|King of France|
|Reign||5 December 1560 – 30 May 1574|
|Coronation||15 May 1561|
|Regent||Catherine de' Medici (1560–1563)|
|Born||27 June 1550|
|Died||30 May 1574 23) (aged|
|Burial||13 July 1574|
Basilica of St Denis, France
|Issue|| Marie Elisabeth of France |
Charles, Duke of Angoulême (illegitimate)
|Father||Henry II of France|
|Mother||Catherine de' Medici|
Charles IX (Charles Maximilien; 27 June 1550 – 30 May 1574) was King of France from 1560 until his death in 1574. He ascended the French throne upon the death of his brother Francis II in 1560, and as such was the penultimate monarch of the House of Valois.
Charles' reign saw the culmination of decades of tension between Protestants and Catholics. Civil and religious war broke out between the two parties after the massacre of Vassy in 1562. In 1572, following several unsuccessful attempts at brokering peace, Charles arranged the marriage of his sister Margaret to Henry of Navarre, a major Protestant nobleman in the line of succession to the French throne, in a last desperate bid to reconcile his people. Facing popular hostility against this policy of appeasement and at the instigation of his mother Catherine de' Medici, Charles oversaw the massacre of numerous Huguenot leaders who gathered in Paris for the royal wedding, though his direct involvement is still debated. This event, known as the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, was a significant blow to the Huguenot movement, and religious civil warfare soon began anew. Charles sought to take advantage of the disarray of the Huguenots by ordering the siege of La Rochelle, but was unable to take the Protestant stronghold.
Many of Charles' decisions were influenced by his mother, a fervent Roman Catholic who initially supported a policy of relative religious tolerance. After the events of St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, he began to support the persecution of Huguenots. However, the incident haunted Charles for the rest of his life, and historians suspect that it caused his physical and mental health to deteriorate in his later years. Charles died of tuberculosis in 1574 without legitimate male issue, and was succeeded by his brother Henry III, whose own death in 1589 without issue allowed for the ascension of Henry of Navarre to the French throne as Henry IV, establishing the House of Bourbon as the new French royal dynasty.
Charles Maximilien of France,  third son of King Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici,  was born on 27 June 1550 at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye.  He was the fifth of ten children born to the royal couple.  Styled since birth as Duke of Angoulême, he was created Duke of Orléans after the death of his older brother Louis, his parents' second son, who had died in infancy on 24 October 1550. The royal children were raised under the supervision of the governor and governess of the royal children, Claude d'Urfé and Françoise d'Humières, under the orders of Diane de Poitiers. 
On 14 May 1564, Charles was presented the Order of the Garter by Henry Carey. 
Charles' father died in 1559,  and was succeeded by Charles' elder brother, King Francis II.  Francis II died in 1560.  The ten-year-old Charles was immediately proclaimed king on 5 December 1560, and the Privy Council appointed his mother, Catherine de' Medici, as governor of France (gouvernante de France), with sweeping powers, at first acting as regent for her young son.  On 15 May 1561, Charles was consecrated in the cathedral at Reims.  Antoine of Bourbon, himself in line to the French throne and husband to Queen Joan III of Navarre, was appointed Lieutenant-General of France. 
In 1560 a group of Huguenot nobles at Amboise had planned to try to abduct King Francis II and arrest the Catholic leaders Francis, Duke of Guise, and his brother Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine. The plot was found out ahead of time, and the Guises were prepared, executing hundreds of Huguenots. This was followed by cases of Protestant iconoclasm and Catholic reprisals.  
The regent Catherine tried to foster reconciliation at the Colloquy at Poissy and, after that failed, made several concessions to the Huguenots in the Edict of Saint-Germain in January 1562.  Nonetheless, the Massacre of Vassy, perpetrated on 1 March 1562, when the Duke of Guise and his troops attacked and killed or wounded over 100 Huguenot worshipers and citizens, brought France spiralling towards civil war. The tragedy is identified as the first major event in the French Wars of Religion
Louis of Bourbon, Prince of Condé, brother of the Lieutenant-General and the suspected architect of the Amboise conspiracy, had already prepared for war and, taking Wassy as the pretext, assumed the role of a protector of Protestantism and began to seize and garrison strategic towns along the Loire Valley. In return, the monarchy revoked the concessions given to the Huguenots. After the military leaders of both sides were either killed or captured in battles at Rouen, Dreux, and Orléans, the regent mediated a truce and issued the Edict of Amboise (1563). 
The war was followed by four years of an uneasy "armed peace", during which time Catherine united the factions in the successful effort to recapture Le Havre from the English.  After this victory, Charles declared his legal majority in August 1563, formally ending the regency.  However, Catherine continued to play a principal role in politics, and often dominated her son. In March 1564, the King and his mother set out from Fontainebleau on a grand tour of France. Their tour spanned two years and brought them through Bar, Lyon, Salon-de-Provence (where they visited Nostradamus), Carcassonne, Toulouse (where the King and his younger brother Henry were confirmed), Bayonne, La Rochelle, and Moulins. During this trip, Charles IX issued the Edict of Roussillon, which standardised 1 January as the first day of the year throughout France.
War again broke out in 1567 after Charles added 6,000 Swiss mercenaries to his personal guards.  Huguenots, fearing a Catholic attack was imminent, tried to abduct the king at Meaux,  seized various cities, and massacred Catholics at Nîmes in an action known as the Michelade. The Battle of Saint-Denis resulted in a Huguenot defeat and the death of Anne de Montmorency, the royal commander-in-chief, and the short war ended in 1568 with the Peace of Longjumeau.  The privileges granted to Protestants were widely opposed, however, leading to their cancellation and the resumption of war. The Dutch Republic, England and Navarre intervened on the Protestant side, while Spain, Tuscany and Pope Pius V supported the Catholics. Finally, the royal debt and the King's desire to seek a peaceful solution led to yet another truce, the Peace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye in August 1570, which again granted concessions to the Huguenots. 
On 26 November 1570, Charles married Elisabeth of Austria,  with whom he fathered one daughter, Marie Elisabeth.  In 1573, Charles fathered an illegitimate son, Charles, Duke of Angoulême, with his mistress, Marie Touchet. 
After the conclusion of the Peace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1570, the king increasingly came under the influence of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, who had succeeded the slain Prince of Condé as leader of Huguenots after the Battle of Jarnac in 1569. Catherine, however, became increasingly fearful of Coligny's unchecked power, especially since he was pursuing an alliance with England and the Dutch. Coligny was also hated by Henry, Duke of Guise, who accused the Admiral of having ordered the assassination of his father Francis of Guise during the siege of Orléans in 1563.
During the peace settlement, a marriage was arranged between Charles' sister Margaret of Valois and Henry of Navarre, the future King Henry IV, who was at that time heir to the throne of Navarre and one of the leading Huguenots. Many Huguenot nobles, including Admiral de Coligny, thronged into Paris for the wedding, which was set for 18 August 1572. On 22 August, a failed attempt on Coligny's life put the city in a state of apprehension, as both visiting Huguenots and Parisian Catholics feared an attack by the other side.
In this situation, in the early morning of 24 August 1572, the Duke of Guise moved to avenge his father and murdered Coligny in his lodgings. As Coligny's body was thrown into the street, Parisians mutilated the body. The mob action then erupted into the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, a systematic slaughter of Huguenots that was to last five days. Henry of Navarre managed to avoid death by pledging to convert to Catholicism. Over the next few weeks, the disorder spread to more cities across France. In all, up to 10,000 Huguenots were killed in Paris and the provinces. 
Though the massacres weakened Huguenot power, they also reignited war, which only ceased after the Edict of Boulogne in 1573 granted Huguenots amnesty and limited religious freedom. However, the year 1574 saw a failed Huguenot coup at Saint-Germain and successful Huguenot uprisings in Normandy, Poitou and the Rhône valley, setting the stage for another round of war. 
In the aftermath of the massacre, the king's fragile mental and physical constitution weakened drastically. His moods swung from boasting about the extremity of the massacre to exclamations that the screams of the murdered Huguenots kept ringing in his ears. Frantically, he blamed alternately himself – "What blood shed! What murders!", he cried to his nurse. "What evil counsel I have followed! O my God, forgive me... I am lost! I am lost!" – or his mother – "Who but you is the cause of all of this? God's blood, you are the cause of it all!" Catherine responded by declaring she had a lunatic for a son. 
Charles' physical condition, tending towards tuberculosis, deteriorated to the point where, by spring of 1574, his hoarse coughing turned bloody and his hemorrhages grew more violent.
Charles IX died at the Château de Vincennes, 30 May 1574, aged 23.  As his younger brother, Henry, Duke of Anjou, had recently been elected King of Poland and was away from France, their mother Catherine resumed the regency until Henry's return from Poland. 
In 1625, long after his death, a book Charles wrote on hunting, La Chasse Royale, was published. It is a valuable source for those interested in the history of hounds and hunting. 
|Ancestors of Charles IX of France|
Catherine de' Medici was a Florentine noblewoman born into the Medici family. She was Queen of France from 1547 to 1559 by marriage to King Henry II and the mother of French kings Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III. The years during which her sons reigned have been called "the age of Catherine de' Medici" since she had extensive, if at times varying, influence in the political life of France.
Francis II was King of France from 1559 to 1560. He was also King consort of Scotland as a result of his marriage to Mary, Queen of Scots, from 1558 until his death in 1560.
Henry III was King of France from 1574 until his assassination in 1589, as well as King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1573 to 1575.
The French Wars of Religion is the term which is used in reference to a period of civil war between French Catholics and Protestants, commonly called Huguenots, which lasted from 1562 to 1598. According to estimates, between two and four million people died from violence, famine or diseases which were directly caused by the conflict; additionally, the conflict severely damaged the power of the French monarchy. The fighting ended in 1598 when Henry of Navarre, who had converted to Catholicism in 1593, was proclaimed Henry IV of France and issued the Edict of Nantes, which granted substantial rights and freedoms to the Huguenots. However, the Catholics continued to have a hostile opinion of Protestants in general and they also continued to have a hostile opinion of him as a person, and his assassination in 1610 triggered a fresh round of Huguenot rebellions in the 1620s.
The House of Guise was a prominent French noble family, that was involved heavily in the French Wars of Religion. The House of Guise was the founding house of the Principality of Joinville.
The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572 was a targeted group of assassinations and a wave of Catholic mob violence directed against the Huguenots during the French Wars of Religion. Traditionally believed to have been instigated by Queen Catherine de' Medici, the mother of King Charles IX, the massacre started a few days after the marriage on 18 August of the king's sister Margaret to the Protestant Henry of Navarre. Many of the wealthiest and most prominent Huguenots had gathered in largely Catholic Paris to attend the wedding.
Henry I, Prince of Joinville, Duke of Guise, Count of Eu, sometimes called Le Balafré ('Scarface'), was the eldest son of Francis, Duke of Guise, and Anna d'Este. His maternal grandparents were Ercole II d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, and Renée of France. Through his maternal grandfather, he was a descendant of Lucrezia Borgia and Pope Alexander VI.
Antoine de Bourbon, roi de Navarre was the King of Navarre through his marriage to Queen Jeanne III, from 1555 until his death. He was the first monarch of the House of Bourbon, of which he was head from 1537. Despite being first prince of the blood he was dominated by king Henry II favourites the Montmorency and Guise in terms of political influence and favour. When Henri died in 1559 he found himself sidelined in the Guise-dominated government, and then compromised by his brother's treason. When Francis in turn died he returned to the centre of politics, becoming Lieutenant-General of France, and leading the army of the crown in the first of the French Wars of Religion. He died of wounds sustained during the Siege of Rouen. He was the father of Henry IV of France.
Louis I de Bourbon, Prince of Condé was a prominent Huguenot leader and general, the founder of the Condé branch of the House of Bourbon. Coming from a position of relative political unimportance during the reign of Henri II, Condé's support for the Huguenots, and leading role in the conspiracy of Amboise and its aftermath pushed him to the centre of French politics. Arrested in the reign of Francis II then released on his premature death, he would lead the Huguenot forces in the first three civil wars in the French Wars of Religion before his execution after his defeat at the Battle of Jarnac in 1569.
Francis de Lorraine II, the first Prince of Joinville, also Duke of Guise and Duke of Aumale, was a French general and statesman. A prominent leader during the Italian War of 1551–1559 and French Wars of Religion, he was assassinated during the siege of Orleans in 1563.
The Amboise conspiracy, also called Tumult of Amboise, was a failed attempt by a Huguenot faction in France to gain control over the young king Francis II and to reverse the policies of the current administration of Francis, Duke of Guise and Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine through their arrest, and potentially execution. Malcontent factions of Huguenots had been chafing under the French crown since the reign of Henry II and with the arrival of a new young king, saw their chance to take power for themselves. However the plot was uncovered ahead of time, and the Guise were ready for them. As such hundreds would be arrested, and many killed. Louis, Prince of Condé was suspected of involvement, however he was able to flee south, and it was only after some months that the Guise were able to put him on trial. Shortly thereafter, the sickly Francis II died, their hold on the administration collapsed, and with it the conviction of Condé. This tumult would be one of the key steps in the collapse of crown authority that led to the French Wars of Religion.
The Edict of Saint-Germain, also known as the Edict of January, was a landmark decree of tolerance promulgated by the regent of France, Catherine de' Medici, in January 1562. The edict provided limited tolerance to the Protestant Huguenots in the Catholic realm, though with counterweighing restrictions on their behaviour. The act represented the culmination of several years of slowly liberalising edicts which had begun with the 1560 Edict of Amboise. After two months the Paris Parlement would be compelled to register it by the rapidly deteriorating situation in the capital. The practical impact of the edict would be highly limited by the subsequent outbreak of the first French Wars of Religion but it would form the foundation for subsequent toleration edicts as the Edict of Nantes of 1598.
Claude of Valois 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.
Jacques de Savoie, duc de Nemours was a French military commander, governor and Prince Étranger. Having inherited his titles at a young age, Nemours fought for king Henri II during the latter Italian Wars, seeing action at the siege of Metz and the stunning victories of Renty and Calais in 1554 and 1558. Already a commander of French infantry, he received promotion to commander of the light cavalry after the capture of Calais in 1558. A year prior he had accompanied François, Duke of Guise on his entry into Italy, as much for the purpose of campaigning as to escape the king's cousin Antoine of Navarre who was threatening to kill him for his extra-marital pursuit of Navarre's cousin.
Claude II de Lorraine, duc d'Aumale was a Prince étranger, military commander and French governor, during the latter Italian Wars and the early French Wars of Religion. The son of the first Duke of Guise he started his career in a pre-eminent position in French politics as a son of one of the leading families in the court of Henri II of France. Upon the death of his father in 1550, Aumale inherited the governorship of Burgundy from his father, and the duchy of Aumale from his brother who assumed the titles of Guise. Aumale was made colonel-general of the light horse by the new king and fought in Italy, Alsace and Picardie between 1551-1559. While leading the light cavalry during the defence of Metz he was captured, and held for the next two years, until his mother in law Diane de Poitiers paid his ransom. He achieved success at the siege of Volpiano and played an important role in the capture of Calais for which he was rewarded with the governorship of French Piedmont.
Charles de Bourbon, cardinal de Bourbon, archbishop of Rouen was a French noble, prelate and disputed king of France as the Catholic Ligue candidate from 2 August 1589 – 9 May 1590. Born the third son of Charles IV de Bourbon, duke of Vendôme and Françoise d'Alençon he was destined for a career in the church. As a member of the House of Bourbon-Vendôme he was one of the premier Prince du sang. Already have secured several Sees he was made Cardinal de Bourbon by Pope Paul III in January 1548. In 1550 he received the office of Archbishop of Rouen making him the Primate of Normandy. The following year the promotion of Bourbon to Patriarch of the French church was threatened by king Henri II to secure concessions from the Pope. During the Italian Wars which resumed that year he played a role supporting Catherine de Medici's regency governments in France and briefly holding a lieutenant-generalship in Picardie. In 1557 the Pope appointed the Cardinals Bourbon, Lorraine and Châtillon as the leaders of an inquisition in France to root out heresy. The effectiveness of their inquisition would be obstructed by both the king and the Parlements and by July 1558 their appointments were voided by the Parlement of Paris.
Louis de Bourbon, Duc de Montpensier was the second Duke of Montpensier, a French Prince of the Blood, military commander and governor. He began his military career during the Italian Wars, and in 1557 was captured after the disastrous battle of Saint-Quentin. His liberty restored he found himself courted by the new regime as it sought to steady itself and isolate its opponents in the wake of the Conspiracy of Amboise. At this time Montpensier supported liberalising religious reform, as typified by the Edict of Amboise he was present for the creation of.
Léonor d'Orléans, duc de Longueville was prince de Châtellaillon, marquis de Rothelin, comte de Montgommery et Tancarville, viscomte d'Abbeville, Melun, comte de Neufchâtel et Valangin. Longueville was governor of Picardy, the leader of one of the Prince étranger families of France and a descendant of the bastard of Orléans who was in turn a descendant of Charles V of France.
The Edict of July, also known as the Edict of Saint-Germain was a decree of limited tolerance promulgated by the regent of France, Catherine de' Medici, in July 1561. Whilst it emphasised a continued commitment to banning Huguenot worship in France, it granted pardon for all religious offenses since the reign of Henry II, who had died two years earlier, which was a victory for the Protestant community. A further Protestant victory was in the reaffirmation of the removal of the death penalty for heresy cases. The edict would be overtaken by events, and ultimately left unenforced as France moved first to the landmark Edict of Saint-Germain and then into the Wars of Religion.
The Edict of Amboise (1560) was a decree that created the framework to separate heresy from sedition, promulgated by the young king Francis II on the advice of his council and mother Catherine de' Medici. The edict was the first promulgated in France that lessened the persecution of Huguenots through the provision of amnesty for past religious crimes on the condition the offender returned to the Catholic fold. The edict was published during the Amboise conspiracy whilst the royal court was resident in the Château d'Amboise and their authority over France was shaken. It would be superseded first by the Edict of Romorantin in May of the same year, then the Edict of July and finally the Edict of Saint-Germain