Celene Valmont was born in 1212 N.E. When she was sixteen,Grand Duke Gaspard's wife Calienne killed her mother, Clarisse de Montfort, by arranging for "a hunting accident." Her father, Prince Reynaud, killed Calienne in retaliation, and then died himself of "illness" caused by Calienne's poisoned stiletto. After that Celene took the throne. Her ascension is swathed in rumours, with some Orlesians claiming the assassination of her uncle, Emperor Florian, was organized to allow her to take power.
Celene's ascendancy marked a period of intense struggle in the empire, as nobles positioned themselves to overthrow her. Most said Celene was too young and inexperienced to hold power, but she proved to be an adept player of the Game. She hinted at the possibility of marriage to several powerful families, while ultimately marrying no one; yet she continued to maintain alliances with these families. The progressive Celene has grown into an amateur scholar and a patron of both education and the arts. She inspired something of a cultural renaissance in the Orlesian Empire, while many call her "the Lioness". Today, there are still many nobles who consider Celene's rule illegitimate. As she grows older and the likelihood of an heir by birth decreases, the movement to replace her grows.