... 1557 (455 years ago today), in Bari, Italy, the 63-year-old, Milan-born Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania, Bona Sforza, died after being poisoned by her aide, who acted on orders of a Spanish king who did not wish to repay his debts to the queen. Born into a rich and titled Milanese family, she had been married in her early 20s to Poland's king. Queen Bona, who had been well educated in Italy, assembled her own political network upon arriving in Poland. Her intrigues centered on entrenching her lone son as heir to the throne – a goal that is said to have included the queen's poisoning her own daughter-in-law, her son's wife Barbara Radziwiłł, member of a rival family. Queen Bona "exercised absolute rule" in the last years of the life of her older husband, returning after his death to Italy and, eventually, to her own violent demise.