A posthumous image of Queen Claude of France and her daughters and daughter-in-law, Catherine de Medici. A miniature from Catherine de Medici’s Book of Hours.
Claude was the first wife of François I of France and daughter of Louis XII. Her marriage to François and time as queen consisted mostly of numerous pregnancies and she died aged 24.
In 1515 Anne Boleyn joined the household of Queen Claude as a lady-in-waiting. Anne had previously served Louis XII’s last wife, Mary Tudor (sister to Henry VIII), and when Louis died in January 1515, Anne stayed in France to serve the new Queen. As Anne served Claude, it is probable that she led a somewhat restricted life in France for Claude’s household was rather strict compared to the alleged sensuality and excitement of the French court. During her time in Claude’s household Anne also expanded her education and perfected her French. Her interest in reform which developed years later may have roots in her time in France and Anne would have also acquired court skills during her service. Whilst Claude frequently retired from the rest of court due to her numerous pregnancies, Anne would have been witnessed and been involved in various festivities at court when the king and queen came together.