lisinka, her delight. But Lisinka died at the age of two, leaving Elizabeth poleaxed." (The Romanovs: 1613-1918: 292)

"Meanwhile, Elizabeth, who was by this time at the height of her beauty, was craving for love and affection. She had fallen in love with a handsome Guard officer, Alexei Okhotnikov, who was said to be the love of her life. Alexei called her in French: "My little wife" and "My friend, my wife, my God, my Elise, I love you.' . . . . " (Gem, 2011)

". . . Elizabeth abandoned herself to her own tender feeling for a handsome officer of the Guard, one Alexis Okhotnikov. He died mysteriously, stabbed as he left a theater, and the Empress had a mausoleum erected over his grave. . . . " (Alexander of Russia: Napoleon's Conqueror: 74)

"Tsar Alexander was rumored to have had a role (from advance knowledge to outright complicity) in his father's assassination. Tsarina Elisabeth's lover Alexis Okhotnikov was knifed to death outside the theatre in 1807. Alexander's brother, Grand Duke Constantine, was rumored to have been behind his death. When a third brother, Nicholas, succeeded Alexander as tsar, he destroyed the letters between Elisabeth and Okhotnikov and some of her diaries. From these facts I have constructed the story of the letter stolen by Tatiana and Gregory Lindorff." (Vienna Waltz: n,p.)

Natural offspring.

". . . Elizabeth became pregnant, and obviously Alexander was not the father. The child was a girl who was also named Elizabeth. Nevertheless, Alexander declared that the child was his, but during the baptismal ceremony, according to the Dowager Empress, he felt quite ambivalent and showed little attention to the infant. Alexei and Elizabeth's affair lasted for only two years. He died after an attempt in his life. She felt abandoned and lonely than ever and turned to her only solace, her daughter Elizabeth. Unfortunately, the little girl died after fifteen months. . . ." (Gem, 2011)

Affair's end & aftermath.

" . . . Like her mother, Ulrike, Natalya was a beauty; she caught the attention of the empress's lover, Aleksey Okhotnikov, an officer of the Chevalier Guards. He was murdered in October 1806, supposedly on the instance of the the Grand Duke Constantine, and in January 1807 Natalya married Nikolay Goncharov. . . ." (Binyon: 280)

Affair's effect on lovers' family, other people & society.

: ". . . Alexander was not disturbed by all the talk about this affair. Having long espoused the theory of reciprocal freedom in their marriage, he even encouraged his wife to be unfaithful; that would, after all, justify his own conduct. According to Baron de Barante, the could had even made a compact in writing 'to agree upon this emancipation.'" (Alexander of Russia: Napoleon's Conqueror: 74)

Monday, October 19, 2020

British Queens (Reigning)

Mary II of England

Her lovers were:
1) Cecily Cornwallis.

2) Frances Apsley (1653-1727)

Lover in 1774.
Maid of Honour to Mary & Anne of York.

"Frances Apsley (1653–7. June 1727),[1] later Lady Bathurst, was a maid of honour to Mary and Anne of York. Letters written to her by a sentimental adolescent Mary reveal that Mary idolised Apsley. Whilst there are some historians who believe the writings to be proof of Mary's homosexuality, most historians disagree for after Mary's marriage to William of Orange she fell deeply in love with her husband. She did, however, maintain her platonic friendship with Frances, who married Sir Benjamin Bathurst, via ongoing correspondence." (Wikipedia)

"Before she married and became half of the William and Mary co-monarchy, James II's eldest daughter was a princess desperately in love---with another girl. She was Frances Apsley, the beautiful daughter of the king's hawks keeper and nine years Mary's senior. In her long string of passionate letters, the princess called Frances 'Aurelia' and addressed her as 'Husband.' x x x  After a while, Mary's deluge of clingy love letters began to make Frances uncomfortable and she started to withdraw. As Frances's letters became more and more infrequent and manner increasingly distant, Mary went into a desperate frenzy. Her desperation grew worse when she heard the news that she was to be married to her cold, asthmatic cousin, William of Orange, and sent to live with him in Holland. Mary wept nonstop for a day and a half, lamenting her fate and loss of her 'dear dearest Aurelia.' Of course she eventually got over it, learning to love her wheezy mildly hunchbacked husband and helping him usurp her father's throne in 1688." (A Treasury of Royal Scandals: 16)

"When she was 12 years old Mary had a lesbian relationship with 20-year-old Frances Apsley. They wrote passionate letters acting out the wife and calling Frances husband, and hoping for his dominance. Her sister, Anne was once a rival for Frances' attention, but Anne then found another woman for attention. . . ." (: 91)

Personal & family background.

"Frances Apsley was the daughter of Sir Allen Apsley (1629-1683) and Frances Pete (1645-1698). Her father was a falconer of James II of England and commander of the Tower of London , her mother was a country nobleman . Frances grew up with a brother." (Wikipedia)

3) Sarah Jennings, Duchess of Marlborough.

Modena & Ferrara

Marchese di Milano

His lover was:
Matilda di Padova.

Signore di Ferrara e Modena

1. Lucrezia Barbiano, daughter of Niccolo Barbiano.
2. Orsolina Macaruffi

His lover was
Orsolina Macaruffi (d.1362) 

Natural offspring
a. Beatrice d'Este married Jacques di Savoie, Prince de Piedmont
b. Aldobrandino d'Este (1325-1381), Bishop of Modena and Ferrara
c. Azzo d'Este, Podesta di Modena
d. Obizzo d'Este, Vicar of Ferrara
e. Giacoma d'Este married Zambrosino Beccadelli
File:Obizzo III d'Este2.jpg
Obizzo III of Ferrara
Marchese di Ferrara
Marchese di Modena
Signore di Parma
Son of Aldobrandino II d'Este & Alda Rangoni.

Husband of:
1. Giacoma de' Peppoli (d.1341), mar 1317, daughter of Romeo de' Peppoli
2. Lippa Ariosti, mar 1347
File:Lippa Ariosti.jpg
Lippa Ariosti
His lover was:
Lippa Ariosti (1305-1347) 

Daughter of: Jacopo Ariosto, Patrician of Bologna. 

" . . . A beautiful Bolognese woman, Lippa di Jacopo Ariosti, had become passionately attached to the Marchese Obizzo in his exile, and on his restoration to Ferrara she followed him and became his mistress. La bella Lippa da Bologna, as Messer Lodovico was to call her, bore her princely lover a goodly series of sons, three of whom---Aldobrandino, Niccolo II and Alberto---ascended the throne of the Estensi as vicars of the Church in Ferrara and vicars of the Empire in Modena. Obizzo married her on her deathbed, and she was buried with great state as lawful Marchesana in the church of San Francesco, the Pantheon of the reigning House. Lippa's two brothers Bonifazio and Francesco, and her cousin Niccolo Ariosti, followed her to Ferrara. The two former rose to high honours in the Court, and were among the principal advisers of Obizzo's successors; Niccolo Ariosti founded the third Ferrarese branch of his family, from which the great poet was to be born." (Dukes and Poets in Ferrara: 16) 

"On the 27th day of November (1347) died the noble and magnificent lady, Madonna Lippa degli Ariosti of Bologna, wife of the magnificent and illustrious Lord of Ferrara, Marchese Obizzo, whom he espoused in the last infirmity of her death, with the knowledge and licence of the Holy Father, Messer Pope Clement VI. By the which magnificent lady the aforesaid Marchese Obizzo generated eleven children, to wit, seven male and four female. She was buried at the Place of the Friars Minor at Ferrara with most great and magnificent honour'. . . ." (Dukes and Poets in Ferrara: 16
File:Alberto V d'Este2.jpg
Albert V of Ferrara
Signore di Modena e Ferrara

Son of: Obizzo III d'Este, Marchese di Ferrara & Lippa Ariosto. 

Husband of: Giulia de Roberti. 

His lover was:
Isotta Albaresani.

Natural offspring:
a. Niccolo III d'Este.
Niccolo III of Ferrara

 Marchese di Ferrara
Son of: Alberto I d'Este, Signore di Modena & Isotta Albaresani. 

Husband of:
1. Gagliola da Carrara (1382-1416), mar 1397 
2. Parisina Malatesta (1404-1425), mar 1418 
3.Ricciarda di Saluzzo (d.1474), mar 1429

"Ercole d'Este was born on 26 October 1431, the son of Marchese Nicolo III, then aged 48, and of his young bride whom he had married in January of that year. Rizzarda, daughter of Tomaso II di Saluzzo (1356-1416), from a small state near the source of the river Po, in Piedmont, near the French border. Not a great deal is known about Rizzarda. Litta does not provide her date of birth, but contents himself with the observation that 'she had no difficulty marrying a many of mature years who had recently decapitated his wife and his natural son, accused of incestuous relations'. She would have been half the age of her husband. The Diario Ferrarese describes her inaccurately as the daughter of Alovixe, late marquess of Saluzzo, probably a muddled reference to her brother Lodovico (1406-1475), but the marriage was almost certainly arranged through her half brother Valeriano (1374-1443), who acted as regent for Lodovico. Rizzarda's father, Tomaso III, was the author of a chivalric romance, Le Chevalier Errant, which he wrote whilst imprisoned in France. . . Rizzarda's marriage coincided with the granting by King Charles VII of FRance of the use of fleurs de lys in the d'Este coat of arms, and coming from an essentially French background she would not have felt too displaced within the predominantly francophile cultural atmosphere of the Ferrarese court. . . ." (Herculean Ferrara: Ercole d'Este (1471-1505) and the Invention of a Ducal Capital: 5) 
Niccolo III of Ferrara
"In Ferrara, Niccolo III (1383-1441) had more than thirty illegitimate children prompting a local rhyme:

'Here and there along the Po all are children of Niccolo.'" (Italian Renaissance Resources

His lovers were
1) Anna de Roberti (d.1483) 

Natural offspring: 
a. Bianca Maria d'Este (1440-1506), mar Galeotto Pico, Conte di Concordia 
b. Rinaldo d'Este (1436-1503), Abbot of S. Maria della Pomposa & Signore di Ostellato, mar Lucrezia de Montferrato, Signora di Bistagno, Signora del Monasterio, Signora di Cassinasco & Signora di San Giorgio. 

" . . . Stella's successor as Niccolo's official mistress was Maria Anna di' Roberti (d.1483). Thought she may have given her four children, they never took precedence over his offspring by Stella. Still, because she also held the status of official mistress, Maria Anna's three daughters were all married off to members of the Italian nobility. Her daughter Bianca Maria (1440-1506) was married to Galeotto Pico, the Lord of Mirandola, in 1468. The other two daughters may have been Maria Anna's but they may also have been another Roberti woman's offspring by Niccolo." (Ladies, Concubines and Pseudo-wives: 128) 

"Maria Anna outlived Niccolo by forty years, so she must have been very young when their affair commenced, just as Isotta had been when she began her affair with Sigismondo. Upon her death in 1483 she was interred by her illegitimate son Rinaldo with much honor. Rinaldo had been made Abbot of Pomposa but he renounced the post in order to give it to his sons in 1469. Instead he became Lord of Ostellano and in 1472 he married Lucretia, the daughter of Marquis Guglielmo IV of Montefeltro. Maria Anna had, like many other princely mistresses, benefited from her relationship with the ruler of Ferrara, as did her children by him. Though she clearly did not surpass the influence that Stella and her children had wielded, she was publically recognized as Niccolo's official mistress and she and her children benefited from the status of her relationship." (Ladies, Concubines and Pseudo-wives: 129) 

2) Caterina de' Medici. 

Natural offspring: 
a. Meliaduse d'Este (1406-1452), Abbot of Pomposa & Ferrara
b. Margherita d'Este, mar Galeotto Roberto Malatesta
c. Margherita d'Este, mar Galasso II Pio
d. Viridis d'Este
e. Orsina d'Este mar Aldobrandino Rangoni 

N. Malatesti 

Andrea Gualengo 

3) Filippa della Tavola.

Natural offspring: 
a. Alberto d'Este, Signore del Polesine di Rovigo (1415-1502)
b. Beatrice d'Este (1427-1497), mar a). Niccolo da Correggio, mar 1448; b) Tristano Sforza (1424-1477)
c. Isotta d'Este (1425-1456) married a) Oddantonio da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino (1427-1444), mar 1444; b) Istvan de Frangepan, Conte di Veglia e Modrus, Ban of Croatia (d.1481) mar 1446 
d. Gurone d'Este (d.1484) mar N. Sanseverino 

Natural Offspring: "...Gurone Maria, son of Camilla della Tavola, served the church with greater seriousness than Meliaduse. He became abbot of Nonantola in 1440, and was later Apostolic Protonotary and accompanied Pope Pius II to the Council of Mantua in 1459. His benefices precluded his provision from the Camera Ducale, but when he died in 1484 he left three children, including Nicolo Maria, who succeeded him as abbot of Nonantola and became bishop of Adria in 1487...." (Herculean Ferrara: 42) 

"Two of Niccolo's other illegitimate sons, Alberto (1415-1502) and Gurone Maria (died 1484), were the children of a woman of an even lesser status: Niccolo's maid, Camilla della Tavola (sometimes referred to as Filippa). Camilla's children were prevented from being knighted by the Emperor Sigismund, along with Meliaduse, and neither were they legitimized by the emperor as Leonello adn Meliaduse were. The lowly station of Alberto and Gurone's mother most likely explains their less than preferential treatment." (Ladies, Concubines, and Pseudo-wives: Mistresses in the Courtly Culture of the Emilia-Romagna of Renaissance Italy: 113-114) 

" . . . Beatrice (1427-before 1497)---who was widely admired and so well-known for her skill at the dance that she was dubbed 'the Queen of Feasts'---married Lord Niccolo of Correggio in 1448. After her first husband's death, she was then wed to the illegitimately-born Tristano Sforza. Camilla, also in 1448, married Lord Rodolfo Varano of Camerino. Niccolo's daughter Orsina, whose mother was the wife of a farrier, Messer Antonio Rampino, became the third wife of a gentleman of the bedchamber, Andrea Gualengo, in 1469. Orsina's mother was clearly of a status lower than those of many of his other daughter's mothers, since her marriage was far less prestigious but still impressive for the illegitimate daughter of a farrier's wife. Niccolo had two daughters both named Margherite by unknown mothers, one of whom was married to Sigismondo Pandolfo's older brother, Galeotto Roberto Malatesta, in 1429, and who entered a convent upon her husband's death. Clearly Margherite's mother must have been of a noble status in order for her to have been able to make such a brilliant match." (Ladies, Concubines and Pseudo-wives: 128) 

4) Stella de' Tolomei dell' Assassino

Natural offspring: 
a. Ugo d'Este (1405-1425)
b. Leonello d'Este, Marchese di Ferrara (1407-1450) married Margherita Gonzaga, Maria d'Aragona di Napoli
c. Borso d'Este (1413-1471) 

" . . . Two years after the death of Gigliola, he married, in 1418, Laura Malatesta, called Parisina, even though by that time he had had a relationship for years with Stella dei Tolomei, known as Stella dell'Assassino or Stella dell'Assassino who gave him the children that would write the most tragic and most beautiful pages in the history of the Estense household: Ugo, Leonello and Borso...." (Il Castello di Ferrara
Ercole I of Ferrara
2nd Duke of Ferrara
Duke of Modena 
Duke of Reggio

Son of: Niccolo III d'Este & Ricciarda di Saluzzo

Husband of: Eleonora d'Aragona, Principessa di Napoli, 
mar 1473, daughter of Ferdinando I di Napoli

Ercole's physical appearance & personality.
"In person, Ercole was somewhat above the middle height, and powerfully made. Few men, even in the prime of life, could endure greater bodily fatigue. He as passionately addicted to all manly and athletic amusements, and was one of the most expert sportsmen of the age. Judging from his portrait painted by Dosso Dossi, though not handsome he had a remarkably intelligent cast of countenance. His brow was broad and open, indicative of great intellect; his complexion clear, his eyes dark and well placed in his head, his nose aquiline, and his features generally well formed. At the same time there was an appearance of effeminacy in his face, arising probably from the natural absence of beard and moustache, which, especially in his advancing ears, was far from pleasing. In manners he was amiable and condescending; and he possessed to a remarkable degree the faculty of gaining the confidence and affection of all who surrounded him." (Lucrezia Borgia, Duchess of Ferrara: A Biography, Vol 2: 40)

"Tall, handsome, swarthy, with an expression of calm self-command, Ercole had such a chilly personality that he was called the North Wind and the Diamond. Only his son-in-law, Lodovico Sforza, equaled him in his combination of contradictory qualities and psychological mysteries. As a youth growing up at the Neapolitan court Ercole won a reputation as a valiant and gallant soldier, but in his maturiy he as a timid and incompetent general. No ruler of his time was as sincerely religious as Ercole. But he could be as cruel, treacherous and cynically opportunistic as a Borgia. Intelligent, crafty, cautious, unscrupulous, Ercole could be blind to political disasters within his own duchy and shortsighted about foreign politics. He was a good husband and a reasonably good father to his six legitimate and two illegitimate children. During his reign Ferrara was nearly destroyed in a disastrous war, but it also reached its peak as a center of Renaissance culture." (Princes of the Renaissance)

Ercole's personal & family background.
"Ercole d'Este was born on 26 October 1431, the son of Marchese Niccolo III, then aged 48, and of his young bride whom he had married in January of that year, Rizzarda, daughter of Marchese Tomaso II di Saluzzo (1356-1416), from a small state near the source of the river Po, in Piedmont, near the French border. Not a great deal is known about Rizzarda. Litta does not provide her ate of birth, but contents himself with the observation that 'she had no difficulty in marrying a man of mature years who had recently decapitated his wife and his natural son, accused of incestuous relations. She would have been half the age of her husband. The Diario Ferrarese describes her inaccurately as the daughter of Alvixe, late marquess of Saluzzo, probably a muddled reference to her brother Lodovico (1406-75), but the marraige was almost certainly arranged through her half-brother Valeriano (1374-1443), who acted as regent for Lodovico, Rizzarda's father. Tomaso III was the author of a chivalric romance, Le Chevalier Errant, which he wrote whilst imprisoned in France. . . Rizzarda's marriage coincided with the granting by King Charles VII of France of the use of the fleurs de lys in the d'Este coat of arms, and coming from an essentially French background she would not have felt too displaced within the predominantly francophile cultural atmosphere of the Ferrarese court. . . ." (: 5-7) 

His lovers were
1) Isabella Arduino
Lady-in-waiting to his wife

Natural offspring
a. Giulio d'Este (1478-1561) 

Personal & family background.
"This Isabella, the daughter of Niccolo d'Arduino, married a certain Jacomo Mainente of Ferrara. Three months after their marriage this child Giulio was born, whom the Duke acknowledged and brought up as his son." (Dukes & Poets in Ferrara: 151)

"Leonora was not present at these festivities, and did not witness the betrothal of her baby boy. She had gone to Naples in May, to visit her father, and there in September, 1477, she gave birth to a second son, Ferdinando or Ferrando, as his father always calls him in his letters. The Cardinal of San Pietro in Vincoli, Giuliano della Rovere, who was then at Naples, stood sponsor. In her absence, Ercole had relations with one of the ladies of her household, Isabella Arduino, who in March 1478, bore him a son, Giulio. This adulterous intrigue stands quite alone in Ercole's life,and we have no trace, not even the faintest suggestion, of any subsequent act of infidelity towards his wife. Leonora returned to Ferrara in November, leaving Ferrando and Beatrice at her father's Court in charge of her sister-in-law, the Duchess of Calabria. In March, 1479, the third son of Etcole and Leonora---afterwards to be famous as Ippolit---was born. The names of these three---Ferrando, Ippolito, and Giulio---were destined to be linked horribly together in after years, and with that of Alfonso." (Dukes & Poets in Ferrara: 151)

"Arriving in Ferrara at the young age of twenty-three, she accepted Lucrezia, an illegitimate daughter of Ercole, as her own, and later bore the indignity of her husband's infidelity with one of her ladies, Isabella Arduino, a liaison that resulted in the birth of Giulio d'Este in 1481. . . . " (Herculean Ferra: Ercole d'Este (1471-1505) and the Invention of a Ducal Capital:16) 

" . . . Ercole also had an illegitimate son, Giulio (1478-1561), by one of his wife's Neapolitan ladies-in-waiting, Isabella Arduino. . . ." (Ladies, Concubines and Pseudo-wives: 134)

Natural offspring:
a. Giulio d'Este (1478-1561)
"Isabella was accompanied by Giulio, the handsomest of the Este brothers, and Ercole's illegitimate son, born in 1478 from a relationship with one of his wife's (married) ladies, Isabella Arduino. . . ." (Lucrezia Borgia: Life, Love and Death in Renaissance Italy)

2) Lodovica Condulmero

Natural offspring
a. Lucrezia d'Este (c1477-?) mar Annibale II Bentivoglio 

"Duke Ercole I was determined and successful in at last instituting primogeniture as the official Este form of inheritance. Even so, the Este, like a majority of other Renaissance princes, continued to keep mistresses who gave birth to bastards. Despite producing an abundance of legitimate children with his wife, the Neapolitan princess Eleonora d'Aragona. Ercole also had two illegitimate offspring. He had a daughter, Lucrezia, with his mistress, Lodovica Coldomieri. Lucrezia wa betrothed at the age of six or seven to Annibale Bentivoglio, the ruler of Bologna, and they were married in 1487. Lodovica must have been of a noble status in order for her daughter to have made such a prestigious match. . . ." (Ladies, Concubines and Pseudo-wives: 133) 

" . . . He also legitimated two children, Lucrezia, born before his marriage, the daughter of Ludovica Condolmiei. . . ." (Boiardo & Ross: 607)
Alfonso I of Ferrara
File:Anna Maria Sforza.jpg
Anna Maria Sforza
Husband of:
1. Anna Maria Sforza (1476-1497), mar 1491 
Lucrezia Borgia
Duchess of Ferrara
2. Lucrezia Borgia (1480-1519), mar 1502
"In February 1502, Lucrezia Borgia's wedding cavalcade arrived in Ferrara. As the twice-married, illegitimate daughter of the licentious Pope Alexander VI, and sister of the vicious Cesare Borgia, she was under intense scrutiny. Lucrezia managed to distance herself from these powerful but suspect relatives to become the revered duchess of Ferrara, ruling alongside her husband, Alfonso I d'Este, from 1505 until her death in 1519 at the age of 39. She proved to be an excellent wife and a good mother to their five children. Lucrezia not only possessed the necessary social graces to charm both her Ferrarese citizens and foreign dignitaries, she was devout, extremely intelligent, and had a natural talent for administration. This last quality was essential, since condottiere princes like Alfonso were often away for long periods." (Wives, Widows, Mistresses, and Early Nuns in Early Modern Italy)
Laura Dianti
3. Laura Dianti 
(1480-1573), mar 1519

"Ercole's son and heir, Alfonso I (1476-1534) was married twice, to Anna Sforza (1473-1497( and then to Lucrezia Borgia (1476-1534), but he, like so many of his ancestors lived a libertine lifestyle, frequenting the prostitutes of Ferrara. He had a preference for women who could be bedded with little preliminary effort. At the age of twenty-one, so the story goes, Alfonso strode out naked onto the streets of Ferrara in full daylight with a sword in his hand. He may have done so in order to win a bet or just as an act of bravado. In fact, Alfonso, as well as his brothers Ferrante and Sigismondo, all suffered from the sexually transmitted scourge of that time: syphilis." (Ladies, Concubines and Pseudo-wives: 134) 

His lover was
Laura Dianti (1480-1573). 
Lover in 1519

Natural offspring: 
a. Alfonso d'Este (1527-1587), Marchese di Montecchio, mar a.1. Giulia della Rovere & a.2. Violante Signa 
b. Alfonsino d'Este (1530-1547), Marchese di Castelnuovo. 

"Years after the death of his second wife, in 1526, Alfonso I took the daughter of a Ferrarese artisan, Laura, as his official mistress. Bestor theorizes that Alfonso must have granted her use of the name Eustochia during the initiation of their relationship. Later historians, trying to construct a more respectable family origin for Laura, gave her the surname Dianto but she never used this name during Alfonso's or her own lifetime. Laura was well provided by her princely lover. He built her a fine residence at the end of the Via Alberto Lollio, which was dubbed the 'little palace.' Though there is documentary evidence that numerous portraits of Laura were commissioned by Alfonso, few of them survive, and the identities of their sitters are questionable. It has been suggested that Titian's portrait of Laura with an Ethiopian page boy (Portrait of Laura de' Dianti [ca 1523]) in fact depicts the duke's previous wife, Lucrezia. It has also been theorized that another portrait done by Titian, which is now located in the Louvre, showing a young woman at ther toilet attended by a man holding two mirrors (Woman with a Mirror), actually portrays both Laura and Alfonso together, but the execution of the work (ca. 1514) may have long predated the initiation of their relationship. Upon her death Laura was honorably interred in the church of the nuns of St. Augustine on June 28, 1573, accompanied by her lover's legitimate grandsons, Alfonso II and Cardinal Luigi, as well as by her eldest son by the Duke of Ferrara." (Ladies, Concubines and Pseudo-wives: 134) 

"After Lucrezia's death, Alfonso took a beautiful young Ferrarese woman of the people, Laura Eustochia Dianti, for mistress, whom Faustini calls a 'wench of most lofty spirit,' as indeed she appears in her portrait by Titian, where she is seen wearing a turban, with her left hand resting upon the shoulder of a negro page. Alfonso built for Laura a small palace that still stands in the Borgo degli Angeli; but, in spite of the assertions of Ferrarese historians to the contrary, it is quite certain that he never married her. She bore him two sons, Alfonso and Alfonsino. Although ousted by the Pope from the succession of Ferrara, it was Laura's descendants, and not Lucrezia's, who were destined to sit upon the ducal seat of Modena and Reggio for two centuries, and who gave a Queen of England." (The King of Court Poets: 144)

" . . . In his last years Alfonso may also have married his mistress, Laura Dianti, by whom he had an illegitimate son named Alfonsino." (Contemporaries of Erasmus: 444)

Mistress or Legal Wife?.
" . . . He never married again, but a beautiful bourgeoisie, Laura Eustochia Dianti, became his mistress. She bore him two sons, Alfonso and Alfonsino. The duke died October 31, 1534, at the age of fifty-eight. . . . " (Three Books About the Borgias: 362)

"Laura I suspect to be Laura Danti (sic), afterwards Laura Eustochia, first the mistress then the third wife of Alfonso I, Duke of Ferrara. Her marriage has been indisputably proved by Muratori; yet, on the plea that this lady was never lawfully wedded to Alfonso, the Popes robbed the House of Este of Ferrara." (The Orlando Furioso, Vol 8: 508)

" . . . For that one would have to look at Titian's c.1523 portrait of Laura Dianti. Dianti was the mistress of Isabella's brother, Alfonso, Duke of Ferrara, and both the duke and his lover used black court servants. . . ." (Black Africans in Renaissance Europe: 154)

"Historians are not agreed as to whether Laura Dianti, whose likeness Titian painted, was the wife of the mistress of Alfonso of Este; yet a record exists which seems to prove that Tomaso and Agostino Mosti, both well known writers at Ferrara, confessed to have been present at the Duke's marriage. In her lifetime Laura was known as 'the most illustrious Signora Laura Eustachio Estense;' and when she died and was buried in Sant' Agostino of Ferrara, Alfonso the Second and Cardinal Luigi of Este accompanied her son Don Alfonso to the funeral. Vasari tells us if was 'a stupendous portrait' that Titian painted of the Signora Laura 'who was afterwards the Duke's wife.'. . . ." (The Life and Times of Titian, Vol. 1: 267) 

Natural offspring with Laura Dianti.
"Alfonso and Laura had two illegitimate sons: Alfonsino (1530-1547), the Marquis of Castelnuovo, who only lived to be seventeen, and Alfonso (1527-1587), the Marquis of Montecchio, who made two good marriages into powerful Italian families with Giulia della Rovere and Violante Signa. Duke Alfonso, like Sigismondo with Isotta, supposedly secretly married Laura. Two illustrious Ferrarese writers, Tomaso and Agostino Mosti, both claimed to have been present at the union. Laura and Alfonso's marriage would have legitimized the offspring but Alfonso waited until the last year of his life to make an honest woman of his mistress. Instead of having their children transformed in 'iusti et veri filli' (lawful and true offspring) by marrying Laura earlier in their relationship, Alfonso instead had Cardinal Innocenzo Cybo legitimize them by decree on April 17, 1532. This act though had no weight in respect to the Este succession to the duchy of Ferrara. Even after they were legitimized by their parent's marriage, Alfonso's illegitimately-born sons still suffered from legal deficiencies in relation to the Este inheritance. Most jurists viewed illegitimately-born offspring who were legitimized by marriage as legitimate only by fiction of law prior to that point. While in Roman and canon law they were considered legitimate in relation to legitimacy requirements, the situation was blurred in respect to rules of inheritance and feudal contracts. In his will Alfonso continued to uphold the line of succession through primogeniture but stipulated that if all three of his legitimately-born sons' (Ercole II, Ippolito II, and Francesco) legitimately-born descendants should become extinct, his illegitimately-born sons' descendants should succeed to the dukedom of Ferrara." (Ladies, Concubines and Pseudo-wives: 135)
Ercole II d'Este of Ferrara
Duke of Ferrara,Modena & Reggio

Son of: Alfonso I d'Este & Lucrezia Borgia. 

Husband of: Renee de France, Duchesse de Chartres, mar 1528. 

His lover was
Diana Trotti

Natural offspring: 
1. Cesare detto Trotti 
2. Lucrezia d'Este.

2) Maria di Noyant.
His wife's maid of honour

Wife of 

" . . . in 1537 the scandal broke out of his passion for Maria di Noyant, French maid of Renata's and wife of Alfonso Calcagnini Conte di Fusignano." (consandolo)

Francesco III d'Este
Duca di Modena 

Son of: Rinaldo III d'Este & Charlotte Felicitas von Braunschweig-Luneburg. 

Husband of: 
1. Charlotte Aglae d'Orleans, Mademoiselle de Valois, mar 1720 

2. Teresa Castelbarco (d.1768) 

3. Maria Renata Elisabeth Katharina, Contessa di Harrach zu Rohrau (1721-1788), mar 1763. 

His lover was: 
Unnamed de Mouton. 

Natural offspring: 
1. Francesco Maria, Baron Tesde, Bishop of Reggio 
2.Federico Tesde, Conte di San Romano

Duca di Modena

His lover was:
Unnamed mistress.

Other Este Members.
File:Ugo d'Este.jpg
Ugo d'Este of Ferrara

His lover was
Parisina MalatestaMarchesa di Ferrara. (1404-1425) 

Daughter of: Andrea Malatesta, Signore di Cesena & Lucrezia Ordelaffi.

Wife of: Niccolo III d'Este, Marchese di Ferrara. mar 1414 

"Niccolo ordered Ugo to accompany Parisina on a journey to Ravenna in 1424. A short time after the journey the black death appeared at Ferrara and Niccolo did send his young wife together with Ugo to a villa in Fossaldabero..., the stay endured from late summer till early autumn. In the silent hours at this unobserved occasion a deep and forbidden love affair arose between Ugo and Parisina - the case couldn't stay in secrecy and in May 1425 Niccolo reacted very severe(ly). In a few days he settled the outcome by beheading both, wife and son and also some others, who were guilty in the case. . . Ugo was then 19, Parisina 20 years old. . . . " (Tarot & Its History)

Italian nobleman. 

Husband of
1. Giulia della Rovere, mar 1549 
2. Violante Signa, mar 1584. 

His lover was
Unnamed mistress.

Italian aristocrat 
Signore di San Martino, Campogalliano, Rodeglia, Castellarano & San Cassiano. 
Governor of Reggio 1463 Emilia 
Governor & Lieutenant in Ferrara 
Captain-General of Ferrarese Army. 

Son of: Niccolo III d'Este & Ricciarda di Saluzzo

"Sigismondo d'Este, Ercole's full brother, legitimate son of the same mother, Rizzarda da Saluzzo, heads the list of provigionati in 1476 with a monthly stipend of 2,375 pounds (28,000 pounds per annum). Born in 1433, he was slightly younger than Ercole, but they had grown up together in Naples and remained close. Sigismondo demonstrated particular devotion towards his brother when he was recovering from a leg wound inflicted at the Battle of Molinella in 1467, and Ercole relied on Sigismondo more than anyone excepet his wife, whom incidentally he was deputed to escort from Naples to their wedding in 1473. Sigismondo protected the Duchess and her children in the Castel Vecchio when Nicolo di Leonello led his attempted coup in 1476, and he was Ercole's lieutenant in the Tuscan campaigns of 1479. After the death of the duchess in 1493, Sigismondo was charged with the care of the state in the duke's absence, latterly in conjunction with the duke's heir, Don Alfonso. Sigismondo may not have married, but he had several children. His daughter Bianca married Alberigo da San Severino, from the Kingdom of Naples; Diana married Uguccione, son of Ambrogio Contrari; and his son Ercole married Angela Sforza, a granddaughter of duke Galeazzo Maria. In 1501 Sigismondo was invested by Duke Ercole with territories in the Modenese and Reggiano, and he was created count of S. Martino in Rio, this originating a separate branch of the d'Este family. It was for Sigismondo and his heirs that the most imposing palace in Ferrara after the Palazzo Ducale, the Palazzo de Diamanti, was built." (Herculean Ferrara: 41) 

His lover was
1. Pizzocara

Natural offspring
a. Ercole d'Este (d.1517), Marchese di San Martino married Angiola Sforza
b. Lucrezia d'Este married Alberigo Malaspina, Marchese di Massa
c. Bianca d'Este married Amerigo Sanseverino, Conte di Capaccio
d. Diana d'Este (d.1555) married Uguccione Contrari, Conte di Vignola.