Bona Sforza, the Queen of Poland and the Great Princess of Lithuania and also the heiress of the Italian throne of Bari and Rossano, appears to historians as a very controversial figure. On one hand, Bona has been often criticized for her lack of scruples while achieving political goals and was blamed for contributing to the death of her daughter-in-law Barbara Radziwill. On the other hand, the queen initiated a good political relationship with Italy. Which side of the story is true? Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
She was born on February 2, 1494 in Vigevano, near Pavia, as a daughter of Isabella de Aragon and the Prince of Milan Gian Galeazza Sforza. The girl who was christened Bona Maria did not experience much | love from her father, who died a few months after her birth. A sequence of family tragedies followed the death of the Prince of Milan. In 1496, Bona’s younger sister died and three years later the King of France, Louis XII, ordered Bona’s brother Francesco Sforza to exile in France. In 1501, Bona’s older sister Hipolita died as well. […]