Another example of the impossibility of escaping one’s destiny is the following story.  In 1572, Cosimo Ruggieri, astrologist at the French Court, predicts to Catherine de Medicis that she will die near Saint-Germain,

In 1588, the Queen, enfeebled by the emphysema from which she is suffering, has to take to her bed.  After a few days, feeling worse – and remembering Ruggieri’s prediction – she asks to leave the Louvre, which is in the parish of Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois, refuses to go to the Saint-Germain-en-Laye palace and has herself transported to Blois.  She says:

“As long as I am here, I shall be all right…”

On 4 June, her illness worsens and a doctor comes to see her.  He tells her that he will remain at her bedside until the next day.  Catherine thanks him, then asks his name.  The doctor replies:

“My name is Julien de Saint-Germain, Madame…”

Catherine dies three hours later…


Michel de Nostre-Dame, known as Nostradamus, painted by his son Cesar.

Catherine de Medicis was drawn to astrologists and wise men and was passionate about Nostradamus’ Centuries.  However, one passage worried her.  To the point that she asked King Henri II to call the doctor-prophet to Paris.  The quatrain that worried her was the thirty-fifth of the first Centurie which translates into English as follows:

The lion young, the old will surmount

In field bellic, by singular duel,

In golden cage, the eyes will put out,

Two classes one, to die, death cruel.

This quatrain, which is just as obscure as the others, worried her because of another prediction from an astrologist named Gauric.  This Gauric, three years beforehand, had advised Henri II

“to avoid any singular combat in a closed field, and notably around the forty-first year, because at this epoch of his life, he is menaced by a wound in the head which could lead to blindness or death”.

And Nostradamus’ quatrain about a “field bellic” – that is to say a place of combat – a duel, eyes being put out and cruel death, singularly recalls Gauric’s prediction.

It does not seem likely that Nostradamus had knowledge of Gauric’s text;  this prediction was known only to the royal family and Nostradamus lived alone, almost like a hermit, in Salon-de-Provence…

Nostradamus comes to Paris.  It is not known what Catherine de Medicis asks him;  but we know that she presents her four sons to him:  Francois, who is twelve, Charles five, Henri four, and the last one, the future Duke d’Alencon, who is still a baby.  Nostradamus looks at them and says:

“All four will reign…”

Catherine de Medicis pales and says:

“All four of them?  Must they then die young?”

Nostradamus does not answer.  But it all comes true:  Francois (Francois II) becomes king three years later;  Charles (Charles IX) mounts the throne in 1560;  Henri (Henri III) in 1574;  the Duke d’Alencon dies of tuberculosis after having been the ephemeral King of Flanders.

As for Henri II, here is how it all happens:  on 30 June 1559, a tournament is organised in the Rue Saint-Antoine.  A tournament where a few lords are going to be allowed to measure themselves against the King.  And Catherine de Medicis is afraid, for Henri II has been in his forty-first year for the last three months.

At ten o’clock, under a blazing sun, the King enters the lists, carrying the black and white colours of his mistress, Diane de Poitiers.  The jousting commences.  After saluting the ladies, Henri II runs brilliantly against the Duke de Savoie, then with remarkable address, against the Duke de Guise.

All is going well.  However, as he is sponging himself off after the second combat, Catherine sends him a message:

“to run no more out of love for her”.

The King replies:

“Tell the Queen that it is precisely out of love for her that I am going to run this lance.”

And he orders the young Earl Gabriel de Montgomery, Sieur de Lorges, to run against him.  The Earl refuses at first, remembering that his father had almost killed Francois I by throwing a flaming log on his head, one drunken evening;  but on the King’s insistence, he takes up the arm and stands on guard.

Then, before a white-faced Queen and an appalled crowd, the prophecies are accomplished:  the combatants charge towards each other, and Montgomery’s lance breaks on the King’s helmet with such violence that the visor opens.  A cry rises from the tribunes and the Queen collapses, unconscious.  Henri II, his face bleeding, clings to his horse.  People rush to him:  the lance’s tip has blinded one eye and fractured his skull.  He murmurs:

“I am dead.”

The guards transport him rapidly to Les Tournelles where he dies, in fact, twelve days later.  The predictions of Gauric and Nostradamus had come true…


Nostradamus’ language is a bit obscure, so we shall have another look at the quatrain.

First line:

The lion young, the old will surmount

The lion evokes the heraldic figure of the arms of Scotland, an allusion to the Guard in which the young Montgomery was a lieutenant.  The lion was also the astrological sign of France and of her king.  The young lion, is therefore Montgomery who is twelve years younger than the old lion, Henri II, whom he will surmount, that is to say whom he will vanquish.

Second line:

In field bellic, by singular duel

This line is very clear; the field bellic where the young lion is to vanquish the old lion is the lists where the combat is to take place.  And the singular duel is the tournament where two men affront each other alone.

Third line:

In golden cage, the eyes will put out

This line too is very clear:  Henri II was wearing a golden helmet.  But here there is an error:  the King had only one eye put out.

The fourth line:

Two classes one, to die, death cruel.

This line is a little more difficult to interpret, because of the vocabulary employed by Nostradamus.  Two “classes” signify two wounds, from the Greek word for a “break”.  Of the two wounds, the blinded eye and the fractured skull, only one leads to death and the King’s suffering will be horrendous.

To resume:   Nostradamus’ quatrain contains a little error, but four surprising precisions.  The mysterious doctor-prophet from Salon-de-Provence had therefore described, twenty-four years before it happened, the death of King Henri II.


Nostradamus used his clairvoyancy gift in everyday life.  Here are two examples.  One day while he was crossing Savone, in Italy, he passed on the street a young monk and suddenly kneeled before him.  The monk told him to rise.  Nostradamus said:

“No.  A Christian must kneel before the Pope…  May I solicit your benediction?”

The monk blessed him with a smile and continued on his way.  Thirty-five years later, this monk, whose name was Felice Peretti, was better known by the name of Sixte Quint, and he was Pope…

The second example is a charming little story.  Nostradamus had a laboratory at the top of his house.  One morning, he was working near his window and, from the street, you could only see his bonnet.  A square bonnet that everyone in Salon-de-Provence knew well.  A young girl passed and saw the bonnet.  She called out:

“Good day, Monsieur de Nostre-Dame!”

And, without moving, Nostradamus replied:

“Good day, little girl!”

Now the young girl was going to a gallant rendez-vous in the neighbouring wood.  And certain things happened there.  And in the evening, when she returned, she saw the square bonnet again and called out:

“Good evening, Monsieur de Nostre-Dame!”

And Nostradamus answered:

“Good evening, little woman!…”