René of Chalon

René of Chalon (5 February 1519 – 15 July 1544), also known as Renatus of Chalon, was a Prince of Orange and stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and Gelre.

René of Chalon, Prince of Orange
Rene van Chalon
René of Chalon
Born5 February 1519
Breda, Duchy of Brabant
Died15 July 1544 (aged 25)
Saint-Dizier, Kingdom of France
BuriedGrote Kerk (Breda)
Noble familyChalon-Arlay and Nassau-Breda
Spouse(s)Anna of Lorraine
FatherHenry III of Nassau-Breda
MotherClaudia of Chalon


René was born in Breda, the only son of Count Henry III of Nassau-Breda and Claudia of Chalon.[1] Claudia's brother, Philibert of Chalon, was the last Prince of Orange from the House of Chalon. When Philibert died in 1530, René inherited the Princedom of Orange on condition that he used the name and coat of arms of the Chalon-Orange family. History knows him therefore as René of Chalon instead of as "René of Nassau-Breda".

Blason René de Nassau-Dillenbourg, Prince de Châlon-Orange
Coat of arms of René of Chalon as Prince of Orange. The 1st and 4th grand quarters show the arms of the Chalon-Arlay (the gold bend) princes of Orange (the bugle). The blue and gold checkers represent the arms of Jeanne of Geneva, who married one of the Chalon princes. The 2nd and 3rd show the quarterings of Brittany and Luxembourg-Saint-Pol. The inescutcheon overall is his paternal arms quartered of Nassau and Breda.[2]

René of Chalon married Anna of Lorraine (1522–1568) on 20 August 1540 at Bar-le-Duc. They had only one child, a daughter named Maria, who lived only 3 weeks and was buried in the Grote Kerk in Breda. He was made a knight of the Golden Fleece the same year.[3]


In 1544, René took part in the siege of St. Dizier in the service of Emperor Charles V.[4] He was mortally wounded in battle and died with the Emperor attending at his bedside.[5] René was buried in Grote Kerk in Breda, near the resting-place of his infant daughter. A commemorative monument (Cadaver Tomb of René of Chalon) stands in the church of St. Etienne in Bar-le-Duc.


René of Chalon had inherited the principality of Orange from his maternal uncle, who had been the last male member of the House of Chalon. Like his uncle, Rene also had no surviving children, and in his last will and testament, he left all his landed possessions, including the principality, to his father's brother's son, William of Nassau-Dillenburg, better known as "William the Silent". Thus, the estates belonging to Rene's mother's brother passed into the family of Rene's father's brother, and William the Silent came into possession of the principality despite having no connection at all to the original House of Orange. The only condition placed by Rene was that his heir, William, should receive a catholic education. William's father (Rene's uncle) agreed on behalf of his minor son, and the succession was endorsed by the Emperor, who was the overlord of most of Rene's possessions. William the Silent duly added the name of Orange to his own paternal dignities and became, in 1544, the founder of the House of Orange-Nassau.

The principality of Orange had already passed, through the female line, from the first dynasty of Orange to the families Les Baux, and then to that of De Chalon. It now passed to a family which was not descended in blood at all from any of the preceding families.


  1. ^ van Tol 2019, p. 42.
  2. ^ Rietstap 2003, p. 297.
  3. ^ Bietenholz & Deutscher 1995, p. 291.
  4. ^ O'Malley 1964, p. 204.
  5. ^ Rowen 1988, p. 11.


  • Bietenholz, Peter G.; Deutscher, Thomas Brian, eds. (1995). "Rene of Chalon". Contemporaries of Erasmus: A Biographical Register of the Renaissance and Reformation. 3. University of Toronto Press.
  • O'Malley, Charles Donald (1964). Andreas Vesalius of Brussels, 1514-1564. University of California Press.
  • Rowen, Herbert H. (1988). The princes of Orange: The Stadholders in the Dutch Republic. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-8063-4811-9.
  • Rietstap, Johannes Baptist (2003). Armorial general. vol.2. Genealogical Publishing Co. ISBN 0-8063-4811-9.
  • van Tol, Jonas (2019). Germany and the Coming of the French Wars of Religion. Brill.
René of Chalon
Born: 5 February 1519 Died: 15 July 1544
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Philibert of Chalon
Prince of Orange
Succeeded by
William the Silent
Preceded by
Henry III of Nassau-Breda
Baron of Breda
Political offices
Preceded by
Antoine I de Lalaing
Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht
Succeeded by
Louis of Praet
Preceded by
Floris van Egmont
Stadtholder of Guelders
Succeeded by
Philip de Lalaing

Year 1519 (MDXIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

Anna of Lorraine

Anna of Lorraine (25 July 1522 – 15 May 1568) was a princess of the House of Lorraine. She was Princess of Orange by her first marriage to René of Châlon, and Duchess of Aarschot by her second marriage to Philippe II of Croÿ.

Anna was the daughter of Antoine the Good, Duke of Lorraine and Renée of Bourbon-Montpensier. Her maternal grandparents were Gilbert of Bourbon, Count of Montpensier, and Clara Gonzaga. Her brothers were Francis I, Duke of Lorraine and Nicolas, Duke of Mercœur.

She married René of Châlon, Prince of Orange on 22 August 1540 at Bar-le-Duc. They had a single daughter, Maria, born in 1544, who only lived three weeks and was buried in the Grote Kerk at Breda.

René died in 1544, and all of his lands were inherited by William the Silent, his cousin. Anna remarried to Philip II, Duke of Aarschot, on 9 July 1548. They had one son, Charles Philippe de Croÿ, born on 1 September 1549 in Brussels. He was the Prince of Croÿ and in 1580 married Diane de Dommartin (1550 – after 1635), Countess of Fontenoy-le-Château. He died on 25 November 1613 in Burgundy.

She died in Diest.

Antoine, Duke of Lorraine

Antoine (4 June 1489 – 14 June 1544), known as the Good, was Duke of Lorraine from 1508 until his death in 1544.


Bar-le-Duc (French pronunciation: ​[baʁ lə dyk]), formerly known as Bar, is a commune in the Meuse département, of which it is the capital. The department is in Grand Est in northeastern France.

The lower, more modern and busier part of the town extends along a narrow valley, shut in by wooded or vine-clad hills, and is traversed throughout its length by the Ornain, which is crossed by several bridges. It is limited towards the north-east by the Marne–Rhine Canal, on the south-west by a small arm of the Ornain, called the Canal des Usines, on the left bank of which the upper town (Ville Haute) is situated.The highly rarefied Bar-le-duc jelly, also known as Lorraine jelly, is a spreadable preparation of white currant or red currant fruit preserves, hailing from this town. First referenced in the historical record in 1344, it is also colloquially referred to as "Bar caviar".

Breda Castle

Breda Castle is a castle in the city of Breda, in the Netherlands.

Cadaver Tomb of René of Chalon

The Cadaver Tomb of René of Chalon (French: Transi de René de Chalon, also known as the Memorial to the Heart of René de Chalon or The Skeleton) is a late Gothic period funerary monument, known as a transi, in the church of Saint-Étienne at Bar-le-Duc, in northeastern France. It consists of an altarpiece and a limestone statue of a putrefied and skinless corpse which stands upright and extends his left hand outwards. Completed sometime between 1544 and 1557, the majority of its construction is attributed to the French sculptor Ligier Richier. Other elements, including the coat of arms and funeral drapery, were added in the 16th and 18th centuries respectively.

The tomb dates from a period of societal anxiety over death, as plague, war and religious conflicts ravaged Europe. It was commissioned as the resting place of René of Chalon, Prince of Orange, son-in-law of Duke Antoine of Lorraine. René was killed aged 25 at the siege of St. Dizier on 15 July 1544, from a wound sustained the previous day. Richier presents him as an écorché, with his skin and muscles decayed, leaving him reduced to a skeleton. This apparently fulfilled his deathbed wish that his tomb depict his body as it would be three years after his death. His left arm is raised as if gesturing towards heaven. Supposedly, at one time his heart was held in a reliquary placed in the hand of the figure's raised arm. Unusually for contemporaneous objects of this type, his skeleton is standing, making it a "living corpse", an innovation that was to become highly influential. The tomb effigy is positioned above the carved marble and limestone altarpiece.

Designated a Monument historique on 18 June 1898, the tomb was moved for safekeeping to the Panthéon in Paris during the First World War, before being returned to Bar-le-Duc in 1920. Both the statue and altarpiece underwent extensive restoration between 1998 and 2003. Replicas of the statue are in the Musée Barrois in Bar-le-Duc and the Palais de Chaillot, Paris.


This page is a list of the lords of Chalon-Arlay (in the county of Burgundy) and the principality of Orange.

The lords of Chalons and Arlay were a cadet branch of the ruling house of the county of Burgundy, the Anscarids or House of Ivrea.For more details, and a family tree, see below.

Claudia of Chalon

Claudia of Chalon-Orange (1498 – May 31, 1521, Diest) was the second wife of Henry III of Nassau-Breda, whom she had married in 1515. She was the mother of René of Chalon, lord of Breda, the first Nassau to be Prince of Orange.

Claudia of Chalon was the daughter of John of Chalon, lord of Arlay and Philiberte of Luxembourg-Ligny. She was raised mainly at the French court.

She was buried in the Grote kerk ("big church") in Breda.

After the death of her brother Philibert of Chalon the title of Prince of Orange went to her son René of Châlon.

Henry III of Nassau-Breda

Count Henry III of Nassau-Dillenburg-Dietz (12 January 1483, Siegen – 14 September 1538, Breda), Lord (from 1530 Baron) of Breda, Lord of the Lek, of Dietz, etc. was a count of the House of Nassau.

He was the son of Count John V of Nassau-Dillenburg and Elisabeth of Hesse-Marburg. His younger brother was William I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg (the father of William the Silent).

House of Orange-Nassau

The House of Orange-Nassau (Dutch: Huis van Oranje-Nassau, pronounced [ˈɦœys fɑn oːˌrɑɲə ˈnɑsʌu]), a branch of the European House of Nassau, has played a central role in the politics and government of the Netherlands and Europe especially since William the Silent organized the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule, which after the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) led to an independent Dutch state.

Several members of the house served during this war and after as stadtholder ("governor"; Dutch: stadhouder) during the Dutch Republic. However, in 1815, after a long period as a republic, the Netherlands became a monarchy under the House of Orange-Nassau.

The dynasty was established as a result of the marriage of Henry III of Nassau-Breda from Germany and Claudia of Châlon-Orange from French Burgundy in 1515. Their son René inherited in 1530 the independent and sovereign Principality of Orange from his mother's brother, Philibert of Châlon. As the first Nassau to be the Prince of Orange, René could have used "Orange-Nassau" as his new family name. However, his uncle, in his will, had stipulated that René should continue the use of the name Châlon-Orange. History knows him therefore as René of Châlon. After the death of René in 1544, his cousin William of Nassau-Dillenburg inherited all of his lands. This "William I of Orange", in English better known as William the Silent, became the founder of the House of Orange-Nassau.

List of stadtholders for the Low Countries provinces

This is a list of stadtholders for the Low Countries provinces.

Memento mori

Memento mori (Latin: "remember (that) you will die") is the medieval Latin Christian theory and practice of reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits. It is related to the ars moriendi ("The Art of Dying") and similar Western literature. Memento mori has been an important part of ascetic disciplines as a means of perfecting the character by cultivating detachment and other virtues, and by turning the attention towards the immortality of the soul and the afterlife.In art, memento mori are artistic or symbolic reminders of mortality. In the European Christian art context, "the expression [...] developed with the growth of Christianity, which emphasized Heaven, Hell, and salvation of the soul in the afterlife".

Philibert of Chalon

Philibert de Chalon (18 March 1502 – 3 August 1530) was the last Prince of Orange from the House of Chalon.

Philip de Lalaing, 2nd Count of Hoogstraten

Philip de Lalaing, 2nd count of Hoogstraten (d. after 1555) was stadtholder of Jülich (1543) and Guelders (1544 - 1555).

Prince of Orange

Prince of Orange (or Princess of Orange if the holder is female) is a title originally associated with the sovereign Principality of Orange, in what is now southern France. Under the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, Frederick William I of Prussia ceded the Principality of Orange to King Louis XIV of France (while retaining the title as part of his dynastic titulature). After William III of England died without children, a dispute arose between Johan Willem Friso and Frederick I of Prussia, which was settled in the Treaty of Partition (1732); consequently, Friso's son, William IV had to share use of the title "Prince of Orange" (which had accumulated prestige in the Netherlands and throughout the Protestant world) with Frederick William I of Prussia. The title is traditionally borne by the heir apparent of the Dutch monarch. The title descends via absolute primogeniture since 1983, meaning that its holder can be either Prince or Princess of Orange.

The Dutch royal dynasty, the House of Orange-Nassau, is not the only family to claim the dynastical title. Rival claims to the title have been made by German emperors and kings of the House of Hohenzollern and by the head of the French noble family of Mailly. The current users of the title are Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands (Orange-Nassau), Georg Friedrich, Prince of Prussia (Hohenzollern), and Guy, Marquis de Mailly-Nesle (Mailly).

Renée of Bourbon

Renée of Bourbon, Duchess of Lorraine (1494 – 26 May 1539), also called, Renée, Lady of Mercœur, was a Duchess consort of Lorraine. She was a daughter of Gilbert de Bourbon, Count of Montpensier by Clara Gonzaga, and sister of Charles de Bourbon, Duke of Bourbon.

William I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg

William I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg (nicknamed William the Rich, Dutch: Willem de Rijke; 10 April 1487 – 6 October 1559) was a count of Nassau-Dillenburg from the House of Nassau. His nickname the Rich refers to him having many children. However, he owned a number of counties: Nassau-Dillenburg, Nassau-Siegen, Nassau-Dietz and Vianden.

William was born in Dillenburg as the younger son of Count John V of Nassau-Dillenburg and Landgravine Elisabeth, daughter of Landgrave Henry III of Hesse-Marburg and Anna of Katzenelnbogen. He was the brother of count Henry III of Nassau-Breda and the father of William I of Orange.

His eldest son William the Silent inherited the principality of Orange in Southern France from his cousin René of Chalon, as well as the vast properties of the House of Nassau-Dillenburg in the Netherlands from his father, which Engelbert I of Nassau had received by marriage in 1403. The early House of Orange-Nassau descends from William I., the Silent, while the later House of Orange-Nassau (and the Dutch royal family) descends in the male line from his younger brother John, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, and from the latter's fifth son, Count Ernst Casimir of Nassau-Dietz, however in the female line also from William of Orange.

William the Silent

William I, Prince of Orange (24 April 1533 – 10 July 1584), also known as William the Silent or William the Taciturn (translated from Dutch: Willem de Zwijger), or more commonly known as William of Orange (Dutch: Willem van Oranje), was the main leader of the Dutch Revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs that set off the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) and resulted in the formal independence of the United Provinces in 1581. He was born in the House of Nassau as Count of Nassau-Dillenburg. He became Prince of Orange in 1544 and is thereby the founder of the branch House of Orange-Nassau and the ancestor of the monarchy of the Netherlands. Within the Netherlands he is also known as Father of the Fatherland (Dutch: Vader des Vaderlands).

A wealthy nobleman, William originally served the Habsburgs as a member of the court of Margaret of Parma, governor of the Spanish Netherlands. Unhappy with the centralisation of political power away from the local estates and with the Spanish persecution of Dutch Protestants, William joined the Dutch uprising and turned against his former masters. The most influential and politically capable of the rebels, he led the Dutch to several successes in the fight against the Spanish. Declared an outlaw by the Spanish king in 1580, he was assassinated by Balthasar Gérard (also written as "Gerardts") in Delft in 1584.

Ancestors of René of Chalon
16. Engelbert I of Nassau
8. Jan IV of Nassau
17. Johanna van Polanen
4. Johann V of Nassau-Vianden-Dietz
18. John I, Count of Loon-Heinsberg
9. Maria of Loon-Heinsberg
19. Margaret of Solms-Braunfels
2. Henry III of Nassau-Breda
20. Louis I, Landgrave of Hesse
10. Henry III, Landgrave of Upper Hesse
21. Anna of Saxony
5. Elisabeth of Hesse-Marburg
22. Philip I, Count of Katzenelnbogen
11. Anna of Katzenelnbogen
23. Anna of Württemberg
1. René of Chalon
24. Louis II of Chalon-Arlay
12. William VII of Chalon-Arlay
25. Johanna of Montfaucon
6. John IV of Chalon-Arlay
26. Richard of Vertus-en-Champagne
13. Catherine of Brittany
27. Margaret of Orleans
3. Claudia of Chalon
28. Louis de Luxembourg, Count of Saint-Pol
14. Anthony I, Count of Ligny
29. Jeanne de Bar, Countess of Marle and Soissons
7. Philiberte of Luxembourg-Ligny
30. Peter of Bauffremont
15. Antoinette de Bauffremont
31. Marie of Bourgogne
Stadtholders of Holland, Zeeland and (from 1528) Utrecht

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