Marie de’ Medici (1575 – 1642) was a member of that famous Italian family and, as wife of Henry IV, queen of France. Like most French royals, she had expensive tastes in clothes. So much, in fact, that she almost bankrupted France with her extravagance.
Marie was not the first royal with expensive habits. Francis I, who became king of France in 1515 (and ruled until his death in 1547) had 13,600 gold buttons on a single coat.
King Louis XIV was also known for his opulence. Known as the Sun King, he reigned France 1643 – when he was only 4 years old – until his death in 1715, which made him the longest reigning European monarch (72 years). He spent some $5 million on diamond buttons for his coats. One of his coats had 171 diamond buttons.
But Marie had outdone them. One of her dresses had 3,000 diamonds. Of course, at that time diamonds were valued less than pearls. But she had 39,000 tiny pearls in that dress. It cost the equivalent of $20 million dollars in 1606. She wore it once.
Marie’s son, Louis XIII, ruled France from 1612 to 1617 but they were exiled 1631. Marie died in poverty.