Henry II (French: Henri II; 31 March 1519 – 10 July 1559) was King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559. The second son of Francis I, he became Dauphin of France upon the death of his elder brother Francis III, Duke of Brittany, in 1536. Henry was the tenth king from the House of Valois, the third from the Valois-Orléans branch, and the second from the Valois-Orléans-Angoulême branch.
As a child, Henry and his elder brother spent over four years in captivity in Spain as hostages in exchange for their father. Henry pursued his father's policies in matter of arts, wars and religion. He persevered in the Italian Wars against the House of Habsburg and tried to suppress the Protestant Reformation, even as the Huguenot numbers were increasing drastically in France during his reign.
The Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis (1559), which put an end to the Italian Wars, had mixed results: France renounced its claims to territories in Italy, but gained certain other territories, including the Pale of Calais and the Three Bishoprics. France failed to change the balance of power in Europe, as Spain remained the sole dominant power, but it did benefit from the division of the holdings of its ruler, Charles V, and from the weakening of the Holy Roman Empire, which Charles also ruled.
Henry suffered an untimely death in a jousting tournament held to celebrate the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis at the conclusion of the Eighth Italian War. The king's surgeon, Ambroise Paré, was unable to cure the infected wound inflicted by Gabriel de Montgomery, the captain of his Scottish Guard. He was succeeded in turn by three of his sons, whose ineffective reigns helped to spark the French Wars of Religion between Protestants and Catholics.
Portrait by François Clouet
|King of France|
|Reign||31 March 1547 – 10 July 1559|
|Coronation||25 July 1547|
|Born||31 March 1519|
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
|Died||10 July 1559 (aged 40)|
Place des Vosges
|Burial||13 August 1559|
Catherine de' Medici (m. 1533)
|Father||Francis I of France|
|Mother||Claude, Duchess of Brittany|
Henry was born in the royal Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, the son of King Francis I and Claude, Duchess of Brittany (daughter of Louis XII of France and Anne, Duchess of Brittany, and a second cousin of her husband).
His father was captured at the Battle of Pavia in 1525 by the forces of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, and held prisoner in Spain. To obtain his release, it was agreed that Henry and his older brother be sent to Spain in his place. They remained in captivity for over four years.
Henry married Catherine de' Medici, a member of the ruling family of Florence, on 28 October 1533, when they were both fourteen years old. At this time, his elder brother was alive and there was little prospect of Henry coming to the throne. The following year, he became romantically involved with a thirty-five-year-old widow, Diane de Poitiers. Henry and Diane had always been very close: the young lady had fondly embraced Henry on the day he, as a 7-year-old child, set off to captivity in Spain, and the bond had been renewed after his return to France. In a tournament to honor his father's new bride, Eleanor, Henry and his older brother were dressed as chevaliers, in which Henry wore Diane's colors.
When his elder brother Francis, the Dauphin and Duke of Brittany, died in 1536 after a game of tennis, Henry became heir apparent to the throne. He succeeded his father on his 28th birthday and was crowned King of France on 25 July 1547 at Reims Cathedral.
Henry's reign was marked by wars with Austria and the persecution of Protestants, mainly Calvinists known as Huguenots. Henry II severely punished them, particularly the ministers, for example by burning at the stake or cutting off their tongues for uttering heresies.
Henry II was made a Knight of the Garter, April 1515.
The Edict of Châteaubriant (27 June 1551) called upon the civil and ecclesiastical courts to detect and punish all heretics and placed severe restrictions on Huguenots, including the loss of one-third of their property to informers, and confiscations. The Edict also strictly regulated publications by prohibiting the sale, importation or printing of any unapproved book. It was during the reign of Henry II that Huguenot attempts at establishing a colony in Brazil were made, with the short-lived formation of France Antarctique.
The Eighth Italian War of 1551–1559, sometimes known as the Habsburg–Valois War, began when Henry declared war against Holy Roman Emperor Charles V with the intent of recapturing Italy and ensuring French, rather than Habsburg, domination of European affairs. Persecution of Protestants at home did not prevent Henry II from becoming allied with German Protestant princes at the Treaty of Chambord in 1552. Simultaneously, the continuation of his father's Franco-Ottoman alliance allowed Henry II to push for French conquests towards the Rhine while a Franco-Ottoman fleet defended southern France. An early offensive into Lorraine was successful. Henry captured the three episcopal cities of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, and secured them by defeating the Habsburg army at the Battle of Renty in 1554. However the attempted French invasion of Tuscany in 1553 was defeated at the Battle of Marciano.
After the abdication of Charles V in 1556, the Habsburg empire was split between Philip II of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I. The focus of Henry's conflict with the Habsburgs shifted to Flanders, where Phillip, in conjunction with Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, defeated the French at the Battle of St. Quentin (1557). England's entry into the war later that year led to the French capture of Calais, and French armies plundered Spanish possessions in the Low Countries. Henry was nonetheless forced to accept the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis, in which he renounced any further claims to territories in Italy.
The Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis was signed between Henry and Elizabeth I of England on 2 April and between Henry and Philip II of Spain on 3 April 1559 at Le Cateau-Cambrésis. Under its terms, France restored Piedmont and Savoy to the Duke of Savoy, but retained Saluzzo, Calais, and the bishoprics of Metz, Toul, and Verdun. Spain retained Franche-Comté. Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, married Margaret of France, Duchess of Berry, the sister of Henry II, and Philip II of Spain married Henry's daughter Elizabeth of Valois.
Henry raised the young Mary, Queen of Scots, at his court, hoping to use her ultimately to establish a dynastic claim to Scotland. On 24 April 1558, Henry's fourteen-year-old son Francis was married to Mary in a union intended to give the future king of France not only the throne of Scotland, but also a claim to the throne of England. Henry had Mary sign secret documents, illegal in Scottish law, that would ensure Valois rule in Scotland even if she died without an heir. Mary's claim to the English throne quickly became an issue when Mary I of England died later in 1558.
Henry II introduced the concept of publishing the description of an invention in the form of a patent. The idea was to require an inventor to disclose his invention in exchange for monopoly rights to the patent. The description is called a patent "specification". The first patent specification was submitted by the inventor Abel Foullon for "Usaige & Description de l'holmetre" (a type of rangefinder). Publication was delayed until after the patent expired in 1561.
Henry II was an avid hunter and a participant in jousts and tournaments. On 30 June 1559, a tournament was held near Place des Vosges to celebrate the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis with his longtime enemies, the Habsburgs of Austria, and to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Elisabeth of Valois to King Philip II of Spain. During a jousting match, King Henry, wearing the colors of his mistress Diane de Poitiers, was wounded in the eye by a fragment of the splintered lance of Gabriel Montgomery, captain of the King's Scottish Guard. Despite the efforts of royal surgeon Ambroise Paré, the king died of sepsis on 10 July 1559. He was buried in a cadaver tomb in Saint Denis Basilica. Henry's death played a significant role in the decline of jousting as a sport, particularly in France.
As Henry lay dying, Queen Catherine limited access to his bedside and denied his mistress Diane de Poitiers permission to see him, even though he repeatedly asked for her. Following his death, Catherine sent Diane into exile, where she lived in comfort on her own properties until her death.
It was the practice to enclose the heart of the king in an urn. The Monument to the Heart of Henry II is in the collection of the Louvre, but was originally in the Chapel of Orleans beneath a pyramid. The original bronze urn holding the king's heart was destroyed during the French Revolution and a replica was made in the 19th century. The marble sculpture of the Three Graces holding the urn, executed from a single piece of marble by Germain Pilon, the sculptor to Catherine de' Medici, survives.
Henry was succeeded by his sickly fifteen-year-old son, Francis II. Francis was married to sixteen-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, who had been his childhood friend and fiancée since her arrival at the French court when she was five. Francis II died 18 months later in 1560, and Mary returned to Scotland the following summer. Francis II was succeeded by his ten-year-old brother Charles IX. His mother, Catherine de Medici, acted as Regent.
Catherine de' Medici bore 10 of Henry's children: (See Children of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici)
Henry II also had three illegitimate children:
|Royal styles of|
King Henry II
|Reference style||His Most Christian Majesty|
|Spoken style||Your Most Christian Majesty|
|Alternative style||Monsieur le Roi|
Nostradamus (1503–1566), a French apothecary and astrological writer known for his prophecies, is said by most commentators to have become famous when one of his quatrains was construed as a prediction of the death of King Henry II:
CI, Q 35
The young lion shall overcome the older one,
on the field of combat in single battle,
He shall pierce his eyes in a golden cage,
Two forces one, then he shall die a cruel death.
But, in fact, the link was first proposed in print only in 1614, fifty-five years after the event and forty-eight after Nostradamus' death; thus it qualifies as a postdiction, or vaticinium ex eventu. The Italian astrologer Luca Gaurico, a contemporary of Nostradamus, also later claimed to have foretold Henry II's death, though in fact he had predicted "a most happy and green old age" for the king.
Henri or Henry has had three notable portrayals on the screen.
Henry II of France
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynastyBorn: 31 March 1519 Died: 10 July 1559
| King of France
31 March 1547 – 10 July 1559
Title last held byLouis II
| Duke of Orléans
| Duke of Brittany
10 August 1536 – 31 March 1547
|Merged in crown|
| Dauphin of France
10 August 1536 – 31 March 1547
Events from the year 1566 in France.Battle of Gravelines (1558)
The Battle of Yardlines was fought on 13 July 1558 at Gravelines, near Calais, France. It occurred during the twelve-year war between France and Spain (1547–1559).
The battle resulted in a victory by the Spanish forces, led by Lamoral, Count of Egmont, over the French, led by Marshal Paul de Thermes. The Spanish were supported by the English Navy, who opened fire on the French as they reached the sand dunes at Gravelines.Following the dominance of the Spanish forces, led by Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, at the Battle of St. Quentin, Henry II of France prepared his revenge. He recruited a new army in Picardy, which he put in the hands of Louis Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers. He asked the Ottoman Sultan for naval support and encouraged the Scots to invade England from the north. Francis, Duke of Guise, seized the port of Calais from the English and moved to the city of Thionville (on the border between Flanders and France), a city that had been overtaken by the duke's army on 22 June 1558. Marshall de Thermes invaded with another army consisting of 12,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry, armed with a considerable amount of artillery. After crossing the Aa River at its mouth, de Thermes commandeered his army to conquer both Dunkirk and Nieuwpoort, consequently threatening Brussels. It is reported that a Spanish army was to later intercept the duke's army at the Aa River.Binche
Binche (French pronunciation: [bɛ̃ʃ]; Walloon: Bince) is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut. On January 1, 2006, Binche had a total population of 32,409. The total area is 60.66 km² which gives a population density of 534 inhabitants per km². Since 1977, the municipality of Binche has gathered the town of Binche itself with seven old municipalities : Bray, Buvrinnes, Epinois, Leval-Trahegnies, Péronnes-lez-Binche, Ressaix and Waudrez.
The motto of the city is "Plus Oultre" (meaning "Further" in Old French), which was the motto of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who in 1545 gave the medieval Castle of Binche to his sister, Queen Mary of Hungary. She lavished attention on Binche, which she had rebuilt into Binche Palace under the direction of an architect-sculptor Jacques du Broeucq, remembered today as the first master of Giambologna. The château, intended to rival Fontainebleau, was destroyed by the soldiers of Henry II of France in 1554.
In 2003, the Carnival of Binche was proclaimed one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.Bishopric of Metz
The Bishopric of Metz was a prince-bishopric of the Holy Roman Empire. It was one of the Three Bishoprics that were annexed by France in 1552.
The Bishops of Metz had already ruled over a significant amount of territories within the former Kingdom of Lotharingia, which by the 870 Treaty of Meerssen became a part of East Francia. They had to struggle for their independence from the Dukes of Lorraine, acquired the lands of the Counts of Metz, but had to face the rise of their capital Metz to the status of an Imperial City in 1189. In 1234 the unrest of the Metz citizens forced the bishops to move their residence to Vic-sur-Seille.
In 1357 Emperor Charles IV of Luxembourg again confirmed the bishopric's Imperial immediacy. From the accession of Henri of Lorraine-Vaudémont in 1484 however, the diocese was ruled by bishops from the House of Lorraine, who by their close relations with the House of Valois brought Metz unter the influence of the French crown. By the 1552 Treaty of Chambord, an alliance of revolting Protestant Imperial princes led by Elector Maurice of Saxony promised the overlordship over the Three Bishoprics of Metz, Toul and Verdun to King Henry II of France. Metz was occupied by Henry's troops and annexed by the French crown, finally acknowledged by the Empire in the 1648 Peace of Westphalia.Claude of France (1547–1575)
Claude of France (12 November 1547, Fontainebleau – 21 February 1575, Nancy) was a French princess as the second daughter of King Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici, and Duchess of Lorraine by marriage to Charles III, Duke of Lorraine.Descendants of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici
Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici were married on October 28, 1533, and their marriage produced ten children. Henry and Catherine became the ancestors of monarchs of several countries.Elisabeth of Valois
Elisabeth of Valois (Spanish: Isabel de Valois; French: Élisabeth de France) (2 April 1545 – 3 October 1568) was a Spanish queen consort as the third spouse of Philip II of Spain. She was the eldest daughter of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici.Francis, Duke of Anjou
Francis, Duke of Anjou and Alençon (Hercule François; 18 March 1555 – 10 June 1584) was the youngest son of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici.Italian War of 1551–1559
The Italian War of 1551–1559, sometimes known as the Habsburg–Valois War and the Last Italian War, began when Henry II of France, who had succeeded Francis I to the throne, declared war against Holy Roman Emperor Charles V with the intent of recapturing Italy and ensuring French, rather than Habsburg, domination of European affairs. The war was the last of a series of wars between the same parties since 1521. Historians have emphasized the importance of gunpowder technology, new styles of fortification to resist cannon fire, and the increased professionalization of the soldiers.Jean du Thiers
Jean du Thiers, seigneur de Beauvoir (died 1559) was Minister of Finance for Henry II of France, and a Secretary of State.
He was a great humanist and protector of the poet Joachim du Bellay and Pierre de Ronsard.
He bought the Château de Beauregard, Loire Valley, in 1545, for 2,000 gold ecus.
Jean du Thiers was the real builder of the castle. He incorporated the old house in the new building and built in Renaissance style, the central gallery which connected the two buildings.
From 1553, he appealed to many foreign artists who were working for King Henry II. The painter Nicolò dell'Abbate decorated it with frescoes. Francesco Scibec da Carpi carved woodwork of the study, "the Cabinet of Jingle Bells" at the foot of the windows of the south wing. He showed a collections of rare plants.Joan of France (1556)
Joan of France (French: Jeanne de France; born and died 24 June 1556) was the twin sister of Victoria of France and the last child born to King Henry II of France and his wife, Catherine de' Medici.Catherine's confinement for this birth came on 24 June 1556. Joan did not survive and lay dead in her mother's womb for several hours. Eventually, her arm had to be broken to extricate her. Her sister Victoria survived but died a month later.
Because the twins' birth nearly cost their mother her life, the king's physician advised the king that there should be no more children; therefore, the king stopped visiting his wife's bedroom and spent all his time with his longtime mistress, Diane de Poitiers.La Grave
La Grave is a commune in the Hautes-Alpes department in southeastern France.
It is a small ski resort in the French Alps, dominated by La Meije (3982 m). It was the birthplace of Nicolas de Nicolay; adventurer and Geographer Ordinary to Henry II of France.Letter to King Henry II
The famous open Letter to King Henry II of France by Nostradamus is his dedicatory preface to the now-missing 1558 edition of his Propheties, as reprinted in the posthumous 1568 edition by Benoist Rigaud. After a formal introduction, it makes various claims about the sources of his inspiration and lists many cryptic prophecies (nearly all undated) that seemingly have little to do with those in the work itself. These include:
decadence and calamity threatening both Church and laity
the advent of French rulers who will cause Europe to tremble
the amalgamating of kingdoms and propagation of new laws
the confrontation of England and a bloody invasion of Italy
new alliances between Rome, Eastern Europe and Spain
the liberation of Sicily from the Germans
the persecution of the Arabs by the Latin nations
the advent of the Antichrist like Xerxes and his hosts
attacks by the Muslims on the Pope and his Church
an eclipse of unprecedented darkness
a great October upheaval lasting 73 years and seven months
renewal of the Church by one from the 50th degree of latitude
an attempt by peoples to free themselves which will result in even greater imprisonment
the advent of the Great Dog and an even Greater Mastiff
the rebuilding of the churches and restoration of the priesthood
a new disaster, with crooked leaders and generals who will be disarmed by a sceptical populace
a new military and regal saviour ruling from another 'little Mesopotamia'
the putting down of a former tyranny by a conspiracy
a powerful resurgence of Islam, with Western Christendom in decay and decline
an unprecedented persecution of the Church, with two thirds of the population wiped out by pestilence
desolation of the country and clergy, while the invading Arab military take over Malta, Mediterranean France and the offshore islands
a Western counterinvasion that will rescue Spain from the invaders and pursue the Arabs back to the Middle East
the depopulation of Israel, with the Holy Sepulchre turned into farm buildings
terrible retribution inflicted on the Orientals by the Northerners, whose tongues will have acquired an Arabic admixture
defeat of the Eastern leaders and seven-year triumph of the Northern Christians
the persecution of Christians until 1792, when a totally new era will begin
an extremely powerful Venice
vast naval battles in the Adriatic, destruction of many cities and persecution of the Church and Pope
a brief reign for the Antichrist, with a huge liberating army led into Italy by a 'Gallic Hercules'
vast floods wiping out the very knowledge of letters
universal peace toward the beginning of the seventh millennium after the Creation, and restoration of the Holy Sepulchre
some great conflagration
restoration of the papacy
sacking of the Holy of Holies by pagans and destruction of the scriptures
the reign of the Prince of Hell for 25 years after the Antichrist
a new Golden Age of Saturn, the binding of Satan for a thousand years, and universal peace and harmony, with the Church finally triumphantThe letter also includes two different dates for the creation of the world.Parade Armour of Henry II of France
The Parade Armour of Henry II of France, now in Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is believed to date from c 1553–55 and its decoration is attributed to the French goldsmith and engraver Étienne Delaune. Designed for use in pageantry, the armour was fashioned of gold, silver and steel and with leather and red velvet trimmings. It was created for Henry II of France as ceremonial wear; the figures embossed on the breastplate and back are intended to reflect his military achievements.
There are 20 surviving mid-sixteenth drawings, thought to be by Delaune, used for sketching the original design. Later additions and modifications are attributed to Baptiste Pellerin and Jean Cousin the Elder. The Metropolitan acquired the armour in 1939 via the Harris Brisbane Dick Fund.Peace of Passau
Holy Roman Emperor Charles V had won a victory against Protestant forces in the Schmalkaldic War of 1547. Many Protestant princes were unhappy with the religious terms of the Augsburg Interim imposed after this victory. In January 1552, led by Maurice of Saxony, many formed an alliance with Henry II of France at the Treaty of Chambord. In return for French funding and assistance, Henry was promised lands in western Germany. In the ensuing Princes' War, Charles was driven out of Germany to his ancestral lands in Austria, Innsbruck by the Protestant alliance, while Henry captured the three Rhine Bishoprics of Metz, Verdun and Toul.
In August 1552, weary from three decades of religious civil war, Charles guaranteed Lutheran religious freedoms in the Peace of Passau. The implementation of the Augsburg Interim was cancelled. The Protestant princes taken prisoner during the Schmalkaldic War, John Frederick of Saxony and Philip of Hesse, were released. A precursor to the Peace of Augsburg of September 1555, the Peace of Passau effectively surrendered Charles V's lifelong quest for European religious unity.Siege of Calais (1558)
The Siege of Calais was fought in early 1558 during the Italian War of 1551–1559. The Pale of Calais had been ruled by England since 1347, during the Hundred Years' War. By the 1550s, England was ruled by Mary I of England and her husband Philip II of Spain. When the Kingdom of England supported a Spanish invasion of France, Henry II of France sent Francis, Duke of Guise, against English-held Calais, defended by Thomas Wentworth, 2nd Baron Wentworth. Following failure in mid-1557, a renewed attack captured the outlying forts of Nieullay and Rysbank and Calais was besieged.Three Bishoprics
The Three Bishoprics (French: les Trois-Évêchés, French pronunciation: [le tʁwazevɛʃe]) constituted a province of pre-revolutionary France consisting of the dioceses of Metz, Verdun, and Toul within the Lorraine region. The three dioceses were Prince-bishoprics of the Holy Roman Empire until they were seized by King Henry II of France between April and June 1552. At the end of the Thirty Years' War, they were officially ceded to France by the 1648 Peace of Westphalia.Upper Rhenish Circle
The Upper Rhenish Circle (German: Oberrheinischer Reichskreis) was an Imperial Circle of the Holy Roman Empire established in 1500 on the territory of the former Duchy of Upper Lorraine and large parts of Rhenish Franconia including the Swabian Alsace region and the Burgundian duchy of Savoy.
Many of the circle's states west of the Rhine river were annexed by France under King Louis XIV during the 17th century, sealed by the 1678/79 Treaties of Nijmegen.Victoria of France
Victoria of France (French: Victoire de France; 24 June 1556 – 17 August 1556) and her twin sister Joan were the last children born to King Henry II of France and his wife, Catherine de' Medici.Their mother's confinement came on June 24, 1556. Although Joan died in the womb, Princess Victoria survived the birth—only to die a little more than a month later.
Because their birth very nearly cost their mother her life, the king's physician advised the king that there should be no more children; therefore, Henry II stopped visiting his wife's bedroom and spent all his time with his longtime mistress, Diane de Poitiers.
|Ancestors of Henry II of France|
|House of Nantes|
|House of Rennes|
|House of Cornouaille|
|House of Penthièvre|
|House of Plantagenet|
|House of Thouars|
|House of Dreux|
|War of the Breton Succession|
|Montfort of Brittany|
|House of Valois|
Recognised as Francia from 481 to 843, as West Francia from 843 to 987 and as France since 987
Styled President of the Republic since 1871, except from 1940 to 1944 (Chief of State) and 1944 to 1947 (Chairman of the Provisional Government)
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