Henry III of France

Henry III (19 September 1551 – 2 August 1589; born Alexandre Édouard de France, Polish: Henryk Walezy, Lithuanian: Henrikas Valua) was King of France from 1574 until his death and also King of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1573 to 1575. Henry was the thirteenth king from the House of Valois, the sixth from the Valois-Orléans branch, the fifth from the Valois-Orléans-Angoulême branch, and the last male of his dynasty.

As the fourth son of King Henry II of France, he was not expected to inherit the French throne and thus was a good candidate for the vacant throne of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, where he was elected King/Grand Duke in 1573. During his brief rule, he signed the Henrician Articles into law, recognizing the Polish nobility's right to freely elect their monarch. Aged 22, Henry abandoned Poland upon inheriting the French throne when his brother, Charles IX, died without issue.

France was at the time plagued by the Wars of Religion, and Henry's authority was undermined by violent political parties funded by foreign powers: the Catholic League (supported by Spain and the Pope), the Protestant Huguenots (supported by England and the Dutch) and the Malcontents, led by Henry's own brother, the Duke of Alençon, which was a party of Catholic and Protestant aristocrats who jointly opposed the absolutist ambitions of the king. Henry III was himself a politique, arguing that a strong and religiously tolerant monarchy would save France from collapse.

After the death of Henry's younger brother Francis, Duke of Anjou, and when it became apparent that Henry would not produce an heir, the Wars of Religion developed into a succession crisis, the War of the Three Henrys. Henry III's legitimate heir was his distant cousin, King Henry III of Navarre, a Protestant. The Catholic League, led by Henry I, Duke of Guise, sought to exclude Protestants from the succession and championed the Catholic Charles, Cardinal of Bourbon, as Henry III's heir.

In 1589, Jacques Clément, a Catholic fanatic, murdered Henry III. He was succeeded by the King of Navarre who, as Henry IV, assumed the throne of France after converting to Catholicism, as the first French king of the House of Bourbon.

Henry III
Anjou 1570louvre
Portrait by François Clouet
King of France
Reign30 May 1574 – 2 August 1589
Coronation13 February 1575, Reims
PredecessorCharles IX
SuccessorHenry IV
King of Poland
Grand Duke of Lithuania
Reign16 May 1573 – 12 May 1575
Coronation22 February 1574, Wawel
PredecessorSigismund II Augustus
SuccessorAnna and Stephen
InterrexJakub Uchański
Born19 September 1551
Château de Fontainebleau
Died2 August 1589 (aged 37)
Château de Saint-Cloud
SpouseLouise of Lorraine
FatherHenry II of France
MotherCatherine de' Medici
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Henry III's signature

Early life


Henry was born at the royal Château de Fontainebleau, the fourth son of King Henry II and Catherine de' Medici and grandson of Francis I of France and Claude of France. His older brothers were Francis II of France, Charles IX of France, and Louis of Valois. He was made Duke of Angoulême and Duke of Orléans in 1560, then Duke of Anjou in 1566.

He was his mother's favourite; she called him chers yeux ("precious eyes") and lavished fondness and affection upon him for most of his life. His elder brother, Charles, grew to detest him, partially because he resented his better health.

The royal children were raised under the supervision of Diane de Poitiers.[1]


In his youth, Henry was considered the best of the sons of Catherine de' Medici and Henry II.[2] Unlike his father and elder brothers, he had little interest in the traditional Valois pastimes of hunting and physical exercise. Although he was both fond of fencing and skilled in it, he preferred to indulge his tastes for the arts and reading. These predilections were attributed to his Italian mother.

At one point in his youth he showed a tendency towards Protestantism as a means of rebelling. At the age of nine, calling himself "a little Huguenot", he refused to attend Mass, sang Protestant psalms to his sister Margaret (exhorting her all the while to change her religion and cast her Book of Hours into the fire), and even bit the nose off a statue of Saint Paul. His mother firmly cautioned her children against such behaviour, and he would never again show any Protestant tendencies. Instead, he became nominally Roman Catholic.[3]


Quesnel Henry III of France in Polish hat
Henry III by Étienne Dumonstier, c.1578

Reports that Henry engaged in same-sex relations with his court favourites, known as the mignons,[4][5] date back to his own time. Certainly he enjoyed intense relationships with them.[6] The scholar Louis Crompton maintains that all of the contemporary rumors were true.[7] Some modern historians dispute this. Jean-Francois Solnon,[8] Nicolas Le Roux,[9] and Jacqueline Boucher[10] have noted that Henry had many famous mistresses, that he was well known for his taste in beautiful women, and that no male sex partners have been identified. They have concluded that the idea he was homosexual was promoted by his political opponents (both Protestant and Catholic) who used his dislike of war and hunting to depict him as effeminate and undermine his reputation with the French people.[11] Certainly his religious enemies plumbed the depths of personal abuse in attributing vices to him, topping the mixture with accusations of what they regarded as the ultimate devilish vice, homosexuality. And the portrait of a self-indulgent sodomite, incapable of fathering an heir to the throne, proved useful in efforts by the Catholic League to secure the succession for Cardinal Charles de Bourbon after 1585.[6]

Gary Ferguson found their interpretations unconvincing: "It is difficult to reconcile the king whose use of favourites is so logically strategic with the man who goes to pieces when one of them dies."[12] Katherine Crawford, by contrast, emphasizes the problems Henry's reputation encountered because of his failure to produce an heir and the presence of his powerful mother at court, combined with his enemies' insistence on conflating patronage with favouritism and luxury with decadence.[13]


In 1570, discussions commenced arranging for Henry to court Queen Elizabeth I of England. Elizabeth, almost 37, was expected by many parties in her country to marry and produce an heir. However, nothing came of these discussions. In initiating them, Elizabeth is viewed by historians as having intended only to arouse the concern of Spain, rather than contemplate marriage seriously. The chance of marriage was further blighted by differing religious views (Henry was Catholic, Elizabeth Protestant) and his opinion of Elizabeth. Henry tactlessly referred to Elizabeth as a putain publique (public whore) and made stinging remarks about their difference in age. Upon hearing (inaccurately) that she limped because of a varicose vein, he called her an "old creature with a sore leg".[3]

Wars of Religion

Le Siege de La Rochelle par le Duc d Anjou en 1573
The Siege of La Rochelle by the Duke of Anjou in 1573 ("History of Henry III" tapestry, completed in 1623)

Prior to ascending the French throne in 1574, Henry served as a leader of the royal army in the French Wars of Religion, taking part in the victories over Huguenots at the Battle of Jarnac (March 1569)[14] and at the Battle of Moncontour (October 1569).[15] While still Duke of Anjou, he helped plot the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of 1572. Though Henry did not participate directly, historian Thierry Wanegffelen sees him as the royal most responsible for the massacre, which involved the targeted killing of many key Huguenot leaders. Henry III's reign as King of France, like those of his elder brothers Francis and Charles, would see France in constant turmoil over religion.

Henry continued to take an active role in the Wars of Religion, and in 1572/1573 led the siege of La Rochelle, a massive military assault on the Huguenot-held city.[16] At the end of May 1573, Henry learned that the Polish szlachta had elected him King of Poland (a country with a large Protestant minority at the time) and political considerations forced him to negotiate an end to the assault. Negotiators reached an agreement on 24 June 1573, and Catholic troops ended the siege on 6 July 1573.

King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania (1573–1575)

Aleksander Lesser, Henryk Walezy
Polish likeness of Henry III, by Aleksander Lesser

Following the death of the Polish ruler Sigismund II Augustus on 7 July 1572, Jean de Monluc was sent as the French envoy to Poland to negotiate the election of Henry to Polish throne in exchange for military support against Russia, diplomatic assistance in dealing with the Ottoman Empire, and financial subsidies.[17]

On 16 May 1573, Polish nobles chose Henry as the first elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Lithuanian nobles boycotted this election, however, and it was left to the Lithuanian ducal council to confirm his election.[18] The commonwealth elected Henry, rather than Habsburg candidates, partly in order to be more agreeable to the Ottoman Empire (a traditional ally of France through the Franco-Ottoman alliance) and strengthen a Polish-Ottoman alliance that was in effect.[19]

Henri on the throne in front of the Polish Diet
Henry III on the Polish throne, in front of the Sejm of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and aristocracy surrounded by halberdiers, 1574

A Polish delegation went to La Rochelle to meet with Henry, who was leading the Siege of La Rochelle. Henry left the siege following their visit.[20] In Paris, on 10 September, the Polish delegation asked Henry to take an oath, at Notre Dame Cathedral, to "respect traditional Polish liberties and the law on religious freedom that had been passed during the interregnum".[21] As a condition of his election, he was compelled to sign the Pacta conventa and the Henrician Articles, pledging religious tolerance in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.[22] Henry chafed at the restrictions on monarchic power under the Polish-Lithuanian political system of "Golden Liberty".[22] The Polish-Lithuanian parliament had been urged by Anna Jagiellon, the sister of the recently deceased king Sigismund II Augustus, to elect him based on the understanding that Henry would wed Anna afterward.[23]

At a ceremony before the Parlement of Paris on 13 September, the Polish delegation handed over the "certificate of election to the throne of Poland-Lithuania".[21] Henry also gave up any claims to succession and he "recognized the principle of free election" under the Henrician Articles and the pacta conventa.[21]

Grottger Escape of Henry of Valois
Escape of Henry III from Poland, by Artur Grottger, 1860

It was not until January 1574 that Henry was to reach the borders of Poland. On 21 February, Henry's coronation was held in Kraków.[24] In mid-June 1574, upon learning of the death of his brother Charles IX, Henry left Poland and headed back to France.[24] Henry's absence "provoked a constitutional crisis" that the Parliament attempted to resolve by notifying Henry that his throne would be lost if he did not return from France by 12 May 1575.[24] His failure to return caused Parliament to declare his throne vacant.[24]

The short reign of Henry at Wawel Castle in Poland was marked by a clash of cultures between the Polish and the French. The young king and his followers were astonished by several Polish practices and disappointed by the rural poverty and harsh climate of the country.[22] The Polish, on the other hand, wondered if all Frenchmen were as concerned with their appearance as their new king appeared to be.[22]

Emanuel van Meteren Historie ppn 051504510 MG 8760 henrick de III
Engraving of Henry III

In many aspects, Polish culture had a positive influence on France. At Wawel, the French were introduced to new technologies of septic facilities, in which litter (excrement) was taken outside the castle walls.[25] On returning to France, Henry wanted to order the construction of such facilities at the Louvre and other palaces.[25] Other inventions introduced to the French by the Polish included a bath with regulated hot and cold water, as well as dining forks.

In 1578, Henry created the Order of the Holy Spirit to commemorate his becoming first King of Poland and later King of France on the Feast of Pentecost and gave it precedence over the earlier Order of St. Michael, which had lost much of its original prestige by being awarded too frequently and too readily. The Order would retain its prestige as the premier chivalric order of France until the end of the French monarchy.

French reign (1575–1589)

Henry was crowned king of France on 13 February 1575 at Reims Cathedral. Although he was expected to produce an heir after he married Louise of Lorraine on 14 February 1575, no issue resulted from their union.

In 1576, Henry signed the Edict of Beaulieu, which granted many concessions to the Huguenots. His action resulted in the Catholic activist Henry I, Duke of Guise, forming the Catholic League. After much posturing and negotiations, Henry was forced to rescind most of the concessions that had been made to the Protestants in the edict.

Henri III 1577
Coin of Henry III, 1577

In 1584, the King's youngest brother and heir presumptive, Francis, Duke of Anjou, died. Under Salic Law, the next heir to the throne was Protestant Henry of Navarre, a descendant of Louis IX (Saint Louis). Under pressure from the Duke of Guise, Henry III issued an edict suppressing Protestantism and annulling Henry of Navarre's right to the throne.

On 12 May 1588, when the Duke of Guise entered Paris, an apparently spontaneous Day of the Barricades erupted in favor of the Catholic champion. Henry III fled the city.

Following the defeat of the Spanish Armada that summer, the king's fear of Spanish support for the Catholic League apparently waned. Accordingly, on 23 December 1588, at the Château de Blois, he invited the Duke of Guise to the council chamber where his brother Louis II, Cardinal of Guise, already waited. The duke was told that the king wished to see him in the private room adjoining the royal bedroom. There, royal guardsmen murdered the duke, then the cardinal. To make certain that no contender for the French throne was free to act against him, the king had the duke's son imprisoned.

The Duke of Guise had been very popular in France, and the citizenry turned against Henry for the murders. The Parlement instituted criminal charges against the king, and he was compelled to join forces with his heir, the Protestant Henry of Navarre, by setting up the Parliament of Tours.

Overseas relations

Under Henry, France named the first Consul of France in Morocco in the person of Guillaume Bérard. The request came from the Moroccan prince Abd al-Malik, who had been saved by Bérard, a doctor by profession, during an epidemic in Constantinople and wished to retain Bérard in his service.[26]

Henry III encouraged the exploration and development of New World territories. In 1588, he granted Jacques Noël, the nephew of Jacques Cartier, privileges over fishing, fur trading, and mining in New France.[27]

Assassination and burial

Jacques Clément
Jacques Clément assassinating Henry III

On 1 August 1589, Henry III lodged with his army at Saint-Cloud, and was preparing to attack Paris, when a young fanatical Dominican friar, Jacques Clément, carrying false papers, was granted access to deliver important documents to the king. The monk gave the king a bundle of papers and stated that he had a secret message to deliver. The king signalled for his attendants to step back for privacy, and Clément whispered in his ear while plunging a knife into his abdomen. Clément was then killed on the spot by the guards.

At first, the king's wound did not appear fatal, but he enjoined all the officers around him, in the event that he did not survive, to be loyal to Henry of Navarre as their new king. The following morning, on the day that he was to have launched his assault to retake Paris, Henry III died.

Chaos swept the attacking army, most of it quickly melting away; the proposed attack on Paris was postponed. Inside the city, joy at the news of Henry III's death was near delirium; some hailed the assassination as an act of God.[28]

Henry III was interred at the Saint Denis Basilica. Childless, he was the longest-living of Henry II's sons to have become king and also the last of the Valois kings. Henry III of Navarre succeeded him as Henry IV, the first of the kings of the House of Bourbon.


COA - Henry III of France

Henry's coat of arms, showing his dual status as King of France and lifelong King of Poland

In popular culture





  • The French short film The Assassination of the Duke de Guise (1908) shows the Duke's assassination but not the Cardinal's. The co-director, Charles Le Bargy, plays the Duke.
  • The American silent film Intolerance (1916) depicts Henry as effeminate but not explicitly homosexual. He is portrayed by the British-born American actor Maxfield Stanley.
  • The French movies La Reine Margot (1954) and La Reine Margot (1994), both based on Alexandre Dumas, père's novel of the same title, are fictional depictions of the lives of Henry III's family, his sister Margot, and her Protestant husband Henry around the time of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. In the 1994 film, Henry is played by the actor Pascal Greggory. In Dumas' novel, Henri was not portrayed as homosexual, whereas, in the 1954 film, he was shown as an effeminate, comical queen. In the 1994 film, he was portrayed as a more sinister character, bisexual and showing sexual interest in his sister. His brother dies by being accidentally poisoned by his mother, who had intended to kill Henry of Navarre instead.
  • As the Duke of Anjou, the future Henry III plays a significant role in the French film The Princess of Montpensier, based on the novel of the same title by Madame de La Fayette.
  • The film Elizabeth, released in 1998, depicts a fictional courtship between Elizabeth I of England and Henry III while he was still Duke of Anjou. In reality, the two never met and the Queen of England was actually courted nearly ten years later by his younger brother François, Duke of Anjou, when Elizabeth was 46. The film borrows some of the aspects of Henry III's life and features Anjou as a comical foolish transvestite. The role is portrayed by the French actor Vincent Cassel.
  • In the film Dangerous Beauty, he has an assignation with the main character, the Venetian courtesan Veronica Franco. Visiting a Venice eager for military aid, the "French king" chooses her from among the famous courtesans of that city because he notices her reluctance; placing a blade at her neck, he tells Veronica that the "rumours" about him are true (that "the king is a pervert"), and the implication is made that Veronica pleases him enormously by first correctly guessing at and then indulging his fetish for BDSM domination. (When the king emerges from Franco's house in the morning, the assembled Venetian nobility awaiting, he smiles broadly while carefully settling his presumably sore posterior on a pillow, and then declares that the French navy shall assist the Venetians against the Ottoman Empire in defense of their rule of Cyprus.) He is played by the British actor Jake Weber.


  • In an episode of Animaniacs entitled "The Three Muska-Warners", an Elmer Fudd–like Henri III is protected by Yakko, Wakko and Dot. In this version, Henri is portrayed by Jeff Bennett as nervous and jumpy, and for no apparent reason speaks with an English accent.
  • He is also featured in a few episodes in the first and third seasons of the CW show Reign. In the show's fourth season, Henry is played by Nick Slater. With his brother showing little interest in the job, Spain wants Henry to become France's king.


  • Chabrier's opéra-comique Le roi malgré lui (1887) deals with the unhappy Polish episode, with Henri as the reluctant King of Poland. In Kraków, he conspires with Polish nobles to depose himself. His friend Nangis changes places with him, but in the end, the plot fails and the curtain falls on Henri being crowned.

See also


  1. ^ Wellman 2013, p. 209.
  2. ^ The Assassins.
  3. ^ a b Frieda, Leonie, Catherine de Medici, pp.179–180
  4. ^ "Henri III était homosexuel" [Henry III was gay]. Tatoufaux.com. Archived from the original on 1 February 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  5. ^ Henri III
  6. ^ a b Diarmuid MacCulloch, Reformation: Europe's House Divided, Penguin, 2004
  7. ^ Crompton, Louis (2003). "Henry III and the Mignons". Homosexuality and Civilization. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. pp. 328–330. ISBN 0-674-01197-X.
  8. ^ Solnon, Jean-Francois (1987). La Cour de France. Paris: Fayard.
  9. ^ Le Roux, Nicolas (2006). Un régicide au nom de Dieu, l'assassinat d'Henri III (in French). Paris: Gallimard. ISBN 2-07-073529-X.
  10. ^ Boucher, Jacqueline (1986). La cour de Henri III (in French). Rennes: Ouest-France. ISBN 2-7373-0019-3.
  11. ^ Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau. Erotika Biblion. 1783. https://archive.org/stream/erotikabiblion00mirauoft#page/n5/mode/1up
  12. ^ Ferguson, Gary (2008). Queer (Re)Readings in the French Renaissance: Homosexuality, Gender, Culture. Aldershot/Burlington: Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-6377-5.
  13. ^ Katherine B. Crawford, "Love, Sodomy, and Scandal: Controlling the Sexual Reputation of Henry III", Journal of the History of Sexuality, vol. 12 (2003), 513–42
  14. ^ Knecht 1989, p. 41.
  15. ^ Knecht 1998, p. 130.
  16. ^ Knecht 1989, p. 54.
  17. ^ Manetsch, Scott M. ''Theodore Beza and the quest for peace in France, 1572–1598''. Google Books. p. 80.
  18. ^ Stone, Daniel (2001). The Polish-Lithuanian state, 1386–1795 [A History of East Central Europe, Volume IV.] Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 118. ISBN 0-295-98093-1.
  19. ^ Warfare, state and society on the Black Sea steppe, 1500–1700 by Brian L. Davies p.25-26 [1]
  20. ^ ''Governing passions: peace and reform in the French kingdom, 1576–1585'' Mark Greengrass. Google Books. p. 17.
  21. ^ a b c Stone, Daniel (2001). The Polish-Lithuanian state, 1386–1795 [A History of East Central Europe, Volume IV.] Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 119. ISBN 0-295-98093-1.
  22. ^ a b c d Paweł Jasienica (1982). Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów (The Commonwealth of the Both Nations) (in Polish). Warsaw. ISBN 83-06-00788-3.
  23. ^ Zbigniew Satała (1990). Poczet polskich królowych, księżnych i metres (in Polish). Warsaw. ISBN 83-7007-257-7.
  24. ^ a b c d Stone, Daniel (2001). The Polish-Lithuanian state, 1386–1795 [A History of East Central Europe, Volume IV.] Seattle: University of Washington Press. pp. 120–121. ISBN 0-295-98093-1.
  25. ^ a b Krzysztof Prendecki (30 October 2006). "Kuracja wiedzą". placet.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  26. ^ Garcés, María Antonia. ''Cervantes in Algiers: a captive's tale'&#39. Google Books. p. 277 note 39.
  27. ^ "King of France from 1574 to 1589". Parliament of Canada. Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  28. ^ Durant, Will, The Age of Reason Begins, vol. VII, (Simon and Schuster, 1961), p. 361.
  29. ^ a b Anselme, pp. 131–132
  30. ^ a b c d e f Whale, p. 43
  31. ^ a b c d Anselme, pp. 210–211
  32. ^ a b Anselme, pp. 126–128
  33. ^ a b c d Tomas, p. 7
  34. ^ a b Anselme, p. 209
  35. ^ a b Anselme, pp. 207–208
  36. ^ a b Anselme, pp. 463–465
  37. ^ a b Tomas, p. 20
  38. ^ a b Anselme, p. 324


  • Anselme de Sainte-Marie, Père (1726). Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de France [Genealogical and chronological history of the royal house of France] (in French). 1 (3rd ed.). Paris: La compagnie des libraires.
  • Bordonove, Georges (1988). Henri III: Roi de France et de Pologne (in French). Paris: Pygmalion. ISBN 978-2-7564-1139-2.
  • Conihout, Isabelle de; Maillard, Jean-François; Poirier, Guy, eds. (2006). Henri III mécène: des arts, des sciences et des lettres (in French). Paris: Presses Paris Sorbonne. ISBN 978-2-84050-431-3.
  • Crawford, Katherine B., "Love, Sodomy, and Scandal: Controlling the Sexual Reputation of Henry III", Journal of the History of Sexuality, vol. 12 (2003), 513–42
  • Durant, Will (1961). The Age of Reason Begins. VII. Simon and Schuster.
  • Freer, Martha Walker (1888). Henry III, King of France and Poland: his court and times. New York: Dodd, Mead.
  • Grzybowski, Stanisław (1985). Henryk Walezy. Warsaw: Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich. ISBN 8304001187.
  • Jasienica, Paweł (1982). Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów [The Commonwealth of the Both Nations] (in Polish). Warsaw: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy. ISBN 83-06-00788-3.
  • Knecht, R.J. (1989). The French Wars of Religion, 1559-1598. Longman.
  • Knecht, R. J. (1998). Catherine de' Medici. Pearson Education Limited.
  • L'Estoile, Pierre De (1992). Lazard, M. & Schrenck, G. (eds.). Régistre-Journal du règne de Henri III (in French). Genève: Droz. ISBN 2-600-00609-5.
  • Sauzet, Robert; Boucher, Jacqueline, eds. (1992). Henri III et son temps: actes du colloque international du Centre de la Renaissance de Tours, octobre 1989 (in French). Paris: Vrin. ISBN 978-2-7116-1065-5.
  • Stone, Daniel (2001). The Polish-Lithuanian state, 1386–1795; A History of East Central Europe. IV. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-98093-1.
  • Tomas, Natalie R. (2003). The Medici Women: Gender and Power in Renaissance Florence. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate. ISBN 0-7546-0777-1.
  • Wellman, Kathleen (2013). Queens and Mistresses of Renaissance France. Yale University Press.
  • Whale, Winifred Stephens (1914). The La Trémoille family. Boston, Houghton Mifflin. p. 43.
  • Satała, Zbigniew (1990). Poczet polskich królowych, księżnych i metres (in Polish). Warsaw: Glob. ISBN 83-7007-257-7.

External links

Henry III of France
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 19 September 1551 Died: 2 August 1589
Regnal titles
Title last held by
Sigismund II
King of Poland
Grand Duke of Lithuania

16 May 1573 – 12 May 1575
Title next held by
Anna and Stephen
Preceded by
Charles IX
King of France
30 May 1574 – 2 August 1589
Succeeded by
Henry IV
French royalty
Preceded by
Duke of Angoulême
1551 – 30 May 1574
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Charles III
Duke of Orléans
1560 – 30 May 1574
Merged into the crown
Title last held by
Duke of Anjou
1566 – 30 May 1574
Succeeded by
1551 in France

Events from the year 1551 in France


The 1570s decade ran from January 1, 1570, to December 31, 1579.

1577 in France

Events from the year 1577 in France


The 1580s decade ran from January 1, 1580, to December 31, 1589.

== Events ==

=== 1580 ===

==== January–June ====

January 31 – Henry, King of Portugal dies with no direct heirs, precipitating a succession crisis.

March 1 – Michel de Montaigne signs the preface to his most significant work, Essays. They are published later this year.

March 25 – Iberian Union: King Philip II of Spain becomes King of Portugal under the name Philip I, following the death without heirs of King Henry of Portugal, in a personal union of the crowns, thus maintaining Portuguese independence (in Europe and throughout the Portuguese Empire). The Philippine Dynasty rule lasts until 1640.

April 6 – The Dover Straits earthquake occurs.

June – England signs a commercial treaty with the Ottoman Empire.

June 11 – Juan de Garay founds Buenos Aires.

June 25 – The Book of Concord, a collection of Lutheran confessional documents, is published.

==== July–December ====

July 12 – The Ostrog Bible, the first complete printed Bible translation into a Slavic language (Old Church Slavonic), is first printed at Ostroh in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (modern-day Ukraine) by Ivan Fyodorov.

August 25 – Battle of Alcântara: Spanish armies, led by Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, defending the claim of King Philip II of Spain to the Portuguese throne, defeat the armies of Portuguese claimant António, Prior of Crato.

September 26 – Francis Drake returns to Plymouth, England from his voyage of circumnavigation (westabout) on the Golden Hind, the second completed in a continuous voyage, and the first under its original commander.

==== Date unknown ====

The Billy Mitchell volcano, on the island of Bougainville, undergoes a catastrophic eruption (VEI 6).

The first session of the Jewish Vaad (Council of Four Lands) is held in Lublin, Poland; 70 delegates of Jewish local qahals meet to discuss taxation, and other issues important to Jewish communities.

The Old City of Zamość is established in Poland, by Jan Zamoyski.

Jesuit missionaries arrive at the court of Akbar, ruler of the Mughal Empire.

=== 1581 ===

==== January–June ====

March 18 – The Parliament of England's Act against Reconciliation to Rome imposes heavy fines, for practising Roman Catholicism.

March 25 – Iberian Union: Philip II of Spain is crowned Philip I of Portugal.

April 4 – Following his circumnavigation of the world, Francis Drake is knighted by Elizabeth I of England.

==== July–December ====

July 26

The Northern Netherlands (Union of Utrecht) proclaim their independence from Spain in the Act of Abjuration, abjuring loyalty to Philip II of Spain as their sovereign, and appointing Francois, Duke of Anjou, as the new sovereign of the Netherlands; public practice of Roman Catholicism is forbidden.

Capture of Breda: Spanish troops take Breda by surprise.

A meteorite makes landfall in Thuringia, Holy Roman Empire.

August 28 – The army of King Stephen Báthory of Poland begins its siege of the Russian garrison of Pskov

Summer (probable) – Yermak begins the Russian conquest of the Khanate of Sibir, with a band of 1,636 men.

September – A mercenary army of Sweden, under Pontus De la Gardie, captures Narva from Russia.

October 15 – Ballet Comique de la Reine, the first narrative ballet, devised by Louise of Lorraine, wife of Henry III of France, and choreographed by Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx, opens in its first performance at the court of Catherine de' Medici, in the Louvre Palace in Paris, as part of the wedding celebrations for Marguerite of Lorraine.

November 4 – Jean de la Cassière is restored as Grandmaster of the Knights Hospitaller, by Pope Gregory XIII.

December 1 – Execution in England of the Jesuit priest Edmund Campion for treason.

==== Date unknown ====

The Knights Hospitaller depose Jean de la Cassière as Grandmaster, and appoint Mathurin Romegas.

The Ming Dynasty Chancellor of China, Chief Grand Secretary Zhang Juzheng, imposes the Single Whip Reform, by which taxes are assessed on properties recorded in the land census, and paid in silver, as the accepted medium of exchange.

Oda Nobunaga invades the Iga Province.

The Trier witch trials begin.

John Dee practices angel magic with Barnabas Saul, but with no success.

Guru Arjan Dev becomes the fifth Guru of Sikhs, succeeding his father Guru Ram Das.

The last Bishop of Meissen, John IX of Haugwitz, resigns his office in the wake of the Reformation.

=== 1582 ===

==== January–June ====

January 15 – Russia cedes its conquered areas in Livonia (Northern Latvia and Southern Estonia), to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

February 10 – François, Duke of Anjou, arrives in the Netherlands, where he is personally welcomed by William the Silent.

February 24 – Pope Gregory XIII implements the Gregorian Calendar.

March 9 – Scryer Edward Kelley arrives at John Dee's house in London. They practice angelic magic together and Dee develops the Enochian language.

=== 1583 ===

==== January–June ====

January 18 – François, Duke of Anjou, attacks Antwerp.

February 4 – Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg, newly converted to Calvinism, formally marries Agnes von Mansfeld-Eisleben, a former canoness of Gerresheim, while retaining his position as Archbishop-Elector of Cologne.

March 10 – The Queen Elizabeth's Men troupe of actors is ordered to be founded in England.

May – Battle of Shizugatake in Japan: Shibata Katsuie is defeated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who goes on to commence construction of Osaka Castle.

May 22 – Ernest of Bavaria is elected as Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cologne, in opposition to Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg. The opposition rapidly turns into armed struggle, the Cologne War within the Electorate of Cologne, beginning with the Destruction of the Oberstift.

==== July–December ====

July 25 – Cuncolim Revolt: The first documented battle of India's independence against a European colonial ruler is fought by the Desais of Cuncolim in Goa, against the Portuguese.

August 5 – Sir Humphrey Gilbert, on the site of the modern-day city of St John's, Newfoundland, claims the island of Newfoundland on behalf of England, marking the beginning of the British Empire.

August 19 – Petru Cercel enters Bucharest, and becomes Prince of Wallachia.

December 17 – Cologne War: The Siege of Godesberg (begun on November 18) concludes, when Catholic forces under Prince-elector-archbishop Ernest of Bavaria capture the strategic position, from defenders of the Calvinist convert Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg.

==== Date unknown ====

The world's oldest, intact, still-surviving amusement park, Dyrehavsbakken, is founded north of Copenhagen.

The Bunch Of Grapes Pub is built on Narrow Street, London. Referred to by Charles Dickens in Our Mutual Friend as "The Six Jolly Fellowship Porters", it still stands in the 21st century, much rebuilt and renamed The Grapes.

=== 1584 ===

==== January–June ====

January–March – Archangelsk is founded as New Kholmogory in northern Russia, by Ivan the Terrible.

January 11 – Sir Walter Mildmay is given a royal licence to found Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

March 18 (N.S. March 28) – Ivan the Terrible, ruler of Russia since 1533, dies; he is succeeded as Tsar by his son, Feodor.

May 17 – The conflict between Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu culminates in the Battle of Nagakute.

June 1 – With the death of the Duc d'Anjou, the Huguenot Henry of Navarre becomes heir-presumptive to the throne of France.

June 4 – Walter Raleigh sends Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe to explore the Outer Banks of Virginia (now North Carolina), with a view to establishing an English colony; they locate Roanoke Island.

June 11 – Walk (modern-day Valka and Valga, towns in Latvia and Estonia respectively), receive city rights from Polish king Stefan Bathory.

==== July–December ====

July – The Siege of Antwerp begins.

July 5 – The Maronite College is established in Rome, Papal States.

July 10 – William I of Orange is assassinated.

September 17 – Ghent falls into the hands of Alexander Farnese, governor of the Spanish Netherlands.

December – The Treaty of Joinville is signed secretly between the French Catholic League and Spain.

==== Date unknown ====

Ratu Hijau becomes queen regnant of the once Malay Pattani Kingdom.

Belgian cartographer and geographer Abraham Ortelius features Ming Dynasty-era Chinese carriages with masts and sails, in his atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum; concurrent and later Western writers also take note of this peculiar Chinese invention.

This year, according to Italian heretic Jacopo Brocardo, is regarded as an apocalyptic inauguration of a major new cycle.

=== 1585 ===

==== January–June ====

January The Netherlands adopts the Gregorian calendar.

February – The Spanish seize Brussels.

April 24 – Pope Sixtus V succeeds Pope Gregory XIII, as the 227th pope.

May 19 – Spain seizes English ships in Spanish ports, precipitating the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604).

==== July–December ====

July 7 – The Treaty of Nemours forces King Henry III of France to capitulate to the demands of the Catholic League, triggering the Eighth War of Religion (also known as the War of the Three Henrys) in France.

August 8 – English explorer John Davis enters Cumberland Sound in Baffin Island, in his quest for the Northwest Passage.

August 14 – Queen Elizabeth I of England agrees to establish a protectorate over the Netherlands.

August 17

Antwerp is captured by Spanish forces under the Prince of Parma, who orders Protestants to leave the city. As a result, over half of the 100,000 inhabitants flee to the northern provinces. Furthermore, upon hearing of the capture of Antwerp, a relief fleet sent to raise the siege instead blockades the Scheldt River, preventing any and all ships from reaching Antwerp for two centuries. This effectively destroys Antwerp's position as an important trade city and de facto capital of the Dutch provinces. Its position is taken over by various northern cities, most prominently Amsterdam.

A first group of colonists sent by Sir Walter Raleigh, under the charge of Ralph Lane, lands in the New World to create Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina. This group will depart the following June.

August 20 – The Treaty of Nonsuch is signed, committing England to support the Dutch Revolt, thus entering the Eighty Years' War.

==== Date unknown ====

Invasion of Shikoku: Toyotomi Hideyoshi seizes the island Shikoku from Chōsokabe Motochika.

Chocolate is introduced to Europe commercially.

The Kingdom of Luba is founded.

=== 1586 ===

June 16 – Mary, Queen of Scots, recognizes Philip II of Spain as her heir.

July 6 – The Treaty of Berwick is signed between Queen Elizabeth I of England and King James VI of Scotland.

July 21 – English explorer Thomas Cavendish begins the first deliberately planned circumnavigation of the globe.

September 20–21 – Execution of the Babington Plotters: The 14 men convicted of a plot (uncovered on July 17) to murder Queen Elizabeth and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots, are hanged, drawn and quartered (the first seven being disembowelled before death) in St Giles Field, London.

September 22 – Battle of Zutphen: Spanish troops defeat the Dutch rebels and their English allies. English poet and courtier Sir Philip Sidney is mortally wounded.

October 15–25 – Mary, Queen of Scots, is placed on treason trial at Fotheringhay Castle in England for complicity in the Babington Plot and sentenced to death.

November 19 – English Separatist Puritan Henry Barrowe is imprisoned.

December 17 – The reign of Emperor Ōgimachi of Japan ends, and Emperor Go-Yōzei ascends to the throne.

==== Date unknown ====

Flemish mathematician Simon Stevin publishes a study showing that two objects of different weight fall with the same speed.

St. Augustine, Florida, and Santo Domingo (modern day Dominican Republic) are plundered and burned by English sea captain Sir Francis Drake.

Jacobus Gallus composes his motet O magnum mysterium.

English topographer William Harrison becomes canon of Windsor.

English ship Vanguard, the first Royal Navy vessel to bear this name, is launched at Woolwich.

The cities of Voronezh, Samara, and Tyumen in Russia are founded.

=== 1587 ===

==== January–June ====

February 1 – Queen Elizabeth I of England signs the death warrant of her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, after Mary is implicated in a plot to murder Elizabeth. Seven days later, on the orders of Elizabeth's privy council, Mary is beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle.

April 29 – Singeing the King of Spain's Beard: On an expedition against Spain, English privateer Sir Francis Drake leads a raid in the Bay of Cádiz, sinking at least 23 ships of the Spanish fleet.

==== July–December ====

July 22 – Roanoke Colony: A group of English settlers arrive on Roanoke Island off of North Carolina, to re-establish the deserted colony.

August 18 – According to legend, Saul Wahl is named king of Poland.

August 19

According to legend, Saul Wahl is deposed.

Polish and Lithuanian nobles elect Sigismund III Vasa as their king.

August 27 – Governor John White leaves the Roanoke Colony to get more supplies from England.

October 1 – Shāh ‘Abbās I "The Great" succeeds as Shahanshah of Iran.

October 18 – Landing of the first Filipinos: The first Filipinos in North America land in Morro Bay, near San Luis Obispo in modern-day California.

October 20 – Battle of Coutras: Huguenot forces under Henry of Navarre defeat Royalist forces under Anne de Joyeuse, favorite of King Henry; Joyeuse is killed.

October 31 – Leiden University Library opens its doors, after its founding in 1575.

==== Date unknown ====

Toyotomi Hideyoshi becomes Daijō-daijin of Japan and concludes the Kyūshū Campaign with the Siege of Kagoshima at which most of Kyushu is surrendered to him; he banishes European Christian missionaries from the province.

A severe famine breaks out in Ming dynasty China.

The Rose (theatre) is founded in London by Philip Henslowe.

The chapbook Historia von D. Johann Fausten, printed by Johann Spies in Frankfurt, is the first published version of the Faust story.

Everard Digby's De Arte Natandi, the first treatise on swimming in England, is published.

St. Dominic's Church, Macau is established.

=== 1588 ===

==== January–June ====

February – The Sinhalese abandon the siege of Colombo, capital of Portuguese Ceylon.

February 9 – The sudden death of Álvaro de Bazán, 1st Marquis of Santa Cruz, in the midst of preparations for the Spanish Armada, forces King Philip II of Spain to re-allocate the command of the fleet.

April 14 (April 4 Old Style) – Christian IV becomes king of Denmark–Norway, upon the death of his father, Frederick II.

May 12 – Day of the Barricades in Paris: Henry I, Duke of Guise seizes the city, forcing King Henry III to flee.

May 28 – The Spanish Armada, with 130 ships and 30,000 men, begins to set sail from the Tagus estuary, heading for the English Channel (it will take until May 30 for all of the ships to leave port).

==== July–December ====

July – King Henry III of France capitulates to the Duke of Guise, and returns to Paris.

July 31 – The first engagement between the English and Spanish fleets (off of Plymouth) results in a victory for the English, under command of Lord Howard of Effingham and Sir Francis Drake.

August 2 – The English fleet defeats the Spanish fleet, off the Isle of Portland.

August 6 (July 29 Old Style) – Battle of Gravelines: The Spanish Armada is defeated by the English naval force off the coast of Gravelines, in the Spanish Netherlands (modern France).

August 7 – The English fleet defeats the Spanish fleet off the coast of Flanders.

August 8–9 – The Spanish are unable to reach the coast of Flanders, to meet up with the army of the Duke of Parma. The Duke of Medina Sidonia decides to return to Spain.

August 12 – The fleeing Spanish fleet sails past the Firth of Forth, and the English call off their pursuit. Much of the Spanish fleet is destroyed by storms, as it sails for home around Scotland and Ireland.

October 7 – The first biography of Nicolaus Copernicus (d.1543) is completed by Bernardino Baldi.

December 5 – The Order of Augustinian Recollects is formally recognised as a separate province from the Order of Saint Augustine, an event later known as the Día de la Recolección or Day of Recollection.

December 23 – Henry III of France strikes his ultra-Catholic enemies, having the Duke of Guise and his brother, Louis II, Cardinal of Guise, killed, and holding the Cardinal de Bourbon a prisoner. As a result, large parts of France reject Henry III as their king, forcing him to side with Henry of Navarre.

==== Date unknown ====

William Morgan's Welsh translation of the Bible is published.

The Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I of England is created, to celebrate the English defeat of the Spanish Armada, and to assert the strength of Elizabeth herself.

=== 1589 ===

==== January–June ====

War of the Three Henrys: In France, the Catholic League is in rebellion against King Henry III, in revenge for his murder of Henry I, Duke of Guise in December 1588. The King makes peace with his old rival, the Huguenot Henry of Navarre, his designated successor, and together they besiege Paris.

January 26 – Job is elected as the first Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

February 26 – Valkendorfs Kollegium is founded in Copenhagen, Denmark.

April 13 – An English Armada, led by Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Norreys, and largely financed by private investors, sets sail to attack the Iberian Peninsula's Atlantic coast, but fails to achieve any naval advantage.

==== July–December ====

August 1 – King Henry III of France is stabbed by the fanatical Dominican friar Jacques Clément (who is immediately killed).

August 2 – Henry III of France dies. His army is thrown into confusion and an intended attack to retake Paris is abandoned. Henry of Navarre succeeds to the throne as King Henry IV of France, but is not recognized by the Catholic League, who acclaim the imprisoned Charles, Cardinal de Bourbon, as the rightful King of France, Charles X.

August 20 – King James VI of Scotland, the future James I of England, contracts a proxy marriage with the 14-year-old Anne of Denmark at Kronborg. The formal ceremony takes place on November 23 at the Old Bishop's Palace in Oslo.

September 21 – Battle of Arques: King Henry IV of France's forces defeat those of the Catholic League, under Charles of Lorraine, Duke of Mayenne (younger brother of Henry I, Duke of Guise).

November 1 – Henry IV of France is repulsed in an attempt to capture Paris from the Catholic League.

December 25 (Christmas Day) – The monks of the Pechenga Monastery, the northernmost in the world, are massacred by Swedes, led by a Finnish peasant chief, in the course of the Russo-Swedish War.

==== Date unknown ====

San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome, is completed by Domenico Fontana.

Hiroshima is founded, by the Japanese warlord Mōri Terumoto.

The Hofbräuhaus is founded, by William V, Duke of Bavaria, in Munich.



was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar, the 1589th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 589th year of the 2nd millennium, the 89th year of the 16th century, and the 10th and last year of the 1580s decade. As of the start of 1589, the Gregorian calendar was

10 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1589 in France

Events from the year 1589 in France

Battle of Vimory

The Battle of Vimory, occurred on 26 October 1587 between the French royal (Catholic) forces of King Henry III of France commanded by Henry of Guise and German and Swiss mercenaires commanded by Fabien I, Burgrave of Dohna and William-Robert de la Marck, Duke of Bouillon who were hired to assist Henry of Navarre's Huguenot forces during the eighth and final war (1585-1598) of the French Wars of Religion.

The Protestant mercenaries were funded by Elizabeth I of England and the King of Denmark. After having pillaged the Lorraine region, they arrived in Burgundy and entered into the Beauce region. However, conflicts divided the two commanders and their German and Swiss troops.

The Swiss troops were surprised by Henry of Guise's army, and were routed. The reiters retreated to the castle of Auneau and the Swiss decided to negotiate with the royal troops.

Charles de Bourbon (cardinal)

Charles de Bourbon (22 September 1523 – 9 May 1590) was a French cardinal. The Catholic League considered him the rightful King of France after the death of Henry III of France in 1589.

Château de Plessis-lez-Tours

The Royal Château de Plessis-lèz-Tours is the remains of a late Gothic château located in the town of La Riche in the Indre-et-Loire department, in the Loire Valley of France. Around three fourths of the former royal residence were pulled down during the French Revolution in 1796.

Plessis-lèz-Tours was the favorite residence of King Louis XI of France, who died there on 30 August 1483. It was also the scene of the 1589 meeting between King Henry III of France and the future King Henry IV of France which resulted in their alliance against the Catholic League.

The present building is only a small part of the château originally built by Louis XI in the 15th century. The original château had three wings in the shape of a U. The room where Louis XI died can be visited. It has late 15th-century wooden linenfold panelling. The first floor has paintings and sculpture devoted to St. Francis of Paola, whom Louis XI summoned to live near him until his death. Inside the château is a display of iron cages which were suspended from the ceiling and used to hold prisoners. The cages were so small that the prisoners were unable to stand.

The remaining wing, which had long been used as a dairy farm and a buckshot factory, has been listed as a monument historique since 1927 by the French Ministry of Culture.

Day of the Barricades

In the French Wars of Religion, the Day of the Barricades (in French: Journée des barricades), 12 May 1588, was an outwardly spontaneous public uprising in staunchly Catholic Paris against the moderate, hesitant, temporizing policies of Henry III. It was in fact called forth by the "Council of Sixteen", representing the sixteen quartiers of Paris, led by Henri, duc de Guise, head of the Catholic League, and coordinated in detail by Philip II of Spain's ambassador, Bernardino de Mendoza.

Edict of Beaulieu

The Edict of Beaulieu (also known at the time as the Peace of Monsieur) was promulgated from Beaulieu-lès-Loches on 6 May 1576 by Henry III of France, who was pressured by Alençon's support of the Protestant army besieging Paris that spring.

The Edict, which was negotiated by the king's brother, Monsieur— François, duc d'Alençon, who was now made duc d'Anjou— gave Huguenots the right of public worship for their religion, thenceforth officially called the religion prétendue réformée ("supposed reformed religion"), throughout France, except at Paris and at Court. Huguenots were permitted to own and build churches, to hold consistories and synods, and occupy eight fortified towns called places de sûreté. In eight of the parlements, chambers were created called mis-parties because the same number of Catholics and Protestants sat in these tribunals. Additionally, there was to be a disclaimer of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, and the families which had suffered from it were to be returned to positions of prominence and fairly compensated. These large concessions to the Huguenots and the approbation given to their political organization led to the formation of the Catholic League, which was organized by Catholics anxious to defend their religion.The King held a lit de justice in the Parlement of Paris on 14 May to subvent pending opposition in the strongly Catholic parlement and to ensure that the Edict was duly inscribed. In December 1576, however, the States-General of Blois declared itself against the Edict of Beaulieu. Thereupon the Protestants took up arms under the leadership of Henry of Navarre, who, escaping from the Court, had returned to the Calvinism which he had abjured at the time of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. The advantage was on the Catholic side, thanks to some successes achieved by the duc d'Anjou. In September 1577, the Treaty of Bergerac, confirmed by the Edict of Poitiers, left the Huguenots the free exercise of their religion only in the suburbs of one town in each bailiwick (bailliage), and in those places where it had been practiced before the outbreak of hostilities and which they occupied at the current date.

Henrician Articles

The Henrician Articles or King Henry's Articles (Polish: Artykuły henrykowskie, Latin: Articuli Henriciani) were a permanent contract between the "Polish nation" (i.e., the szlachta (nobility) of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth) and a newly elected king upon his election to the throne that stated the fundamental principles of governance and constitutional law in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.While pacta conventa comprised only the personal undertakings of the king-elect, the Henrician Articles were a permanent statute that all kings-elect had to swear to respect.The articles functioned, essentially, as a first constitution for Poland until the Constitution of May 3, 1791.


Królewicz (f. królewna; plural forms królewicze and królewny) was the title given to the sons and daughters of the king of Poland (and Grand Duke of Lithuania at the same time), later the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was similar in its distinctiveness to the Spanish and Portuguese title of infante, also reserved to the children of the monarch. Though, it was used only to denote one's status as a King's child. Królewicz and królewna has no direct equivalent in other languages and was translated to the English prince and German prinz, like dynasts of a royal house. Królewicze since the 16th century could not also be regarded as and equivalent to the princes of the blood, because the Polish monarchy was not hereditary since 1573, when after the death of the last Jagiellon king, future Henry III of France was elected. In official Latin titulature children of Polish kings were often styled as Poloniae princeps or princeps Poloniae, meaning Prince/ss of Poland or Polish prince/ss. In more official way, the full style of sons of monarchs was Dei Gratia regius princeps Poloniae et Lithuaniae for the sons.

Les Mignons

Les Mignons (from mignon, French for "the darlings" or "the dainty ones") was a term used by polemicists in the toxic atmosphere of the French Wars of Religion and taken up by the people of Paris, to designate the favourites of Henry III of France, from his return from Poland to reign in France in 1574, to his assassination in 1589, a disastrous end to which the perception of effeminate weakness contributed. The mignons were frivolous and fashionable young men, to whom public malignity attributed heterodox sexuality, rumors that some historians have found to be a factor in the disintegration of the late Valois monarchy.

According to the contemporary chronicler Pierre de l'Estoile, they made themselves "exceedingly odious, as much by their foolish and haughty demeanour, as by their effeminate and immodest dress, but above all by the immense gifts the king made to them." The Joyeuse wedding in 1581 occasioned one of the most extravagant displays of the reign.

The faction of the Malcontents, headed by François, duc d'Alençon, created duc d'Anjou in 1576— the presumed heir as long as Henry remained childless— appear to have stirred up the ill will of the Parisians against them. From 1576 the mignons were attacked by popular opinion, and some historians have credited without proof the scandalous stories of the time. Some fourteen favourites were singled out, including François d'Espinay, seigneur de Saint-Luc, who had accompanied Henry to his "exile" in Poland and was rewarded now with the château de Rozoy-en-Brie and the governorship of Brouage; but the best known of the mignons, the archimignons in L'Estoile's Registre-Journal, who monopolised access to the king after the death of Henri's brother and heir the duc d'Alençon were Anne de Joyeuse, baron d'Arques, created duc de Joyeuse (died 1587) and Jean Louis de Nogaret de La Valette, created duc d'Épernon.

The appearance of the mignons on Henry's visits in July 1576 to the parishes of Paris to raise money to pay for the provisions of the Edict of Beaulieu (1576), occasioned a report by L'Éstoile:

"The name Mignons began, at this time, to travel by word of mouth through the people, to whom they were very odious, as much for their ways which were jesting and haughty as for their paint [make-up] and effeminate and unchaste apparel...Their occupations are gambling, blaspheming... fornicating and following the King everywhere...seeking to please him in everything they do and say, caring little for God or virtue, contenting themselves to be in the good graces of their master, whom they fear and honor more than God."L'Éstoile added "they wear their hair long, curled and recurled by artifice, with little bonnets of velvet on top of it like whores in the brothels, and the ruffles on their linen shirts are of starched finery and one half foot long so that their heads look like St. John's on a platter."The figure of Ganymede was employed in scurrilous sonnetry, but the subtext of criticism within the court was most often that the mignons were not drawn from the cream of noble families, as had been the court favourites of his late brother Francis II or their father Henry II, but from the secondary nobility, raised up to such a degree that the social fabric appeared to be unnaturally strained.

Louise of Lorraine

Louise of Lorraine (French: Louise de Lorraine) (30 April 1553 – 29 January 1601), was Queen consort of France and briefly Queen consort of Poland and Grand Duchess consort of Lithuania by marriage to Henry III of France. As a Dowager Queen, she also held the title of Duchess of Berry from 1589 until her death.

Treaty of Bergerac

The Treaty of Bergerac was signed at Bergerac on 14 September 1577 between Henry III of France and Huguenot princes, and later ratified by the Edict of Poitiers on 17 September. This accord was developed after the sixth phase of the French Wars of Religion. The treaty replaced the Edict of Beaulieu, which was deemed by the Catholic League as too favorable to Protestants. Based on the terms of the treaty, Huguenots were only allowed to practice their faith in the suburbs of one town in each judicial district. In Vivarais, the treaty was recognized in late October 1577.

Treaty of Fleix

The Treaty of Fleix (also known as the Edict of Fleix and the Peace of Fleix) was signed on 26 November 1580 by Henry III of France in Le Fleix. Negotiated by François, Duke of Anjou, who wished to focus military efforts on the Netherlands, the accord officially ended the seventh phase of the French Wars of Religion. The agreement, overall, recognized all previous treaties that provided religious privileges to the Huguenots.

Treaty of Nemours

Articles of the Treaty of Nemours (or Treaty of Saint-Maur) were agreed upon in writing and signed in Nemours on 7 July 1585 between the Queen Mother, Catherine de' Medici, acting for the King, and representatives of the House of Guise, including the Duke of Lorraine. Catherine hastened to Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, where on 13 July the treaty was signed between King Henry III of France and the leaders of the Catholic League, including Henri, duc de Guise. The king was pressured by members of the Catholic League to sign the accord which was recognized by contemporaries as a renewal of the old French Wars of Religion.

War of the Three Henrys

The War of the Three Henrys (1587–1589) was the eighth conflict in the series of civil wars in France known as the Wars of Religion. It was a three-way war fought between:

King Henry III of France, supported by the royalists and the politiques;

King Henry of Navarre, leader of the Huguenots, supported by Elizabeth I of England and the Protestant princes of Germany, and heir-presumptive to the French throne; and

Henry of Lorraine, Duke of Guise, leader of the Catholic League, funded and supported by Philip II of Spain.The war was instigated by Philip of Spain to keep his enemy, France, from interfering with the Spanish army in the Netherlands and his planned invasion of England.

The war began when the Catholic League convinced King Henry III to issue an edict outlawing Protestantism and annulling Henry of Navarre's right to the throne; Henry III was possibly influenced by the royal favorite, Anne de Joyeuse.

For the first part of the war, the royalists and the Catholic League were uneasy allies against their common enemy, the Huguenots. Henry sent Joyeuse into the field against Navarre, while he himself intended to meet the approaching German and Swiss armies. At the Battle of Coutras, Navarre defeated the royal army led by Joyeuse; the duke himself was slain at the battle. It was the first victory won by the Huguenots in the battlefield. For his part, Henry III successfully prevented the junction of the German and Swiss armies. The Swiss were his allies, and had come to invade France to free him from subjection; but Henry III insisted that their invasion was not in his favor, but against him, forcing them to return home. The Germans, led by Fabien I, Burgrave of Dohna, wanted to fight against the Duke of Guise, in order to win a victory like Coutras. He recruited some of the retreating Swiss, who had no scruple fighting against Guise. But at the Battle of Vimory, Guise took the Germans by surprise, and routed them.In Paris, the glory of repelling the German and Swiss Protestants all fell to the Duke of Guise. The king's actions were viewed with contempt. They thought that the king had invited the Swiss to invade, paid them for coming, and sent them back again. The king, who had really performed the decisive part in the campaign, and expected to be honored for it, was astounded that public voice should thus declare against him. The Catholic League had put its preachers to good use. In the meantime, the governments of Normandy and Picardy were vacated by the deaths of Joyeuse and Condé. Guise demanded Normandy for himself, and Picardy for his kinsman Aumale. The king denied both requests. The Catholic League was mobilized to resist the royal appointees in these provinces. Guise was forbidden from entering the capital. Guise ignored the prohibition and entered Paris. In the normal course of affairs this would have cost him his life, but the duke was popular with the masses. Further, after the Day of the Barricades, an uprising planned in part by the Spanish diplomat Bernardino de Mendoza, the king decided to flee to Blois.

After the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the king called the Estates-General in the midst of intrigue and plotting. Henry of Guise planned to assassinate the king and seize the throne, but the king struck first by having Guise killed by his guards, The Forty-Five.Open war erupted between the royalists and the Catholic League. Charles, Duke of Mayenne, Guise's younger brother, took over the leadership of the League. At the moment it seemed that he could not possibly resist his enemies. His power was effectively limited to Blois, Tours, and the surrounding districts. In these dark times the King of France finally reached out to his cousin and heir, the King of Navarre. Henry III declared that he would no longer allow Protestants to be called heretics, while the Protestants revived the strict principles of royalty and divine right. As on the other side ultra-Catholic and anti-royalist doctrines were closely associated, so on the side of the two kings the principles of tolerance and royalism were united. Henry III sought the aid of the Swiss, who were ready to join his cause. The Catholic royalists revived in their allegiance. At Pontoise the king saw himself at the head of 40,000 men. His newly recovered power may have inspired him with great designs; he planned to take Paris, in order to end the League's power once and for all. The surrender of Paris seemed likely, even to the inhabitants. The preachers of the League sanctioned regicide, to avenge the murder of Guise. Jacques Clément, a fanatical Catholic monk, assassinated King Henry III at Saint-Cloud in August 1589.

With Henry III's death, the coalition broke up. Many Catholic royalists were unwilling to serve the Protestant Henry IV, and the army retreated from Paris.

Ancestors of Henry III of France
16. John, Count of Angoulême[34]
8. Charles, Count of Angoulême[31]
17. Marguerite de Rohan[34]
4. Francis I of France[29]
18. Philip II, Duke of Savoy[31]
9. Louise of Savoy[31]
19. Margaret of Bourbon[31]
2. Henry II of France
20. Charles, Duke of Orléans[35]
10. Louis XII of France[32]
21. Marie of Cleves[35]
5. Claude, Duchess of Brittany[29]
22. Francis II, Duke of Brittany[36]
11. Anne, Duchess of Brittany[32]
23. Margaret of Foix[36]
1. Henry III of France and I of Poland
24. Lorenzo di Piero de' Medici[33]
12. Piero di Lorenzo de' Medici[33]
25. Clarissa Orsini[33]
6. Lorenzo de' Medici, Duke of Urbino[30]
26. Roberto Orsini, Count of Tagliacozzo[37]
13. Alfonsina Orsini[33]
27. Caterina Sanseverino[37]
3. Catherine de' Medici
28. Bertrand VI, Count of Auvergne[30]
14. John III, Count of Auvergne[30]
29. Louise de La Trémoille[30]
7. Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne[30]
30. John VIII, Count of Vendôme[38]
15. Jeanne of Bourbon[30]
31. Isabelle de Beauvau[38]
Hereditary Dukes
Appanage of Anjou
Courtesy title
Current claimants
Dukes of Orléans
Current claimants
Piast dynasty
Přemyslid dynasty
Restored Piast dynasty
Capet-Anjou dynasty
Jagiellonian dynasty
Elective monarchy
Early Grand Dukes
Merovingians (486–751)
Robertians and Bosonids (751–987)
House of Capet (987–1328)
House of Valois (1328–1589)
House of Lancaster (1422–1453)
House of Bourbon (1589–1792)
First Republic (1792–1804)
First Empire (1804–1815)
Bourbon Restoration (1815–1830)
July Monarchy (1830–1848)
Second Republic (1848–1852)
Second Empire (1852–1870)
Government of National Defense (1870–1871)
Third Republic (1871–1940)
Vichy France (1940–1944)
Provisional Government (1944–1947)
Fourth Republic (1947–1958)
Fifth Republic (1958–present)
Groups in her life
People in her life
Places in her life
Patron of the Arts

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