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Lucrezia Borgia

Lucrezia Borgia as the daughter of Pope Alexander VI and Vannozza dei Cattanei. Her brothers included Cesare Borgia, Giovanni Borgia, and Gioffre Borgia.

Lucrezia's family later came to epitomize the ruthless Machiavellian politics and sexual corruption characteristic of the Renaissance Papacy. Lucrezia was cast as a femme fatale, a role she has been portrayed as in many artworks, novels, and films.

Very little is known of Lucrezia, and the extent of her complicity in the political machinations of her father and brothers is unclear. They certainly arranged several marriages for her to important or powerful men in order to advance their own political ambitions. Lucrezia was married to Giovanni Sforza (Lord of Pesaro), Alfonso of Aragon (Duke of Bisceglie), and Alfonso I d'Este (Duke of Ferrara). Tradition has it that Alfonso of Aragon was an illegitimate son of the King of Naples and that her brother Cesare may have had him murdered after his political value waned.

She is described as having heavy blonde hair which fell past her knees, a beautiful complexion, hazel eyes which changed colour, a full, high bosom, and a natural grace which made her appear to "walk on air" these were the physical attributes that were highly appreciated in Italy during that period. Another description said that "her mouth is rather large, the teeth brilliantly white, her neck is slender and fair, and the bust is admirably proportioned".

Lucrezia is claimed to be the ancestor of many notable people, including American Civil War general P.G.T. Beauregard. She is a collateral relative of most of the royal families of modern Europe including that of the United Kingdom. Through her granddaughter Anna d'Este, Duchess of Guise and later Duchess of Nemours, Lucrezia is the ancestress of Juan Carlos I of Spain; Philippe of Belgium; Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg; as well as the Count of Paris and the claimants to the Thrones of Portugal, Austria, Bavaria, Brazil, Parma, Saxony and the Two Sicilies.

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