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Database: Lucrezia Borgia

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Date of Birth: 1480.
Profession: Noble, Daughter of the Pope.

Raised from childhood to be a pawn in her father's schemes, Lucrezia was married three times to serve the Pope's interests. The first marriage occurred when she was only thirteen, to Giovanni Sforza, to help further the Papal relationship with Milan, but when the Pope turned against Milan, he had no further use for the marriage. Cesare threatened to have Giovanni murdered, and he fled. In order to annul the marriage, the Pope ultimately had Giovanni declared impotent.

With that marriage deflated, the Pope was free to set up another one, this time to Alfonso of Aragon, cementing a partnership with Naples. Cesare hated the nineteen-year-old Alfonso for taking Lucrezia's attentions away from him and, in 1500, he stabbed Alfonso. Despite receiving several serious wounds, Alfonso didn't die. He miraculously recovered over the following weeks. Once he had done the impossible and risen from bed, Cesare instructed Micheletto to strangle him. Lucrezia was thrown out of the room and while she ran to the Pope to ask for help, Alfonso was murdered. Note: this was not the first time Cesare had killed a man connected to Lucrezia, he had drowned Pedro Calderon, the Papal Chamberlain, in 1498 for getting close to her.

Lucrezia's third husband, Alfonso d'Este, was very reluctant to marry her, understandably, but the Pope's strategy for central Italy required that he cement relations with Ferrara, so he paid Alfonso's father Ercole d'Este, the Duke of Ferrara, 300,000 ducats along with other privileges to secure the match.

The two were married, but they weren't exclusive. Lucrezia slept with the poet Bembo and Francesco II Gonzaga. Their relationship ended when Francesco developed syphilis.

Lucrezia died from complications giving birth to her eighth child in 1519.

"What about those other seven children?" you may ask. Find out next week, on Romance Gone Wrong.

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