The meeting of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn with François I of France in Calais

Imagine that we are in the city of Calais in Tudor England.  This place had a special meaning for King Henry VIII because it was the last remnant of the once substantial English possessions on the continent.  King Henry and his beloved Anne Boleyn sailed to Calais to meet with...

Claude de Lorraine, Duke de Guise: founder of the House of Guise

Claude de Lorraine, who was also known as Claude de Guise, was born the 20th of October 20, 1496 at Château de Condé in Condé (now this place is called Custines in north-eastern France), in Lorraine.  He had an eventful life, having been a favorite of King François I of...

Françoise de Foix: the first long-term maîtresse-en-titre of King François I of France

Françoise de Foix, who was the first long-term maîtresse-en-titre of King François I of France, was born about 1495, but we don’t know her date and year of birth for a certainty.  Since her early youth, she served to Queen Anne of France, King Louis XII’s wife and Duchess of...

Marie d’Anjou: a model queen as wife of King Charles VII of France

Marie d’Anjou, who was a daughter of Louis II d’Anjou and his wife, Yolande of Aragon, was born on the 14th of October 1404.  Marie was betrothed to Charles de Valois for years: their betrothal agreement had first been signed when he had been the youngest son of Charles VI...

Claudin de Sermisy: a genius composer of the French Renaissance

Claudin de Sermisy (born circa 1490) passed away on the 13th of October 1562.  Together with Clément Janequin, his friend and also rival for the affections of the art-loving King François I of France and for his popularity, he was one of the most important and famed composers of French...

Doomed Dauphin Charles Orland and Anne de Bretagne’s unsuccessful pregnancies

Charles Orland, Dauphin of France, was born on the 11th of October 1492. His parents were King Charles VIII of France called the Affable (l’Affable) and Anne de Bretagne (Anne of Brittany), who was his consort and Duchess of Brittany in her own right.  Charles Orland was their eldest son,...

Pierre II, Duke de Bourbon: a husband of the formidable Anne de Beaujeu

Pierre II, Duke de Bourbon, breathed his last on the 10th of October 1503 in Moulins, France, at the age of 64 (he was born on the 1st of December 1438).  He was the son of Charles I, Duke de Bourbon, and Agnes de Bourgogne.   Although he was originally betrothed...

The Treaty of Arras of 1435: the end of the civil strife in France

The Treaty of Arras, signed on the 21st of September 1435, ended the enmity between King Charles VII of France and Philippe the Good, Duke of Burgundy.  It was a huge diplomatic victory for Charles VII: his Burgundian cousin finally recognized him as the rightful French monarch.  The alliance between...

Unfit to rule: the merry captivity of King Jean II of France after the 1356 Poitiers catastrophe

King Jean II of France, called the Good (le Bon), was the second Valois monarch, and, as some historians say, ‘The shame of France’.  How could the ruler who also has the nickname ‘the Good’ deserve such an epithet?  The clue to the understanding of this reasoning is in the...

Charles V of France: kingship based on clever governance and education

Born on the 21st of January 1338, King Charles V of France, known as the Wise (le Sage), died on the 16th of September 1380 at the age of 42 at Beauté-sur-Marne, France.  He was the eldest son of King Jean II of France, called the Good (le Bon), and...

Clément Marot: a talented French Renaissance poet who influenced Reformation

A great Renaissance French poet, Clément Marot was born at Cahors, the capital of the province of Quercy, on the 23rd of November 1496.  His father, Jean Marot, was also a poet and served as escripvain (a poet-historian) to Anne de Bretagne, Queen of France.  Although in his youth Clément...

Jean the Fearless : assassination in vengeance and for political reasons

Jean (John) the Fearless (Jean sans Peur) , a member of the Valois Burgundian house, ruled the Duchy of Burgundy from 1404 until his death in 1419.  He succeeded his father – Philippe the Bold (le Hardi), who was the youngest son of King Jean II of France and his first...

Intricacies of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre

On the night of the 23 and 24th of August 1572, the sanguineous St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre was carried out in Paris.  It was the cold-blooded murder of thousands of French Protestants called ‘Huguenots’, which appears to have been orchestrated by the formidable mother of King Charles IX of France...

The religious catastrophe in France preceding the marriage of Henri III of Navarre and Marguerite de Valois

On the 18th of August 1572, a fateful wedding took place in Paris, France.  King Henri III of Navarre, a Huguenot monarch and the future Henri IV of France, married Princess Marguerite de Valois.  Henri was the only surviving son of Jeanne d’Albret, or Queen Jeanne III of Navarre, and...

Madeleine, Summer Queen of Scotland – a fragile flower destined to wither

Madeleine de Valois was born on the 10th of August 1520 to King François I of France and his first wife Queen Claude, Duchess of Brittany, at Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris.    The couple’s 5th child and 3rd daughter, Madeleine was a sickly girl since her early childhood.  Despite all...