Anne of France (or Anne de Beaujeu) (3 April 1461 – 14 November 1522) was the eldest daughter of Louis XI of France and his second wife, Charlotte of Savoy. Her paternal grandparents were King Charles VII of France and Marie of Anjou. Anne was the sister of King Charles VIII of France, for whom she acted as regent during his minority; and of Joan of France, briefly the Queen consort of Louis XII. As regent of France, Anne was one of the most powerful women of the late fifteenth century and was referred to as Madame la Grand.
Anne married Peter of Bourbon and took up rule of the Beaujolais at the same time, when her husband was ceded the title of 'Lord of Beaujeu' by his brother the Duke of Bourbon. During the minority of Anne's brother, Charles VIII of France, Peter and Anne held the regency of France. This regency extended from 1483 until 1491, and together Peter and Anne maintained the royal authority and the unity of the kingdom against the Orléans party, which was in open revolt during the "Mad War" of the 1480s.
Anne's regency overcame many difficulties, including unrest amongst the magnates who had suffered under Louis XI's oppressions. Concessions, many of which sacrificed Louis's favourites, were made, and land was restored to many of the hostile nobles, including the future Louis XII of France, the Duke of Orléans.
She gave her support to Henry Tudor against his rival, King Richard III of England, when he sought her aid to oust Richard, who was deemed by many to have been a usurper. Anne supplied him with French troops for the 1485 invasion which culminated at the Battle of Bosworth on 22 August, where Henry emerged the victor, ascending the throne as Henry VII.
Anne made the final treaty ending the Hundred Years' War, the Treaty of Etaples and, in 1491 (despite Austrian and English opposition), arranged the marriage of her brother Charles to Anne, Duchess of Brittany, in order to attach Brittany to the French crown. When Charles ended the regency in 1491, both Anne and Peter fell victim to the wrath of the new queen, whose duchy's independence had been compromised.
In addition to having had a strong, formidable personality, Anne was an extremely intelligent, shrewd and energetic woman. Her father had termed her "the least foolish woman in France". Anne was dark-haired with a high forehead, a widow's peak, and finely-arched eyebrows. She was further described as having had clear brown eyes, direct in their gaze; a sharp, haughty nose, thin lips, thin hands, and she stood straight as a lance.
Anne was responsible for the housing and education for many of the aristocracy's children. She is credited with instructing these young people with the new "refined" manners such as not using their fingers to wipe their noses but a "piece of fabric".