List of monarchs III

I notice they are in the same forum and haven't yet been moved. If they aren't going to be, am curious as to the difference in position between thus thread and those?
They’re collaborative in the sense of being written by multiple people, but there’s no claiming, it’s not an ongoing game, etc.
 
They’re collaborative in the sense of being written by multiple people, but there’s no claiming, it’s not an ongoing game, etc.

This isn't an ongoing game either? It's multiple collaborative timelines within the same thread.

So your decision not to move the thread back to Pre-1900 appears to rest on the fact that instead of having a pre-set list of participants, people can take part in the collaborative timeline as and when they are able to do so?

As I said previously - It feels like the definition of collaborative game may need to be reevaluated or clearly defined.
 
They’re collaborative in the sense of being written by multiple people, but there’s no claiming, it’s not an ongoing game, etc.

So if the claiming happened in a giant private messager group would that work?

Again, we’re not trying to be rude, and I know it seems a bit weird to get stuck on, but I’ve been on threads like this that died once they were moved to shared worlds.

Also, as I said earlier:
this thread could definitely fall under this from the Pre 1900 definition: “Post "what if" questions and talk about the results.” Each entry is a what if question and the next entry is talking about the results 😁
 
POD: Francois I dies in the battle of Pavia.

Kings of France
1515-1525: Francois I (House of Valois-Angoulême)
1525-1556: Francois II (House of Valois-Angoulême) [1]
1556-1599: Francois III (House of Valois-Angoulême) [2]
1599-1616: Robert III (House of Valois-Angoulême) [3]
1616-1633: Henri II (House of Valois-Angoulême) [4]
1633-1665: Philippe VII (House of Valois-Angoulême) [5]
1665-1696: Henri III (House of Valois-Angoulême) [6]
1696-1710: Francois IV (House of Valois-Angoulême) [7]


[1] Francois II became king just four days shy of his seventh birthday. With both his parents dead, Francois and his siblings would be taken care of by their grandmother and their aunt. In 1530, peace would be made with the Holy Roman Emperor by having Francois be betrothed to the emperor's niece, Maria of Portugal. They would marry in 1536 when Francois would begin ruling for himself. Unlike most men of his time (including his two brothers) Francois was noted to be completely devoted to his wife, never taking a mistress, claiming that they all paled in comparison to his darling Marie. From 1538 to 1555, they would have nine children.

Once, he began ruling in his own right, Francois was eager to continue his father's renaissance, he invested his money in many projects including ventures in trade and exploration. He commissioned several hospitals and churches along with creating a new palace in Paris. In hopes of expanding his diplomatic relation, he made dynastic matches for his siblings, having his sister Madeline marry the King of Scots, his sister Marguerite was wed to the Duke of Savoy, his brother Henri would marry Catherine de' Medici, and his youngest brother, Charles, would wed Amalia of Cleves. He also gained an alliance with the Ottoman empire.

After over a decade of peace, Francois decided to restart the Italian wars in 1542, hoping to regain control of the Duchy of Milan, not to mention avenge his father against the emperor. Charles V lacked funds to continue fighting and had to deal with the rebellious Lutheran Germans. Not to mention, his ally, King Henry died during the Siege of Boulogne in 1544. The war would end in 1546 with Emperor Charles conceding Milan and the Duchy of Burgundy to King Francois in exchange for a small price. Francois, high on victory, decided to take advantage of England's boy-king and recapture Calais in 1547, removing England's last foothold in Europe.

For the next nine years, Francois tended more domestic affairs, trying to be a mediator in the growing religious tensions. Sadly, he was only starving off the inevitable. And in 1556, he collapsed suddenly at a feast, after drinking from his goblet. He was suspected of being poisoned by one of the factions in his court. His heir Francois would be left to deal with the growing animosity.

[2] Francois III was the eldest of Francois II and Marie’s children. Born in 1538, he would have an idyllic childhood in the flourishing renaissance of his father’s court. His mother tried to instill in him a proper Catholic fervor, but Francois’s dearest friend was Louis of Conde, so he never could quite understand this idea that Huguenots were ungodly heathens.

Also, complicating the issue was that young Francois fell in love with the Lady Elizabeth Tudor when her portrait was sent to France and her hand was offered as part of the peace negotiations with England in 1547. (Francois II said no, wanting a more prestigious bride for his son than the recently legitimized sister of the English King). So, after his father’s mysterious death in 1556, Francois III inherited a kingdom that was more and more divided on religious lines, and he himself was more and more likely to side with the Huguenots.

The first thing the 18 year old king did was send an ambassador to England to beg for the Lady Elizabeth’s hand. (The Lady Elizabeth was once again single after her husband, Robert Dudley, died in the Tower from a winter chill. He was in the Tower for the crime of wedding the King’s sister without the King’s permission) While the Lady Elizabeth was very resistant to the idea of remarriage, her brother Edward was very keen on an alliance with France.

Francois and Elizabeth married early in 1557, and Francois set about winning his new wife’s regard: Francois gifted her with tons of elaborate gowns, decadent jewelry, and sundry books. But perhaps the most impactful of his actions was quietly arranging for several of her ladies-in-waiting to be women who had been close to her mother back when Anne Boleyn had been in the French court. And so after several months of Francois’s charm offensive, Elizabeth was just as taken with her husband as he was with her. Their first child was born early in 1558. It was said they never slept apart. This did lead to them having 10 children in 13 years.

While Francois tried to use his marriage as an example of how Catholics and Huguenots could live in harmony, (Francois was still nominally a Catholic, and Elizabeth had quickly converted to the Huguenot flavor of Protestantism) but many of his subjects weren’t having it. Religious tensions would continue to rise throughout the 1560s.

1571 was the worst year of Francois’s life.

The year began with Elizabeth falling ill. What seemed to start as a winner chill, quickly worsened. Elizabeth weakened continuously until she was unable to leave her bed. This baffled the doctors as Elizabeth had always been of excellent health: 10 pregnancies in 13 years would have killed another woman, but Elizabeth had easy pregnancies and quick childbirth, bouncing back after every pregnancy.

And so after months of this strange wasting illness, Francois became convinced that Elizabeth was being poisoned. He arranged for himself, Elizabeth, and their children to travel to a remote hunting lodge and sent for all new doctors. And Elizabeth did begin to recover which just cemented in Francois’s mind that Elizabeth was being poisoned.

Unfortunately Elizabeth took a turn for the worse in November and died mid December of 1471.

Francois was distraught and utterly convinced the love of his life had been murdered. Then, when Francis of Guise, suggested that Francois remarry… possibly to Francis’s sister, Francois thought he’d found his culprit. He arrested the Duke of Guise for the murder of the Queen of France, and France erupted into a religious war.

Francois did well in the war, he was a decent commander. But it was on the field of diplomacy that he shined bringing many Protestant nations onto his side. Though perhaps this had to do with the large number of relatives he had to marry off: Francois had six unmarried siblings to marry off, and all his children to arrange betrothals for. By the end of the war there wasn’t a Protestant nation that France wasn’t allied with through marriage or betrothal.

It was a long war. Once that Francois was fervently determined to win. Once Francois was captured and escaped through serious disregard for his own life: he jumped into a river they were crossing. After seven years of bloody drawn out fighting, after a war that had spread to most of Europe, in 1478, Francois finally won; France was Huguenot.

The last two decades of his life were rather quiet, mostly because no one was really capable of fighting another war. Francois lived to see his children marry their Protestant princes and princesses, he lived to see grandchildren be born. He surprised everyone by remarrying in 1591 to Catherine de Bourbon, Princess of Navarre. They had a calm marriage mostly of companionship, though they did have two children, a boy and a girl.

Late in 1599, Francois fell ill with fever. His last few days were full of fevered delusions, mostly of the Religious War. But finally he grew calm, stared off into the distance and uttered: “Mon Élisabeth.” He fell asleep and never wakened. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Robert.


[3] Francois III’s firstborn child and eldest son by his beloved Elizabeth, Robert was born in February 1558. His name wasn’t supposed to be Robert, but rather Francois…right up until the moment his mother, fresh from the rigours of childbed, fixed his father with a glare of Tudor steel, and said ‘If you truly love me, Francois, you’ll let me name our son for my dearest Robin.”

That, as they say, was that. Robert he was.

Titled Dauphin from birth, Robert was raised at Amboise with his immediate younger siblings, Francois, Duke of Orleans, Charles, Duke of Chartres, Mademoiselle Elisabeth and Mademoiselle Marie, until he was seven, at which point, he was sent to Nantes, in the former Duchy of Brittany, to learn how to rule.

His tutor in arms was an Englishman, Sir Henry Sidney, which many Frenchmen resented, but the man’s position was upheld at the insistence of his father, who wished to please his wife by giving her an excuse to have another Englishwoman in her retinue. This meant that among Robert’s companions in Nantes was the eleven-year-old Phillip Sidney, who would become his closest friend, and be appointed a Marshal of France upon Robert’s ascension to the throne.

Aged thirteen at the outbreak of the War of Religion in late 1571, Robert was deemed old enough to play his part in securing France’s future as a Protestant nation. He was promptly betrothed to the ten-year-old Anna Maria of the Palatinate and sent to ride with the troops, under the supervision of his father’s oldest friend, the Prince de Conde.

On the one hand, this was a rousing success, for the Dauphin’s involvement in the war broadened his knowledge of the land and people he was to lead immeasurably, and his military successes, particularly his leading role in relieving the Siege of La Rochelle in 1575, rendered him a hero of almost titanic proportions among his father’s Huguenot subjects.

However, it also brought the teenage Prince into contact with the Prince de Conde’s many children, including his eldest daughter, Mademoiselle Marguerite.

Born in November 1556, Marguerite de Bourbon was fifteen months the Dauphin’s elder, with her father’s brown hair and flashing blue-grey eyes. The teenage Prince fell passionately in love with the beautiful, educated Princesse du Sang as soon as he laid eyes on her, and they were wed in secret on Robert’s sixteenth birthday, the 26th of February 1574.

By early 1576, their marriage could be hidden no longer, for Marguerite was four months pregnant and starting to show. Francois III wasn’t thrilled, but as he couldn’t exactly have his eldest grandchild branded a bastard, he hastily banished his eldest son from Court to show his displeasure and then arranged for Anna Maria of the Palatinate to become Duchess of Orleans instead, giving her a Princess’s jointure to soothe her father’s injured pride.

Robert’s first child, a daughter, was born in July 1576, and he and Marguerite went on to have seven more surviving children, the last of whom was born in 1599, the year their father ascended the throne.

For all Robert’s skill on the battlefield, exploration and settlement was his real passion. He sponsored several voyages to the New World and Africa, and indeed, the South African capital, Cite du Roi, is named in his honour, as is the city of Dauphin in South Carolina.

He also enjoyed literature and the arts, as did his wife, and indeed, the frontispiece of the 1600 edition of the Duchess of Bouillon’s French translation of the Bible, shows Robert and Marguerite as Solomon and Deborah, the wise judges of the Old Testament, handing the word of God down to their grateful subjects.

It was Robert’s love of travel that would prove his undoing, however. In 1616, he insisted on accompanying his youngest daughter Anne on her journey to wed King Alexander IV of Scotland, against his wife’s protestations.

Marguerite was right to worry. Although he delivered Anne to Holyrood without incident, as he turned for home, Robert’s ship ran into fierce storms along the Scottish coast, and sank with all hands.

Robert’s unexpected death at the age of 58 meant France would now be ruled by his heir, Henri.

[4] Henri was named for his father's best friend and his mother's brother, Henri de Bourbon. He was born in 1580, almost four years after his sister's birth. In 1591, King Robert decided to make peace with the Holy Roman Empire by having a double match. Henri's eldest sister would marry the emperor's heir, his brother Matthais while Henri would marry one of the emperor's cousins. His father choose Margaret of Austria. Henri protested against the marriage, feeling the religious differences would doom both matches.

Regardless of his feelings on the matter, the double wedding would take place in 1599. As he feared, his marriage was anything, but loving. Margaret was a fervent Catholic and was also eager to promote pro-Austria matters at court. She acted cold and distant whenever she and the Dauphin had an argument which was often. Despite this, Margaret would fall pregnant four times, unfortunately only two of these babies would survive. She died in 1611 after giving birth to a stillborn son.

Henri wanted to marry his long time mistress Catherine Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues with whom he had three acknowledged natural children. His father refused. Instead insisting his son marry, Isabella of Navarre, daughter of King Henri III of Navarre despite her being almost twenty years his junior. In 1616, Henri was attending the joint coronation of Emperor Mattais and Elizabeth of France when he received the news of his father's death. Unwilling to upset his sister on his special day, he discreetly left the celebrations, requesting that his ambassador wait until the next day to pass on the news.

In respects to his father's last wish, Henri married the eighteen-year-old Isabella. Although they got along better than his first marriage, it was clear there was still tension as Isabella hated that her husband's mistresses always had more political influence than she did. However, unlike Margaret, she did not argue with her husband over it, instead using her own charms to get her way. They had five surviving children.

In 1621, a large Catholic uprising broke out led by Charles, Duke of Guise and Henri II, Duke of Lorraine. Using the rebellion as an excuse, King Henri annexed Lorriane, sending his troops to invade. He sent false reports to Guise, hinting that he had sent the majority of his army to Lorraine. As he suspected Guise marched straight for Paris where Henri had set up an ambush. Meanwhile, his allies in Navarre joined up with the French troops seiging Lorraine. The Duke of Lorriane sought help from Spain and Italy, unfortunately they were too busy with the Lutheran revolt in Germany. In 1524, the Duke of Lorriane died and his brother, Francis immeditally surrended in exchange for being named Duke of Lorriane over his nieces. With the Duke of Guise already dead by execution and with Lorriane surrendering, the Catholic rebellion ended in a crushing defeat.

In more domestic matters, Henri opened trading relations with Japan and established peaceful relations with the natives of his American colonies. He also established a trading agreement with the Dutch. However, as his sister was the Holy Roman Empress, he found he could not continue his predecessor's alliance with the Ottoman Empire as they were encroaching on her sons' future inheritance.

After the catholic uprising, Henri's health began to deteriorate thanks to an infected wound. He died in 1633 at age fifty-three, leaving his kingdom to Philippe VII.

[5] Philippe was born in 1603 as the second child and only surviving son of King Henri II and Margaret of Austria and as such he was expected to one day succeed his father as King of France and was taught the basics by tutors such as political thinking and military strategy. Much of his early learning was influenced by his mother who was more loyal to her native Austria than France and tried to convince him that the former was more superior than the latter. Philippe was fascinated by the works of late Renaissance Artists specifically English Playwright William Shakespeare who he considered “The last significant artist of a dying era”. Philippe would often beg his father to allow him to travel to England to see one of Shakespeare’s plays for himself but he would hear none of it. In 1611 when Philippe was eight years old his mother would die suddenly and though it would be a relief for Henri it wouldn’t be the same for his son who was extremely close with his late mother. In the late Queen’s will it would be discovered that she had left enough money for her son to see at least one of his favorite artists’s plays. It however would be two years however until he would be able to travel to see one of Shakespeare’s plays but eventually Philippe’s father would allow it and along with him. They would travel to England where they would initially stay with King James I due to the reason Henri had gone was to discuss some trade agreements with England on behalf of Robert III. On June 29 Philippe along with his father would go to the Globe Theater to see a showing of Henry VIII but this exciting trip for Philippe would be cut short after the building caught fire after a cannon used for special effects caused it. While Henri would see the trip as a waste of time and money Philippe was glad that he got to see part of it.

Philippe would go back to his studies in France and life would stay the same for a while until in 1616 his grandfather, Robert III, would die and his father would become King of France and as such he would become Dauphin of France. Later that year his father would marry Isabella of Navarre and like his father would come to detest her or as Philippe would describe in his autobiography later in life “someone I found to loathe entirely.” Despite his feelings towards his stepmother, Philippe would be surprisingly close to his half-siblings who he would describe as “people that I could love in a depressing time.” In 1621 Philippe would come of age and his father would put him in charge of his own regiment during the Catholic Rebellion of that same year. While his father would be in charge of the ambush near Paris, Philippe would be sent to Lorraine to help siege down the region with the help of reinforcements from Navarre. The siege would last almost three years with it ending after Henri II, Duke of Lorraine, would die and his brother, Francis, would surrender soon after. In his autobiography Philippe would describe the siege as “tiresome and unnecessary” with himself seeing it as an excuse to fulfill his father’s ambitions. When he would return home he would discover that his father had arranged a marriage with King Henri III of Navarre which involved him marrying Henri III’s daughter, Henriette Marie, when she would come of age. Philippe would be furious with this decision citing how his father never wanted to marry his stepmother embarrassing him in front of the King of Navarre.

Despite the embarrassment Philippe would still be arranged to marry Henriette Marie and the two would wed in 1627 when she came of age. Though he hadn’t had wanted to marry her Philippe at least would try to love her wishing his marriage to not be as unloving as his father’s first marriage and as a result the two would have five children that would live to adulthood. Philippe would continue his duties as Dauphin of France until he would receive the news in 1633 of his father’s death while on vacation with his family in Normandy. Philippe and his family would travel to Paris where preparations for his coronation were already underway and a few days later he would officially be crowned as King of France. One of the main issues in the first few years of his reign was the significant Catholic population in the kingdom and while many pushed for greater pressure on these people to convert to Protestantism Philippe would instead pass the Religious Tolerance Act of 1635 which guarantied the right for anyone in the kingdom to practice any form of Christianity that they wished citing that his wife was a Catholic. This act also helped influence his foreign policy with himself soon offering Louis II of Navarre who had succeeded his father as King of Navarre to become an autonomous region of the Kingdom of France as protection against the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon who were beginning to eye the small kingdom. The King of Navarre would accept in exchange for a marriage between his heir and one of Philippe’s daughters to which he agreed since one of his daughters was already in contact with the Prince of Navarre.

Philippe’s reign would be considered a very peaceful one with little conflict allowing himself to focus on internal improvements. He would be succeeded by his eldest son Henri Guillaume, Dauphin of France.

CA1D8409-4CBB-4616-9B24-D145CE02B2A2.jpeg


[6] Following two miscarriages, the birth of the Prince in 1630, was a celebration for the country, named after both his grandfather and King Henri III of Navarre, his father would give him the middle name after Shakespeare.
A few weeks after his 3rd birthday, his grandfather died, meaning his father was now king and Henri was the Dauphin of France.
As heir to the Kingdom, Henri Guillaume would gain an excellent education as well as gaining the love of theatre from his father, on his 18th birthday, Henri would invest in the Crown Theatre in Paris, granting it a royal warrant of appointment.

In 1649, with his father’s foreign policy, looking to sure up support for Protestants, Henri was married to Princess Sophia of the Palatinate (1630-1714) daughter of Frederick V of the Palatinate, a member of the House of Wittelsbach, and Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Edward VII of England, a marriage arranged during the Treaty of Westphalia, when the anti-Habsburg French had supported their hold on the Electorate during the Thirty Years' War, forming a strong alliance, especially with France annexing the regions of Alsace and the Duchy of Lorraine.

The match would be a loving one, with Henri enjoying Sophia’s exceptional intellectual ability, creative spirit and curiosity. Together they would have seven children who reached adulthood.

For the next sixteen years, the Dauphin and Dauphine, would serve loyally to King Philippe’s court, supporting the internal improvements. Upon his death, the royal couple would hold a month of mourning.

As king, Henri would try and carry on the peaceful foreign policy, apart from a few skirmishes in regards to French colonies and a minor war between France and the Dutch which only lasted for two years resulting in Netherlands being defeated with their navy whipped out and few colonies in the Americas annexed by the French.

Towards the end of his life, Henri became seriously and increasingly ill, thirty years into his reign, he would suffer a stroke and within a year he would die, leaving his throne to be succeeded by his son Francois.

[8]
1667566390364.png


Francois IV was the oldest son of Henri III, born in 1650. A flamboyant and well-dressed man, he was always the fashion icon at court and he had a well known love for styling other people's outfits. With his prissy attitude and vanity, he was not seen as a suitable successor to his father, but there was nothing that could be done. He succeeded peacefully as king upon the death of his father. By then, he was already widowed five times and a father of seventeen legitimate children between his five late wives (not to mention the other dozen bastards that he sired).

He did not continue the expansionism of his father, instead opting to shore up his domestic support. He recentralized power in Paris and kept diligent records of his modest personal finances (he was a massive spendthrift when it came to his children, though, according to those same account records). The king was a charitable man and often donated large sums to churches and charities. His principal goal was to preserve royal authority and reduce the power of some of his noblemen. He did this through two methods: the first by marrying off some of his youngest legitimate children (and all the bastards) within the nobility to ensure that family ties bonded them all together, the second by levying heavy fines against "extravagance" (too many servants was one notable condition).

He would die in the arms of his mistress, and was succeeded by his heir.
 
POD: Francois I dies in the battle of Pavia.

Kings of France
1515-1525: Francois I (House of Valois-Angoulêm)
1525-1556: Francois II (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [1]
1556-1599: Francois III (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [2]
1599-1616: Robert III (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [3]
1616-1633: Henri II (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [4]
1633-1665: Philippe VII (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [5]
1665-1696: Henri III (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [6]
1696-1710: Francois IV (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [7]
1710-1777: Louis XIII (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [8]


[1] Francois II became king just four days shy of his seventh birthday. With both his parents dead, Francois and his siblings would be taken care of by their grandmother and their aunt. In 1530, peace would be made with the Holy Roman Emperor by having Francois be betrothed to the emperor's niece, Maria of Portugal. They would marry in 1536 when Francois would begin ruling for himself. Unlike most men of his time (including his two brothers) Francois was noted to be completely devoted to his wife, never taking a mistress, claiming that they all paled in comparison to his darling Marie. From 1538 to 1555, they would have nine children.

Once, he began ruling in his own right, Francois was eager to continue his father's renaissance, he invested his money in many projects including ventures in trade and exploration. He commissioned several hospitals and churches along with creating a new palace in Paris. In hopes of expanding his diplomatic relation, he made dynastic matches for his siblings, having his sister Madeline marry the King of Scots, his sister Marguerite was wed to the Duke of Savoy, his brother Henri would marry Catherine de' Medici, and his youngest brother, Charles, would wed Amalia of Cleves. He also gained an alliance with the Ottoman empire.

After over a decade of peace, Francois decided to restart the Italian wars in 1542, hoping to regain control of the Duchy of Milan, not to mention avenge his father against the emperor. Charles V lacked funds to continue fighting and had to deal with the rebellious Lutheran Germans. Not to mention, his ally, King Henry died during the Siege of Boulogne in 1544. The war would end in 1546 with Emperor Charles conceding Milan and the Duchy of Burgundy to King Francois in exchange for a small price. Francois, high on victory, decided to take advantage of England's boy-king and recapture Calais in 1547, removing England's last foothold in Europe.

For the next nine years, Francois tended more domestic affairs, trying to be a mediator in the growing religious tensions. Sadly, he was only starving off the inevitable. And in 1556, he collapsed suddenly at a feast, after drinking from his goblet. He was suspected of being poisoned by one of the factions in his court. His heir Francois would be left to deal with the growing animosity.

[2] Francois III was the eldest of Francois II and Marie’s children. Born in 1538, he would have an idyllic childhood in the flourishing renaissance of his father’s court. His mother tried to instill in him a proper Catholic fervor, but Francois’s dearest friend was Louis of Conde, so he never could quite understand this idea that Huguenots were ungodly heathens.

Also, complicating the issue was that young Francois fell in love with the Lady Elizabeth Tudor when her portrait was sent to France and her hand was offered as part of the peace negotiations with England in 1547. (Francois II said no, wanting a more prestigious bride for his son than the recently legitimized sister of the English King). So, after his father’s mysterious death in 1556, Francois III inherited a kingdom that was more and more divided on religious lines, and he himself was more and more likely to side with the Huguenots.

The first thing the 18 year old king did was send an ambassador to England to beg for the Lady Elizabeth’s hand. (The Lady Elizabeth was once again single after her husband, Robert Dudley, died in the Tower from a winter chill. He was in the Tower for the crime of wedding the King’s sister without the King’s permission) While the Lady Elizabeth was very resistant to the idea of remarriage, her brother Edward was very keen on an alliance with France.

Francois and Elizabeth married early in 1557, and Francois set about winning his new wife’s regard: Francois gifted her with tons of elaborate gowns, decadent jewelry, and sundry books. But perhaps the most impactful of his actions was quietly arranging for several of her ladies-in-waiting to be women who had been close to her mother back when Anne Boleyn had been in the French court. And so after several months of Francois’s charm offensive, Elizabeth was just as taken with her husband as he was with her. Their first child was born early in 1558. It was said they never slept apart. This did lead to them having 10 children in 13 years.

While Francois tried to use his marriage as an example of how Catholics and Huguenots could live in harmony, (Francois was still nominally a Catholic, and Elizabeth had quickly converted to the Huguenot flavor of Protestantism) but many of his subjects weren’t having it. Religious tensions would continue to rise throughout the 1560s.

1571 was the worst year of Francois’s life.

The year began with Elizabeth falling ill. What seemed to start as a winner chill, quickly worsened. Elizabeth weakened continuously until she was unable to leave her bed. This baffled the doctors as Elizabeth had always been of excellent health: 10 pregnancies in 13 years would have killed another woman, but Elizabeth had easy pregnancies and quick childbirth, bouncing back after every pregnancy.

And so after months of this strange wasting illness, Francois became convinced that Elizabeth was being poisoned. He arranged for himself, Elizabeth, and their children to travel to a remote hunting lodge and sent for all new doctors. And Elizabeth did begin to recover which just cemented in Francois’s mind that Elizabeth was being poisoned.

Unfortunately Elizabeth took a turn for the worse in November and died mid December of 1471.

Francois was distraught and utterly convinced the love of his life had been murdered. Then, when Francis of Guise, suggested that Francois remarry… possibly to Francis’s sister, Francois thought he’d found his culprit. He arrested the Duke of Guise for the murder of the Queen of France, and France erupted into a religious war.

Francois did well in the war, he was a decent commander. But it was on the field of diplomacy that he shined bringing many Protestant nations onto his side. Though perhaps this had to do with the large number of relatives he had to marry off: Francois had six unmarried siblings to marry off, and all his children to arrange betrothals for. By the end of the war there wasn’t a Protestant nation that France wasn’t allied with through marriage or betrothal.

It was a long war. Once that Francois was fervently determined to win. Once Francois was captured and escaped through serious disregard for his own life: he jumped into a river they were crossing. After seven years of bloody drawn out fighting, after a war that had spread to most of Europe, in 1478, Francois finally won; France was Huguenot.

The last two decades of his life were rather quiet, mostly because no one was really capable of fighting another war. Francois lived to see his children marry their Protestant princes and princesses, he lived to see grandchildren be born. He surprised everyone by remarrying in 1591 to Catherine de Bourbon, Princess of Navarre. They had a calm marriage mostly of companionship, though they did have two children, a boy and a girl.

Late in 1599, Francois fell ill with fever. His last few days were full of fevered delusions, mostly of the Religious War. But finally he grew calm, stared off into the distance and uttered: “Mon Élisabeth.” He fell asleep and never wakened. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Robert.


[3] Francois III’s firstborn child and eldest son by his beloved Elizabeth, Robert was born in February 1558. His name wasn’t supposed to be Robert, but rather Francois…right up until the moment his mother, fresh from the rigours of childbed, fixed his father with a glare of Tudor steel, and said ‘If you truly love me, Francois, you’ll let me name our son for my dearest Robin.”

That, as they say, was that. Robert he was.

Titled Dauphin from birth, Robert was raised at Amboise with his immediate younger siblings, Francois, Duke of Orleans, Charles, Duke of Chartres, Mademoiselle Elisabeth and Mademoiselle Marie, until he was seven, at which point, he was sent to Nantes, in the former Duchy of Brittany, to learn how to rule.

His tutor in arms was an Englishman, Sir Henry Sidney, which many Frenchmen resented, but the man’s position was upheld at the insistence of his father, who wished to please his wife by giving her an excuse to have another Englishwoman in her retinue. This meant that among Robert’s companions in Nantes was the eleven-year-old Phillip Sidney, who would become his closest friend, and be appointed a Marshal of France upon Robert’s ascension to the throne.

Aged thirteen at the outbreak of the War of Religion in late 1571, Robert was deemed old enough to play his part in securing France’s future as a Protestant nation. He was promptly betrothed to the ten-year-old Anna Maria of the Palatinate and sent to ride with the troops, under the supervision of his father’s oldest friend, the Prince de Conde.

On the one hand, this was a rousing success, for the Dauphin’s involvement in the war broadened his knowledge of the land and people he was to lead immeasurably, and his military successes, particularly his leading role in relieving the Siege of La Rochelle in 1575, rendered him a hero of almost titanic proportions among his father’s Huguenot subjects.

However, it also brought the teenage Prince into contact with the Prince de Conde’s many children, including his eldest daughter, Mademoiselle Marguerite.

Born in November 1556, Marguerite de Bourbon was fifteen months the Dauphin’s elder, with her father’s brown hair and flashing blue-grey eyes. The teenage Prince fell passionately in love with the beautiful, educated Princesse du Sang as soon as he laid eyes on her, and they were wed in secret on Robert’s sixteenth birthday, the 26th of February 1574.

By early 1576, their marriage could be hidden no longer, for Marguerite was four months pregnant and starting to show. Francois III wasn’t thrilled, but as he couldn’t exactly have his eldest grandchild branded a bastard, he hastily banished his eldest son from Court to show his displeasure and then arranged for Anna Maria of the Palatinate to become Duchess of Orleans instead, giving her a Princess’s jointure to soothe her father’s injured pride.

Robert’s first child, a daughter, was born in July 1576, and he and Marguerite went on to have seven more surviving children, the last of whom was born in 1599, the year their father ascended the throne.

For all Robert’s skill on the battlefield, exploration and settlement was his real passion. He sponsored several voyages to the New World and Africa, and indeed, the South African capital, Cite du Roi, is named in his honour, as is the city of Dauphin in South Carolina.

He also enjoyed literature and the arts, as did his wife, and indeed, the frontispiece of the 1600 edition of the Duchess of Bouillon’s French translation of the Bible, shows Robert and Marguerite as Solomon and Deborah, the wise judges of the Old Testament, handing the word of God down to their grateful subjects.

It was Robert’s love of travel that would prove his undoing, however. In 1616, he insisted on accompanying his youngest daughter Anne on her journey to wed King Alexander IV of Scotland, against his wife’s protestations.

Marguerite was right to worry. Although he delivered Anne to Holyrood without incident, as he turned for home, Robert’s ship ran into fierce storms along the Scottish coast, and sank with all hands.

Robert’s unexpected death at the age of 58 meant France would now be ruled by his heir, Henri.

[4] Henri was named for his father's best friend and his mother's brother, Henri de Bourbon. He was born in 1580, almost four years after his sister's birth. In 1591, King Robert decided to make peace with the Holy Roman Empire by having a double match. Henri's eldest sister would marry the emperor's heir, his brother Matthais while Henri would marry one of the emperor's cousins. His father choose Margaret of Austria. Henri protested against the marriage, feeling the religious differences would doom both matches.

Regardless of his feelings on the matter, the double wedding would take place in 1599. As he feared, his marriage was anything, but loving. Margaret was a fervent Catholic and was also eager to promote pro-Austria matters at court. She acted cold and distant whenever she and the Dauphin had an argument which was often. Despite this, Margaret would fall pregnant four times, unfortunately only two of these babies would survive. She died in 1611 after giving birth to a stillborn son.

Henri wanted to marry his long time mistress Catherine Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues with whom he had three acknowledged natural children. His father refused. Instead insisting his son marry, Isabella of Navarre, daughter of King Henri III of Navarre despite her being almost twenty years his junior. In 1616, Henri was attending the joint coronation of Emperor Mattais and Elizabeth of France when he received the news of his father's death. Unwilling to upset his sister on his special day, he discreetly left the celebrations, requesting that his ambassador wait until the next day to pass on the news.

In respects to his father's last wish, Henri married the eighteen-year-old Isabella. Although they got along better than his first marriage, it was clear there was still tension as Isabella hated that her husband's mistresses always had more political influence than she did. However, unlike Margaret, she did not argue with her husband over it, instead using her own charms to get her way. They had five surviving children.

In 1621, a large Catholic uprising broke out led by Charles, Duke of Guise and Henri II, Duke of Lorraine. Using the rebellion as an excuse, King Henri annexed Lorriane, sending his troops to invade. He sent false reports to Guise, hinting that he had sent the majority of his army to Lorraine. As he suspected Guise marched straight for Paris where Henri had set up an ambush. Meanwhile, his allies in Navarre joined up with the French troops seiging Lorraine. The Duke of Lorriane sought help from Spain and Italy, unfortunately they were too busy with the Lutheran revolt in Germany. In 1524, the Duke of Lorriane died and his brother, Francis immeditally surrended in exchange for being named Duke of Lorriane over his nieces. With the Duke of Guise already dead by execution and with Lorriane surrendering, the Catholic rebellion ended in a crushing defeat.

In more domestic matters, Henri opened trading relations with Japan and established peaceful relations with the natives of his American colonies. He also established a trading agreement with the Dutch. However, as his sister was the Holy Roman Empress, he found he could not continue his predecessor's alliance with the Ottoman Empire as they were encroaching on her sons' future inheritance.

After the catholic uprising, Henri's health began to deteriorate thanks to an infected wound. He died in 1633 at age fifty-three, leaving his kingdom to Philippe VII.

[5] Philippe was born in 1603 as the second child and only surviving son of King Henri II and Margaret of Austria and as such he was expected to one day succeed his father as King of France and was taught the basics by tutors such as political thinking and military strategy. Much of his early learning was influenced by his mother who was more loyal to her native Austria than France and tried to convince him that the former was more superior than the latter. Philippe was fascinated by the works of late Renaissance Artists specifically English Playwright William Shakespeare who he considered “The last significant artist of a dying era”. Philippe would often beg his father to allow him to travel to England to see one of Shakespeare’s plays for himself but he would hear none of it. In 1611 when Philippe was eight years old his mother would die suddenly and though it would be a relief for Henri it wouldn’t be the same for his son who was extremely close with his late mother. In the late Queen’s will it would be discovered that she had left enough money for her son to see at least one of his favorite artists’s plays. It however would be two years however until he would be able to travel to see one of Shakespeare’s plays but eventually Philippe’s father would allow it and along with him. They would travel to England where they would initially stay with King James I due to the reason Henri had gone was to discuss some trade agreements with England on behalf of Robert III. On June 29 Philippe along with his father would go to the Globe Theater to see a showing of Henry VIII but this exciting trip for Philippe would be cut short after the building caught fire after a cannon used for special effects caused it. While Henri would see the trip as a waste of time and money Philippe was glad that he got to see part of it.

Philippe would go back to his studies in France and life would stay the same for a while until in 1616 his grandfather, Robert III, would die and his father would become King of France and as such he would become Dauphin of France. Later that year his father would marry Isabella of Navarre and like his father would come to detest her or as Philippe would describe in his autobiography later in life “someone I found to loathe entirely.” Despite his feelings towards his stepmother, Philippe would be surprisingly close to his half-siblings who he would describe as “people that I could love in a depressing time.” In 1621 Philippe would come of age and his father would put him in charge of his own regiment during the Catholic Rebellion of that same year. While his father would be in charge of the ambush near Paris, Philippe would be sent to Lorraine to help siege down the region with the help of reinforcements from Navarre. The siege would last almost three years with it ending after Henri II, Duke of Lorraine, would die and his brother, Francis, would surrender soon after. In his autobiography Philippe would describe the siege as “tiresome and unnecessary” with himself seeing it as an excuse to fulfill his father’s ambitions. When he would return home he would discover that his father had arranged a marriage with King Henri III of Navarre which involved him marrying Henri III’s daughter, Henriette Marie, when she would come of age. Philippe would be furious with this decision citing how his father never wanted to marry his stepmother embarrassing him in front of the King of Navarre.

Despite the embarrassment Philippe would still be arranged to marry Henriette Marie and the two would wed in 1627 when she came of age. Though he hadn’t had wanted to marry her Philippe at least would try to love her wishing his marriage to not be as unloving as his father’s first marriage and as a result the two would have five children that would live to adulthood. Philippe would continue his duties as Dauphin of France until he would receive the news in 1633 of his father’s death while on vacation with his family in Normandy. Philippe and his family would travel to Paris where preparations for his coronation were already underway and a few days later he would officially be crowned as King of France. One of the main issues in the first few years of his reign was the significant Catholic population in the kingdom and while many pushed for greater pressure on these people to convert to Protestantism Philippe would instead pass the Religious Tolerance Act of 1635 which guarantied the right for anyone in the kingdom to practice any form of Christianity that they wished citing that his wife was a Catholic. This act also helped influence his foreign policy with himself soon offering Louis II of Navarre who had succeeded his father as King of Navarre to become an autonomous region of the Kingdom of France as protection against the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon who were beginning to eye the small kingdom. The King of Navarre would accept in exchange for a marriage between his heir and one of Philippe’s daughters to which he agreed since one of his daughters was already in contact with the Prince of Navarre.

Philippe’s reign would be considered a very peaceful one with little conflict allowing himself to focus on internal improvements. He would be succeeded by his eldest son Henri Guillaume, Dauphin of France.

View attachment 786013
[6] Following two miscarriages, the birth of the Prince in 1630, was a celebration for the country, named after both his grandfather and King Henri III of Navarre, his father would give him the middle name after Shakespeare.
A few weeks after his 3rd birthday, his grandfather died, meaning his father was now king and Henri was the Dauphin of France.
As heir to the Kingdom, Henri Guillaume would gain an excellent education as well as gaining the love of theatre from his father, on his 18th birthday, Henri would invest in the Crown Theatre in Paris, granting it a royal warrant of appointment.

In 1649, with his father’s foreign policy, looking to sure up support for Protestants, Henri was married to Princess Sophia of the Palatinate (1630-1714) daughter of Frederick V of the Palatinate, a member of the House of Wittelsbach, and Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Edward VII of England, a marriage arranged during the Treaty of Westphalia, when the anti-Habsburg French had supported their hold on the Electorate during the Thirty Years' War, forming a strong alliance, especially with France annexing the regions of Alsace and the Duchy of Lorraine.

The match would be a loving one, with Henri enjoying Sophia’s exceptional intellectual ability, creative spirit and curiosity. Together they would have seven children who reached adulthood.

For the next sixteen years, the Dauphin and Dauphine, would serve loyally to King Philippe’s court, supporting the internal improvements. Upon his death, the royal couple would hold a month of mourning.

As king, Henri would try and carry on the peaceful foreign policy, apart from a few skirmishes in regards to French colonies and a minor war between France and the Dutch which only lasted for two years resulting in Netherlands being defeated with their navy wiped out and few colonies in the Americas annexed by the French.

Towards the end of his life, Henri became seriously and increasingly ill, thirty years into his reign, he would suffer a stroke and within a year he would die, leaving his throne to be succeeded by his son Francois.


[7]

1667566390364.png



Francois IV was the oldest son of Henri III, born in 1650. A flamboyant and well-dressed man, he was always the fashion icon at court and he had a well known love for styling other people's outfits. With his prissy attitude and vanity, he was not seen as a suitable successor to his father, but there was nothing that could be done. He succeeded peacefully as king upon the death of his father. By then, he was already widowed five times and a father of seventeen legitimate children between his five late wives (not to mention the other dozen bastards that he sired).

He did not continue the expansionism of his father, instead opting to shore up his domestic support. He recentralized power in Paris and kept diligent records of his modest personal finances (he was a massive spendthrift when it came to his children, though, according to those same account records). The king was a charitable man and often donated large sums to churches and charities. His principal goal was to preserve royal authority and reduce the power of some of his noblemen. He did this through two methods: the first by marrying off some of his youngest legitimate children (and all the bastards) within the nobility to ensure that family ties bonded them all together, the second by levying heavy fines against "extravagance" (too many servants was one notable condition).

He would die in the arms of his mistress, and was succeeded by his heir.

[8] Louis was his father's fifth son, born in 1693. His older brothers died young except for his eldest Francois. Unfortunately, Francois died childless in 1699 of syphilis. In 1710, seventeen-year-old Louis would ascend to the throne. Louis was his father's opposite in many ways, taking his duty quite seriously. He was also a man who enjoyed expanding his knowledge, founding his own society of inventors and scientists. He would be wed in 1720 to Princess Alexandra of Scotland. They would have ten children in their long years of marriage.

The first decade of Louis' rule was peaceful. He spent his days, working to extend the prosperity of his kingdom, calling himself the servant of his people. Then in 1730s, the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire began. It started with the death of Emperor Ferdinand III, the last of the male Hapsburg (since the death of King Philip of Spain in 1665). He left no heir, male or female, leading to a succession crisis with the Lutheran Duke of Prussia and the Catholic Elector of Bavaria squaring off. The Grand Duke of Tuscany and the King of Sardinia tried to declare Italy independent. It lead to a complete mess that Louis tried to stay out of.

However, soon the Republic of England, and the Kingdom of Scotland got involved which in turn caused Queen Alexandra to beg her husband to side with the Duke of Prussia, calling it his Christian duty. Louis eventually agreed and in 1735, he marched on Austria, meeting the Imperial army in a battle which Louis would latter claim would have no winners aside from the crows who feasted on the corpses. The war dragged on until 1745 when Louis finally had enough, he mediated a peace treaty that would see the Holy Roman Empire decided into three parts. The Empire of Austria, the King of Germany, and the Kingdom of Italy. Then he marched back home, promising to attack whoever broke the peace treaty.

Thankfully, the newly formed kingdoms and empire were just as relieved as he was that the war was over. Louis would try to keep the peace by marrying his children to the new royal dynasties. He would spend the next twenty years traveling through his domains, trying to get the economy back on track after such a lengthy war and also observing the government of his colonies. He also made sure to make plenty of government reforms, wanting to curb the corruption of the nobles. He did not slow down until a few years before his death. He was eighty-four when he died, surrounded by his children and grandchildren. He lived a long and full life.
 
Last edited:
POD: Francois I dies in the battle of Pavia.

Kings of France
1515-1525: Francois I (House of Valois-Angoulêm)
1525-1556: Francois II (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [1]
1556-1599: Francois III (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [2]
1599-1616: Robert III (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [3]
1616-1633: Henri II (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [4]
1633-1665: Philippe VII (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [5]
1665-1696: Henri III (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [6]
1696-1710: Francois IV (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [7]
1710-1777: Louis XIII (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [8]
1777-1836: Henri IV (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [9]


[1] Francois II became king just four days shy of his seventh birthday. With both his parents dead, Francois and his siblings would be taken care of by their grandmother and their aunt. In 1530, peace would be made with the Holy Roman Emperor by having Francois be betrothed to the emperor's niece, Maria of Portugal. They would marry in 1536 when Francois would begin ruling for himself. Unlike most men of his time (including his two brothers) Francois was noted to be completely devoted to his wife, never taking a mistress, claiming that they all paled in comparison to his darling Marie. From 1538 to 1555, they would have nine children.

Once, he began ruling in his own right, Francois was eager to continue his father's renaissance, he invested his money in many projects including ventures in trade and exploration. He commissioned several hospitals and churches along with creating a new palace in Paris. In hopes of expanding his diplomatic relation, he made dynastic matches for his siblings, having his sister Madeline marry the King of Scots, his sister Marguerite was wed to the Duke of Savoy, his brother Henri would marry Catherine de' Medici, and his youngest brother, Charles, would wed Amalia of Cleves. He also gained an alliance with the Ottoman empire.

After over a decade of peace, Francois decided to restart the Italian wars in 1542, hoping to regain control of the Duchy of Milan, not to mention avenge his father against the emperor. Charles V lacked funds to continue fighting and had to deal with the rebellious Lutheran Germans. Not to mention, his ally, King Henry died during the Siege of Boulogne in 1544. The war would end in 1546 with Emperor Charles conceding Milan and the Duchy of Burgundy to King Francois in exchange for a small price. Francois, high on victory, decided to take advantage of England's boy-king and recapture Calais in 1547, removing England's last foothold in Europe.

For the next nine years, Francois tended more domestic affairs, trying to be a mediator in the growing religious tensions. Sadly, he was only starving off the inevitable. And in 1556, he collapsed suddenly at a feast, after drinking from his goblet. He was suspected of being poisoned by one of the factions in his court. His heir Francois would be left to deal with the growing animosity.

[2] Francois III was the eldest of Francois II and Marie’s children. Born in 1538, he would have an idyllic childhood in the flourishing renaissance of his father’s court. His mother tried to instill in him a proper Catholic fervor, but Francois’s dearest friend was Louis of Conde, so he never could quite understand this idea that Huguenots were ungodly heathens.

Also, complicating the issue was that young Francois fell in love with the Lady Elizabeth Tudor when her portrait was sent to France and her hand was offered as part of the peace negotiations with England in 1547. (Francois II said no, wanting a more prestigious bride for his son than the recently legitimized sister of the English King). So, after his father’s mysterious death in 1556, Francois III inherited a kingdom that was more and more divided on religious lines, and he himself was more and more likely to side with the Huguenots.

The first thing the 18 year old king did was send an ambassador to England to beg for the Lady Elizabeth’s hand. (The Lady Elizabeth was once again single after her husband, Robert Dudley, died in the Tower from a winter chill. He was in the Tower for the crime of wedding the King’s sister without the King’s permission) While the Lady Elizabeth was very resistant to the idea of remarriage, her brother Edward was very keen on an alliance with France.

Francois and Elizabeth married early in 1557, and Francois set about winning his new wife’s regard: Francois gifted her with tons of elaborate gowns, decadent jewelry, and sundry books. But perhaps the most impactful of his actions was quietly arranging for several of her ladies-in-waiting to be women who had been close to her mother back when Anne Boleyn had been in the French court. And so after several months of Francois’s charm offensive, Elizabeth was just as taken with her husband as he was with her. Their first child was born early in 1558. It was said they never slept apart. This did lead to them having 10 children in 13 years.

While Francois tried to use his marriage as an example of how Catholics and Huguenots could live in harmony, (Francois was still nominally a Catholic, and Elizabeth had quickly converted to the Huguenot flavor of Protestantism) but many of his subjects weren’t having it. Religious tensions would continue to rise throughout the 1560s.

1571 was the worst year of Francois’s life.

The year began with Elizabeth falling ill. What seemed to start as a winner chill, quickly worsened. Elizabeth weakened continuously until she was unable to leave her bed. This baffled the doctors as Elizabeth had always been of excellent health: 10 pregnancies in 13 years would have killed another woman, but Elizabeth had easy pregnancies and quick childbirth, bouncing back after every pregnancy.

And so after months of this strange wasting illness, Francois became convinced that Elizabeth was being poisoned. He arranged for himself, Elizabeth, and their children to travel to a remote hunting lodge and sent for all new doctors. And Elizabeth did begin to recover which just cemented in Francois’s mind that Elizabeth was being poisoned.

Unfortunately Elizabeth took a turn for the worse in November and died mid December of 1471.

Francois was distraught and utterly convinced the love of his life had been murdered. Then, when Francis of Guise, suggested that Francois remarry… possibly to Francis’s sister, Francois thought he’d found his culprit. He arrested the Duke of Guise for the murder of the Queen of France, and France erupted into a religious war.

Francois did well in the war, he was a decent commander. But it was on the field of diplomacy that he shined bringing many Protestant nations onto his side. Though perhaps this had to do with the large number of relatives he had to marry off: Francois had six unmarried siblings to marry off, and all his children to arrange betrothals for. By the end of the war there wasn’t a Protestant nation that France wasn’t allied with through marriage or betrothal.

It was a long war. Once that Francois was fervently determined to win. Once Francois was captured and escaped through serious disregard for his own life: he jumped into a river they were crossing. After seven years of bloody drawn out fighting, after a war that had spread to most of Europe, in 1478, Francois finally won; France was Huguenot.

The last two decades of his life were rather quiet, mostly because no one was really capable of fighting another war. Francois lived to see his children marry their Protestant princes and princesses, he lived to see grandchildren be born. He surprised everyone by remarrying in 1591 to Catherine de Bourbon, Princess of Navarre. They had a calm marriage mostly of companionship, though they did have two children, a boy and a girl.

Late in 1599, Francois fell ill with fever. His last few days were full of fevered delusions, mostly of the Religious War. But finally he grew calm, stared off into the distance and uttered: “Mon Élisabeth.” He fell asleep and never wakened. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Robert.


[3] Francois III’s firstborn child and eldest son by his beloved Elizabeth, Robert was born in February 1558. His name wasn’t supposed to be Robert, but rather Francois…right up until the moment his mother, fresh from the rigours of childbed, fixed his father with a glare of Tudor steel, and said ‘If you truly love me, Francois, you’ll let me name our son for my dearest Robin.”

That, as they say, was that. Robert he was.

Titled Dauphin from birth, Robert was raised at Amboise with his immediate younger siblings, Francois, Duke of Orleans, Charles, Duke of Chartres, Mademoiselle Elisabeth and Mademoiselle Marie, until he was seven, at which point, he was sent to Nantes, in the former Duchy of Brittany, to learn how to rule.

His tutor in arms was an Englishman, Sir Henry Sidney, which many Frenchmen resented, but the man’s position was upheld at the insistence of his father, who wished to please his wife by giving her an excuse to have another Englishwoman in her retinue. This meant that among Robert’s companions in Nantes was the eleven-year-old Phillip Sidney, who would become his closest friend, and be appointed a Marshal of France upon Robert’s ascension to the throne.

Aged thirteen at the outbreak of the War of Religion in late 1571, Robert was deemed old enough to play his part in securing France’s future as a Protestant nation. He was promptly betrothed to the ten-year-old Anna Maria of the Palatinate and sent to ride with the troops, under the supervision of his father’s oldest friend, the Prince de Conde.

On the one hand, this was a rousing success, for the Dauphin’s involvement in the war broadened his knowledge of the land and people he was to lead immeasurably, and his military successes, particularly his leading role in relieving the Siege of La Rochelle in 1575, rendered him a hero of almost titanic proportions among his father’s Huguenot subjects.

However, it also brought the teenage Prince into contact with the Prince de Conde’s many children, including his eldest daughter, Mademoiselle Marguerite.

Born in November 1556, Marguerite de Bourbon was fifteen months the Dauphin’s elder, with her father’s brown hair and flashing blue-grey eyes. The teenage Prince fell passionately in love with the beautiful, educated Princesse du Sang as soon as he laid eyes on her, and they were wed in secret on Robert’s sixteenth birthday, the 26th of February 1574.

By early 1576, their marriage could be hidden no longer, for Marguerite was four months pregnant and starting to show. Francois III wasn’t thrilled, but as he couldn’t exactly have his eldest grandchild branded a bastard, he hastily banished his eldest son from Court to show his displeasure and then arranged for Anna Maria of the Palatinate to become Duchess of Orleans instead, giving her a Princess’s jointure to soothe her father’s injured pride.

Robert’s first child, a daughter, was born in July 1576, and he and Marguerite went on to have seven more surviving children, the last of whom was born in 1599, the year their father ascended the throne.

For all Robert’s skill on the battlefield, exploration and settlement was his real passion. He sponsored several voyages to the New World and Africa, and indeed, the South African capital, Cite du Roi, is named in his honour, as is the city of Dauphin in South Carolina.

He also enjoyed literature and the arts, as did his wife, and indeed, the frontispiece of the 1600 edition of the Duchess of Bouillon’s French translation of the Bible, shows Robert and Marguerite as Solomon and Deborah, the wise judges of the Old Testament, handing the word of God down to their grateful subjects.

It was Robert’s love of travel that would prove his undoing, however. In 1616, he insisted on accompanying his youngest daughter Anne on her journey to wed King Alexander IV of Scotland, against his wife’s protestations.

Marguerite was right to worry. Although he delivered Anne to Holyrood without incident, as he turned for home, Robert’s ship ran into fierce storms along the Scottish coast, and sank with all hands.

Robert’s unexpected death at the age of 58 meant France would now be ruled by his heir, Henri.

[4] Henri was named for his father's best friend and his mother's brother, Henri de Bourbon. He was born in 1580, almost four years after his sister's birth. In 1591, King Robert decided to make peace with the Holy Roman Empire by having a double match. Henri's eldest sister would marry the emperor's heir, his brother Matthais while Henri would marry one of the emperor's cousins. His father choose Margaret of Austria. Henri protested against the marriage, feeling the religious differences would doom both matches.

Regardless of his feelings on the matter, the double wedding would take place in 1599. As he feared, his marriage was anything, but loving. Margaret was a fervent Catholic and was also eager to promote pro-Austria matters at court. She acted cold and distant whenever she and the Dauphin had an argument which was often. Despite this, Margaret would fall pregnant four times, unfortunately only two of these babies would survive. She died in 1611 after giving birth to a stillborn son.

Henri wanted to marry his long time mistress Catherine Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues with whom he had three acknowledged natural children. His father refused. Instead insisting his son marry, Isabella of Navarre, daughter of King Henri III of Navarre despite her being almost twenty years his junior. In 1616, Henri was attending the joint coronation of Emperor Mattais and Elizabeth of France when he received the news of his father's death. Unwilling to upset his sister on his special day, he discreetly left the celebrations, requesting that his ambassador wait until the next day to pass on the news.

In respects to his father's last wish, Henri married the eighteen-year-old Isabella. Although they got along better than his first marriage, it was clear there was still tension as Isabella hated that her husband's mistresses always had more political influence than she did. However, unlike Margaret, she did not argue with her husband over it, instead using her own charms to get her way. They had five surviving children.

In 1621, a large Catholic uprising broke out led by Charles, Duke of Guise and Henri II, Duke of Lorraine. Using the rebellion as an excuse, King Henri annexed Lorriane, sending his troops to invade. He sent false reports to Guise, hinting that he had sent the majority of his army to Lorraine. As he suspected Guise marched straight for Paris where Henri had set up an ambush. Meanwhile, his allies in Navarre joined up with the French troops seiging Lorraine. The Duke of Lorriane sought help from Spain and Italy, unfortunately they were too busy with the Lutheran revolt in Germany. In 1524, the Duke of Lorriane died and his brother, Francis immeditally surrended in exchange for being named Duke of Lorriane over his nieces. With the Duke of Guise already dead by execution and with Lorriane surrendering, the Catholic rebellion ended in a crushing defeat.

In more domestic matters, Henri opened trading relations with Japan and established peaceful relations with the natives of his American colonies. He also established a trading agreement with the Dutch. However, as his sister was the Holy Roman Empress, he found he could not continue his predecessor's alliance with the Ottoman Empire as they were encroaching on her sons' future inheritance.

After the catholic uprising, Henri's health began to deteriorate thanks to an infected wound. He died in 1633 at age fifty-three, leaving his kingdom to Philippe VII.

[5] Philippe was born in 1603 as the second child and only surviving son of King Henri II and Margaret of Austria and as such he was expected to one day succeed his father as King of France and was taught the basics by tutors such as political thinking and military strategy. Much of his early learning was influenced by his mother who was more loyal to her native Austria than France and tried to convince him that the former was more superior than the latter. Philippe was fascinated by the works of late Renaissance Artists specifically English Playwright William Shakespeare who he considered “The last significant artist of a dying era”. Philippe would often beg his father to allow him to travel to England to see one of Shakespeare’s plays for himself but he would hear none of it. In 1611 when Philippe was eight years old his mother would die suddenly and though it would be a relief for Henri it wouldn’t be the same for his son who was extremely close with his late mother. In the late Queen’s will it would be discovered that she had left enough money for her son to see at least one of his favorite artists’s plays. It however would be two years however until he would be able to travel to see one of Shakespeare’s plays but eventually Philippe’s father would allow it and along with him. They would travel to England where they would initially stay with King James I due to the reason Henri had gone was to discuss some trade agreements with England on behalf of Robert III. On June 29 Philippe along with his father would go to the Globe Theater to see a showing of Henry VIII but this exciting trip for Philippe would be cut short after the building caught fire after a cannon used for special effects caused it. While Henri would see the trip as a waste of time and money Philippe was glad that he got to see part of it.

Philippe would go back to his studies in France and life would stay the same for a while until in 1616 his grandfather, Robert III, would die and his father would become King of France and as such he would become Dauphin of France. Later that year his father would marry Isabella of Navarre and like his father would come to detest her or as Philippe would describe in his autobiography later in life “someone I found to loathe entirely.” Despite his feelings towards his stepmother, Philippe would be surprisingly close to his half-siblings who he would describe as “people that I could love in a depressing time.” In 1621 Philippe would come of age and his father would put him in charge of his own regiment during the Catholic Rebellion of that same year. While his father would be in charge of the ambush near Paris, Philippe would be sent to Lorraine to help siege down the region with the help of reinforcements from Navarre. The siege would last almost three years with it ending after Henri II, Duke of Lorraine, would die and his brother, Francis, would surrender soon after. In his autobiography Philippe would describe the siege as “tiresome and unnecessary” with himself seeing it as an excuse to fulfill his father’s ambitions. When he would return home he would discover that his father had arranged a marriage with King Henri III of Navarre which involved him marrying Henri III’s daughter, Henriette Marie, when she would come of age. Philippe would be furious with this decision citing how his father never wanted to marry his stepmother embarrassing him in front of the King of Navarre.

Despite the embarrassment Philippe would still be arranged to marry Henriette Marie and the two would wed in 1627 when she came of age. Though he hadn’t had wanted to marry her Philippe at least would try to love her wishing his marriage to not be as unloving as his father’s first marriage and as a result the two would have five children that would live to adulthood. Philippe would continue his duties as Dauphin of France until he would receive the news in 1633 of his father’s death while on vacation with his family in Normandy. Philippe and his family would travel to Paris where preparations for his coronation were already underway and a few days later he would officially be crowned as King of France. One of the main issues in the first few years of his reign was the significant Catholic population in the kingdom and while many pushed for greater pressure on these people to convert to Protestantism Philippe would instead pass the Religious Tolerance Act of 1635 which guarantied the right for anyone in the kingdom to practice any form of Christianity that they wished citing that his wife was a Catholic. This act also helped influence his foreign policy with himself soon offering Louis II of Navarre who had succeeded his father as King of Navarre to become an autonomous region of the Kingdom of France as protection against the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon who were beginning to eye the small kingdom. The King of Navarre would accept in exchange for a marriage between his heir and one of Philippe’s daughters to which he agreed since one of his daughters was already in contact with the Prince of Navarre.

Philippe’s reign would be considered a very peaceful one with little conflict allowing himself to focus on internal improvements. He would be succeeded by his eldest son Henri Guillaume, Dauphin of France.

View attachment 786013
[6] Following two miscarriages, the birth of the Prince in 1630, was a celebration for the country, named after both his grandfather and King Henri III of Navarre, his father would give him the middle name after Shakespeare.
A few weeks after his 3rd birthday, his grandfather died, meaning his father was now king and Henri was the Dauphin of France.
As heir to the Kingdom, Henri Guillaume would gain an excellent education as well as gaining the love of theatre from his father, on his 18th birthday, Henri would invest in the Crown Theatre in Paris, granting it a royal warrant of appointment.

In 1649, with his father’s foreign policy, looking to sure up support for Protestants, Henri was married to Princess Sophia of the Palatinate (1630-1714) daughter of Frederick V of the Palatinate, a member of the House of Wittelsbach, and Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Edward VII of England, a marriage arranged during the Treaty of Westphalia, when the anti-Habsburg French had supported their hold on the Electorate during the Thirty Years' War, forming a strong alliance, especially with France annexing the regions of Alsace and the Duchy of Lorraine.

The match would be a loving one, with Henri enjoying Sophia’s exceptional intellectual ability, creative spirit and curiosity. Together they would have seven children who reached adulthood.

For the next sixteen years, the Dauphin and Dauphine, would serve loyally to King Philippe’s court, supporting the internal improvements. Upon his death, the royal couple would hold a month of mourning.

As king, Henri would try and carry on the peaceful foreign policy, apart from a few skirmishes in regards to French colonies and a minor war between France and the Dutch which only lasted for two years resulting in Netherlands being defeated with their navy wiped out and few colonies in the Americas annexed by the French.

Towards the end of his life, Henri became seriously and increasingly ill, thirty years into his reign, he would suffer a stroke and within a year he would die, leaving his throne to be succeeded by his son Francois.


[7]

1667566390364.png



Francois IV was the oldest son of Henri III, born in 1650. A flamboyant and well-dressed man, he was always the fashion icon at court and he had a well known love for styling other people's outfits. With his prissy attitude and vanity, he was not seen as a suitable successor to his father, but there was nothing that could be done. He succeeded peacefully as king upon the death of his father. By then, he was already widowed five times and a father of seventeen legitimate children between his five late wives (not to mention the other dozen bastards that he sired).

He did not continue the expansionism of his father, instead opting to shore up his domestic support. He recentralized power in Paris and kept diligent records of his modest personal finances (he was a massive spendthrift when it came to his children, though, according to those same account records). The king was a charitable man and often donated large sums to churches and charities. His principal goal was to preserve royal authority and reduce the power of some of his noblemen. He did this through two methods: the first by marrying off some of his youngest legitimate children (and all the bastards) within the nobility to ensure that family ties bonded them all together, the second by levying heavy fines against "extravagance" (too many servants was one notable condition).

He would die in the arms of his mistress, and was succeeded by his heir.

[8] Louis was his father's fifth son, born in 1693. His older brothers died young except for his eldest Francois. Unfortunately, Francois died childless in 1699 of syphilis. In 1710, seventeen-year-old Louis would ascend to the throne. Louis was his father's opposite in many ways, taking his duty quite seriously. He was also a man who enjoyed expanding his knowledge, founding his own society of inventors and scientists. He would be wed in 1720 to Princess Alexandra of Scotland. They would have ten children in their long years of marriage.

The first decade of Louis' rule was peaceful. He spent his days, working to extend the prosperity of his kingdom, calling himself the servant of his people. Then in 1730s, the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire began. It started with the death of Emperor Ferdinand III, the last of the male Hapsburg (since the death of King Philip of Spain in 1665). He left no heir, male or female, leading to a succession crisis with the Lutheran Duke of Prussia and the Catholic Elector of Bavaria squaring off. The Grand Duke of Tuscany and the King of Sardinia tried to declare Italy independent. It lead to a complete mess that Louis tried to stay out of.

However, soon the Republic of England, and the Kingdom of Scotland got involved which in turn caused Queen Alexandra to beg her husband to side with the Duke of Prussia, calling it his Christian duty. Louis eventually agreed and in 1735, he marched on Austria, meeting the Imperial army in a battle which Louis would latter claim would have no winners aside from the crows who feasted on the corpses. The war dragged on until 1745 when Louis finally had enough, he mediated a peace treaty that would see the Holy Roman Empire decided into three parts. The Empire of Austria, the King of Germany, and the Kingdom of Italy. Then he marched back home, promising to attack whoever broke the peace treaty.

Thankfully, the newly formed kingdoms and empire were just as relieved as he was that the war was over. Louis would try to keep the peace by marrying his children to the new royal dynasties. He would spend the next twenty years traveling through his domains, trying to get the economy back on track after such a lengthy war and also observing the government of his colonies. He also made sure to make plenty of government reforms, wanting to curb the corruption of the nobles. He did not slow down until a few years before his death. He was eighty-four when he died, surrounded by his children and grandchildren. He lived a long and full life.

[9] The story of Henri’s arrival to French throne as an infant is full of tragedy, men who died too young, and just a touch of European Royal Inbreeding.

Robert, Dauphin of France was the eldest child of Louis XIII and Alexandra of Scotland. (He was named Robert to honor Alexandra’s heritage) he was always a sickly child, prone to fits and seizures, but intelligent and gregarious. He wed Louisa Ulrika of Germany as part of his father’s alliance with the Duke of Prussia (later to be King of Germany). Robert would only live longe out to sire one child, a son named Louis.

Louis would have the health his father never had while keeping this quick wit and people skills. Louis served France ably as Dauphin of France and was a great help to his grandfather, Louis XIII. Louis the Dauphin would wed Sofia Frederika of Sweden. While they didn’t appear to get along, the two must have been physically compatible as they would have 15 children. The eldest of whom was Guillaume, called the Petit Dauphin.

Guillaume was charming and a rather rash young man. In an effort to settle him down, Guillaume was wed to his first cousin once removed Wihelmina of Denmark, a very dutiful serious girl. They two clicked and Guillaumette (as she was called in France) quickly fell pregnant.

January 1777, Guillaumette would go into early labor. A message was sent to Guillaume who rushed back accompanied by his father Louis. Unfortunately, the horse would spook and their carriage would slide down a steep incline and crash. Both men would die, leaving the infant Henry has Dauphin of France.

Guillaumette would be significantly effected by what we now know as post-pardon depression and her husband’s death. So, when Louis XIII died several months later, it was Henri’s grandmother, Dowager Dauphine Sophie, and great-grandmother, the former dowager Dauphine Louise, fought for the regency. The first few years of Henri’s ‘reign’ were chaotic as the two woman often contradicted each other’s orders, appointed different men to the same position, and both tried to arrange a bride for Henri. The only reason France didn’t devolve into totally chaos was how secure Louis XIII had left everything.

But, one day, when Henri was 4 he managed to slip in minders and went to find his mother. He knew were her rooms were from the visits his nurse arranged. Guillaumette was pleased to see her little son, and this made her more present than usual, so she was able to witness the confusion and infighting that happened when both Louise and Sophie arrived to retrieve the little King. Perhaps this was a wake up call, or perhaps the years had allowed her mind to heal, but either way Guillaumette was ready to remind everyone that she was the mother of the King and rightful regent. Also, granddaughter to Louis XIII herself.

It took about a year for Guillaumette to wrest control of the regency from her mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law. She set about clearing up the appointments and orders the two woman left behind.

The rest of Henri’s reign was quite peaceful, with only one minor hiccup: Henri insisted on marrying a minor French noblewoman named Madeleine. Many felt she was an inappropriate bride for a King of France, but Madeleine soon became quite popular for her charming ways and pretty clothes. Henri and Madeleine would have 5 children.

Henri would be diagnosed with cancer at age 53, and his health would deteriorate until he died 4 years later with Madeleine by his side.






The children of Louis XIII and Alexandra of Scotland
1. Robert, Dauphin of France, b. 1722, d. 1742 m. Louisa Ulrika of Germany, b. 1720 (Called Louise in France)
1. Louis, Dauphin of France, b. 1741, b. 1776 m. Sofia Frederika of Sweden, b. 1743 (Called Sophie in France)​
1. Guillaume of Valois-Angoulem “the Petit Dauphin”, b. 1760, d. 1776 m. Wihelmina of Denmark, b. 1759 (Called Guillaumette in France)​
1. Henri IV of France, b. 1777 m. Madeleine de Rougé, b. 1780​
1. 5 children​
x. 14 other children​
2-9. 8 other children
10. Elizabeth of Valois-Angoulem, b. 1740 m. Christian VII of Denmark
1. Wihelmina of Denmark, b. 1759 m. Guillaume of Valois-Angoulem “the Petit Dauphin”, b. 1762​
See Guillaume​
 

Ian the Admin

Administrator
Donor
I've got to differ with the mods on this one. Shared worlds is explicitly for "roleplaying" scenarios, the vast majority of which are explicitly competitive, organized games. This attracts a very particular audience, in particular a younger audience. We need to be conscious that anything in Shared Worlds that doesn't appeal to its typical audience will not do well. I think that it shows respect to the posters in this thread to acknowledge it's OK for them to worry about that.

When I review this thread, I basically see a non-competitive, semi-organized bunch of people who are throwing out some timelines. Just because somebody says they "claim" a country doesn't mean they're planning to roleplay it. They're not using it to take action against other players. They're just posting lists of monarchs. I think people should have the freedom to create collaborative TLs without it being considered the same thing as organized roleplaying games.

I'm moving the thread back to Pre-1900.
 
Last edited:
I've got to differ with the mods on this one. Shared worlds is explicitly for "roleplaying" scenarios, the vast majority of which are explicitly competitive, organized games. This attracts a very particular audience, in particular a younger audience. We need to be conscious that anything in Shared Worlds that doesn't appeal to its typical audience will not do well. I think that it shows respect to the posters in this thread to acknowledge it's OK for them to worry about that.

When I review this thread, I basically see a non-competitive, semi-organized bunch of people who are throwing out some timelines. Just because somebody says they "claim" a country doesn't mean they're planning to roleplay it. They're not using it to take action against other players. They're just posting lists of monarchs. I think people should have the freedom to create collaborative TLs without it being considered the same thing as organized roleplaying games.

I'm moving the thread back to Pre-1900.
Thank you!!!
 
I've got to differ with the mods on this one. Shared worlds is explicitly for "roleplaying" scenarios, the vast majority of which are explicitly competitive, organized games. This attracts a very particular audience, in particular a younger audience. We need to be conscious that anything in Shared Worlds that doesn't appeal to its typical audience will not do well. I think that it shows respect to the posters in this thread to acknowledge it's OK for them to worry about that.

When I review this thread, I basically see a non-competitive, semi-organized bunch of people who are throwing out some timelines. Just because somebody says they "claim" a country doesn't mean they're planning to roleplay it. They're not using it to take action against other players. They're just posting lists of monarchs. I think people should have the freedom to create collaborative TLs without it being considered the same thing as organized roleplaying games.

I'm moving the thread back to Pre-1900.
Based!!!
 
I've got to differ with the mods on this one. Shared worlds is explicitly for "roleplaying" scenarios, the vast majority of which are explicitly competitive, organized games. This attracts a very particular audience, in particular a younger audience. We need to be conscious that anything in Shared Worlds that doesn't appeal to its typical audience will not do well. I think that it shows respect to the posters in this thread to acknowledge it's OK for them to worry about that.

When I review this thread, I basically see a non-competitive, semi-organized bunch of people who are throwing out some timelines. Just because somebody says they "claim" a country doesn't mean they're planning to roleplay it. They're not using it to take action against other players. They're just posting lists of monarchs. I think people should have the freedom to create collaborative TLs without it being considered the same thing as organized roleplaying games.

I'm moving the thread back to Pre-1900.
Sorry I didn't see this sooner but as the OP of the thread I just want to thank you Ian for moving the thread back to Pre-1900.
 
Kings of France
1515-1525: Francois I (House of Valois-Angoulêm)
1525-1556: Francois II (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [1]
1556-1599: Francois III (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [2]
1599-1616: Robert III (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [3]
1616-1633: Henri II (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [4]
1633-1665: Philippe VII (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [5]
1665-1696: Henri III (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [6]
1696-1710: Francois IV (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [7]
1710-1777: Louis XIII (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [8]
1777-1836: Henri IV (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [9]
1836-1866: Joseph I (House of Valois Angoulem) [10]


[1] Francois II became king just four days shy of his seventh birthday. With both his parents dead, Francois and his siblings would be taken care of by their grandmother and their aunt. In 1530, peace would be made with the Holy Roman Emperor by having Francois be betrothed to the emperor's niece, Maria of Portugal. They would marry in 1536 when Francois would begin ruling for himself. Unlike most men of his time (including his two brothers) Francois was noted to be completely devoted to his wife, never taking a mistress, claiming that they all paled in comparison to his darling Marie. From 1538 to 1555, they would have nine children.

Once, he began ruling in his own right, Francois was eager to continue his father's renaissance, he invested his money in many projects including ventures in trade and exploration. He commissioned several hospitals and churches along with creating a new palace in Paris. In hopes of expanding his diplomatic relation, he made dynastic matches for his siblings, having his sister Madeline marry the King of Scots, his sister Marguerite was wed to the Duke of Savoy, his brother Henri would marry Catherine de' Medici, and his youngest brother, Charles, would wed Amalia of Cleves. He also gained an alliance with the Ottoman empire.

After over a decade of peace, Francois decided to restart the Italian wars in 1542, hoping to regain control of the Duchy of Milan, not to mention avenge his father against the emperor. Charles V lacked funds to continue fighting and had to deal with the rebellious Lutheran Germans. Not to mention, his ally, King Henry died during the Siege of Boulogne in 1544. The war would end in 1546 with Emperor Charles conceding Milan and the Duchy of Burgundy to King Francois in exchange for a small price. Francois, high on victory, decided to take advantage of England's boy-king and recapture Calais in 1547, removing England's last foothold in Europe.

For the next nine years, Francois tended more domestic affairs, trying to be a mediator in the growing religious tensions. Sadly, he was only starving off the inevitable. And in 1556, he collapsed suddenly at a feast, after drinking from his goblet. He was suspected of being poisoned by one of the factions in his court. His heir Francois would be left to deal with the growing animosity.

[2] Francois III was the eldest of Francois II and Marie’s children. Born in 1538, he would have an idyllic childhood in the flourishing renaissance of his father’s court. His mother tried to instill in him a proper Catholic fervor, but Francois’s dearest friend was Louis of Conde, so he never could quite understand this idea that Huguenots were ungodly heathens.

Also, complicating the issue was that young Francois fell in love with the Lady Elizabeth Tudor when her portrait was sent to France and her hand was offered as part of the peace negotiations with England in 1547. (Francois II said no, wanting a more prestigious bride for his son than the recently legitimized sister of the English King). So, after his father’s mysterious death in 1556, Francois III inherited a kingdom that was more and more divided on religious lines, and he himself was more and more likely to side with the Huguenots.

The first thing the 18 year old king did was send an ambassador to England to beg for the Lady Elizabeth’s hand. (The Lady Elizabeth was once again single after her husband, Robert Dudley, died in the Tower from a winter chill. He was in the Tower for the crime of wedding the King’s sister without the King’s permission) While the Lady Elizabeth was very resistant to the idea of remarriage, her brother Edward was very keen on an alliance with France.

Francois and Elizabeth married early in 1557, and Francois set about winning his new wife’s regard: Francois gifted her with tons of elaborate gowns, decadent jewelry, and sundry books. But perhaps the most impactful of his actions was quietly arranging for several of her ladies-in-waiting to be women who had been close to her mother back when Anne Boleyn had been in the French court. And so after several months of Francois’s charm offensive, Elizabeth was just as taken with her husband as he was with her. Their first child was born early in 1558. It was said they never slept apart. This did lead to them having 10 children in 13 years.

While Francois tried to use his marriage as an example of how Catholics and Huguenots could live in harmony, (Francois was still nominally a Catholic, and Elizabeth had quickly converted to the Huguenot flavor of Protestantism) but many of his subjects weren’t having it. Religious tensions would continue to rise throughout the 1560s.

1571 was the worst year of Francois’s life.

The year began with Elizabeth falling ill. What seemed to start as a winner chill, quickly worsened. Elizabeth weakened continuously until she was unable to leave her bed. This baffled the doctors as Elizabeth had always been of excellent health: 10 pregnancies in 13 years would have killed another woman, but Elizabeth had easy pregnancies and quick childbirth, bouncing back after every pregnancy.

And so after months of this strange wasting illness, Francois became convinced that Elizabeth was being poisoned. He arranged for himself, Elizabeth, and their children to travel to a remote hunting lodge and sent for all new doctors. And Elizabeth did begin to recover which just cemented in Francois’s mind that Elizabeth was being poisoned.

Unfortunately Elizabeth took a turn for the worse in November and died mid December of 1471.

Francois was distraught and utterly convinced the love of his life had been murdered. Then, when Francis of Guise, suggested that Francois remarry… possibly to Francis’s sister, Francois thought he’d found his culprit. He arrested the Duke of Guise for the murder of the Queen of France, and France erupted into a religious war.

Francois did well in the war, he was a decent commander. But it was on the field of diplomacy that he shined bringing many Protestant nations onto his side. Though perhaps this had to do with the large number of relatives he had to marry off: Francois had six unmarried siblings to marry off, and all his children to arrange betrothals for. By the end of the war there wasn’t a Protestant nation that France wasn’t allied with through marriage or betrothal.

It was a long war. Once that Francois was fervently determined to win. Once Francois was captured and escaped through serious disregard for his own life: he jumped into a river they were crossing. After seven years of bloody drawn out fighting, after a war that had spread to most of Europe, in 1478, Francois finally won; France was Huguenot.

The last two decades of his life were rather quiet, mostly because no one was really capable of fighting another war. Francois lived to see his children marry their Protestant princes and princesses, he lived to see grandchildren be born. He surprised everyone by remarrying in 1591 to Catherine de Bourbon, Princess of Navarre. They had a calm marriage mostly of companionship, though they did have two children, a boy and a girl.

Late in 1599, Francois fell ill with fever. His last few days were full of fevered delusions, mostly of the Religious War. But finally he grew calm, stared off into the distance and uttered: “Mon Élisabeth.” He fell asleep and never wakened. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Robert.


[3] Francois III’s firstborn child and eldest son by his beloved Elizabeth, Robert was born in February 1558. His name wasn’t supposed to be Robert, but rather Francois…right up until the moment his mother, fresh from the rigours of childbed, fixed his father with a glare of Tudor steel, and said ‘If you truly love me, Francois, you’ll let me name our son for my dearest Robin.”

That, as they say, was that. Robert he was.

Titled Dauphin from birth, Robert was raised at Amboise with his immediate younger siblings, Francois, Duke of Orleans, Charles, Duke of Chartres, Mademoiselle Elisabeth and Mademoiselle Marie, until he was seven, at which point, he was sent to Nantes, in the former Duchy of Brittany, to learn how to rule.

His tutor in arms was an Englishman, Sir Henry Sidney, which many Frenchmen resented, but the man’s position was upheld at the insistence of his father, who wished to please his wife by giving her an excuse to have another Englishwoman in her retinue. This meant that among Robert’s companions in Nantes was the eleven-year-old Phillip Sidney, who would become his closest friend, and be appointed a Marshal of France upon Robert’s ascension to the throne.

Aged thirteen at the outbreak of the War of Religion in late 1571, Robert was deemed old enough to play his part in securing France’s future as a Protestant nation. He was promptly betrothed to the ten-year-old Anna Maria of the Palatinate and sent to ride with the troops, under the supervision of his father’s oldest friend, the Prince de Conde.

On the one hand, this was a rousing success, for the Dauphin’s involvement in the war broadened his knowledge of the land and people he was to lead immeasurably, and his military successes, particularly his leading role in relieving the Siege of La Rochelle in 1575, rendered him a hero of almost titanic proportions among his father’s Huguenot subjects.

However, it also brought the teenage Prince into contact with the Prince de Conde’s many children, including his eldest daughter, Mademoiselle Marguerite.

Born in November 1556, Marguerite de Bourbon was fifteen months the Dauphin’s elder, with her father’s brown hair and flashing blue-grey eyes. The teenage Prince fell passionately in love with the beautiful, educated Princesse du Sang as soon as he laid eyes on her, and they were wed in secret on Robert’s sixteenth birthday, the 26th of February 1574.

By early 1576, their marriage could be hidden no longer, for Marguerite was four months pregnant and starting to show. Francois III wasn’t thrilled, but as he couldn’t exactly have his eldest grandchild branded a bastard, he hastily banished his eldest son from Court to show his displeasure and then arranged for Anna Maria of the Palatinate to become Duchess of Orleans instead, giving her a Princess’s jointure to soothe her father’s injured pride.

Robert’s first child, a daughter, was born in July 1576, and he and Marguerite went on to have seven more surviving children, the last of whom was born in 1599, the year their father ascended the throne.

For all Robert’s skill on the battlefield, exploration and settlement was his real passion. He sponsored several voyages to the New World and Africa, and indeed, the South African capital, Cite du Roi, is named in his honour, as is the city of Dauphin in South Carolina.

He also enjoyed literature and the arts, as did his wife, and indeed, the frontispiece of the 1600 edition of the Duchess of Bouillon’s French translation of the Bible, shows Robert and Marguerite as Solomon and Deborah, the wise judges of the Old Testament, handing the word of God down to their grateful subjects.

It was Robert’s love of travel that would prove his undoing, however. In 1616, he insisted on accompanying his youngest daughter Anne on her journey to wed King Alexander IV of Scotland, against his wife’s protestations.

Marguerite was right to worry. Although he delivered Anne to Holyrood without incident, as he turned for home, Robert’s ship ran into fierce storms along the Scottish coast, and sank with all hands.

Robert’s unexpected death at the age of 58 meant France would now be ruled by his heir, Henri.

[4] Henri was named for his father's best friend and his mother's brother, Henri de Bourbon. He was born in 1580, almost four years after his sister's birth. In 1591, King Robert decided to make peace with the Holy Roman Empire by having a double match. Henri's eldest sister would marry the emperor's heir, his brother Matthais while Henri would marry one of the emperor's cousins. His father choose Margaret of Austria. Henri protested against the marriage, feeling the religious differences would doom both matches.

Regardless of his feelings on the matter, the double wedding would take place in 1599. As he feared, his marriage was anything, but loving. Margaret was a fervent Catholic and was also eager to promote pro-Austria matters at court. She acted cold and distant whenever she and the Dauphin had an argument which was often. Despite this, Margaret would fall pregnant four times, unfortunately only two of these babies would survive. She died in 1611 after giving birth to a stillborn son.

Henri wanted to marry his long time mistress Catherine Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues with whom he had three acknowledged natural children. His father refused. Instead insisting his son marry, Isabella of Navarre, daughter of King Henri III of Navarre despite her being almost twenty years his junior. In 1616, Henri was attending the joint coronation of Emperor Mattais and Elizabeth of France when he received the news of his father's death. Unwilling to upset his sister on his special day, he discreetly left the celebrations, requesting that his ambassador wait until the next day to pass on the news.

In respects to his father's last wish, Henri married the eighteen-year-old Isabella. Although they got along better than his first marriage, it was clear there was still tension as Isabella hated that her husband's mistresses always had more political influence than she did. However, unlike Margaret, she did not argue with her husband over it, instead using her own charms to get her way. They had five surviving children.

In 1621, a large Catholic uprising broke out led by Charles, Duke of Guise and Henri II, Duke of Lorraine. Using the rebellion as an excuse, King Henri annexed Lorriane, sending his troops to invade. He sent false reports to Guise, hinting that he had sent the majority of his army to Lorraine. As he suspected Guise marched straight for Paris where Henri had set up an ambush. Meanwhile, his allies in Navarre joined up with the French troops seiging Lorraine. The Duke of Lorriane sought help from Spain and Italy, unfortunately they were too busy with the Lutheran revolt in Germany. In 1524, the Duke of Lorriane died and his brother, Francis immeditally surrended in exchange for being named Duke of Lorriane over his nieces. With the Duke of Guise already dead by execution and with Lorriane surrendering, the Catholic rebellion ended in a crushing defeat.

In more domestic matters, Henri opened trading relations with Japan and established peaceful relations with the natives of his American colonies. He also established a trading agreement with the Dutch. However, as his sister was the Holy Roman Empress, he found he could not continue his predecessor's alliance with the Ottoman Empire as they were encroaching on her sons' future inheritance.

After the catholic uprising, Henri's health began to deteriorate thanks to an infected wound. He died in 1633 at age fifty-three, leaving his kingdom to Philippe VII.

[5] Philippe was born in 1603 as the second child and only surviving son of King Henri II and Margaret of Austria and as such he was expected to one day succeed his father as King of France and was taught the basics by tutors such as political thinking and military strategy. Much of his early learning was influenced by his mother who was more loyal to her native Austria than France and tried to convince him that the former was more superior than the latter. Philippe was fascinated by the works of late Renaissance Artists specifically English Playwright William Shakespeare who he considered “The last significant artist of a dying era”. Philippe would often beg his father to allow him to travel to England to see one of Shakespeare’s plays for himself but he would hear none of it. In 1611 when Philippe was eight years old his mother would die suddenly and though it would be a relief for Henri it wouldn’t be the same for his son who was extremely close with his late mother. In the late Queen’s will it would be discovered that she had left enough money for her son to see at least one of his favorite artists’s plays. It however would be two years however until he would be able to travel to see one of Shakespeare’s plays but eventually Philippe’s father would allow it and along with him. They would travel to England where they would initially stay with King James I due to the reason Henri had gone was to discuss some trade agreements with England on behalf of Robert III. On June 29 Philippe along with his father would go to the Globe Theater to see a showing of Henry VIII but this exciting trip for Philippe would be cut short after the building caught fire after a cannon used for special effects caused it. While Henri would see the trip as a waste of time and money Philippe was glad that he got to see part of it.

Philippe would go back to his studies in France and life would stay the same for a while until in 1616 his grandfather, Robert III, would die and his father would become King of France and as such he would become Dauphin of France. Later that year his father would marry Isabella of Navarre and like his father would come to detest her or as Philippe would describe in his autobiography later in life “someone I found to loathe entirely.” Despite his feelings towards his stepmother, Philippe would be surprisingly close to his half-siblings who he would describe as “people that I could love in a depressing time.” In 1621 Philippe would come of age and his father would put him in charge of his own regiment during the Catholic Rebellion of that same year. While his father would be in charge of the ambush near Paris, Philippe would be sent to Lorraine to help siege down the region with the help of reinforcements from Navarre. The siege would last almost three years with it ending after Henri II, Duke of Lorraine, would die and his brother, Francis, would surrender soon after. In his autobiography Philippe would describe the siege as “tiresome and unnecessary” with himself seeing it as an excuse to fulfill his father’s ambitions. When he would return home he would discover that his father had arranged a marriage with King Henri III of Navarre which involved him marrying Henri III’s daughter, Henriette Marie, when she would come of age. Philippe would be furious with this decision citing how his father never wanted to marry his stepmother embarrassing him in front of the King of Navarre.

Despite the embarrassment Philippe would still be arranged to marry Henriette Marie and the two would wed in 1627 when she came of age. Though he hadn’t had wanted to marry her Philippe at least would try to love her wishing his marriage to not be as unloving as his father’s first marriage and as a result the two would have five children that would live to adulthood. Philippe would continue his duties as Dauphin of France until he would receive the news in 1633 of his father’s death while on vacation with his family in Normandy. Philippe and his family would travel to Paris where preparations for his coronation were already underway and a few days later he would officially be crowned as King of France. One of the main issues in the first few years of his reign was the significant Catholic population in the kingdom and while many pushed for greater pressure on these people to convert to Protestantism Philippe would instead pass the Religious Tolerance Act of 1635 which guarantied the right for anyone in the kingdom to practice any form of Christianity that they wished citing that his wife was a Catholic. This act also helped influence his foreign policy with himself soon offering Louis II of Navarre who had succeeded his father as King of Navarre to become an autonomous region of the Kingdom of France as protection against the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon who were beginning to eye the small kingdom. The King of Navarre would accept in exchange for a marriage between his heir and one of Philippe’s daughters to which he agreed since one of his daughters was already in contact with the Prince of Navarre.

Philippe’s reign would be considered a very peaceful one with little conflict allowing himself to focus on internal improvements. He would be succeeded by his eldest son Henri Guillaume, Dauphin of France.

View attachment 786013
[6] Following two miscarriages, the birth of the Prince in 1630, was a celebration for the country, named after both his grandfather and King Henri III of Navarre, his father would give him the middle name after Shakespeare.
A few weeks after his 3rd birthday, his grandfather died, meaning his father was now king and Henri was the Dauphin of France.
As heir to the Kingdom, Henri Guillaume would gain an excellent education as well as gaining the love of theatre from his father, on his 18th birthday, Henri would invest in the Crown Theatre in Paris, granting it a royal warrant of appointment.

In 1649, with his father’s foreign policy, looking to sure up support for Protestants, Henri was married to Princess Sophia of the Palatinate (1630-1714) daughter of Frederick V of the Palatinate, a member of the House of Wittelsbach, and Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Edward VII of England, a marriage arranged during the Treaty of Westphalia, when the anti-Habsburg French had supported their hold on the Electorate during the Thirty Years' War, forming a strong alliance, especially with France annexing the regions of Alsace and the Duchy of Lorraine.

The match would be a loving one, with Henri enjoying Sophia’s exceptional intellectual ability, creative spirit and curiosity. Together they would have seven children who reached adulthood.

For the next sixteen years, the Dauphin and Dauphine, would serve loyally to King Philippe’s court, supporting the internal improvements. Upon his death, the royal couple would hold a month of mourning.

As king, Henri would try and carry on the peaceful foreign policy, apart from a few skirmishes in regards to French colonies and a minor war between France and the Dutch which only lasted for two years resulting in Netherlands being defeated with their navy wiped out and few colonies in the Americas annexed by the French.

Towards the end of his life, Henri became seriously and increasingly ill, thirty years into his reign, he would suffer a stroke and within a year he would die, leaving his throne to be succeeded by his son Francois.


[7]

1667566390364.png




Francois IV was the oldest son of Henri III, born in 1650. A flamboyant and well-dressed man, he was always the fashion icon at court and he had a well known love for styling other people's outfits. With his prissy attitude and vanity, he was not seen as a suitable successor to his father, but there was nothing that could be done. He succeeded peacefully as king upon the death of his father. By then, he was already widowed five times and a father of seventeen legitimate children between his five late wives (not to mention the other dozen bastards that he sired).

He did not continue the expansionism of his father, instead opting to shore up his domestic support. He recentralized power in Paris and kept diligent records of his modest personal finances (he was a massive spendthrift when it came to his children, though, according to those same account records). The king was a charitable man and often donated large sums to churches and charities. His principal goal was to preserve royal authority and reduce the power of some of his noblemen. He did this through two methods: the first by marrying off some of his youngest legitimate children (and all the bastards) within the nobility to ensure that family ties bonded them all together, the second by levying heavy fines against "extravagance" (too many servants was one notable condition).

He would die in the arms of his mistress, and was succeeded by his heir.

[8] Louis was his father's fifth son, born in 1693. His older brothers died young except for his eldest Francois. Unfortunately, Francois died childless in 1699 of syphilis. In 1710, seventeen-year-old Louis would ascend to the throne. Louis was his father's opposite in many ways, taking his duty quite seriously. He was also a man who enjoyed expanding his knowledge, founding his own society of inventors and scientists. He would be wed in 1720 to Princess Alexandra of Scotland. They would have ten children in their long years of marriage.

The first decade of Louis' rule was peaceful. He spent his days, working to extend the prosperity of his kingdom, calling himself the servant of his people. Then in 1730s, the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire began. It started with the death of Emperor Ferdinand III, the last of the male Hapsburg (since the death of King Philip of Spain in 1665). He left no heir, male or female, leading to a succession crisis with the Lutheran Duke of Prussia and the Catholic Elector of Bavaria squaring off. The Grand Duke of Tuscany and the King of Sardinia tried to declare Italy independent. It lead to a complete mess that Louis tried to stay out of.

However, soon the Republic of England, and the Kingdom of Scotland got involved which in turn caused Queen Alexandra to beg her husband to side with the Duke of Prussia, calling it his Christian duty. Louis eventually agreed and in 1735, he marched on Austria, meeting the Imperial army in a battle which Louis would latter claim would have no winners aside from the crows who feasted on the corpses. The war dragged on until 1745 when Louis finally had enough, he mediated a peace treaty that would see the Holy Roman Empire decided into three parts. The Empire of Austria, the King of Germany, and the Kingdom of Italy. Then he marched back home, promising to attack whoever broke the peace treaty.

Thankfully, the newly formed kingdoms and empire were just as relieved as he was that the war was over. Louis would try to keep the peace by marrying his children to the new royal dynasties. He would spend the next twenty years traveling through his domains, trying to get the economy back on track after such a lengthy war and also observing the government of his colonies. He also made sure to make plenty of government reforms, wanting to curb the corruption of the nobles. He did not slow down until a few years before his death. He was eighty-four when he died, surrounded by his children and grandchildren. He lived a long and full life.
[9] The story of Henri’s arrival to French throne as an infant is full of tragedy, men who died too young, and just a touch of European Royal Inbreeding.

Robert, Dauphin of France was the eldest child of Louis XIII and Alexandra of Scotland. (He was named Robert to honor Alexandra’s heritage) he was always a sickly child, prone to fits and seizures, but intelligent and gregarious. He wed Louisa Ulrika of Germany as part of his father’s alliance with the Duke of Prussia (later to be King of Germany). Robert would only live longe out to sire one child, a son named Louis.

Louis would have the health his father never had while keeping this quick wit and people skills. Louis served France ably as Dauphin of France and was a great help to his grandfather, Louis XIII. Louis the Dauphin would wed Sofia Frederika of Sweden. While they didn’t appear to get along, the two must have been physically compatible as they would have 15 children. The eldest of whom was Guillaume, called the Petit Dauphin.

Guillaume was charming and a rather rash young man. In an effort to settle him down, Guillaume was wed to his first cousin once removed Wihelmina of Denmark, a very dutiful serious girl. They two clicked and Guillaumette (as she was called in France) quickly fell pregnant.

January 1777, Guillaumette would go into early labor. A message was sent to Guillaume who rushed back accompanied by his father Louis. Unfortunately, the horse would spook and their carriage would slide down a steep incline and crash. Both men would die, leaving the infant Henry has Dauphin of France.

Guillaumette would be significantly effected by what we now know as post-pardon depression and her husband’s death. So, when Louis XIII died several months later, it was Henri’s grandmother, Dowager Dauphine Sophie, and great-grandmother, the former dowager Dauphine Louise, fought for the regency. The first few years of Henri’s ‘reign’ were chaotic as the two woman often contradicted each other’s orders, appointed different men to the same position, and both tried to arrange a bride for Henri. The only reason France didn’t devolve into totally chaos was how secure Louis XIII had left everything.

But, one day, when Henri was 4 he managed to slip in minders and went to find his mother. He knew were her rooms were from the visits his nurse arranged. Guillaumette was pleased to see her little son, and this made her more present than usual, so she was able to witness the confusion and infighting that happened when both Louise and Sophie arrived to retrieve the little King. Perhaps this was a wake up call, or perhaps the years had allowed her mind to heal, but either way Guillaumette was ready to remind everyone that she was the mother of the King and rightful regent. Also, granddaughter to Louis XIII herself.

It took about a year for Guillaumette to wrest control of the regency from her mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law. She set about clearing up the appointments and orders the two woman left behind.

The rest of Henri’s reign was quite peaceful, with only one minor hiccup: Henri insisted on marrying a minor French noblewoman named Madeleine. Many felt she was an inappropriate bride for a King of France, but Madeleine soon became quite popular for her charming ways and pretty clothes. Henri and Madeleine would have 5 children.

Henri would be diagnosed with cancer at age 53, and his health would deteriorate until he died 4 years later with Madeleine by his side.
Joseph was born in 1799 to King Henri and Queen Madeline; the oldest of 5 children. He was named Joseph after the Queen's father. A precocious child, Joseph would master 5 languages in addition to French including English, German, Spanish, Italian, and Russian. He was also a budding Engineer who became fascinating with math and science as a child. He became the First French Royal to attend the Prestigious Grand Ecole Paris Tech in 1817. By 1818 however, it was time for Joseph to find a bride to continue the Monarchy. Like Henri, Joseph wanted to find a Match for love, not just political reasons.

Henri's political advisors eventually found a Match in Princess Maria of Russia, daughter of the Russian Tsar and Louise of Baden. The two fell in love at first sight upon meeting each other in December 1818, when Henri traveled to Russia. They married the next year. Maria would provide 7 children, who would all grow to adulthood. Maria would prove to be popular. The Marriage lasted 24 years before Maria's sudden death to a massive stroke. Joseph would never marry again.

Assuming the throne in 1836, Joseph for the most part continued the policies of his father, domestically and foreign policy wise. Joseph did however, invested money in education, one of his pet passions. He combined the grand Ecoles into a single Research University known as the Grand University of Paris ( not to be confused with the older University of Paris ). He mandated the teaching of the sciences and mathematics in all schools.

Reigning for 30 years, Joseph would eventually die at the age of 67 in 1866 from a rare illness that went undiagnosed at the time. Today, Medical experts would call it a Brain tumor.

He would be succeeded by his heir.
 
Last edited:
POD: Francois I dies in the battle of Pavia.

Kings of France
1515-1525: Francois I (House of Valois-Angoulêm)
1525-1556: Francois II (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [1]
1556-1599: Francois III (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [2]
1599-1616: Robert III (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [3]
1616-1633: Henri II (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [4]
1633-1665: Philippe VII (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [5]
1665-1696: Henri III (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [6]
1696-1710: Francois IV (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [7]
1710-1777: Louis XIII (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [8]
1777-1836: Henri IV (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [9]
1836-1866: Joseph I (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [10]
1866-1901: Charles IX (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [11]


[1] Francois II became king just four days shy of his seventh birthday. With both his parents dead, Francois and his siblings would be taken care of by their grandmother and their aunt. In 1530, peace would be made with the Holy Roman Emperor by having Francois be betrothed to the emperor's niece, Maria of Portugal. They would marry in 1536 when Francois would begin ruling for himself. Unlike most men of his time (including his two brothers) Francois was noted to be completely devoted to his wife, never taking a mistress, claiming that they all paled in comparison to his darling Marie. From 1538 to 1555, they would have nine children.

Once, he began ruling in his own right, Francois was eager to continue his father's renaissance, he invested his money in many projects including ventures in trade and exploration. He commissioned several hospitals and churches along with creating a new palace in Paris. In hopes of expanding his diplomatic relation, he made dynastic matches for his siblings, having his sister Madeline marry the King of Scots, his sister Marguerite was wed to the Duke of Savoy, his brother Henri would marry Catherine de' Medici, and his youngest brother, Charles, would wed Amalia of Cleves. He also gained an alliance with the Ottoman empire.

After over a decade of peace, Francois decided to restart the Italian wars in 1542, hoping to regain control of the Duchy of Milan, not to mention avenge his father against the emperor. Charles V lacked funds to continue fighting and had to deal with the rebellious Lutheran Germans. Not to mention, his ally, King Henry died during the Siege of Boulogne in 1544. The war would end in 1546 with Emperor Charles conceding Milan and the Duchy of Burgundy to King Francois in exchange for a small price. Francois, high on victory, decided to take advantage of England's boy-king and recapture Calais in 1547, removing England's last foothold in Europe.

For the next nine years, Francois tended more domestic affairs, trying to be a mediator in the growing religious tensions. Sadly, he was only starving off the inevitable. And in 1556, he collapsed suddenly at a feast, after drinking from his goblet. He was suspected of being poisoned by one of the factions in his court. His heir Francois would be left to deal with the growing animosity.

[2] Francois III was the eldest of Francois II and Marie’s children. Born in 1538, he would have an idyllic childhood in the flourishing renaissance of his father’s court. His mother tried to instill in him a proper Catholic fervor, but Francois’s dearest friend was Louis of Conde, so he never could quite understand this idea that Huguenots were ungodly heathens.

Also, complicating the issue was that young Francois fell in love with the Lady Elizabeth Tudor when her portrait was sent to France and her hand was offered as part of the peace negotiations with England in 1547. (Francois II said no, wanting a more prestigious bride for his son than the recently legitimized sister of the English King). So, after his father’s mysterious death in 1556, Francois III inherited a kingdom that was more and more divided on religious lines, and he himself was more and more likely to side with the Huguenots.

The first thing the 18 year old king did was send an ambassador to England to beg for the Lady Elizabeth’s hand. (The Lady Elizabeth was once again single after her husband, Robert Dudley, died in the Tower from a winter chill. He was in the Tower for the crime of wedding the King’s sister without the King’s permission) While the Lady Elizabeth was very resistant to the idea of remarriage, her brother Edward was very keen on an alliance with France.

Francois and Elizabeth married early in 1557, and Francois set about winning his new wife’s regard: Francois gifted her with tons of elaborate gowns, decadent jewelry, and sundry books. But perhaps the most impactful of his actions was quietly arranging for several of her ladies-in-waiting to be women who had been close to her mother back when Anne Boleyn had been in the French court. And so after several months of Francois’s charm offensive, Elizabeth was just as taken with her husband as he was with her. Their first child was born early in 1558. It was said they never slept apart. This did lead to them having 10 children in 13 years.

While Francois tried to use his marriage as an example of how Catholics and Huguenots could live in harmony, (Francois was still nominally a Catholic, and Elizabeth had quickly converted to the Huguenot flavor of Protestantism) but many of his subjects weren’t having it. Religious tensions would continue to rise throughout the 1560s.

1571 was the worst year of Francois’s life.

The year began with Elizabeth falling ill. What seemed to start as a winner chill, quickly worsened. Elizabeth weakened continuously until she was unable to leave her bed. This baffled the doctors as Elizabeth had always been of excellent health: 10 pregnancies in 13 years would have killed another woman, but Elizabeth had easy pregnancies and quick childbirth, bouncing back after every pregnancy.

And so after months of this strange wasting illness, Francois became convinced that Elizabeth was being poisoned. He arranged for himself, Elizabeth, and their children to travel to a remote hunting lodge and sent for all new doctors. And Elizabeth did begin to recover which just cemented in Francois’s mind that Elizabeth was being poisoned.

Unfortunately Elizabeth took a turn for the worse in November and died mid December of 1471.

Francois was distraught and utterly convinced the love of his life had been murdered. Then, when Francis of Guise, suggested that Francois remarry… possibly to Francis’s sister, Francois thought he’d found his culprit. He arrested the Duke of Guise for the murder of the Queen of France, and France erupted into a religious war.

Francois did well in the war, he was a decent commander. But it was on the field of diplomacy that he shined bringing many Protestant nations onto his side. Though perhaps this had to do with the large number of relatives he had to marry off: Francois had six unmarried siblings to marry off, and all his children to arrange betrothals for. By the end of the war there wasn’t a Protestant nation that France wasn’t allied with through marriage or betrothal.

It was a long war. Once that Francois was fervently determined to win. Once Francois was captured and escaped through serious disregard for his own life: he jumped into a river they were crossing. After seven years of bloody drawn out fighting, after a war that had spread to most of Europe, in 1478, Francois finally won; France was Huguenot.

The last two decades of his life were rather quiet, mostly because no one was really capable of fighting another war. Francois lived to see his children marry their Protestant princes and princesses, he lived to see grandchildren be born. He surprised everyone by remarrying in 1591 to Catherine de Bourbon, Princess of Navarre. They had a calm marriage mostly of companionship, though they did have two children, a boy and a girl.

Late in 1599, Francois fell ill with fever. His last few days were full of fevered delusions, mostly of the Religious War. But finally he grew calm, stared off into the distance and uttered: “Mon Élisabeth.” He fell asleep and never wakened. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Robert.


[3] Francois III’s firstborn child and eldest son by his beloved Elizabeth, Robert was born in February 1558. His name wasn’t supposed to be Robert, but rather Francois…right up until the moment his mother, fresh from the rigours of childbed, fixed his father with a glare of Tudor steel, and said ‘If you truly love me, Francois, you’ll let me name our son for my dearest Robin.”

That, as they say, was that. Robert he was.

Titled Dauphin from birth, Robert was raised at Amboise with his immediate younger siblings, Francois, Duke of Orleans, Charles, Duke of Chartres, Mademoiselle Elisabeth and Mademoiselle Marie, until he was seven, at which point, he was sent to Nantes, in the former Duchy of Brittany, to learn how to rule.

His tutor in arms was an Englishman, Sir Henry Sidney, which many Frenchmen resented, but the man’s position was upheld at the insistence of his father, who wished to please his wife by giving her an excuse to have another Englishwoman in her retinue. This meant that among Robert’s companions in Nantes was the eleven-year-old Phillip Sidney, who would become his closest friend, and be appointed a Marshal of France upon Robert’s ascension to the throne.

Aged thirteen at the outbreak of the War of Religion in late 1571, Robert was deemed old enough to play his part in securing France’s future as a Protestant nation. He was promptly betrothed to the ten-year-old Anna Maria of the Palatinate and sent to ride with the troops, under the supervision of his father’s oldest friend, the Prince de Conde.

On the one hand, this was a rousing success, for the Dauphin’s involvement in the war broadened his knowledge of the land and people he was to lead immeasurably, and his military successes, particularly his leading role in relieving the Siege of La Rochelle in 1575, rendered him a hero of almost titanic proportions among his father’s Huguenot subjects.

However, it also brought the teenage Prince into contact with the Prince de Conde’s many children, including his eldest daughter, Mademoiselle Marguerite.

Born in November 1556, Marguerite de Bourbon was fifteen months the Dauphin’s elder, with her father’s brown hair and flashing blue-grey eyes. The teenage Prince fell passionately in love with the beautiful, educated Princesse du Sang as soon as he laid eyes on her, and they were wed in secret on Robert’s sixteenth birthday, the 26th of February 1574.

By early 1576, their marriage could be hidden no longer, for Marguerite was four months pregnant and starting to show. Francois III wasn’t thrilled, but as he couldn’t exactly have his eldest grandchild branded a bastard, he hastily banished his eldest son from Court to show his displeasure and then arranged for Anna Maria of the Palatinate to become Duchess of Orleans instead, giving her a Princess’s jointure to soothe her father’s injured pride.

Robert’s first child, a daughter, was born in July 1576, and he and Marguerite went on to have seven more surviving children, the last of whom was born in 1599, the year their father ascended the throne.

For all Robert’s skill on the battlefield, exploration and settlement was his real passion. He sponsored several voyages to the New World and Africa, and indeed, the South African capital, Cite du Roi, is named in his honour, as is the city of Dauphin in South Carolina.

He also enjoyed literature and the arts, as did his wife, and indeed, the frontispiece of the 1600 edition of the Duchess of Bouillon’s French translation of the Bible, shows Robert and Marguerite as Solomon and Deborah, the wise judges of the Old Testament, handing the word of God down to their grateful subjects.

It was Robert’s love of travel that would prove his undoing, however. In 1616, he insisted on accompanying his youngest daughter Anne on her journey to wed King Alexander IV of Scotland, against his wife’s protestations.

Marguerite was right to worry. Although he delivered Anne to Holyrood without incident, as he turned for home, Robert’s ship ran into fierce storms along the Scottish coast, and sank with all hands.

Robert’s unexpected death at the age of 58 meant France would now be ruled by his heir, Henri.

[4] Henri was named for his father's best friend and his mother's brother, Henri de Bourbon. He was born in 1580, almost four years after his sister's birth. In 1591, King Robert decided to make peace with the Holy Roman Empire by having a double match. Henri's eldest sister would marry the emperor's heir, his brother Matthais while Henri would marry one of the emperor's cousins. His father choose Margaret of Austria. Henri protested against the marriage, feeling the religious differences would doom both matches.

Regardless of his feelings on the matter, the double wedding would take place in 1599. As he feared, his marriage was anything, but loving. Margaret was a fervent Catholic and was also eager to promote pro-Austria matters at court. She acted cold and distant whenever she and the Dauphin had an argument which was often. Despite this, Margaret would fall pregnant four times, unfortunately only two of these babies would survive. She died in 1611 after giving birth to a stillborn son.

Henri wanted to marry his long time mistress Catherine Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues with whom he had three acknowledged natural children. His father refused. Instead insisting his son marry, Isabella of Navarre, daughter of King Henri III of Navarre despite her being almost twenty years his junior. In 1616, Henri was attending the joint coronation of Emperor Mattais and Elizabeth of France when he received the news of his father's death. Unwilling to upset his sister on his special day, he discreetly left the celebrations, requesting that his ambassador wait until the next day to pass on the news.

In respects to his father's last wish, Henri married the eighteen-year-old Isabella. Although they got along better than his first marriage, it was clear there was still tension as Isabella hated that her husband's mistresses always had more political influence than she did. However, unlike Margaret, she did not argue with her husband over it, instead using her own charms to get her way. They had five surviving children.

In 1621, a large Catholic uprising broke out led by Charles, Duke of Guise and Henri II, Duke of Lorraine. Using the rebellion as an excuse, King Henri annexed Lorriane, sending his troops to invade. He sent false reports to Guise, hinting that he had sent the majority of his army to Lorraine. As he suspected Guise marched straight for Paris where Henri had set up an ambush. Meanwhile, his allies in Navarre joined up with the French troops seiging Lorraine. The Duke of Lorriane sought help from Spain and Italy, unfortunately they were too busy with the Lutheran revolt in Germany. In 1524, the Duke of Lorriane died and his brother, Francis immeditally surrended in exchange for being named Duke of Lorriane over his nieces. With the Duke of Guise already dead by execution and with Lorriane surrendering, the Catholic rebellion ended in a crushing defeat.

In more domestic matters, Henri opened trading relations with Japan and established peaceful relations with the natives of his American colonies. He also established a trading agreement with the Dutch. However, as his sister was the Holy Roman Empress, he found he could not continue his predecessor's alliance with the Ottoman Empire as they were encroaching on her sons' future inheritance.

After the catholic uprising, Henri's health began to deteriorate thanks to an infected wound. He died in 1633 at age fifty-three, leaving his kingdom to Philippe VII.

[5] Philippe was born in 1603 as the second child and only surviving son of King Henri II and Margaret of Austria and as such he was expected to one day succeed his father as King of France and was taught the basics by tutors such as political thinking and military strategy. Much of his early learning was influenced by his mother who was more loyal to her native Austria than France and tried to convince him that the former was more superior than the latter. Philippe was fascinated by the works of late Renaissance Artists specifically English Playwright William Shakespeare who he considered “The last significant artist of a dying era”. Philippe would often beg his father to allow him to travel to England to see one of Shakespeare’s plays for himself but he would hear none of it. In 1611 when Philippe was eight years old his mother would die suddenly and though it would be a relief for Henri it wouldn’t be the same for his son who was extremely close with his late mother. In the late Queen’s will it would be discovered that she had left enough money for her son to see at least one of his favorite artists’s plays. It however would be two years however until he would be able to travel to see one of Shakespeare’s plays but eventually Philippe’s father would allow it and along with him. They would travel to England where they would initially stay with King James I due to the reason Henri had gone was to discuss some trade agreements with England on behalf of Robert III. On June 29 Philippe along with his father would go to the Globe Theater to see a showing of Henry VIII but this exciting trip for Philippe would be cut short after the building caught fire after a cannon used for special effects caused it. While Henri would see the trip as a waste of time and money Philippe was glad that he got to see part of it.

Philippe would go back to his studies in France and life would stay the same for a while until in 1616 his grandfather, Robert III, would die and his father would become King of France and as such he would become Dauphin of France. Later that year his father would marry Isabella of Navarre and like his father would come to detest her or as Philippe would describe in his autobiography later in life “someone I found to loathe entirely.” Despite his feelings towards his stepmother, Philippe would be surprisingly close to his half-siblings who he would describe as “people that I could love in a depressing time.” In 1621 Philippe would come of age and his father would put him in charge of his own regiment during the Catholic Rebellion of that same year. While his father would be in charge of the ambush near Paris, Philippe would be sent to Lorraine to help siege down the region with the help of reinforcements from Navarre. The siege would last almost three years with it ending after Henri II, Duke of Lorraine, would die and his brother, Francis, would surrender soon after. In his autobiography Philippe would describe the siege as “tiresome and unnecessary” with himself seeing it as an excuse to fulfill his father’s ambitions. When he would return home he would discover that his father had arranged a marriage with King Henri III of Navarre which involved him marrying Henri III’s daughter, Henriette Marie, when she would come of age. Philippe would be furious with this decision citing how his father never wanted to marry his stepmother embarrassing him in front of the King of Navarre.

Despite the embarrassment Philippe would still be arranged to marry Henriette Marie and the two would wed in 1627 when she came of age. Though he hadn’t had wanted to marry her Philippe at least would try to love her wishing his marriage to not be as unloving as his father’s first marriage and as a result the two would have five children that would live to adulthood. Philippe would continue his duties as Dauphin of France until he would receive the news in 1633 of his father’s death while on vacation with his family in Normandy. Philippe and his family would travel to Paris where preparations for his coronation were already underway and a few days later he would officially be crowned as King of France. One of the main issues in the first few years of his reign was the significant Catholic population in the kingdom and while many pushed for greater pressure on these people to convert to Protestantism Philippe would instead pass the Religious Tolerance Act of 1635 which guarantied the right for anyone in the kingdom to practice any form of Christianity that they wished citing that his wife was a Catholic. This act also helped influence his foreign policy with himself soon offering Louis II of Navarre who had succeeded his father as King of Navarre to become an autonomous region of the Kingdom of France as protection against the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon who were beginning to eye the small kingdom. The King of Navarre would accept in exchange for a marriage between his heir and one of Philippe’s daughters to which he agreed since one of his daughters was already in contact with the Prince of Navarre.

Philippe’s reign would be considered a very peaceful one with little conflict allowing himself to focus on internal improvements. He would be succeeded by his eldest son Henri Guillaume, Dauphin of France.

View attachment 786013
[6] Following two miscarriages, the birth of the Prince in 1630, was a celebration for the country, named after both his grandfather and King Henri III of Navarre, his father would give him the middle name after Shakespeare.
A few weeks after his 3rd birthday, his grandfather died, meaning his father was now king and Henri was the Dauphin of France.
As heir to the Kingdom, Henri Guillaume would gain an excellent education as well as gaining the love of theatre from his father, on his 18th birthday, Henri would invest in the Crown Theatre in Paris, granting it a royal warrant of appointment.

In 1649, with his father’s foreign policy, looking to sure up support for Protestants, Henri was married to Princess Sophia of the Palatinate (1630-1714) daughter of Frederick V of the Palatinate, a member of the House of Wittelsbach, and Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Edward VII of England, a marriage arranged during the Treaty of Westphalia, when the anti-Habsburg French had supported their hold on the Electorate during the Thirty Years' War, forming a strong alliance, especially with France annexing the regions of Alsace and the Duchy of Lorraine.

The match would be a loving one, with Henri enjoying Sophia’s exceptional intellectual ability, creative spirit and curiosity. Together they would have seven children who reached adulthood.

For the next sixteen years, the Dauphin and Dauphine, would serve loyally to King Philippe’s court, supporting the internal improvements. Upon his death, the royal couple would hold a month of mourning.

As king, Henri would try and carry on the peaceful foreign policy, apart from a few skirmishes in regards to French colonies and a minor war between France and the Dutch which only lasted for two years resulting in Netherlands being defeated with their navy wiped out and few colonies in the Americas annexed by the French.

Towards the end of his life, Henri became seriously and increasingly ill, thirty years into his reign, he would suffer a stroke and within a year he would die, leaving his throne to be succeeded by his son Francois.


[7]


1667566390364.png





Francois IV was the oldest son of Henri III, born in 1650. A flamboyant and well-dressed man, he was always the fashion icon at court and he had a well known love for styling other people's outfits. With his prissy attitude and vanity, he was not seen as a suitable successor to his father, but there was nothing that could be done. He succeeded peacefully as king upon the death of his father. By then, he was already widowed five times and a father of seventeen legitimate children between his five late wives (not to mention the other dozen bastards that he sired).

He did not continue the expansionism of his father, instead opting to shore up his domestic support. He recentralized power in Paris and kept diligent records of his modest personal finances (he was a massive spendthrift when it came to his children, though, according to those same account records). The king was a charitable man and often donated large sums to churches and charities. His principal goal was to preserve royal authority and reduce the power of some of his noblemen. He did this through two methods: the first by marrying off some of his youngest legitimate children (and all the bastards) within the nobility to ensure that family ties bonded them all together, the second by levying heavy fines against "extravagance" (too many servants was one notable condition).

He would die in the arms of his mistress, and was succeeded by his heir.

[8] Louis was his father's fifth son, born in 1693. His older brothers died young except for his eldest Francois. Unfortunately, Francois died childless in 1699 of syphilis. In 1710, seventeen-year-old Louis would ascend to the throne. Louis was his father's opposite in many ways, taking his duty quite seriously. He was also a man who enjoyed expanding his knowledge, founding his own society of inventors and scientists. He would be wed in 1720 to Princess Alexandra of Scotland. They would have ten children in their long years of marriage.

The first decade of Louis' rule was peaceful. He spent his days, working to extend the prosperity of his kingdom, calling himself the servant of his people. Then in 1730s, the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire began. It started with the death of Emperor Ferdinand III, the last of the male Hapsburg (since the death of King Philip of Spain in 1665). He left no heir, male or female, leading to a succession crisis with the Lutheran Duke of Prussia and the Catholic Elector of Bavaria squaring off. The Grand Duke of Tuscany and the King of Sardinia tried to declare Italy independent. It lead to a complete mess that Louis tried to stay out of.

However, soon the Republic of England, and the Kingdom of Scotland got involved which in turn caused Queen Alexandra to beg her husband to side with the Duke of Prussia, calling it his Christian duty. Louis eventually agreed and in 1735, he marched on Austria, meeting the Imperial army in a battle which Louis would latter claim would have no winners aside from the crows who feasted on the corpses. The war dragged on until 1745 when Louis finally had enough, he mediated a peace treaty that would see the Holy Roman Empire decided into three parts. The Empire of Austria, the King of Germany, and the Kingdom of Italy. Then he marched back home, promising to attack whoever broke the peace treaty.

Thankfully, the newly formed kingdoms and empire were just as relieved as he was that the war was over. Louis would try to keep the peace by marrying his children to the new royal dynasties. He would spend the next twenty years traveling through his domains, trying to get the economy back on track after such a lengthy war and also observing the government of his colonies. He also made sure to make plenty of government reforms, wanting to curb the corruption of the nobles. He did not slow down until a few years before his death. He was eighty-four when he died, surrounded by his children and grandchildren. He lived a long and full life.
[9] The story of Henri’s arrival to French throne as an infant is full of tragedy, men who died too young, and just a touch of European Royal Inbreeding.

Robert, Dauphin of France was the eldest child of Louis XIII and Alexandra of Scotland. (He was named Robert to honor Alexandra’s heritage) he was always a sickly child, prone to fits and seizures, but intelligent and gregarious. He wed Louisa Ulrika of Germany as part of his father’s alliance with the Duke of Prussia (later to be King of Germany). Robert would only live longe out to sire one child, a son named Louis.

Louis would have the health his father never had while keeping this quick wit and people skills. Louis served France ably as Dauphin of France and was a great help to his grandfather, Louis XIII. Louis the Dauphin would wed Sofia Frederika of Sweden. While they didn’t appear to get along, the two must have been physically compatible as they would have 15 children. The eldest of whom was Guillaume, called the Petit Dauphin.

Guillaume was charming and a rather rash young man. In an effort to settle him down, Guillaume was wed to his first cousin once removed Wihelmina of Denmark, a very dutiful serious girl. They two clicked and Guillaumette (as she was called in France) quickly fell pregnant.

January 1777, Guillaumette would go into early labor. A message was sent to Guillaume who rushed back accompanied by his father Louis. Unfortunately, the horse would spook and their carriage would slide down a steep incline and crash. Both men would die, leaving the infant Henry has Dauphin of France.

Guillaumette would be significantly effected by what we now know as post-pardon depression and her husband’s death. So, when Louis XIII died several months later, it was Henri’s grandmother, Dowager Dauphine Sophie, and great-grandmother, the former dowager Dauphine Louise, fought for the regency. The first few years of Henri’s ‘reign’ were chaotic as the two woman often contradicted each other’s orders, appointed different men to the same position, and both tried to arrange a bride for Henri. The only reason France didn’t devolve into totally chaos was how secure Louis XIII had left everything.

But, one day, when Henri was 4 he managed to slip in minders and went to find his mother. He knew were her rooms were from the visits his nurse arranged. Guillaumette was pleased to see her little son, and this made her more present than usual, so she was able to witness the confusion and infighting that happened when both Louise and Sophie arrived to retrieve the little King. Perhaps this was a wake up call, or perhaps the years had allowed her mind to heal, but either way Guillaumette was ready to remind everyone that she was the mother of the King and rightful regent. Also, granddaughter to Louis XIII herself.

It took about a year for Guillaumette to wrest control of the regency from her mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law. She set about clearing up the appointments and orders the two woman left behind.

The rest of Henri’s reign was quite peaceful, with only one minor hiccup: Henri insisted on marrying a minor French noblewoman named Madeleine. Many felt she was an inappropriate bride for a King of France, but Madeleine soon became quite popular for her charming ways and pretty clothes. Henri and Madeleine would have 5 children.

Henri would be diagnosed with cancer at age 53, and his health would deteriorate until he died 4 years later with Madeleine by his side.


[10] Joseph was born in 1799 to King Henri and Queen Madeline; the oldest of 5 children. He was named Joseph after the Queen's father. A precocious child, Joseph would master 5 languages in addition to French including English, German, Spanish, Italian, and Russian. He was also a budding Engineer who became fascinating with math and science as a child. He became the First French Royal to attend the Prestigious Grand Ecole Paris Tech in 1817. By 1818 however, it was time for Joseph to find a bride to continue the Monarchy. Like Henri, Joseph wanted to find a match for love, not just political reasons.

Henri's political advisors eventually found a match in Princess Maria of Russia, daughter of the Russian Tsar and Louise of Baden. The two fell in love at first sight upon meeting each other in December 1818, when Henri traveled to Russia. They married the next year. Maria would provide 7 children, who would all grow to adulthood. Maria would prove to be popular The Marriage lasted 24 years before Maria's sudden death to a massive stroke. Joseph would never marry again.

Assuming the throne in 1836, Joseph for the most part continued the policies of his father, domestically and foreign policy wise. Joseph did however, invested money in education, one of his pet passions. He combined the grand Ecoles into a single Research University known as the Grand University of Paris ( not to be confused with the older University of Paris ). He mandated the teaching of the sciences and mathematics in all schools.

Reigning for 30 years, Joseph would eventually die at the age of 67 in 1866 from a rare illness that went undiagnosed at the time. Today, Medical experts would call it a Brain tumor.

He would be succeeded by his heir.

[11] Charles was the middle child of his parents. The spare to his brother Henri Alexandre's heir. Charles idolized his older brother, with many in the palace noting that if someone spotted Alexandre, Charles wouldn't be far behind. Despite the five year difference, the two brothers were quite close. This made it all the more tragic when a fire broke in the royal palace one summer day in 1841. Henri Alexandre got trapped inside as he rushed to make sure there was no one left behind.

The entire family were devastated and this has long suspected to be the cause of Queen Marie's stroke, the stress of losing her eldest son. Charles would carry a huge amount of survivor guilt for much of his life. His brother and then his mother's death broke the once happy prince, turning him into a dower man who rarely smiled. To cope with his grief, Charles decided a change of scenery was needed and he traveled to America in 1845. He spent nearly ten years, exploring the land, ignoring his father's letters to come home to take up his duties as dauphin.

In his memoirs , Charles would state he regretted being so selfish. Eventually he returned to France in 1851. Upon his return to France, he reconnected with his childhood friend, the Duke of Montmorency. Through him, he would meet his future wife, the duke's sister, Diane. Diane was recently widowed, raising three small children. She and Charles bonded over their shared grief. They would marry in 1855 and have two children of their own.

Once he became king, Charles would create several charities in his brother's name. As a monarch, Charles was very hands off, preferring to be secluded in his rooms away from the court as he struggled with his mental issues (modern psychiatrists diagnosis Charles with depression as much of his behavior fit the criteria).

His thirty year rule was largely uneventful, and for a man so tormented by inner demons, he died peacefully in his sleep. His____would guide France into the twentieth century.
 
Last edited:
POD: Francois I dies in the battle of Pavia.

Kings of France
1515-1525: Francois I (House of Valois-Angoulêm)
1525-1556: Francois II (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [1]
1556-1599: Francois III (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [2]
1599-1616: Robert III (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [3]
1616-1633: Henri II (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [4]
1633-1665: Philippe VII (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [5]
1665-1696: Henri III (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [6]
1696-1710: Francois IV (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [7]
1710-1777: Louis XIII (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [8]
1777-1836: Henri IV (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [9]
1836-1866: Joseph I (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [10]
1866-1901: Charles IX (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [11]
1901-1914: Francois V (House of Valois-Angoulêm) [12]

[1]
Francois II became king just four days shy of his seventh birthday. With both his parents dead, Francois and his siblings would be taken care of by their grandmother and their aunt. In 1530, peace would be made with the Holy Roman Emperor by having Francois be betrothed to the emperor's niece, Maria of Portugal. They would marry in 1536 when Francois would begin ruling for himself. Unlike most men of his time (including his two brothers) Francois was noted to be completely devoted to his wife, never taking a mistress, claiming that they all paled in comparison to his darling Marie. From 1538 to 1555, they would have nine children.

Once, he began ruling in his own right, Francois was eager to continue his father's renaissance, he invested his money in many projects including ventures in trade and exploration. He commissioned several hospitals and churches along with creating a new palace in Paris. In hopes of expanding his diplomatic relation, he made dynastic matches for his siblings, having his sister Madeline marry the King of Scots, his sister Marguerite was wed to the Duke of Savoy, his brother Henri would marry Catherine de' Medici, and his youngest brother, Charles, would wed Amalia of Cleves. He also gained an alliance with the Ottoman empire.

After over a decade of peace, Francois decided to restart the Italian wars in 1542, hoping to regain control of the Duchy of Milan, not to mention avenge his father against the emperor. Charles V lacked funds to continue fighting and had to deal with the rebellious Lutheran Germans. Not to mention, his ally, King Henry died during the Siege of Boulogne in 1544. The war would end in 1546 with Emperor Charles conceding Milan and the Duchy of Burgundy to King Francois in exchange for a small price. Francois, high on victory, decided to take advantage of England's boy-king and recapture Calais in 1547, removing England's last foothold in Europe.

For the next nine years, Francois tended more domestic affairs, trying to be a mediator in the growing religious tensions. Sadly, he was only starving off the inevitable. And in 1556, he collapsed suddenly at a feast, after drinking from his goblet. He was suspected of being poisoned by one of the factions in his court. His heir Francois would be left to deal with the growing animosity.

[2] Francois III was the eldest of Francois II and Marie’s children. Born in 1538, he would have an idyllic childhood in the flourishing renaissance of his father’s court. His mother tried to instill in him a proper Catholic fervor, but Francois’s dearest friend was Louis of Conde, so he never could quite understand this idea that Huguenots were ungodly heathens.

Also, complicating the issue was that young Francois fell in love with the Lady Elizabeth Tudor when her portrait was sent to France and her hand was offered as part of the peace negotiations with England in 1547. (Francois II said no, wanting a more prestigious bride for his son than the recently legitimized sister of the English King). So, after his father’s mysterious death in 1556, Francois III inherited a kingdom that was more and more divided on religious lines, and he himself was more and more likely to side with the Huguenots.

The first thing the 18 year old king did was send an ambassador to England to beg for the Lady Elizabeth’s hand. (The Lady Elizabeth was once again single after her husband, Robert Dudley, died in the Tower from a winter chill. He was in the Tower for the crime of wedding the King’s sister without the King’s permission) While the Lady Elizabeth was very resistant to the idea of remarriage, her brother Edward was very keen on an alliance with France.

Francois and Elizabeth married early in 1557, and Francois set about winning his new wife’s regard: Francois gifted her with tons of elaborate gowns, decadent jewelry, and sundry books. But perhaps the most impactful of his actions was quietly arranging for several of her ladies-in-waiting to be women who had been close to her mother back when Anne Boleyn had been in the French court. And so after several months of Francois’s charm offensive, Elizabeth was just as taken with her husband as he was with her. Their first child was born early in 1558. It was said they never slept apart. This did lead to them having 10 children in 13 years.

While Francois tried to use his marriage as an example of how Catholics and Huguenots could live in harmony, (Francois was still nominally a Catholic, and Elizabeth had quickly converted to the Huguenot flavor of Protestantism) but many of his subjects weren’t having it. Religious tensions would continue to rise throughout the 1560s.

1571 was the worst year of Francois’s life.

The year began with Elizabeth falling ill. What seemed to start as a winner chill, quickly worsened. Elizabeth weakened continuously until she was unable to leave her bed. This baffled the doctors as Elizabeth had always been of excellent health: 10 pregnancies in 13 years would have killed another woman, but Elizabeth had easy pregnancies and quick childbirth, bouncing back after every pregnancy.

And so after months of this strange wasting illness, Francois became convinced that Elizabeth was being poisoned. He arranged for himself, Elizabeth, and their children to travel to a remote hunting lodge and sent for all new doctors. And Elizabeth did begin to recover which just cemented in Francois’s mind that Elizabeth was being poisoned.

Unfortunately Elizabeth took a turn for the worse in November and died mid December of 1471.

Francois was distraught and utterly convinced the love of his life had been murdered. Then, when Francis of Guise, suggested that Francois remarry… possibly to Francis’s sister, Francois thought he’d found his culprit. He arrested the Duke of Guise for the murder of the Queen of France, and France erupted into a religious war.

Francois did well in the war, he was a decent commander. But it was on the field of diplomacy that he shined bringing many Protestant nations onto his side. Though perhaps this had to do with the large number of relatives he had to marry off: Francois had six unmarried siblings to marry off, and all his children to arrange betrothals for. By the end of the war there wasn’t a Protestant nation that France wasn’t allied with through marriage or betrothal.

It was a long war. Once that Francois was fervently determined to win. Once Francois was captured and escaped through serious disregard for his own life: he jumped into a river they were crossing. After seven years of bloody drawn out fighting, after a war that had spread to most of Europe, in 1478, Francois finally won; France was Huguenot.

The last two decades of his life were rather quiet, mostly because no one was really capable of fighting another war. Francois lived to see his children marry their Protestant princes and princesses, he lived to see grandchildren be born. He surprised everyone by remarrying in 1591 to Catherine de Bourbon, Princess of Navarre. They had a calm marriage mostly of companionship, though they did have two children, a boy and a girl.

Late in 1599, Francois fell ill with fever. His last few days were full of fevered delusions, mostly of the Religious War. But finally he grew calm, stared off into the distance and uttered: “Mon Élisabeth.” He fell asleep and never wakened. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Robert.


[3] Francois III’s firstborn child and eldest son by his beloved Elizabeth, Robert was born in February 1558. His name wasn’t supposed to be Robert, but rather Francois…right up until the moment his mother, fresh from the rigours of childbed, fixed his father with a glare of Tudor steel, and said ‘If you truly love me, Francois, you’ll let me name our son for my dearest Robin.”

That, as they say, was that. Robert he was.

Titled Dauphin from birth, Robert was raised at Amboise with his immediate younger siblings, Francois, Duke of Orleans, Charles, Duke of Chartres, Mademoiselle Elisabeth and Mademoiselle Marie, until he was seven, at which point, he was sent to Nantes, in the former Duchy of Brittany, to learn how to rule.

His tutor in arms was an Englishman, Sir Henry Sidney, which many Frenchmen resented, but the man’s position was upheld at the insistence of his father, who wished to please his wife by giving her an excuse to have another Englishwoman in her retinue. This meant that among Robert’s companions in Nantes was the eleven-year-old Phillip Sidney, who would become his closest friend, and be appointed a Marshal of France upon Robert’s ascension to the throne.

Aged thirteen at the outbreak of the War of Religion in late 1571, Robert was deemed old enough to play his part in securing France’s future as a Protestant nation. He was promptly betrothed to the ten-year-old Anna Maria of the Palatinate and sent to ride with the troops, under the supervision of his father’s oldest friend, the Prince de Conde.

On the one hand, this was a rousing success, for the Dauphin’s involvement in the war broadened his knowledge of the land and people he was to lead immeasurably, and his military successes, particularly his leading role in relieving the Siege of La Rochelle in 1575, rendered him a hero of almost titanic proportions among his father’s Huguenot subjects.

However, it also brought the teenage Prince into contact with the Prince de Conde’s many children, including his eldest daughter, Mademoiselle Marguerite.

Born in November 1556, Marguerite de Bourbon was fifteen months the Dauphin’s elder, with her father’s brown hair and flashing blue-grey eyes. The teenage Prince fell passionately in love with the beautiful, educated Princesse du Sang as soon as he laid eyes on her, and they were wed in secret on Robert’s sixteenth birthday, the 26th of February 1574.

By early 1576, their marriage could be hidden no longer, for Marguerite was four months pregnant and starting to show. Francois III wasn’t thrilled, but as he couldn’t exactly have his eldest grandchild branded a bastard, he hastily banished his eldest son from Court to show his displeasure and then arranged for Anna Maria of the Palatinate to become Duchess of Orleans instead, giving her a Princess’s jointure to soothe her father’s injured pride.

Robert’s first child, a daughter, was born in July 1576, and he and Marguerite went on to have seven more surviving children, the last of whom was born in 1599, the year their father ascended the throne.

For all Robert’s skill on the battlefield, exploration and settlement was his real passion. He sponsored several voyages to the New World and Africa, and indeed, the South African capital, Cite du Roi, is named in his honour, as is the city of Dauphin in South Carolina.

He also enjoyed literature and the arts, as did his wife, and indeed, the frontispiece of the 1600 edition of the Duchess of Bouillon’s French translation of the Bible, shows Robert and Marguerite as Solomon and Deborah, the wise judges of the Old Testament, handing the word of God down to their grateful subjects.

It was Robert’s love of travel that would prove his undoing, however. In 1616, he insisted on accompanying his youngest daughter Anne on her journey to wed King Alexander IV of Scotland, against his wife’s protestations.

Marguerite was right to worry. Although he delivered Anne to Holyrood without incident, as he turned for home, Robert’s ship ran into fierce storms along the Scottish coast, and sank with all hands.

Robert’s unexpected death at the age of 58 meant France would now be ruled by his heir, Henri.

[4] Henri was named for his father's best friend and his mother's brother, Henri de Bourbon. He was born in 1580, almost four years after his sister's birth. In 1591, King Robert decided to make peace with the Holy Roman Empire by having a double match. Henri's eldest sister would marry the emperor's heir, his brother Matthais while Henri would marry one of the emperor's cousins. His father choose Margaret of Austria. Henri protested against the marriage, feeling the religious differences would doom both matches.

Regardless of his feelings on the matter, the double wedding would take place in 1599. As he feared, his marriage was anything, but loving. Margaret was a fervent Catholic and was also eager to promote pro-Austria matters at court. She acted cold and distant whenever she and the Dauphin had an argument which was often. Despite this, Margaret would fall pregnant four times, unfortunately only two of these babies would survive. She died in 1611 after giving birth to a stillborn son.

Henri wanted to marry his long time mistress Catherine Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues with whom he had three acknowledged natural children. His father refused. Instead insisting his son marry, Isabella of Navarre, daughter of King Henri III of Navarre despite her being almost twenty years his junior. In 1616, Henri was attending the joint coronation of Emperor Mattais and Elizabeth of France when he received the news of his father's death. Unwilling to upset his sister on his special day, he discreetly left the celebrations, requesting that his ambassador wait until the next day to pass on the news.

In respects to his father's last wish, Henri married the eighteen-year-old Isabella. Although they got along better than his first marriage, it was clear there was still tension as Isabella hated that her husband's mistresses always had more political influence than she did. However, unlike Margaret, she did not argue with her husband over it, instead using her own charms to get her way. They had five surviving children.

In 1621, a large Catholic uprising broke out led by Charles, Duke of Guise and Henri II, Duke of Lorraine. Using the rebellion as an excuse, King Henri annexed Lorriane, sending his troops to invade. He sent false reports to Guise, hinting that he had sent the majority of his army to Lorraine. As he suspected Guise marched straight for Paris where Henri had set up an ambush. Meanwhile, his allies in Navarre joined up with the French troops seiging Lorraine. The Duke of Lorriane sought help from Spain and Italy, unfortunately they were too busy with the Lutheran revolt in Germany. In 1524, the Duke of Lorriane died and his brother, Francis immeditally surrended in exchange for being named Duke of Lorriane over his nieces. With the Duke of Guise already dead by execution and with Lorriane surrendering, the Catholic rebellion ended in a crushing defeat.

In more domestic matters, Henri opened trading relations with Japan and established peaceful relations with the natives of his American colonies. He also established a trading agreement with the Dutch. However, as his sister was the Holy Roman Empress, he found he could not continue his predecessor's alliance with the Ottoman Empire as they were encroaching on her sons' future inheritance.

After the catholic uprising, Henri's health began to deteriorate thanks to an infected wound. He died in 1633 at age fifty-three, leaving his kingdom to Philippe VII.

[5] Philippe was born in 1603 as the second child and only surviving son of King Henri II and Margaret of Austria and as such he was expected to one day succeed his father as King of France and was taught the basics by tutors such as political thinking and military strategy. Much of his early learning was influenced by his mother who was more loyal to her native Austria than France and tried to convince him that the former was more superior than the latter. Philippe was fascinated by the works of late Renaissance Artists specifically English Playwright William Shakespeare who he considered “The last significant artist of a dying era”. Philippe would often beg his father to allow him to travel to England to see one of Shakespeare’s plays for himself but he would hear none of it. In 1611 when Philippe was eight years old his mother would die suddenly and though it would be a relief for Henri it wouldn’t be the same for his son who was extremely close with his late mother. In the late Queen’s will it would be discovered that she had left enough money for her son to see at least one of his favorite artists’s plays. It however would be two years however until he would be able to travel to see one of Shakespeare’s plays but eventually Philippe’s father would allow it and along with him. They would travel to England where they would initially stay with King James I due to the reason Henri had gone was to discuss some trade agreements with England on behalf of Robert III. On June 29 Philippe along with his father would go to the Globe Theater to see a showing of Henry VIII but this exciting trip for Philippe would be cut short after the building caught fire after a cannon used for special effects caused it. While Henri would see the trip as a waste of time and money Philippe was glad that he got to see part of it.

Philippe would go back to his studies in France and life would stay the same for a while until in 1616 his grandfather, Robert III, would die and his father would become King of France and as such he would become Dauphin of France. Later that year his father would marry Isabella of Navarre and like his father would come to detest her or as Philippe would describe in his autobiography later in life “someone I found to loathe entirely.” Despite his feelings towards his stepmother, Philippe would be surprisingly close to his half-siblings who he would describe as “people that I could love in a depressing time.” In 1621 Philippe would come of age and his father would put him in charge of his own regiment during the Catholic Rebellion of that same year. While his father would be in charge of the ambush near Paris, Philippe would be sent to Lorraine to help siege down the region with the help of reinforcements from Navarre. The siege would last almost three years with it ending after Henri II, Duke of Lorraine, would die and his brother, Francis, would surrender soon after. In his autobiography Philippe would describe the siege as “tiresome and unnecessary” with himself seeing it as an excuse to fulfill his father’s ambitions. When he would return home he would discover that his father had arranged a marriage with King Henri III of Navarre which involved him marrying Henri III’s daughter, Henriette Marie, when she would come of age. Philippe would be furious with this decision citing how his father never wanted to marry his stepmother embarrassing him in front of the King of Navarre.

Despite the embarrassment Philippe would still be arranged to marry Henriette Marie and the two would wed in 1627 when she came of age. Though he hadn’t had wanted to marry her Philippe at least would try to love her wishing his marriage to not be as unloving as his father’s first marriage and as a result the two would have five children that would live to adulthood. Philippe would continue his duties as Dauphin of France until he would receive the news in 1633 of his father’s death while on vacation with his family in Normandy. Philippe and his family would travel to Paris where preparations for his coronation were already underway and a few days later he would officially be crowned as King of France. One of the main issues in the first few years of his reign was the significant Catholic population in the kingdom and while many pushed for greater pressure on these people to convert to Protestantism Philippe would instead pass the Religious Tolerance Act of 1635 which guarantied the right for anyone in the kingdom to practice any form of Christianity that they wished citing that his wife was a Catholic. This act also helped influence his foreign policy with himself soon offering Louis II of Navarre who had succeeded his father as King of Navarre to become an autonomous region of the Kingdom of France as protection against the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon who were beginning to eye the small kingdom. The King of Navarre would accept in exchange for a marriage between his heir and one of Philippe’s daughters to which he agreed since one of his daughters was already in contact with the Prince of Navarre.

Philippe’s reign would be considered a very peaceful one with little conflict allowing himself to focus on internal improvements. He would be succeeded by his eldest son Henri Guillaume, Dauphin of France.

View attachment 786013
[6] Following two miscarriages, the birth of the Prince in 1630, was a celebration for the country, named after both his grandfather and King Henri III of Navarre, his father would give him the middle name after Shakespeare.
A few weeks after his 3rd birthday, his grandfather died, meaning his father was now king and Henri was the Dauphin of France.
As heir to the Kingdom, Henri Guillaume would gain an excellent education as well as gaining the love of theatre from his father, on his 18th birthday, Henri would invest in the Crown Theatre in Paris, granting it a royal warrant of appointment.

In 1649, with his father’s foreign policy, looking to sure up support for Protestants, Henri was married to Princess Sophia of the Palatinate (1630-1714) daughter of Frederick V of the Palatinate, a member of the House of Wittelsbach, and Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Edward VII of England, a marriage arranged during the Treaty of Westphalia, when the anti-Habsburg French had supported their hold on the Electorate during the Thirty Years' War, forming a strong alliance, especially with France annexing the regions of Alsace and the Duchy of Lorraine.

The match would be a loving one, with Henri enjoying Sophia’s exceptional intellectual ability, creative spirit and curiosity. Together they would have seven children who reached adulthood.

For the next sixteen years, the Dauphin and Dauphine, would serve loyally to King Philippe’s court, supporting the internal improvements. Upon his death, the royal couple would hold a month of mourning.

As king, Henri would try and carry on the peaceful foreign policy, apart from a few skirmishes in regards to French colonies and a minor war between France and the Dutch which only lasted for two years resulting in Netherlands being defeated with their navy wiped out and few colonies in the Americas annexed by the French.

Towards the end of his life, Henri became seriously and increasingly ill, thirty years into his reign, he would suffer a stroke and within a year he would die, leaving his throne to be succeeded by his son Francois.


[7]


1667566390364.png





Francois IV was the oldest son of Henri III, born in 1650. A flamboyant and well-dressed man, he was always the fashion icon at court and he had a well known love for styling other people's outfits. With his prissy attitude and vanity, he was not seen as a suitable successor to his father, but there was nothing that could be done. He succeeded peacefully as king upon the death of his father. By then, he was already widowed five times and a father of seventeen legitimate children between his five late wives (not to mention the other dozen bastards that he sired).

He did not continue the expansionism of his father, instead opting to shore up his domestic support. He recentralized power in Paris and kept diligent records of his modest personal finances (he was a massive spendthrift when it came to his children, though, according to those same account records). The king was a charitable man and often donated large sums to churches and charities. His principal goal was to preserve royal authority and reduce the power of some of his noblemen. He did this through two methods: the first by marrying off some of his youngest legitimate children (and all the bastards) within the nobility to ensure that family ties bonded them all together, the second by levying heavy fines against "extravagance" (too many servants was one notable condition).

He would die in the arms of his mistress, and was succeeded by his heir.

[8] Louis was his father's fifth son, born in 1693. His older brothers died young except for his eldest Francois. Unfortunately, Francois died childless in 1699 of syphilis. In 1710, seventeen-year-old Louis would ascend to the throne. Louis was his father's opposite in many ways, taking his duty quite seriously. He was also a man who enjoyed expanding his knowledge, founding his own society of inventors and scientists. He would be wed in 1720 to Princess Alexandra of Scotland. They would have ten children in their long years of marriage.

The first decade of Louis' rule was peaceful. He spent his days, working to extend the prosperity of his kingdom, calling himself the servant of his people. Then in 1730s, the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire began. It started with the death of Emperor Ferdinand III, the last of the male Hapsburg (since the death of King Philip of Spain in 1665). He left no heir, male or female, leading to a succession crisis with the Lutheran Duke of Prussia and the Catholic Elector of Bavaria squaring off. The Grand Duke of Tuscany and the King of Sardinia tried to declare Italy independent. It lead to a complete mess that Louis tried to stay out of.

However, soon the Republic of England, and the Kingdom of Scotland got involved which in turn caused Queen Alexandra to beg her husband to side with the Duke of Prussia, calling it his Christian duty. Louis eventually agreed and in 1735, he marched on Austria, meeting the Imperial army in a battle which Louis would latter claim would have no winners aside from the crows who feasted on the corpses. The war dragged on until 1745 when Louis finally had enough, he mediated a peace treaty that would see the Holy Roman Empire decided into three parts. The Empire of Austria, the King of Germany, and the Kingdom of Italy. Then he marched back home, promising to attack whoever broke the peace treaty.

Thankfully, the newly formed kingdoms and empire were just as relieved as he was that the war was over. Louis would try to keep the peace by marrying his children to the new royal dynasties. He would spend the next twenty years traveling through his domains, trying to get the economy back on track after such a lengthy war and also observing the government of his colonies. He also made sure to make plenty of government reforms, wanting to curb the corruption of the nobles. He did not slow down until a few years before his death. He was eighty-four when he died, surrounded by his children and grandchildren. He lived a long and full life.
[9] The story of Henri’s arrival to French throne as an infant is full of tragedy, men who died too young, and just a touch of European Royal Inbreeding.

Robert, Dauphin of France was the eldest child of Louis XIII and Alexandra of Scotland. (He was named Robert to honor Alexandra’s heritage) he was always a sickly child, prone to fits and seizures, but intelligent and gregarious. He wed Louisa Ulrika of Germany as part of his father’s alliance with the Duke of Prussia (later to be King of Germany). Robert would only live longe out to sire one child, a son named Louis.

Louis would have the health his father never had while keeping this quick wit and people skills. Louis served France ably as Dauphin of France and was a great help to his grandfather, Louis XIII. Louis the Dauphin would wed Sofia Frederika of Sweden. While they didn’t appear to get along, the two must have been physically compatible as they would have 15 children. The eldest of whom was Guillaume, called the Petit Dauphin.

Guillaume was charming and a rather rash young man. In an effort to settle him down, Guillaume was wed to his first cousin once removed Wihelmina of Denmark, a very dutiful serious girl. They two clicked and Guillaumette (as she was called in France) quickly fell pregnant.

January 1777, Guillaumette would go into early labor. A message was sent to Guillaume who rushed back accompanied by his father Louis. Unfortunately, the horse would spook and their carriage would slide down a steep incline and crash. Both men would die, leaving the infant Henry has Dauphin of France.

Guillaumette would be significantly effected by what we now know as post-pardon depression and her husband’s death. So, when Louis XIII died several months later, it was Henri’s grandmother, Dowager Dauphine Sophie, and great-grandmother, the former dowager Dauphine Louise, fought for the regency. The first few years of Henri’s ‘reign’ were chaotic as the two woman often contradicted each other’s orders, appointed different men to the same position, and both tried to arrange a bride for Henri. The only reason France didn’t devolve into totally chaos was how secure Louis XIII had left everything.

But, one day, when Henri was 4 he managed to slip in minders and went to find his mother. He knew were her rooms were from the visits his nurse arranged. Guillaumette was pleased to see her little son, and this made her more present than usual, so she was able to witness the confusion and infighting that happened when both Louise and Sophie arrived to retrieve the little King. Perhaps this was a wake up call, or perhaps the years had allowed her mind to heal, but either way Guillaumette was ready to remind everyone that she was the mother of the King and rightful regent. Also, granddaughter to Louis XIII herself.

It took about a year for Guillaumette to wrest control of the regency from her mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law. She set about clearing up the appointments and orders the two woman left behind.

The rest of Henri’s reign was quite peaceful, with only one minor hiccup: Henri insisted on marrying a minor French noblewoman named Madeleine. Many felt she was an inappropriate bride for a King of France, but Madeleine soon became quite popular for her charming ways and pretty clothes. Henri and Madeleine would have 5 children.

Henri would be diagnosed with cancer at age 53, and his health would deteriorate until he died 4 years later with Madeleine by his side.


[10] Joseph was born in 1799 to King Henri and Queen Madeline; the oldest of 5 children. He was named Joseph after the Queen's father. A precocious child, Joseph would master 5 languages in addition to French including English, German, Spanish, Italian, and Russian. He was also a budding Engineer who became fascinating with math and science as a child. He became the First French Royal to attend the Prestigious Grand Ecole Paris Tech in 1817. By 1818 however, it was time for Joseph to find a bride to continue the Monarchy. Like Henri, Joseph wanted to find a match for love, not just political reasons.

Henri's political advisors eventually found a match in Princess Maria of Russia, daughter of the Russian Tsar and Louise of Baden. The two fell in love at first sight upon meeting each other in December 1818, when Henri traveled to Russia. They married the next year. Maria would provide 7 children, who would all grow to adulthood. Maria would prove to be popular The Marriage lasted 24 years before Maria's sudden death to a massive stroke. Joseph would never marry again.

Assuming the throne in 1836, Joseph for the most part continued the policies of his father, domestically and foreign policy wise. Joseph did however, invested money in education, one of his pet passions. He combined the grand Ecoles into a single Research University known as the Grand University of Paris ( not to be confused with the older University of Paris ). He mandated the teaching of the sciences and mathematics in all schools.

Reigning for 30 years, Joseph would eventually die at the age of 67 in 1866 from a rare illness that went undiagnosed at the time. Today, Medical experts would call it a Brain tumor.

He would be succeeded by his heir.

[11] Charles was the middle child of his parents. The spare to his brother Henri Alexandre's heir. Charles idolized his older brother, with many in the palace noting that if someone spotted Alexandre, Charles wouldn't be far behind. Despite the five year difference, the two brothers were quite close. This made it all the more tragic when a fire broke in the royal palace one summer day in 1841. Henri Alexandre got trapped inside as he rushed to make sure there was no one left behind.

The entire family were devastated and this has long suspected to be the cause of Queen Marie's stroke, the stress of losing her eldest son. Charles would carry a huge amount of survivor guilt for much of his life. His brother and then his mother's death broke the once happy prince, turning him into a dower man who rarely smiled. To cope with his grief, Charles decided a change of scenery was needed and he traveled to America in 1845. He spent nearly ten years, exploring the land, ignoring his father's letters to come home to take up his duties as dauphin.

In his memoirs , Charles would state he regretted being so selfish. Eventually he returned to France in 1851. Upon his return to France, he reconnected with his childhood friend, the Duke of Montmorency. Through him, he would meet his future wife, the duke's sister, Diane. Diane was recently widowed, raising three small children. She and Charles bonded over their shared grief. They would marry in 1855 and have two children of their own.

Once he became king, Charles would create several charities in his brother's name. As a monarch, Charles was very hands off, preferring to be secluded in his rooms away from the court as he struggled with his mental issues (modern psychiatrists diagnosis Charles with depression as much of his behavior fit the criteria).

His thirty year rule was largely uneventful, and for a man so tormented by inner demons, he died peacefully in his sleep. His son, Francis would guide France into the twentieth century.

[12]
1668040230318.png


Born in 1856, Francois V was the second child of Charles IX and Diane, being their only son. He reigned over a period of immense technological advances and globalization, being a pioneer with his interactions with other foreign governments. International trade within France rose to its peak, and he staunchly supported the advances in transportation and the gradual elimination of cross-border trade barriers. He continued to support the charities that his father had founded and even created some of his own.

He was much more active as a monarch than his father had been, choosing to frequently involve himself in politics and promoted his ideology of democratic capitalism. He petitioned for better working conditions. He spearheaded some redistributive policies, such as welfare payment programs and pensions for the elderly and the poor, and often donated away sums of his money to charities. He made heavy use of newspapers, magazines and pamphlets to communicate with his subjects. However, a series of diplomatic clashes led to misperceptions of intent, fueling great tension. He also encouraged social entrepreneurship and inclusivity, which was not well seen abroad.

In his twenties, after a happy adolescence where he earned his reputation as a heartbreaking playboy (and sired a few bastards that he would not acknowledge or support, despite strong evidence of his fatherhood), he obeyed his father's orders and married Archduchess Sophie of Austria, the daughter of Franz Joseph I and Elisabeth in Bavaria. Their marriage was quite stormy due to their mutual infidelity and controlling tendencies, and he grew very contemptuous of his wife in his middle age. However, they still did their duty and had six children together.

He died just before the great war broke out, leaving his heir to clean up the mess.
 
Top