Catherine de Medici, Queen of France, is born. A Roman Catholic, Catherine will play an important role in the French Wars of Religion. Early on she tries to find political solutions, offering compromises to Protestant Huguenots in order to preserve peace and order in France.
Catherine de Medici does not realize, however, that purely political solutions to deep theological disagreements cannot suffice. Her frustration over the failures of politics will lead to her adopting a much harder approach to the Protestants. As a result, she takes the blame for some of the persecutions of Protestant Huguenots — including deaths of thousands of Protestants in the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572.