Did kings and their advisors rule France?
Officially, there have only been kings in France. But during the Renaissance, three of France’s kings were minors–and François II might as well have been. Three of its kings went to war in Italy. One was imprisoned in Spain for over two years. Various factions waged civil war after the death of Henri II until Henri IV finally won. Who ruled during these times?
Or did their mothers, sisters and mistresses?
Although often unsung, Renaissance France was blessed–or cursed–with extensive feminine leadership. These are the women who ruled France.
When Charles VIII became king in 1483, his sister Duchess Anne de Beaujeu became the unofficial regent. The Duchess d’Angoulême, Louise de Savoie, served as regent for her son, King François I, on several occasion. Catherine de Medici who ruled France for many years as regent for her son, Charles IX. When Henry IV, died, his son Louis XIII was still a minor. Marie de Medici, his mother served as his regent until he came of age.
An era of famous mistresses
Some of the women of influence had a less formal role–as beloved mistresses. King François I favoured Anne de Pisseleu d’Heilly, Duchesse d’Étampes for years; his son King Henri II preferred Countess Diane de Poitiers to his wife Queen Catherine de Medici; Henri IV was ready to marry his favourite mistress Gabrielle d’Estrées until she died just days before the wedding. Did they rule France?
This is a quick guide to the Renaissance kings & queens of France from Charles VIII (legally of age in 1485) to Louis XIII (legal majority).
Nine Renaissance Kings of France
Tudor Times provides a list of the Renaissance kings of France, dates of their reign and their spouses. The kings include Charles VIII, Louis XII, François I, Henri II, François II, Charles IX, Henri III, Henri IV, Louis XIII. This link will take you to a page on that site that provides you with links to information about who ruled France and more on French Renaissance people and topics.
Go and see. It is well worth a visit.