But how did she rise to such power, and have the ability to hold the attentions of a King so much younger than herself? Diane served several of King Francois I's Queens, and became a member of the King's inner circle. In 1525, Francois was captured by Charles V's troops. His ransom? A trade for his two sons, Henri and Francois. Upon leaving France for captivity in Spain, Henri was apparently kissed goodbye by the lovely Diane. In 1530, the two boys were finally returned to France. It is thought that Diane was appointed by Francois I to teach his son Henri courtly manners, as his education had greatly suffered during his captivity. In 1533, Henri married Catherine de Medici. However, around 1538 he took on a mistress; Diane.
The love triangle continued until Henri's death in 1559. Catherine finally got her revenge by banishing Diane from the King's bedside, despite his pleading for her. Once he died, Diane was banished from court, though she lived in comfort on her estates for the rest of her life. Even upon her death at 66, spectators remarked on her strikingly youthful appearance.
Her secret? Drinking gold.
So why drink gold, if one is so healthy? Alchemy was all the rage in the Medieval and Renaissance world. Often times, alchemists would also serve as apothecaries. Henry VIII himself dappled in it, creating elixirs to rid his favorites (and himself) of ill humors. Gold was (and still is) considered the most valuable of metals. It was also, for the Kings of France, a symbolic link to the Sun. Thus, it is no surprise that the King's mistress, who would have had the very best of everything, would drink gold. It is highly likely that the King himself partook of gold elixirs. However, Diane seems to have taken it to the next level.