Saturday, May 11, 2013

The White Queen of Chenonceau



During my castle tour of the Loire Valley, I listened to many audio tours and studied the history of each castle. There was no mention of anything supernatural. The tours contained only the facts. Interestingly, my son's audio tour of the castle of Chenanceau was quite different from mine. It was designed for young children and told a detailed account of the ghost that haunts the castle.

Chenanceau is one of more stunning of the castles in the Loire Valley. It is a beautiful Renaissance castle that stretches across the Loire-Indes River. It was constructed in phases and is a uniquely feminine castle. All of it's owners and occupants have been women and the castle itself seems to whisper this character. The castle was taken by King Henry II in 1517 for his mistress Diane de Portier. After the king's death, his wife Catherine de Medici, took the castle back from Diane and began the elaborate construction of the gallery that stretches across the river. It was completed in 1577.

It is this gallery that is haunted by the ghost of the White Queen. The White Queen was the wife of King Henry III. Following his murder, she retired to Chenonceau and clothed herself only in white. She spent the rest of her life mourning his loss. Even her bedchamber reflects her sorrow. It is black, painted with white flowers.

According to my son's audio tour, her ghost still wanders the halls of the chateau forever mourning her lost love. She is seen by many visitors as a white clad specter weeping in the hall. Many have also reported seeing images of her in pictures taken of the hall. I have included the pictures we took of the gallery. It may be my imagination, but I always think I see a soft white form by the window.

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