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Bona of Savoy

Bona of Savoy

Duchess of Milan
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Duchess of Milan
A.K.A. Bona di Savoia
Gender female
Birth 19 August 1449 (Chambéry)
Death 3 December 1503 (Fossano)
Star sign Leo
Mother: Anne of Cyprus
Father: LouisDuke of Savoy
Siblings: François de SavoieJanus of SavoyAmadeus IXDuke of SavoyPhilip IIDuke of SavoyLouis of CyprusCharlotte of SavoyMargaret of SavoyCountess of Saint-PolMarie of SavoyCountess of Saint-Pol
Spouse: Galeazzo Maria Sforza
Children: Bianca Maria SforzaGian Galeazzo SforzaAnna Sforza
The details

Bona of Savoy, Duchess of Milan (10 August 1449 – 23 November 1503) was the second spouse of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan and a member of the noble Italian House of Savoy. She served as regent of Milan during the minority of her son 1476–1481.
Born in Avigliana, Turin, Bona was a daughter of Louis, Duke of Savoy and Anne de Lusignan of Cyprus. She was one of nineteen children. Her many siblings included: Amadeus IX of Savoy, Philip II, Duke of Savoy, Louis of Savoy, Count of Geneva, Marguerite of Savoy and Charlotte of Savoy, who married King Louis XI.


In 1464, Bona was to have been betrothed to Edward IV of England, until his secret marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was revealed. She married Galeazzo Maria Sforza on 9 May 1468. An alliance between the Sforza and the royal house of France had been rumoured from as early as 1460, and "in June 1464 Bona of Savoy was officially offered to Galeazzo by letters from the King of France and the Duke of Savoy." The union produced four children:

  • Gian Galeazzo Sforza (20 June 1469 – 21 October 1494), married his first cousin Isabella of Naples (2 October 1470 – 11 February 1524), by whom he had issue, including Bona Sforza, Queen consort of King Sigismund I of Poland, who in her turn had six children.
  • Hermes Maria Sforza (10 May 1470 – 18 September 1503), Marquis of Tortona.
  • Bianca Maria Sforza (5 April 1472 – 31 December 1510), in January 1474, married firstly Philibert I, Duke of Savoy; on 16 March 1494, married secondly, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, she had no issue by her two husbands.
  • Anna Maria Sforza (21 July 1476 – 30 November 1497), married Alfonso I d'Este, later Duke of Ferrara. She died in childbirth.

Bona's husband was assassinated, on 26 December 1476 at the age of 32 by three young noblemen on the porch of the cathedral church of San Stefano in Milan. Galeazzo was succeeded after his 10-year reign by his 7-year-old son Gian Galeazzo Sforza (1469–1494) under the regency of Bona. But dissensions soon arose between the regent and her brother-in-law, Ludovico Maria Sforza, nicknamed "Il Moro" (the Moor).

In the first encounter Bona and her chief counsellor, Cicco Simonetta, were victorious, and Ludovico and his brothers were made to leave the city. In order to obtain his re-admission, Ludovico, took advantage of the rivalry between Tassino (the favourite of Bona) and Simonetta. The fall and execution of Simonetta followed. From 1479 the real government of Milan lay in the hands of Ludovico, whose power was further secured in 1480, when he seized his nephew Gian, deprived him of the duchy and assumed control. Consequently, Bona was obliged to leave Milan and Ludovico was left to rule unchallenged.

Bona of Savoy commissioned the Sforza Book of Hours manuscript, which was painted in about 1490 by a famous court artist, Giovan Pietro Birago. She used the book, which contained devotional texts and is considered to be one of the most outstanding treasures of the Italian Renaissance.


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