Henri II de Valois, roi de France

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Henri II de Valois-Angoulême (de Valois-Orleans), duc de Bretagne, Roi de France

Also Known As: "Henry II of France"
Birthplace: Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Ile-de-France, France
Death: Died in Paris, Ile-de-France, France
Cause of death: Following an accident during a tournament held at the Hôtel des Tournelles, June 30th 1559
Place of Burial: Saint-Denis, Seine-Saint-Denis, Île-de-France, France
Immediate Family:

Son of François I, roi de France and Claude de Valois-Orléans, reine de France
Husband of Jean Stuart / Joan Stewart and Caterina de' Medici, reine de France
Partner of Diane de Poitiers
Father of Henry de Valois; François II, roi de France; Elisabeth de Valois; Claude de France; Louis de Valois, duc d'Orléans and 9 others
Brother of Louise de Valois; Charlotte de Valois; François III de Valois, dauphin de France; Madeleine de Valois, Queen consort of Scots; Charles II de Valois, duc d'Orléans and 2 others
Half brother of Louis de Saint Gelais, seigneur de Lansac and Nicolas d'Estouteville, seigneur de Villecouvin

Occupation: King of France
Managed by: Flemming Allan Funch
Last Updated:

About Henri II de Valois, roi de France

Henry II of France

Henry II (French: Henri II) (31 March 1519 – 10 July 1559) was a monarch of the House of Valois who ruled as King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559.[1] 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.

Henry pursued his father's policies in matter of arts, wars and religion. He persevered in the Italian Wars against the House of Habsburg and tried to suppress the Protestant Reformation even as the Huguenots became an increasingly large minority 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. France failed to change the balance of power in Europe, as Spain remained the sole dominant power, but it did benefit from the division of the holdings of its ruler, Charles V, and from the weakening of the Holy Roman Empire, which Charles also ruled.

Henry suffered an untimely death in a jousting tournament held to celebrate the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis at the conclusion of the Eighth Italian War. 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 spur the ghastly consequences of 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 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).

His father was captured at the Battle of Pavia in 1525 by the forces of his sworn enemy, 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. The following year, he became romantically involved with a thirty-five-year-old widow, Diane de Poitiers. They had always been very close: she had publicly embraced him on the day he set off to Spain, and during a jousting tournament, he insisted that his lance carry her ribbon instead of his wife's. Diane became Henry's mistress and most trusted confidante and, for the next twenty-five years, wielded considerable influence behind the scenes, even signing royal documents. Extremely confident, mature and intelligent, she left Catherine powerless to intervene.[5] 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]

Henry's reign was marked by wars with Austria and the persecution of Protestants, mainly Calvinists known as Huguenots. Henry II severely punished them, particularly the ministers, for example by burning at the stake or cutting off their tongues for uttering heresies. Even those only suspected of being Huguenots could be imprisoned.[citation needed]

The Edict of Châteaubriant (27 June 1551) called upon the civil and ecclesiastical courts to detect and punish all heretics and placed severe restrictions on Huguenots, including the loss of one-third of their property to informers, and confiscations. It also strictly regulated publications by prohibiting the sale, importation or printing of any unapproved book. It was during the reign of Henry II that Huguenot attempts at establishing a colony in Brazil were made, with the short-lived formation of France Antarctique.[8]

The Eighth Italian War of 1551–1559, sometimes known as the Habsburg–Valois War, began when Henry declared war against Holy Roman Emperor Charles V with the intent of recapturing Italy and ensuring French, rather than Habsburg, domination of European affairs. Persecution of Protestants at home did not prevent Henry II from becoming allied with German Protestant princes at the Treaty of Chambord in 1552. Simultaneously, the continuation of his father's Franco-Ottoman alliance allowed Henry II to push for French conquests towards the Rhine while a Franco-Ottoman fleet defended southern France.[9] An early offensive into Lorraine was successful. Henry captured the three episcopal cities of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, and secured them by defeating the Habsburg army at the Battle of Renty in 1554. However the attempted French invasion of Tuscany in 1553 was defeated at the Battle of Marciano.

After the abdication of Charles V in 1556, the Habsburg empire was split between Philip II of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I. The focus of Henry's conflict with the Habsburgs shifted to Flanders, where Phillip, in conjunction with Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, defeated the French at the Battle of St. Quentin (1557). England's entry into the war later that year led to the French capture of Calais, and French armies plundered Spanish possessions in the Low Countries. Henry was nonetheless forced to accept the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis, in which he renounced any further claims to territories in Italy.[10]

The Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis was signed between Henry and Elizabeth I of England on 2 April[11] and between Henry and Philip II of Spain on 3 April 1559 at Le Cateau-Cambrésis. Under its terms, France restored Piedmont and Savoy to the Duke of Savoy, but retained Saluzzo, Calais, and the bishoprics of Metz, Toul, and Verdun. Spain retained Franche-Comté. Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, married Margaret of France, Duchess of Berry, the sister of Henry II, and Philip II of Spain married Henry's daughter Elizabeth of Valois.[12]

Henry raised the young Mary, Queen of Scots, at his court, hoping to use her ultimately to establish a dynastic claim to Scotland. On 24 April 1558, Henry's fourteen-year-old son Francis was married to Mary in a union intended to give the future king of France not only the throne of Scotland, but also a claim to the throne of England. Henry had Mary sign secret documents, illegal in Scottish law, that would ensure Valois rule in Scotland even if she died without an heir.[13] Mary's claim to the English throne quickly became an issue when Mary I of England died later in 1558.

Henry II introduced the concept of publishing the description of an invention in the form of a patent. The idea was to require an inventor to disclose his invention in exchange for monopoly rights to the patent. The description is called a patent “specification”. The first patent specification was submitted by the inventor Abel Foullon for "Usaige & Description de l'holmetre" (a type of rangefinder). Publication was delayed until after the patent expired in 1561.[14]

Henry II was an avid hunter and a participant in jousts and tournaments. On 30 June 1559, at the Place des Vosges at the Hôtel des Tournelles, during a match 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, King Henry was wounded in the eye by a fragment of the splintered lance of Gabriel Montgomery, captain of the King's Scottish Guard.[15] Despite the efforts of royal surgeon Ambroise Paré, the king died of septicemia on 10 July 1559.[16][17] He was buried in a cadaver tomb in Saint Denis Basilica. Henry's death was a factor in the end of jousting as a sport.[18]

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.[19]

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.[20]

Henry was succeeded by his sickly fifteen-year-old son, Francis II. He 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. Francis II died 18 months later in 1560, and Mary returned to Scotland the following summer. Francis II was succeeded by his ten-year-old brother Charles IX. His mother, Catherine de Medici, acted as Regent. Starting in 1562 and for the forty years following, France was filled with turbulence as Protestants and Catholics fought the bitter Wars of Religion.[15][21]

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

  • Francis II, King of France, born 19 January 1544.
  • Elizabeth of France, born 2 April 1545, married Philip II, King of Spain.
  • Claude of France, born 12 November 1547, married Charles III, Duke of Lorraine.
  • Louis, Duke of Orléans, born 3 February 1549, died 24 October 1549.
  • Charles IX, King of France, born 27 June 1550.
  • Henry III, King of France, born 19 September 1551, also briefly King of Poland.
  • Margaret of France, born 14 May 1553, married Henry IV, King of France.
  • Hercules, Duke of Anjou, born 18 March 1555, later known as Francis, Duke of Alençon and Anjou.
  • Victoria of France, born 24 June 1556, died 17 August 1556.
  • Joan of France, stillborn.

Henry II also had three illegitimate children:

By Filippa Duci:[22]

  • Diane, duchesse d'Angoulême (1538–1619). At the age of fourteen, the younger Diane married Orazio Farnese, Duke of Castro,[23] who died in battle in 1553. Her second marriage was to François, Duke of Montmorency.[24]

By Lady Janet Stewart (1508–1563), the illegitimate daughter of James IV of Scotland:[25]

  • Henri d'Angoulême (1551 – June 1586). He was legitimized and became governor of Provence.

By Nicole de Savigny:[26]

  • Henri de Saint-Rémy (1557–1621). He was given the title of Count of Saint-Rémy. One of his last descendants was Jeanne de Valois-Saint-Rémy, Countess de la Motte, famous for her role in the Affair of the Diamond Necklace at the court of Louis XVI.

Nostradamus (1503–1566), a French apothecary and astrological writer known for his prophecies, is said by most commentators to have become famous when one of his quatrains was construed as a prediction of the death of King Henry II:

  • CI, Q 35 The young lion shall overcome the older one,
  • on the field of combat in single battle,
  • He shall pierce his eyes in a golden cage,
  • Two forces one, then he shall die a cruel death.

But, in fact, the link was first proposed in print only in 1614,[27] fifty-five years after the event and forty-eight after Nostradamus' death; thus it qualifies as a postdiction, or vaticinium ex eventu. The Italian astrologer Luca Gaurico, a contemporary of Nostradamus, is also said[by whom?] to have predicted the king's death.

Henri or Henry has had two notable portrayals on the screen. He was played by a young Roger Moore in the 1956 film Diane, opposite Lana Turner in the title role and Marisa Pavan as Catherine de Medici. In the 2013 CW series Reign he is played by Alan Van Sprang.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_II_of_France


  • Henri II d' Orleans, King of France, Duke of Brittany & Orleans1,2,3
  • M, #80957, b. 31 March 1519, d. 10 July 1559
  • Father François I d' Orleans, King of France, Duke de Valois & Bretagne1 b. 12 Sep 1494, d. 31 Mar 1547
  • Mother Claudia of France1 b. 13 Oct 1499, d. 20 Jul 1524
  • Henri II d' Orleans, King of France, Duke of Brittany & Orleans was born on 31 March 1519 at St. Germaine-en-Laye, France.1 He married Catherine d' Medici, daughter of Lorenzo II de Medici, Duke d'Urbino and Madeleine de la Tour, on 28 October 1533 at Marseille, Bouche-du-Rhône, Provence-Alpes-Côtes d'Azur, France.1,2,3 Henri II d' Orleans, King of France, Duke of Brittany & Orleans died on 10 July 1559 at Paris, France, at age 40.1
  • Family Catherine d' Medici b. 13 Apr 1519, d. 5 Jan 1589
  • Children
    • François II 'le Dauphin', King of France, Dauphin de Vienne1,2,3 b. 19 Jan 1544, d. 5 Dec 1560
    • Elizabeth of France+1 b. 2 Apr 1545, d. 3 Oct 1568
    • Claude d' Orleans+1 b. 12 Nov 1547, d. 20 Feb 1575
    • Louis d' Orleans, Duke d'Orleans1 b. 3 Feb 1549, d. 24 Oct 1550
    • Charles IX Maximilian d' Orleans, King of France, Duke d'Orleans1 b. 27 Jun 1550, d. 30 May 1574
    • Henri III Edouard Alexandre d' Orleans, King of France & Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, Duke of Orleans, Angouleme, Anjou, & Bourbon1 b. 19 Sep 1551, d. 2 Aug 1589
    • Marguerite d' Orleans1 b. 14 May 1553, d. 27 Mar 1615
    • Francois Hercule d' Orleans, Duke d'Alencon, Touraine, Berry, Lorraine, & Chateau Thierry1 b. 18 Mar 1555, d. 10 Jun 1584
  • Citations
  • [S11569] Europaische Stammtafeln, by Wilhelm Karl, Prinz zu Isenburg, Vol. II, Tafel 25.
  • [S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. III, p. 596.
  • [S4] Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Vol. I, p. 676.
  • From: http://our-royal-titled-noble-and-commoner-ancestors.com/p2694.htm#i80957


  • Henri II, Roi de France1
  • M, #103078, b. 31 March 1519, d. 10 July 1559
  • Last Edited=20 Jan 2011
  • Consanguinity Index=3.38%
  • Henri II, Roi de France was born on 31 March 1519 at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Île-de-France, France. He was the son of François I, Roi de France and Claude de Valois, Duchesse de Bretagne.1 He married Catherine de Medici, daughter of Lorenzo II de Medici, Duca di Urbino and Madeleine de la Tour, on 28 October 1533.5 He died on 10 July 1559 at age 40 at Paris, France, from a wound received in a jousting tournament a month earlier.6 He was buried at Saint-Denis, Île-de-France, France.
  • He was a member of the House of Angoulême.1 He and Diane de Poitiers, Duchesse de Valentinois were associated.2 He gained the title of Duc d'Orléans. He succeeded to the title of Roi Henri II de France in 1547.5,1 He and Janet Stewart were associated in 1551.7
  • Child of Henri II, Roi de France and Janet Stewart
    • Henry de Valois7 b. 1535, d. 1590
  • Children of Henri II, Roi de France and Catherine de Medici
    • François II, Roi de France1 b. 16 Jan 1544, d. 5 Dec 1560
    • Elizabeth de Valois, Princesse de France+ b. 1545, d. 1568
    • Claude de Valois, Princesse de France+2 b. 1547, d. 1575
    • Louis de Valois b. 1549
    • Charles IX, Roi de France+1 b. 27 Jun 1550, d. 30 May 1574
    • Henri III, Roi de France1 b. 19 Sep 1551, d. 2 Aug 1589
    • Marguerite d'Angoulême8 b. 14 May 1553, d. 27 Mar 1615
    • Hercule François de Valois, Duc d'Alençon et Anjou b. 1554, d. 1584
    • Victoire de Valois b. 1556
    • Jeanne de Valois b. 1556
  • Citations
  • [S38] John Morby, Dynasties of the World: a chronological and genealogical handbook (Oxford, Oxfordshire, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1989), page 78. Hereinafter cited as Dynasties of the World.
  • [S130] Wikipedia, online http;//www.wikipedia.org. Hereinafter cited as Wikipedia.
  • [S3409] Caroline Maubois, "re: Penancoet Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Penancoet Family."
  • [S308] Portraits au crayons des Clouet, online http://clouet.dessins.free.fr. Hereinafter cited as Portraits au crayons des Clouet.
  • [S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I, page 82. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  • [S16] Jirí Louda and Michael MacLagan, Lines of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe, 2nd edition (London, U.K.: Little, Brown and Company, 1999), table 67. Hereinafter cited as Lines of Succession.
  • [S323] Sir James Balfour Paul, The Scots Peerage: founded on Wood's edition of Sir Robert Douglas's The Peerage of Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland: David Douglas, 1904), volume I, page 23. Hereinafter cited as The Scots Peerage.
  • [S36] Page 84. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S36]
  • From: http://www.thepeerage.com/p10308.htm#i103078


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Henri II de Valois, roi de France's Timeline

March 31, 1519
Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Ile-de-France, France
Age 15
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France
July 25, 1538
Age 19
Paris, Ile-de-France, France
January 19, 1544
Age 24
Chateau de Fontainebleau, Seine-et-Marne, France
April 2, 1545
Age 26
Fontainebleau, Seine-et-Marne, Île-de-France, France
March 31, 1547
- July 10, 1559
Age 28
April 1547
Age 28
Aachen, Free City of Aachen, Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation
November 12, 1547
Age 28
Fontainebleau, Ile-de-France, France
February 3, 1549
Age 29
Fontainebleau, Île-de-France, France