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Who is Margaretha of Parma

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Who is Margaretha of Parma

From 21 September 2024 to 5 January 2025, the exhibition ‘Margaretha, Emperor’s daughter between power and image’ will take place in Oudenaarde. At this exhibition at the Museum Oudenaarde (MOU), various art pieces and paintings from, among others, the Louvre, The British Museum and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam will be on display. For the first time in 500 years, all these splendours will be exhibited together. But who exactly is Margaretha of Parma? 

Exploring the life of Margaretha 

Margaretha of Parma, born on 28 December 1522 in Oudenaarde, was an illegitimate daughter of Emperor Charles V and governess over the Netherlands from 1559 to 1567. She grew up in Brussels where she was raised by Mary of Hungary and Margaretha of Austria. At the age of 10 (1533), she moved to Italy and came under the care of Madame de Lannoy. Margaretha of Parma married Alessandro de’ Medici (Duke of Florence) in 1536, but he died in 1537. In 1538, Margaretha of Parma married a second time to Ottaivio Farnese, the grandson of Pope Paul III. From this marriage was born the later governor of the Spanish Netherlands Alessandro and his twin brother Carl, who died before his first birthday.  

A tale of influence and determination

Margaretha mainly tried to find a middle ground between the many demands of the Spanish crown and the needs of the population in the Netherlands. During Margaretha of Parma’s reign, Oudenaarde, located in the heart of Flanders, also played an important role. As a prosperous city, Oudenaarde was especially known for its textile production and trade routes. As a result, the city attracted a lot of attention from the ruling power. Margaretha of Parma understood the economic importance of cities like Oudenaarde and therefore regularly supported initiatives that promoted trade and prosperity. 

At a time when women had little say in politics, Margaretha of Parma still managed to find her way and position herself as an influential figure. Her life story is very interesting, but is also certainly an inspiration. It shows us that determination and intelligence are limitless and that one person can have a great impact.  

Planning to visit this impressive exhibition and still looking for a place to stay? Then book directly on our website for the best price. We guarantee the lowest price and offer flexible cancellation options. 

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