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Henry II
Henry II of France..jpg
Portrait by François Clouet
King of France
Reign31 March 1547 – 10 July 1559
Coronation25 July 1547
PredecessorFrancis I
SuccessorFrancis II
Born31 March 1519
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Died10 July 1559 (aged 40)
Hôtel des Tournelles
Burial13 August 1559
Spouse
(m. 1533)
Issue
among others...
HouseValois-Angoulême
FatherFrancis I, King of France
MotherClaude, Duchess of Brittany
SignatureHenry II's signature

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.

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 matters of art, war, 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. In addition, even if the Habsburgs maintained a position of primacy, France managed to change the European balance of power by forcing Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor to abdicate during the Eighth Italian War and divide the Habsburg Empire between Sp

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.

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 matters of art, war, 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. In addition, even if the Habsburgs maintained a position of primacy, France managed to change the European balance of power by forcing Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor to abdicate during the Eighth Italian War and divide the Habsburg Empire between Spain and Austria.

Henry suffered an untimely death in a jousting tournament held to celebrate the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis. 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.

Early yearsAs 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 matters of art, war, 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. In addition, even if the Habsburgs maintained a position of primacy, France managed to change the European balance of power by forcing Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor to abdicate during the Eighth Italian War and divide the Habsburg Empire between Spain and Austria.

Henry suffered an untimely death in a jousting tournament held to celebrate the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis. 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.

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).[1]

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.[2] To obtain his release, it was agreed that Henry and his older brother be sent to Spain in his place.[3] They remained in captivity for over four years.[4]

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. [5] 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.[5]

Extremely confident, mature and intelligent, Diane left Catherine powerless to intervene.[6] She did, however, insist that Henry sleep with Catherine in order to produce heirs to the throne.[6]

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.[7]

Reign

The fatal tournament between Henry II and Montgomery (Lord of "Lorges")

Henry II was an avid hunter and a participant in jousts and tournaments. On 30 June 1559, a tournament was held near Place des

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,[18] was wounded in the eye by a fragment of the splintered lance of Gabriel Montgomery, captain of the King's Scottish Guard.[19] Despite the efforts of royal surgeon Ambroise Paré, the king's eye and brain damage, which, untreated, led to his death by sepsis on 10 July 1559.[20] 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.[21]

Tombs of Henry II of France and his wife Catherine de' Medici in Basilica of St Denis, Paris

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

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.[18]

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.[22]

Henry was succeeded by his sickly fifteen-year-old son, Francis II.[23] Francis was ma

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.[22]

Henry was succeeded by his sickly fifteen-year-old son, Francis II.[23] 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.[24] Francis II died in December 1560, and Mary returned to Scotland in August 1561.[25] Francis II was succeeded by his ten-year-old brother Charles IX. His mother, Catherine de Medici, acted as regent.[26]

Catherine de' Medici bore 10 of Henry's children:[27] (See Children of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici)

Francis II, born 19 January 1544, who married Mary, Queen of Scots
Filippa Duci:[28]
Diane, duchesse d'Angoulême (1538–1619). At the age of fourteen, the younger Diane married Orazio Farnese, Duke of Castro,[29] who died in battle in 1553. Her second marriage was to François, Duke of Montmorency.[30]
Henri d'Angoulême (1551 – June 1586).[32] He was legitimized and became governor of Provence.
Henri de Saint-Rémy (1557–1621).Roger Moore in the 1956 film Diane, opposite Lana Turner in the title role and Marisa Pavan as Catherine de Medici.[34]

In the 1998 film Ever After, the Prince Charming figure who is portrayed by Dougray Scott, shares his name with the historical monarch.

In the 2013 CW series Reign he is played by Alan van Sprang.[35]

Gallery

Ances

Monument to the Heart of Henry II, Louvre, Paris, sculpture of the Three Graces by Germain Pilon holding a replica of the urn that contained the king's heart

Ancestry