Francis France
King of France
Francis France
Francis II was a monarch of the House of Valois who 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. He ascended to the throne of France at the age of fifteen after the accidental death of his father, Henry II, in 1559.
Biography
Francis II of France's personal information overview.
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Timeline
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    TEENAGE
  • 1560
    Age 16
    On 23 December 1560, the body of Francis II was interred in the Saint-Denis by the Prince of La Roche-sur-Yon.
    More Details Hide Details Francis II had a brief reign. He became king as an inexperienced teenager, at a time when the kingdom was struggling with religious troubles. Historians agree that Francis II was fragile, both physically and psychologically, and his frail health led to his early death. The question of whether his marriage was consummated or not remains unanswered. Francis II is one of the main characters on the CW show, Reign. He is portrayed by British actor Toby Regbo.
    In July 1560 he came back to court and to the council, although in a much less flamboyant manner than before.
    More Details Hide Details The Guises were now the new masters of the court. The king granted them numerous favors and privileges, one of the most significant being the title of Grand Master of France, a title until then held by the son of the Constable, François de Montmorency. Francis II's reign was dominated by religious crisis. His unpopular and repressive policy toward Protestantism motivated the Amboise conspiracy, in which certain Protestant leaders attempted a coup d'état against the king and the House of Guise. Due to growing discontent, the government tried conciliation. Under the influence of Catherine de' Medici, it started a dialogue with the proponents of this relatively new movement, while remaining implacable towards agitators. Until the end of his reign, the French kingdom was paralysed by local revolts. He reacted by becoming more authoritarian. From the beginning of their regency, the Guises faced deep discontent throughout the kingdom. The opposition was led by two Princes of the Blood who contested their power and their decisions as rulers.
  • 1559
    Age 15
    On 21 September 1559, Francis II was crowned king in Reims by his uncle Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine.
    More Details Hide Details The crown was so heavy that nobles had to hold it in place for him. The court then moved to the Loire Valley, where the Château de Blois and the surrounding forests were the new king's home. Francis II took the sun for his emblem and for his mottoes Spectanda fides (This is how faith should be respected) and Lumen rectis (Light for the righteous). According to French law, Francis at the age of fifteen was an adult who in theory did not need a regent. But since he was young, inexperienced, and in fragile health, he delegated his power to his wife's uncles from the noble House of Guise: François, Duke of Guise, and Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine. His mother, Catherine de' Medici, agreed to this delegation. On the first day of his reign, Francis II instructed his four ministers to take orders from his mother, but since she was still in mourning for the loss of her husband, she directed them to the House of Guise.
    A little over a year after his marriage, on 10 July 1559, Francis became king at the age of fifteen upon the death of his father Henry II, who had been killed in a jousting accident.
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    In foreign policy, Francis II continued peace efforts begun by Henry II with the signing of the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis in April 1559, which ended 40 years of war between France and the Habsburg empire.
    More Details Hide Details At the expense of its influence in Europe, France continued to restore lands conquered over the previous 40 years. In this sense, the reign of Francis II began the decline of French influence throughout Europe, to the benefit of Spain. When King Henry II died, the restitution of these territories was well under way. Francis II, aware of the kingdom's weaknesses, reassured Spain of its intention to fulfill the treaty just signed. The Maréchal de Brissac, who displayed some unwillingness to evacuate Piedmont, was asked to change his behavior and accelerate the withdrawal. By the autumn of 1559, France had completely left Savoy, and Piedmont, except for the five locations agreed upon in the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis. If these were returned to the Duke of Savoy Emmanuel Philibert, Montferrat would be returned to Guglielmo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua. Both were allies of Spain. Finally, Valenza, which Brissac was grumbling about releasing, was to be returned to the Spanish Duchy of Milan. On the Spanish side, King Philip II showed some unwillingness to return four locations in the north-east of the kingdom as required by the treaty. Border disputes renewed tensions between the two nations, but after months of protests Francis II finally obtained these territories.
  • 1558
    Age 14
    On 24 April 1558, the fourteen-year-old Dauphin married the Queen of Scots in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
    More Details Hide Details It was a union that could have given the future kings of France the throne of Scotland and also a claim to the throne of England through Mary's great grandfather, King Henry VII of England. Until his death, Francis held the title King of Scotland. Mary and Francis were to have no children during their short marriage, however, possibly due to Francis' illnesses or his undescended testicles.
    He was also King consort of Scotland as a result of his willing marriage to Mary, Queen of Scots, from 1558 until his death in 1560.
    More Details Hide Details He ascended the throne of France at the age of fifteen after the accidental death of his father, Henry II, in 1559. His short reign was dominated by the first stirrings of the French Wars of Religion. Although the royal age of majority had been set at fourteen, his mother, Catherine de' Medici, entrusted the reins of government to his wife's uncles from the House of Guise, staunch supporters of the Catholic cause. They were unable to help Catholics in Scotland against the progressing Scottish Reformation, however, and the Auld Alliance was dissolved. Francis was succeeded by two of his brothers in turn, both of whom were also unable to reduce tensions between Protestants and Catholics. Born eleven years after his parents' wedding, Francis was named for his grandfather, King Francis I. The long delay in producing an heir may have been a reason for his mother's repudiation by his father in favor of his mistress Diane de Poitiers.((citation needed))Francis was at first raised at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1548
    Age 4
    King Henry II, his father, arranged a remarkable betrothal for his son to Mary, Queen of Scots, in the Châtillon agreement of 27 January 1548, when Francis was only four years old.
    More Details Hide Details Mary had been crowned Queen of Scots in Stirling Castle on 9 September 1543 at the age of nine months following the death of her father James V. Besides being the queen of Scotland, Mary was a granddaughter of Claude, Duke of Guise, a very influential figure at the court of France. Once the marriage agreement was formally ratified, the six-year-old Mary was sent to France to be raised at court until the marriage. Although Mary was tall for her age and eloquent, while her betrothed Francis was abnormally short and stuttered, Henry II commented that "from the very first day they met, my son and she got on as well together as if they had known each other for a long time".
  • 1546
    Age 2
    He became governor of Languedoc in 1546, and Dauphin of France in 1547, when his grandfather Francis I died.
    More Details Hide Details Francis's governor was Jean d'Humières and his tutor was Pierre Danès, a Greek scholar originally from Naples. He learned dancing from Virgilio Bracesco and fencing from Hector of Mantua.
  • 1544
    Age 0
    He was baptized on 10 February 1544 at the Chapelle des Trinitaires in Fontainebleau.
    More Details Hide Details His godparents were Francis I (who knighted him during the ceremony), Pope Paul III, and his great-aunt Marguerite de Navarre.
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