First, here are the fundamental facts about Duchess Anne de Beaujeu, “the least foolish woman in France.”
Father: Louis XI de France
Mother: Charlotte de Savoie
Birth: Genappe, Brabant, April? [uncertain, but before 22 July] 1461
Marriage: Pierre de Beaujeu, later Duke de Bourbon . Betrothal, 3 November 1473; Marriage, Château de Montrichard, 9 November 1474.
Death: Chantelle, France, 14 November 1522
Children: Charles, Count de Clermont [all details conjectural (b. d. 1476 (?)]
Suzanne: (b.) 10 May 1491 (d.) April 1521.
“The least foolish woman in France.”
Anne’s father called, “the least foolish woman in France.” She was her parents’ fourth child, but the first who lived. Since Dauphin Louis [as he was at the time] had rebelled against his father, Charles VII, the family was living in the then independent Duchy of Burgundy.
Anne and her mother followed her father to France when Louis XI succeeded his father on 22 July 1461. At first, they lived in one wing of Chateau Plessiz-les Tours. Sometime after Jeanne’s birth, King Louis moved his family to the Chateau d’Amboise. He did not stay with them, but travelled about, finally settling at Plessiz-les-Tours. His wife and children lived at Amboise, which he visited from time to time. We know little about Anne’s childhood except she had access to an excellent library. Many of the books in her library at Moulins came from her mother’s library. (Anne de France, Lessons for My Daughter, “Introduction,” Sharon Jansen, translator.)
Duchess Anne de Beaujeu’s Early Life
Her father betrothed Anne de Beaujeu as an infant (27 November 1461) to her much older cousin, Marquis Nicholas de Lorraine, one of the most eligible noblemen in France. As a grandson of King René d’Anjou, he was in line to inherit the duchies of Lorraine, Bar, Anjou, Maine, Provence and the kingdom of Naples and Sicily. The engagement fell through, however.
In 1470, when Anne was nine years old, King Louis granted Anne the Viscounty of Thouars and the seigneuries of Marans and Berrye. Her father decided when she was twelve that she was old enough to marry. He married her to thirty-five-year-old Pierre de Beaujeu, a favourite of his, in 1474.
Anne de Beaujeu’s Immediate Family
Families were the basis of political and a large family network.
Anne had one sister Jeanne [b. 1464], who married Duke Louis d’Orléans, [the first Prince of the Blood] at Chateau de Montrichard, 8 November 1474. Although their mother Queen Charlotte came to the wedding, their father attended neither marriage.
Charles, her brother, [b. 1470, d.1498] became king when her father died in 1483, and she became his guardian.
Jeanne de France, Dame de Mirabeau, (legitimized in 1466), born to Marguerite de Sassenage, Dame de Beaumont. Married to Louis, Comte de Roussillon, the bastard brother of Duke Jean II de Bourbon (legitimized in 1463). King Louis gave him a seat on his Council and made him Lieutenant-General of Normandy, Admiral of Guyenne and Admiral of France  .
Marie de France (legitimized July 11, 1467), born to Marguerite de Sassenage, Dame de Beaumont. Married at Chartres, June 1467, to her cousin Aymar de Poitiers, seigneur de Saint-Vallier, Comte de Valentinois. She died in childbirth. (Anne brought Marie’s daughter Diane de Poitiers to her court. Later, Diane became mistress to King Henri II.)
Isabeau de France, born to Marguerite de Sassenage, Dame de Beaumont, married to Louis de Saint-Priest.
Duchess Anne de Beaujeu’s Bourbon In-laws
Pierre de Beaujeu, Anne’s husband, was the third brother in a family of ten children. * Duke Jean II de Bourbon, had been a loyal supporter of Louis’s father, Charles VII. Louis XI made the duke give Pierre the seigneurie of Beaujeu and the counties of Beaujolais and Clermont-en-Beauvaisis.
* The second son, Charles, Archbishop of Lyons, Governor of Paris and the Île de France and head of the King’s Council was a favourite of King Louis XI.
*. The fourth and youngest brother, Louis, also enters the Church as Prince-Bishop of Liège. Brought up at the court of the Duke of Burgundy, he became an enemy of Louis XI. This was not the only problem he created. He secretly married Catherine d’Egmont with whom he had a family who married within the nobility. His eldest son, Pierre, married Marguerite, Dame de Busset, and founded the line of the Bourbon-Busset. They contested the Bourbonnais inheritance against Anne.
Eventually, the children of various of her sisters-in-law created problems for Duchess Anne de Beaujeu.
* Marie, the eldest, married Jean, Duke of Calabria and Lorraine, son of King René d’Anjou.
* Isabelle, the second, married the Count of Charolais, later Duke of Burgundy. She was the mother of Marie de Bourgogne (d. 27 March 1482) who married Maximillian of Austria. That made her grandmother of Marguerite of Austria (b. 10 January 1480) of whom more later.
* The third, Jeanne, married Jean de Chalon, Prince d’Orange, and Anne de Bretagne’s uncle.
* The fourth, Marguerite, married Duke Philippe de Savoie, with whom she had two children. Louise later married Count Charles d’Angoulême and Philibert married Marguerite of Austria (see above) and became Duke of Savoie himself.
Duke Pierre and Duchess Anne de Beaujeu Early Married Life
For ten years after they married, Anne and Pierre travelled through France with the king’s court. During this time, Duchess Anne and King Louis developed a mutual admiration as Anne learned her lessons in governance from her father. Her father found in her the intelligence, firmness of character, and subtlety he admired. He included Anne in his (devious) plans and gave her a place in his Councils. He encouraged her to pursue his relentless goal to reduce the power of France’s feudal lords, preferably without wars. It was then that King Louis awarded her his highest praise. “She is the least foolish woman in France — for of wise ones there are none.”
In 1481, King Louis gave Anne the country of Gien in her own right. In 1482, after Marie de Bourgogne died, he annexed her duchy. Then he signed the Treaty of Arras in December with her widower. He betrothed their young daughter, three-year-old Marguerite of Austria, to his son Dauphin Charles. Then he sent Anne (granting her the title of Gouvernante to the Dauphine) to fetch the child to France to bring up at the French court
Louis’s success with his centralizing policy created many enemies among the highest nobility. Louis determined early to hobble the great Orléans family, already crippled with debt. He forced the young Duke Louis d’Orléans to marry his handicapped second daughter, Jeanne. With this act, he made the duke a lifelong enemy, for Duke Louis loathed his unwanted wife. Unfortunately for everyone, Duke Louis was next in line for the throne after King Louis’s weak y0ung son, Charles.
Death of King Louis & the Struggle for Power [1483 — 84]
King Louis feared death. Partly he worried because his son was still too young to rule. Partly he recognized that the boy was feeble, unlike his daughter Anne. He worried that France would fall into the chaos it had suffered under his father.
As he approached death in the summer of 1483, he refused to consider leaving the regency to Duke Louis, first Prince of the Blood. Instead, he wished to name his most capable child, his daughter Anne, despite French law that prohibited female rule. Since he knew the French nobility would never accept her, he proposed a regency council with his popular son-in-law as president. He also made the Duke and Duchess de Beaujeu guardians.
When he died at Plessiz with the few men he almost trusted near him, Anne and Pierre immediately took charge of young King Charles. From the beginning of Madame la Grande’s guardianship, she built a growing and increasingly formal court around her and her brother. She had realized that the power of the Duchy of Burgundy had resulted in part from its magnificent court. So, as soon as she arrived, Anne established a royal court for the child Dauphine in one wing at Amboise.
Duchess Anne de Beaujeu’s Court
Anne brought the young women of the nobility to court. There she educated them in literacy (reading, Latin, French, arithmetic) and cultural arts (music, dance, embroidery, hunting, etc). She also trained them in the skills and graces needed to succeed at court and to manage a noble home. She also arranged useful marriages for them. This increased her influence with their families and subtly increased her power. Some of these girls who became influential later include Louise de Savoie and Diane de Poitiers.
When the great nobles arrived to pay homage to the young king, the Duke and Duchess were affable. They gave out honours and places, but did not relinquish guardianship of the king. Duke Louis, her brother-in-law and first Prince of the Blood and many other great nobles disputed their role.
She had King Charles call a meeting of the Estates-General in 1484 in Tours, the capital of France at that time. In the time it took to assemble the members, Duchess Anne de Beaujeu resolved the worst abuses that riled the clergy and bourgeoisie, who represented the first and third estates. For example, she had Louis XI’s hated tax collectors, Olivier le Daim and Doyat executed. She also provided powerful positions to her greatest opponents among the nobility. Duke Jean II de Bourbon became Constable of France, for example. As a result, the Estates rewarded her prudent, conciliatory approach by confirming the Beaujeu care of the king. Charles, now fourteen and legally of age, then celebrated his coronation on May 30, 1484.
The Regency & War with Brittany [1484 —1491]
Over the next several years, Anne proved herself worthy of her father’s trust. Although King Charles reigned officially, his sister oversaw his actions and governed on his behalf. This had become necessary because several of the great feudal nobles, irate after their failure to seize power, rebelled in 1485. The Sieur d’Albret with his supporters in the south-west; Louis d’Orléans and his cousin, Charles d’Angoulême; and the independent Duke of Brittany, banded together. Beginning with this Guerre Folle, Anne organized a series of wars that continued her father’s policy aimed at defeating Brittany to incorporate it into France. She sent her best generals to defeat their armies. As another tactic, she undermined the Breton Duke’s authority by paying ‘subsidies’ (bribes) to many Breton nobles, fomented their rebellion and afterwards negotiated a treaty to end it.
In 1488, France invaded Brittany once again. The Duke of Brittany died. The French captured Duke Louis d’Orléans and imprisoned him for the next three years. Eleven-year-old Anne de Montfort became Duchess of Brittany. In January 1491, the spiteful Sire d’Albret offered to betray the Duchess of Brittany to the French for a substantial price. During his turn guarding the Chateau de Nantes at Easter, (the beginning of the campaigning season), he opened it to the French army.
From an early age, King Charles had dreamed of leading a crusade to free Jerusalem from the Turks. On the way he intended to reconquer the Kingdom of Naples both as a steppingstone to the reconquest of Jerusalem and because he claimed it as his birthright. As he grew older, he demanded a greater military role. Therefore, King Charles and General Louis de la Trémoïlle led the spring and summer campaign of 1491 that overran Brittany.
The Defeat of Brittany
With the duchy laid waste, and its duchess trapped in her last stronghold, Madame la Grande urged her brother to defeat Brittany by force of arms, but he demurred. Instead, King Charles released Duke Louis d’Orléans to negotiate with the defeated Duchess. He persuaded Anne de Bretagne that the best solution for Brittany was to marry the King of France, despite her reluctance.
As a result, with Madame la Grande’s approval, King Charles married Duchess Anne of Brittany. King Charles and Anne of Brittany married in Langeais, 6 December 1491.
For this marriage to take place, the king had to repudiate his eleven-year-old wife, Marguerite of Austria, Madame la Grande’s niece, whom she had been bringing up in France. At the same time, Anne of Brittany repudiated her proxy marriage to Maximilian of Austria, Marguerite of Austria’s father. These two insults soured Valois-Hapsburg relations for many years
This remarkable outcome brought the independent duchy of Brittany under French hegemony. It is testimony to the wisdom of others when faced with the clash of titans — an unstoppable force (Anne de Beaujeu) and an immovable object (Anne de Brittany). After Anne’s coronation in Paris in February 1492 and the dauphin’s birth in October 1492, Madame la Grande retired to concentrate on Bourbon affairs.
The Bourbon Inheritance 
Meanwhile, in 1488, Duke Jean II de Bourbon died. The next in line to the dukedom was Archbishop Charles of Lyons. Duke Pierre de Beaujeu persuaded him to relinquish the title in his favour and that of Madame la Grande by force majeure. The new Duke and Duchess of Bourbon-Beaujeu then toured their new territories, which made up a huge swath of central France. They stayed for six months but also continued to oversee the affairs of King Charles.
Their lands included the great duchies of the Bourbonnais and Auvergne and the huge counties of Le Forez and La Marche and le Beaujolais. In addition, they owned the viscounties of Carlat and Murat, the seigneuries of Borbon-Lancy and Roche-en-Régnier and several unconnected territories in the north and south. This did not include Anne’s property — the county of Gien and the viscounties of Thouars and Châtellerault.
During their reign, Madame la Grande and her husband modernized and improved the administration of the Bourbon lands. They introduced an improved roads system to connect all parts of the vast territory and removed internal barriers. They also reorganized and codified laws of the Bourbonnais into one coherent system using one language, French. Previously the diverse territories used their own codes and three different languages. They improved security and restored towns and chateaux still in ruins from the One Hundred Year’s war.
The Birth of Suzanne de Bourbon
On 10 May 1491 in Moulins, Anne gave birth to Suzanne de Bourbon after 17 years of marriage. Although they would have preferred a boy, it thrilled them to have a child and heir. Because of her condition, Anne did not travel to Brittany until the fall to take part in the negotiations for the surrender.
The Duke and Duchess of Bourbon-Beaujeu concentrated on their lands and daughter until King Charles called upon them in again.
The First Italian War & the Second Regency [1494 — 95]
From the moment France subdued Brittany, Charles VIII turned his attention to his dream — the conquest of the Kingdom of Naples. By summer 1494 he had readied everything. Calling upon the Duke of Bourbon-Beaujeu to take over the regency, Charles ordered his wife, Anne of Brittany, to Moulins, which became the centre of government during his absence. His sister became the de facto regent. On 27 August 1494, he set out to cross the Alps from Grenoble. From then until his return fifteen months later in November 1495 in Lyon, Anne ruled France from Moulins.
Duchess Anne de Beaujeu: Renaissance Woman Writer — Lessons for My Daughter
At an unknown date, probably either 1497 or 1505, Anne wrote a small book she called Lessons for My Daughter. It shows us another side of Madame la Grande: the educated woman of letters. This form of book follows a royal tradition — the guide to ruling for the successor. Her father wrote a similar treatise for her brother.
Anne’s advice is appropriate for her age and the high place that Suzanne would assume. She advises her daughter to behave with dignity, to be pleasant with everyone, to give her confidence to no one, to obey her husband. Most important, she must always to think on the afterlife because life was short and soon she would face her maker. Chastity, charity, and modesty were all required.
Madame la Grande clarified that Suzanne must exhibit these behaviours because her high estate would engender envy. People around her would look for her faults, so she must be above criticism. Madame la Grande laces every lesson with references from classic authors. She used her knowledge from her extensive reading to make her points. Although this is book is not a literary masterpiece, it represents an important example of the writing of a French renaissance woman and the mores of the time.
The Ascension of King Louis XII 
King Charles VIII died suddenly in April 1498 at twenty-eight without leaving a male heir. The next in line to the throne was Duke Louis d’Orléans with whom Anne had always had a contentious relationship. However, now he needed the support of the Bourbon-Beaujeu because he came to the throne through a collateral branch and their power reduced resistance to his ascension. Also, he intended to divorce his barren wife, Jeanne, Anne’s sister, and he hoped Anne would not oppose him. Because of the terms of Duchess Anne of Brittany’s marriage contract, he needed to marry her to keep Brittany within France’s sphere of influence.
Anne made an excellent arrangement in return for Bourbon-Beaujeu support. The Duchy of Bourbonnais had been an appanage since the reign of Charles VI. This meant it would revert to the crown if there were no direct male heirs, as was now the case. On 21 August 1498, Louis XII agreed to void this clause and transform the duchy into a fief that could pass down through the female line. This made Suzanne the greatest heiress in France since she would receive not only the vast Bourbon inheritance but also her mother’s.
The Politics of Suzanne’s Marriage 1498 -1505
The Duchess and Duke of Bourbon-Beaujeu thereafter maintained an excellent relationship with King Louis XII. Madame la Grande made no objection to his divorce from her sister or his immediate remarriage to her late brother’s widow.
Once Anne became Duchess of Bourbon, especially after she produced an heir, she focused on improving the Bourbon inheritance. She litigated lawsuits for disputed properties to maintain Bourbon rights. Since she feared potential heirs could challenge the legal arrangements made with King Louis XII, she planned to avoid the problem.
Also, to avoid disputes over the Bourbon inheritance, Anne planned to marry Suzanne to Count Charles de Montpensier, son of Count Gilbert de Montpensier [d. 1496]. He was the next male in line to inherit and she brought him up at Moulins with Suzanne.
However, King Louis wished to reward the d’Alençon family for their steadfast loyalty. Though Anne opposed this betrothal, the least foolish woman in France did not object to the marriage contract her husband and King Louis arranged in May 1499. Both children were young and much could happen. On King Louis’s way to Italy in 1501, he stopped in Moulins, where Suzanne and Duke Charles d’Alençon celebrated their betrothal. Duke Pierre asked Charles d’Alençon to arrange the final formalities in 1503, but by the time he arrived in Moulins, the Duke had died.
By insulting the Dowager Duchess d’Alençon, Madame la Grande succeeded in rupturing that betrothal without annoying King Louis. With his approval, Suzanne de Bourbon and Duke Charles de Bourbon-Montpensier married at Beaumanoir in 1505. Over the course of the next years, they had three children, all of whom died young. Suzanne herself died on 28 April 1521, leaving her entire inheritance to her husband in her will.
Duchess and Dowager Duchess of Bourbon-Beaujeu [1488 — 1522]
It is in the politics of France that Anne de Beaujeu is best known. But as Duchess of Bourbon-Beaujeu, she was a munificent patron of all fields of artistic creation: architecture, sculpture, painting, stained-glass windows, and gold smithery. Anne de Beaujeu protected and commissioned work from many artists and the entire Bourbon patrimony benefitted.
Using their huge wealth, the Bourbon-Beaujeu embarked upon a great program of acquisition and beautification. In 1493, Madame la Grande bought and enlarged the Domaine of Beaumanoir and provided it with a fountain a labyrinth in its garden. The building program she embarked on included the rebuilding of the feudal castle at Gien in red brick. There she also had built a convent for the Minims to honour her father. In honour of her sister after Jeanne died, she had a convent built for the Annonciades at Bourges.
Their great program included works started prior to Pierre’s death in 1503 at their properties in Lyon, Bourbon, Moulins and Chantelle. She oversaw their completion, which took until 1508. The work at Moulins included the construction of a magnificent new wing at the ducal palace of Moulins. It was a masterpiece of the early Italian Renaissance style. She loved fountains and had many built. She also collected and kept a menagerie of exotic animals.
Artists she patronized included Jean Perréal and Jean Richer d’Orléans and the famous ‘Master of Moulins’ who created the celebrated triptych. The architect of the Collegiate church was Jean Musnier. She maintained an entire workshop of stained glass workers under the master Charlot de Moustier, who was responsible for the great windows of the church. The sculptor, Jean de Chartres, a student of Michel Colombe, also worked in Moulins from about 1501 to 1511.
The least foolish woman in France at Louis XII’s court
Queen Anne of Brittany and Louis XII always treated Duchess Anne as a great noblewoman at their royal court. For example, her guard of honour comprised 26 gentlemen and 25 archers when she attended Princess Claude and Duke François’s betrothal on the 20 May 1506 at Amboise. Her son-in-law, Duke Charles de Bourbon Montpensier, eclipsed all other princes with the richness of his armour and the equipage of his team
Until Queen Anne died in 1514, Duke Charles took part in all King Louis’s campaigns. Meanwhile, Madame la Grande managed the Bourbon inheritance for her daughter and her son-in-law.
However, Madame la Grande became less and less active at the court of France as the years passed. After attending the funeral ceremonies for Queen Anne, she reluctantly returned to court at the request of King Louis. She welcomed the new Queen Marie and taught her French court ways until the king’s death, 1 January 1515.
Duchess Anne de Beaujeu & King François
All seemed well after King François came to the throne. He named Duke Charles as Constable of France and gave him the avant garde in the conquest of Marignano in 1516. In 1518, the king and queen named Duchess Anne as godmother to the Dauphin François.
But as King François’s building plans and dreams of further Italian conquests blossomed, King François looked with increasing envy upon the Bourbon wealth. In 1521, Suzanne’s death set the stage for Madame la Grande’s worst nightmare to become a reality.
After her daughter’s death, Anne retired to her chateau at Chantelle. As King François heaped insults on Duke Charles, she supported him. She revised her will, ensuring she left everything to her son-in-law. Anne’s niece — her late husband’s sister’s daughter — Duchess Louise de Savoie, claimed the duchy of the Bourbonnais as her inheritance. She sued for it before the Parlement of Paris and the lawsuit threatened to tie up the Bourbon inheritance in litigation for years. Anne advised Duke Charles to resist, even though Duchess Louise was the king’s mother, now the most powerful woman in France.
As the situation for her son-in-law went from bad to worse, Duchess Anne de Bourbon-Beaujeu lived out her final days without close family, who had all died before her. She died at Chantelle on 14 February 1522, aged sixty-one. She lies beside her husband and daughter in Souvigny in the New Chapel.
Who was Duchess Anne de Beaujeu as a Person?
There are almost always two distinct perceptions of Duchess Anne de Bourbon-Beaujeu. What did she look like? Some sources claim she was handsome, even beautiful, but lacking in femininity, tenderness and generosity. Others claim she was plain and pinched and frigid.
All agree that she was ‘well made’ — the only legitimate child of Louis XI’s without physical defect. She was of above-average height for a woman, thin but not abnormally so, straight-backed and light on her feet; an intrepid horsewoman and huntress, with light brown hair and direct brown eyes. She was also highly intelligent, a leader and an excellent negotiator, diplomat and administrator. Above all, she was decisive.
How her contemporaries perceived her personality is remarkably like seeing two sides of a coin. Those who admired her say she was a virago: brilliant, skilful, enterprising and fearless; resolute and courageous, sage, prudent and virtuous. Whisper of scandal never touched her. Those who feared and resented her used different words: They called her shrewd. Clever, cunning and quarrelsome; unrelenting and imperious; rigorous, controlling, and hypocritical were the words they chose. When she was pleasant, they saw it as a mask to disguise her true nature.
All agreed, however, that she was not feminine, that she thought and acted ‘like a man,’ like her father. They contrasted her with her husband, Pierre de Beaujeu, who just about everyone preferred. He was intelligent and experienced, yet a peaceable man; kind, of goodwill, without malice or trickery, gentle, easygoing, and blindly devoted to his wife.
Yet the least foolish woman in France would have made a much better King of France than did King Charles VIII. She would not have left France with huge debts, the enmity of the many Italian states he attacked, and the enduring hostility of the Hapsburgs.
Books and Articles about Anne de France
Abernathy, Susan, “Anne de Beaujeu, Duchess of Bourbon and Regent of France,” Freelance History Writer.
Adams, Tracy and Glenn Rechtschaffen, “Isabeau of Bavaria, Anne of France, and the History of Female Regency in France” in Early Modern Women, Vol. 8 (Fall 2013), pp. 119-147.
Adrian, Anne, “Anne de Beaujeu et le mécénat féminin en France à l’aube de la Renaissance” 2006. Available on-line for download. [Her patronage of artists with images and a bibliography on her patronage role]
Broad, J., & Green, K., From Anne de Beaujeu to Marguerite de Navarre. In A History of Women’s Political Thought in Europe, 1400–1700 (pp. 60-89). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2009.
Celier, Léonce, “Deux procès de Madame Anne de France, dame de Beaujeu” Bibliothéque de l’École des Charles, Année 1918, 79, pp. 291-310. [Legal challenges to the Bourbon claim to the barony of Beaujeu]
Crépin-Leblond, Thierry and Monique Chatenet, eds., Anne de France: art et pouvoir en 1500: actes du colloque organisé par Moulins, Ville d’art et d’histoire, le 30 et 31 mars 2012. Paris, Picard, 2014.
Thompson, Emily, “Beaujeu, Anne de (Anne de France; 1461-1522),” in Robin, Diana, Anne Larsen & Carole Levin (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Women in the Renaissance: Italy, France, and England, ABC-Clio 2007. [a concise summary of Anne de Beaujeu’s life]
Bridges, John, S. C., A History Of France From The Death Of Louis XI. Vol I: Reign Of Charles VIII – Regency Of Anne Of Beaujeu, 1483-1493. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1921.
Chombart de Lauwe, Marc, Anne de Beaujeu (Biographie Documentaire: Duc de Bourbon, fille de Louis XI) Librairie Jules Tallandier, 1980.
Cluzel, Jean, Anne de France: fille de Louis XI, duchess de Bourbon. Librairie Arthème Fayard, 2002.
De Chabanne, Hedwige and Isabelle de Linarès, Anne de Beaujeu, Crépin-Leblond, France, 1955.
d’Orliac, Jehanne, Anne de Beaujeu, roi de France, Paris, Plon,1926.
Jansen, Sharon L. (translated and edited), Anne of France: Lessons for My Daughter (Library of Medieval Women), Boydell & Brewer, 2004.
Jansen, Sharon L., The Monstrous Regiment of Women: Female Rulers in Early Modern Europe . Palgrave Macmillan,2002.
Matarasso, Pauline. Queen’s Mate: Three women of power in France on the eve of the Renaissance. Ashgate, Vermont, 200l. [Out of print and I haven’t found for sale online second hand, but one of the best books on Anne of France, Anne of Brittany and Louise of Savoy. Worth looking for.]
Trouve, C-J, Anne de Beaujeu, Jeanne de France et Anne de Bretagne, Esquisse Des XVe et XVIe Siècles. Hachette Livre – BNF, Reprint, 2018.
Wilson, Katharina M, (ed.) Women Writers of the Renaissance and Reformation, University of Georgia Press, 1987. [a passing reference]
Bolton, Muriel Roy, The Golden Porcupine. Garden City: Doubleday, 1947.
This novel is probably the source of the almost undoubtedly false story that Anne de France had an unrequited passion for Duke Louis d’Orléans. There is no harm in creating such a storyline in fiction, but to include it in anything purporting to be historical is dubious at best. There is no historical evidence to support such a claim. In fact, Duchess Anne was very careful to behave with rigorous virtue in her entire life.