Prince Francis, Duke of Anjou (March 18, 1555-June 10, 1584) was a Prince of France, Duke of Anjou, and the son of Henry II & Catherine de Medici.

Early life Edit

Prince Hercule Francois was born on March 18, 1555; he was the youngest son of King Henry II & Queen Catherine de Medici. His name was changed to Francis in honor of his late brother Francis II, upon his confirmation. Francis was an attractive child, until a battle with smallpox scared him and left deep pits on his face.

Heir to the throne Edit

In 1574, following the death of his brother King Charles IX from tuberculosis, and the ascension of King Henry III Francis became the new heir apparent to the throne. In 1576 he was made Duke of Anjou.

Rebel Prince Edit

On September 15, 1575, Francis ran away from French Court after having been alienated by his brother King Henry III. The King and their mother Catherine were worried about Francis joining the Protestant rebels, concerns which were well founded.

Francis had joined up with the Prince of Conde and his forces in the south. When they were also joined by the King of Navarre’s forces, following his escape from court in February 1576, this combined army was enough to force Henry III, without a pitched battle of any sort, to capitulate and sign the very pro-Protestant Edict of Beaulieu on May 6, 1576.

Marriage to England? Edit

In 1579, marriage negotiations were in place between Francis age 24 and Queen Elizabeth I of England who was 46. In fact Francis was the only foreign suitor to court the Queen in person, and the two became quite close despite their age gap; Elizabeth called him her "frog" because of a frog shaped earring he gave her which she wore constantly. However whether or not Elizabeth truly planned to marry Francis was a topic of hot debate because there was much controversy with the English people who referred to Francis' mother as a Jezebel, and calling him a French Papist. In 1581 due to overwhelming opposition from her advisory council, Elizabeth bade her "frog" farewell and the poem she penned "On Monsieur's Departure" lent credence to the fact that she may actually have gone through with the marriage.

The Netherlands Edit

On February 10, 1582, Francis arrived in The Netherlands where he was not received with a warm welcome as the Dutch and Flemish saw the French Catholics as enemies. The Provinces of Zeeland and Holland refused to see Francis as their Sovereign; Francis responded by taking the Flemish cities of Antwerp, Bruges, Dunkirk, and Ostend by force.

The Prince would personally lead the attack on Antwerp. To fool the citizens of Antwerp, Francis proposed that he should make a "Joyous Entry" into the city, a grand ceremony in which he would be accompanied by his French troops. On January 18, 1583, Francis entered Antwerp, but the citizens had not been deceived. The city militia ambushed and destroyed Francis' force in the French Fury. Francis barely escaped with his life.

Failure and Insult Edit

The attack at Antwerp marked the end of Francis' military career. His mother is said to have written to him that "would to God you had died young. You would then not have been the cause of the death of so many brave gentlemen". Insult further followed when Elizabeth I formally ended her engagement to him after the massacre. The Prince's position after this attack became impossible to hold, and he eventually left the country in June.

Illness and Death Edit

Francis soon fell seriously ill with malaria. Queen Catherine brought her son back to Paris, where he was reconciled to his brother, King Henry III of France in February 1584. Henry even embraced his brother, whom he had famously called "Little Monkey", and on June 10, 1584, Prince Francis, Duke of Anjou was dead at the age of only 29. Francis' premature death meant that the Huguenot Henry of Navarre became heir-presumptive, thus leading to an escalation in the French Wars of Religion.

References Edit

Gallery Edit

  • Queen Catherine de Medici: Francis' mother
  • King Henry II; Francis' father
  • Coat of Arms of Prince Francis, Duke of Anjou
  • Francis with his siblings
  • Queen Claude, Duchess of Brittany: Francis' paternal grandmother
  • King Francis I: Francis' paternal grandfather
  • Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne: Francis maternal grandmother
  • Lorenzo de Medici, Duke of Urbino: Francis' maternal grandfather.
  • Prince Francis entering Antwerp and greeted by cannons
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