At eight she was moved to Italy to be educated and then married to Alessandro de’Medici. Alessandro’s murder enabled Charles to marry her to Ottavio Farnese, the grandson of Pope Pius III. The union gave her years of experience in Rome. Her father’s abdication took Margaret back to the Netherlands as regent for Philip II. His authoritarian rule and the Calvinist uprising rendered the position horrifying. When rebuked and replaced by the Duke of Alba, Margaret returned to Italy as ruler of Abruzzo.
The character of Margaret assured her importance as she dealt with essential issues of life and rule. This biography reveals a woman dedicated to compromise and conciliation in public affairs.