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| Grand Master of France |
Prince of Joinville
Count of Eu
|Duke of Guise|
|Reign||24 February 1563 – 23 December 1588|
|Predecessor||Francis, Duke of Guise|
|Successor||Charles, Duke of Guise|
|Born||31 December 1550|
|Died||23 December 1588 (aged 37)|
Château de Blois, Blois, France
|Spouse||Catherine of Cleves|
|Father||Francis, Duke of Guise|
Henry I, Prince of Joinville, Duke of Guise, Count of Eu (31 December 1550 – 23 December 1588), 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.
In 1576 he founded the Catholic League to prevent the heir, King Henry of Navarre, head of the Huguenot movement, from succeeding to the French throne. A key figure in the French Wars of Religion, he was one of the namesakes of the War of the Three Henrys. A powerful opponent of the queen mother, Catherine de' Medici, he was assassinated by the bodyguards of her son, King Henry III.
Henry I was born on the 31 December 1550, the eldest son of Francis Duke of Guise one of the leading magnates of France and Anna d'Este daughter of the Duke of Ferrara. In his youth he was friends with Henry III, the future king, and at the behest of Jacques, Duke of Nemours tried to persuade the young prince to run away with him in 1561 to join the arch-Catholic faction, much to the fury of his father and uncle.At the age of 12 his father was assassinated and he thus inherited the Dukes titles of the Governor of Champagne and Grand Maitre de France in 1563. The Guise family and Henry craved vengeance for who they perceived as responsible for the assassination, Gaspard II de Coligny. As such he and his uncle Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine would attempt a show of force entry into Paris in 1564, that ended with both besieged in their residence and forced to concede. When in 1566 the crown forced Charles at Moulins to make the kiss of peace with Coligny to end their feud, Henry refused to attend. He would also challenge Coligny and Anne de Montmorency to duels, but they rebuffed his attempts.
No longer welcome at court, he and his brother Charles, Duke of Mayenne decided to crusade against the Ottoman Empire in Hungary, serving under Alfonso II d'Este, with a retinue of 350 men.In September 1568 he reached his majority, just as the Guise returned to the centre of French politics with his uncle's readmission onto the Privy Council.
He would take an active military role in the second and third wars of the French Wars of Religion fighting at the Battle of Saint-Denis in 1567, Battle of Jarnac in 1569, and successfully defending Poitiers during a siege by Admiral Coligny.He was wounded at the Battle of Moncontour.
In 1570 the third war of religion was brought to an end with the Peace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, part of which stipulated a marriage between the Protestant Henry IV of Navarre and the Kings sister Margaret of Valois as a means of ensuring stability.Around this time Henry began an affair with her, which quickly became known around court. Upon discovering this the King Charles IX and his brother Henri III were furious, assaulting Margaret in anger. While some suggested Henry be punished with assassination, it was settled on banishing him from court for his indiscretions. On 3 Oct he married Catherine of Cleves, thus assuming the title of Count of Eu from her inheritance.
The August 1572 marriage between Henry IV and Margaret necessitated the presence of the majority of the Protestant leadership in Paris.Shortly after the wedding, Coligny who had made a rare visit to the capital for the occasion, was shot in the shoulder in an attempted assassination. Henry was a chief suspect of having ordered the attempt, due to his long running feud. As the situation in Paris deteriorated over the next several days, the royal council planned and executed a targeted elimination of the Protestant leadership in Paris, which would spiral into the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. During the massacre Henry would oversee the murder of Coligny, and fail to capture several other targets, but he was displeased at the situation descending into a general massacre, shielding fleeing Protestants in his residence.
When the wars of religion subsequently resumed Henry was wounded at the Battle of Dormans, and was thereafter known, like his father, as "Le Balafré".With a charismatic and brilliant public reputation, he rose to heroic stature among the militant Catholic population of France as an opponent of the Huguenots.
In 1576 he formed the Catholic League.[ citation needed ] His rapidly deteriorating relations with the new King Henry III created further conflict known as the War of the Three Henries (1584–1588).
At the death in 1584 of Francis, Duke of Anjou, the king's brother (which left Henry of Navarre, the Protestant champion, as heir-male), Guise concluded the Treaty of Joinville with Philip II of Spain. This compact declared that the Cardinal de Bourbon should succeed Henry III, in preference to Henry of Navarre. Henry III now sided with the Catholic League (1585), which made war with great success on the Protestants. Guise sent his cousin Charles, Duke of Aumale, to lead a rising in Picardy (which could also support the retreat of the Spanish Armada). Alarmed, Henry III ordered Guise to remain in Champagne; he defied the king and on 9 May 1588 Guise entered Paris, bringing to a head his ambiguous challenge to royal authority in the Day of the Barricades and forcing King Henry to flee.
The League now controlled France; the king was forced to accede to its demands and created Guise Lieutenant-General of France. But Henry III refused to be treated as a mere puppet by the League, and decided upon a bold stroke. On 22 December 1588, Guise spent the night with his current mistress Charlotte de Sauve, the most accomplished and notorious member of Catherine de' Medici's group of female spies known as the "Flying Squadron".The following morning at the Château de Blois, Guise was summoned to attend the king, and was at once assassinated by "the Forty-five", the king's bodyguard, as Henry III looked on. Guise's brother, Louis II, Cardinal of Guise, was likewise assassinated the next day. The deed aroused such outrage among the remaining relatives and allies of Guise that Henry III was forced to take refuge with Henry of Navarre. Henry III was assassinated the following year by Jacques Clément, an agent of the Catholic League.
According to Baltasar Gracián in A Pocket Mirror for Heroes, it was once said of him to Henry III, "Sire, he does good wholeheartedly: those who do not receive his good influence directly receive it by reflection. When deeds fail him, he resorts to words. There is no wedding he does not enliven, no baptism at which he is not godfather, no funeral he does not attend. He is courteous, humane, generous, the honorer of all and the detractor of none. In a word, he is a king by affection, just as Your Majesty is by law."
He married on 4 October 1570 in Paris to Catherine of Cleves (1548–1633), Countess of Eu,by whom he had fourteen children:
The Duke of Guise appears as an archetypal Machiavellian schemer in Christopher Marlowe's The Massacre at Paris , which was written about 20 yearsafter the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. The death of the duke is also mentioned, by the ghost of Machiavelli himself, in the opening lines of The Jew of Malta . He appears (as The Guise) in George Chapman's Bussy D'Ambois and its sequel, The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois .
John Dryden and Nathaniel Lee wrote The Duke of Guise (1683),based on events during the reign of Henry III of France.
He appears in the short novel The Princess of Montpensier , by Madame de La Fayette. He appears in Voltaire's epic poem "La Henriade" (1723). He is one of the characters in Alexandre Dumas's novel La Reine Margot and its sequels, La Dame de Monsoreau and The Forty-Five Guardsmen. He also appears prominently in Heinrich Manns novel Young Henry of Navarre (1935).
Stanley Weyman's novel A Gentleman of France includes the Duke of Guise in its tale about the War of the Three Henries.
Ken Follett's novel A Column of Fire features Henry, Duke of Guise as a prominent character, and explores his involvement with the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre.
Catherine de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman. She also was queen consort of France from 1547 until 1559, by marriage to King Henry II, and mother of kings Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III. The years during which her sons reigned have been called "the age of Catherine de' Medici" as she had extensive, if at times varying, influence in the political life of France.
Henry IV, also known by the epithet Good King Henry or Henry the Great, was King of Navarre from 1572 and King of France from 1589 to 1610. He was the first monarch of France from the House of Bourbon, a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. He was assassinated in 1610 by François Ravaillac, a fanatical Catholic, and was succeeded by his son Louis XIII.
Charles IX was King of France from 1560 until his death in 1574 from tuberculosis. He ascended the throne of France upon the death of his brother Francis II in 1560.
Henry III was King of France from 1574 until his death as well as King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1573 to 1575.
The French Wars of Religion were a prolonged period of war and popular unrest between Catholics and Huguenots in the Kingdom of France between 1562 and 1598. It is estimated that three million people perished in this period from violence, famine, or disease in what is considered the second deadliest religious war in European history.
The House of Guise was a French noble family, partly responsible for 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 took place a few days after the wedding day of the king's sister Margaret to the Protestant Henry of Navarre. Many of the most wealthy and prominent Huguenots had gathered in largely Catholic Paris to attend the wedding.
The Catholic League of France, was a major participant in the French Wars of Religion. It was formed in 1576 by Henry I, Duke of Guise "...to oppose concessions granted to the Protestants (Huguenots) by King Henry III. Although the basic reason behind the League’s formation was the defense of the Catholic religion, ...the desire to limit the king’s power" was also a motivating force. Pope Sixtus V, Philip II of Spain, and the Jesuits were supporters of this Catholic party.
Gaspard de Coligny, Seigneur de Châtillon, was a French nobleman and Admiral of France, best remembered as a disciplined Huguenot leader in the French Wars of Religion and a close friend of—and advisor to—the French king, Charles IX.
Charles of Lorraine, Duke of Mayenne, or Charles de Guise, was a French nobleman of the house of Guise and a military leader of the Catholic League, which he headed during the French Wars of Religion, following the assassination of his brothers at Blois in 1588. In 1596, when he made peace with Henry IV of France, the wars were essentially at an end.
Francis de Lorraine II, the first Prince of Joinville, also Duke of Guise and Duke of Aumale, was a French general and politician. 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 Massacre at Paris is an Elizabethan play by the English dramatist Christopher Marlowe (1593) and a Restoration drama by Nathaniel Lee (1689), the latter chiefly remembered for a song by Henry Purcell. Both concern the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre, which took place in Paris in 1572, and the part played by the Duc de Guise in those events.
The Battle of Dreux was fought on 19 December 1562 between Catholics and Huguenots. The Catholics were led by Anne de Montmorency while Louis I, Prince of Condé, led the Huguenots. Though commanders from both sides were captured, the French Catholics won the battle which would constitute the only major engagement of the first French Wars of Religion.
The Siege of Rouen was a key military engagement of the first French Wars of Religion. After having been seized by those opposing the crown on 16 April, the siege, beginning on 28 May and culminating on 26 October brought the important city of Rouen back into the crowns control. The fall of Rouen would set the stage for the main battle of the war at Dreux several months later.
The Edict of Amboise, also known as the Edict of Pacification, was signed at the Château of Amboise on 19 March 1563 by Catherine de' Medici, acting as regent for her son Charles IX of France. The treaty officially ended the first war in the French Wars of Religion, inaugurating a period of official peace that would last until 1567. Moreover, the treaty restored peace to France by guaranteeing the Huguenots religious privileges and freedoms.
The massacre of Vassy was the murder of Huguenot worshippers and citizens in an armed action by troops of Francis, Duke of Guise, in Wassy, France, on 1 March 1562. The massacre is identified as the first major event in the French Wars of Religion. The series of battles that followed concluded in the signing of the Peace of Amboise the next year, on 19 March 1563.
Anna d'Este was an important princess with considerable influence at the court of France and a central figure in the French Wars of Religion. In her first marriage she was Duchess of Aumale, then of Guise, in her second marriage Duchess of Nemours and Genevois.
French history has been the basis of plays in the English-speaking theatre since the English Renaissance theatre.
TheAssassination of the Duke of Guise by the Huguenot Jean de Poltrot at the Siege of Orléans in 1563 represents a critical turning point in the French Wars of Religion. It would be the first major assassination in what would become a blood feud between the various aristocratic houses which would see the deaths of Louis, Prince of Condé and the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre follow. It also proved a decisive factor in bringing the first War of Religion to a close in the Edict of Amboise.
The trial and execution of Anne du Bourg was a critical event in the history of religious conflict in Paris, prior to the outbreak of the French Wars of Religion three years later. Anne du Bourg a judge in the Paris Parlement, would be executed, after calling the king Henry II an adulterer and blasphemer, and refusing to affirm the Real presence. He would be garrotted and burned on 23 December 1559.
| Count of Eu |
| Duke of Guise |
| Prince of Joinville |