Portrait of Alfonso II d'Este (1533-1597), Duke of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio (1559-1597)
Alfonso II d'Este (24 November 1533 – 27 October 1597) was Duke of Ferrara from 1559 to 1597. He was a member of the House of Este. He was the elder son of Ercole II d'Este and Renée de France, the daughter of Louis XII of France and Anne of Brittany and was the fifth and last Duke of Ferrara. As a young man, he fought in the service of Henry II of France against the Habsburgs. Soon after his accession, he was forced by Pope Pius IV to send back his mother to France due to her Calvinist creed. The 1570 Ferrara earthquake fell into his reign. In 1583 he allied with Emperor Rudolf II in the war against the Turks in Hungary. On 3 July 1558, Alfonso married his first wife Lucrezia di Cosimo de' Medici (14 February 1545 – 21 April 1561), a daughter of Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and Eleonora di Toledo. She died two years afterwards; poisoning has been suspected, although it is now thought that she died of tuberculosis. On 5 December 1565, Alfonso married his second wife Barbara of Austria (30 April 1539 – 19 September 1572), eighth daughter of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary. On 24 February 1579, Alfonso married his third wife Margherita Gonzaga (27 May 1564 – 6 January 1618). She was the eldest daughter of William I, Duke of Mantua and Eleonora of Austria. He had no known children, legitimate or otherwise.
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