When Anne of Brittany lost her 3 year old son that was really really tough on her. Specially cause she had already lost her parents. But since having a heir was so important to royalty she was not able to get a rest. She had to try to get pregnant again as soon as possible.
Anne got pregnant several times when Charles Orland (11 October 1492 – 16 December 1495) was still alive but the pregnancies didn’t go as well as her first.
In late 1492 or early 1493 Anne had become pregnant again but she traveled from castle to caste; she went into labour during a ride in the forest and the child was premature and stillborn. She named him Francis and him at Notre-Dame de Cléry.
In 1494 she was pregnant again and this time she avoided traveling. But she accompanied her husband to Lyon where he would go to fight in the Italian Wars and when she arrived there in March and attended all the ceremonies she was so stressed that she went into premature labor and had a stillborn daughter.
Late 1494 she got pregnant again but she lost the daughter soon after in March 1495. This child was also stillborn.
And then she lost her only living child Charles Orland when he was 3 when he got the measles in December 1495.
8 September 1496 Anne gave birth to a son that she also named Charles and who briefly became the Dauphin of France, but he died 2 October that same year. He was buried with him brother Charles Orland in Tours. It was said that Anne despaired and went temporarily to Moulins to get a break.
Nevertheless Anne and Charles tried again and in July 1497 she gave birth to Francis, Dauphin of France but he died within hours of his birth. He was buried in the same church as his brothers Charles Orland and Charles.
20 March 1498 Anne gave birth to a girl that she named after herself Anne of France. But little Anne died the same day and was buried in the same church as her brothers Charles Orland, Charles and Francis.
So all in all Anne was pregnant 7 times during her 7 years of marriage with Charles VIII and still Charles VIII died without a heir. It was rumored that every miscarriage Anne of Brittany had delighted Louise of Savoy whose son was the heir apparent under Salic law unless Anne of Brittany would produce a son. Some even say she used witchcraft to make sure Anne wouldn’t get a healthy son. When she married Charles at age 14 Anne was described as a young and rosy-cheeked girl. After 7 pregnancies with no surviving children she was described as pale-faced and wan.
Anne of Brittany obviously tried to cope as best as she could with the
situation and she commissioned several Book of Hours that have religious texts with illustrations. Some of them dealing directly with the issue of children and pregnancies like the annunciation, the adoration of Jesus, st. Anne the mother of Mary that got her child when she was really old and st. margaret patroness of pregnant women. And not to forget the lamenting of Christ which deals with the pain of a mother losing her child.
Anne as a pious woman must have tried to plead with god to please let her children live next time and even that we see in her books of Hours. We see her in prayer and we see her confess her sins to her confessor.
Bonne journée, mes amis! Hilde