The Unexpected: In the time of Louis XII's heir

Minor remark here: I believe you mixed up “heir apparent” and “heir presumptive”. François is heir *presumptive*, since the birth of a son to Charles IX would make him no longer the heir. (An heir apparent would moreover be able to claim the title of “Dauphin (de Viennois)”, as was done since Louis XI).
Thank you for this remark. I might indeed have mix up the two terms.
1555-1559: The challenges of Charles IX
1555-1559: The challenges of Charles IX
The years 1555-1559 were a period of both prosperity and uncertainty for Charles IX and the kingdom of France, as major events affected the period.

During the late 1550s, Charles IX concentrated on managing his kingdom, in particular to deal with the religious tensions that were emerging and persisting, and the economic and social difficulties that were afflicting the kingdom. Despite his policy of firmness against Lutherans and Calvinists, Charles IX could not prevent the development of a Reformed community within his kingdom, even if the development of the decisions of the Council of Mantua, embodied in particular by the opening of a seminary in Lyon in the summer of 1555, contributed to slowing down the movement's development. The king sought to find a compromise between the repressive firmness advocated by the Paris theological faculty and local parliaments, and a conciliatory approach to those who repented. Sentences against heretics ranged from fines to executions. Nevertheless, the French sovereign was able to take advantage of the fact that the Protestant movements lacked a figurehead to represent them, even less so with the death of Marguerite de Valois in the spring of 1557, who was deeply sympathetic to Calvinists and Lutherans. Improved relations with the Papacy enabled Charles IX and the Catholic Church in France to wage an effective and formidable battle against the spread of Calvinist and Lutheran ideas.
This struggle led Charles IX to distance himself from the Protestant princes and the Swiss canton of Berne, all the more so because of the latter's support for Geneva, where John Calvin was active. His policy drove preachers underground, while some took refuge in Geneva or the Palatinate, where Frederick III promoted Calvinism.
On the economic front, Charles IX sought to counter the rising inflation affecting his subjects, while the climatic conditions of the late 1550s affected agriculture, with the summer of 1558 devastating the grape harvest. The Lyon fair weakened during this period, although the development of a bank helped to mitigate the economic impact for certain sections of the local population. The development of banking enabled Charles IX to find new ways of securing revenue, although support for trade and the import of resources from the New World, such as tobacco, continued to exist and strengthen. The development of the colonies of New France enabled the ports of Dieppe, Nantes and Bordeaux to gradually develop new trades that contributed to their growth. Among other commercial exchanges, relations with the Kingdom of Poland enabled Charles IX to trade with the Baltic Sea.
During this period, the sovereign concentrated on strengthening the concentration and unification of powers to better manage the kingdom. He pursued the fiscal unification of the kingdom, but met with reluctance or opposition from some of the kingdom's Great Houses, notably François IV of Brittany, whose power and prestige made him virtually a rival within the kingdom, all the more so with the success of his expedition to place his wife on the English throne. To counter his relative's considerable influence, Charles IX strengthened his ties with the Bourbons, offering them numerous titles and privileges, as well as granting Dieppe a charter confirming its role as the main port to the New World. To counter the Duke of Brittany, Charles IX also concentrated on the cultural development of his court, notably by renovating and transforming the Château de Blois, with gardens inspired by the Italian courts. The sovereign became more accustomed to touring the châteaux of the Loire Valley, Paris seeming to him burdensome and above all dangerous for his health, which was beginning to falter. Conflicting relations between Charles IX and Francis IV of Brittany became more complex with the expedition led by the Duke of Brittany to defend his wife's rights: Charles IX supported the expedition, contributing to its success, but Mary's accession to power complicated relations between the sovereign and his kin, who was now the jure uxoris sovereign of England. The meeting and treaty of Guînes in April 1557 confirmed the agreements reached at the Amboise meeting, notably concerning the Breton succession. In particular, Charles IX obtained the presence of Henri de Bretagne, now heir to the duchy, to establish relations with the new heir, but also to guarantee his relative's good conduct, as the king was concerned about the risk of the Duke of Brittany seeking to make his duchy autonomous and detach it from the French crown.
On the diplomatic front, Charles IX played a crucial role in early 1555 in his cousin Marie's bid to reclaim the English throne, guaranteeing protection for the Breton fleet as it crossed the Channel and forcing the English crown to place a large garrison at Calais to protect it. In the summer of 1556, following the success of François IV's expedition, Charles IX began negotiations with Marie to renew relations between the two crowns and settle potential disputes over the English and Breton succession. These negotiations developed over the autumn and winter of 1556 around the conditions raised at the Amboise meeting to preserve the allegiance of the Duchy of Brittany to the Kingdom of France, while establishing new relations with the new English sovereign. These negotiations culminated in the meeting and the Treaty of Guînes in April 1557, which made François de Bretagne heir to the English crown and Henri heir to the duchy of Brittany and the other French domains of François IV. In parallel with his ambiguous relations with the English crown, Charles IX maintained good relations with James VI, further strengthening the ties between their respective kingdoms, notably with the Scottish sovereign's marriage to Catherine of Brittany in the autumn of 1555, when he received James VI for the occasion. The King of France also maintained a complicated relationship with the Habsburgs, which was further exacerbated by the demise of Charles V and the control of the Netherlands by the Spanish crown. Relations with the Holy Roman Empire were more neutral, with the religious question leading Charles IX to distance himself somewhat from the Protestant princes. On the Italian peninsula, Charles IX nurtured important relations with the papacy, consolidated his ties with the Sienese Republic, and maintained complicated ties with the Republic of Genoa, where Andrea Doria was now a fierce ally of the Habsburgs. Charles IX also maintained important relations with the Kingdom of Poland, and with the Kingdom of Denmark, due to trade with the Baltic Sea.

In the late 1550s, Francis IV of Brittany sought to follow in his father's footsteps as a leading figure at the French court, while defending the interests of his duchy and, if necessary, distancing himself from Charles IX. This led to rivalry on the artistic front, as both men were major patrons of the arts, seeking to make their respective châteaux and estates flourish. The two men did, however, agree on the English question.
At the beginning of 1555, Francis IV and Mary saw through the planned marriage between James VI and their daughter Catherine. They commissioned Matthew Stewart to accompany Catherine to Scotland so that she could marry the Scottish sovereign. In the autumn of 1555, the announcement of the excommunication of Elizabeth I and Edward VI gave them the opportunity to prepare the expedition intended to place Mary on the throne. François IV and Marie set sail from Nantes in January 1556 with a force of around six thousand men, entrusting Louis de Sainte-Maure (1) with the regency of the duchy. The ducal couple disembarked at Poole before advancing northwards, reinforcing their forces through rallies and successively reaching Salisbury, Marlborough and Oxford. At the beginning of March, their forces clashed with those of Edward VI near Bicester, where they succeeded in defeating their opponents after a violent confrontation. Pursuing Edward VI, they captured Northampton before moving on to Bedford and Cambridge. They finally reached London towards the end of February 1556, eventually winning over the capital. Although they failed to capture Elizabeth and Edward, Mary and Francis were able to win the support of Parliament, the clergy and the nobility to establish their position on the throne, even though Francis IV was not a sovereign. While he supported his wife and played an important role in strengthening Mary's authority over the kingdom, Francis IV also continued to manage his duchy, preparing his young son Henry for his future position after the confirmation of the succession defined between him, his wife and Charles IX at the Guînes meeting in April 1557. Francis IV disagreed with his wife on the question of his eldest son Francis's matrimony, because of the political stakes involved in consolidating their lineage's position in England. Eventually, however, Francis IV conceded to his wife's positions, although some tensions remained due to his ambiguous position and continuing responsibilities as Duke of Brittany. His relations with Charles IX were complex, given his new position with the English throne, as he was still one of the most powerful lords in the kingdom and an intermediary between the King of France and the new ruler of England. Their rivalry took on new forms as the Duke of Brittany saw part of the court become distant and even opposed to him because of his new position and the concerns and questions the situation raised. He agreed to send Henri to the French court, seeking to maintain influence at home and to counteract the fallout from his new position, which made him both more powerful and dangerous in the eyes of the kingdom's other grandees.
Francis de Bretagne, the heir of François IV and Marie, joined the kingdom of England in the summer of 1556. The young prince trained for his new responsibilities at his mother's side and learned to develop relationships with the various representatives of the English court, even if his French upbringing contributed to tensions and mistrust on the part of some. To strengthen his position, Mary had him married to Anne Pole in 1557. His younger brother Henri took on important responsibilities within their father's estates as the new heir and representative of his father within the duchy. The new heir to the estates of Brittany and Valois developed ties with the French court and sought to assert himself in his new position. His father's absences, partly due to his position at the English court, helped to consolidate Henri's position as a future French lord.

During the years 1555-1559, the New World colonies continued to prosper and develop with renewed momentum.
Fort Sainte-Croix became a major hub in the St. Lawrence region, thanks to the economic ties and military alliance forged with the Iroquoian villages of Hochelaga and Stadaconé, even though intermittent epidemics tended to weaken the villages and make them vulnerable to attack by rival tribes. To maintain a strong position against their adversaries and in relations with the French, the two Iroquoian villages formed an alliance in 1557, creating the Iroquoian Union. This new alliance, and the military one with the governor of Fort Sainte-Croix, ensured the survival of the two St. Lawrence villages, even though the growing difficulties experienced by their inhabitants contributed to the strengthening of French influence in the region, which led to violent conflict with the Mohawks and Montagnais from 1557 onwards. The French and their allies faced a series of brutal confrontations and atrocious skirmishes, to which they responded with the utmost firmness and brutality.
Fort Charlesbourg consolidated its power and influence in Terre d'Orléans by exploiting the territory and expanding its relations with the natives of the New World, notably by sailing north up the Saint John River. French relations with the Delaware tribes became strained, however, as the French strengthened their presence in the region and the tribes weakened. Incidents multiplied during the period, even though both sides sought to maintain peace, given the fruitful trade that had developed between the French and the various Leni Lenape tribes over the previous three decades. Relations with the other tribes were more uncertain, with trade links developing with some and violent clashes with others, while exploration of the Saint-Jean became an important issue during the period.
Fort Valois enjoyed a relatively tranquil period, forging important ties with the Micmacs, mainly in trade, although the Micmacs' hostility to the Mohawks served the French well, who were in rivalry with the Mohawks due to their alliance with the St. Lawrence Iroquoian villages. Fort Valois also benefited from the development of fishing in the region and the strengthening of ties with Saint-Jean sur Terre Neuve, and played a role as a port of call for ships bound for Fort Charlesbourg or from the latter to the kingdom of France. The French expand their presence in Little Britain, exploiting resources to develop Fort Valois and sending some of these resources to the kingdom of France.
Saint-Jean went through a difficult period in 1555-1556 with the conflict with the Beothuk, as the French and the few English and Basque fishermen staying there had to contend with raids against them. Confrontations subsided in the spring of 1557, due in part to the arrival of new soldiers sent by Charles IX to reinforce the garrison of Saint-Jean and preserve the fishing port. The late 1550s saw a return to calm in the Newfoundland region, although relations between the French and the Beothuk remained tense. This return to stability allowed cod fishing to resume on a larger scale, although the development of Fort Valois affected the extent of activity in the region.

(1) Louis de Saint-Maur had been married to Guyonne de Rieux, daughter of Count Guy XVI de Laval, since 1545, and inherited the counties of Laval Laval, Quintin, Montfort, the barony of Vitré and the viscounty of Rennes in 1547, following the death of his wife's paternal uncle, Guy XVII, of pleurisy. He is known as Guy XVIII de Laval.
Things are peaceful for now thankfully, hopefully it can keep that way until Charles has better dealt with his neighbors. Also, given the whole famine thing, could we see the potato being introduced to France in order to feed the people? It would be a great boom for the population as the potato grows well essentially everywhere and gives a lot of nutrients
1555-1559: Breton England
1555-1559: Breton England
The years 1555-1559 saw the question of Henry IX's controversial succession continue to agitate the kingdom of England, until it was brutally resolved.

1555 was a special year for Elizabeth I and Edward VI. The two sovereigns continued to consolidate their authority, relying in particular on Parliament to consolidate their legitimacy. Their desire to consolidate their lineage was reinforced by the birth of Prince Henry, heir to the crown, in February 1555. In addition to this quest to strengthen their position on the throne, they pursued the policies put in place since Elizabeth I came to power.
But these successes were met with challenges and complications that jeopardized their presence on the English throne. The implementation of an enclosure policy was hampered by opposition from the English lords who practiced it, while economic tensions continued to plague various regions. Despite the birth of Prince Henry, the English court remained divided, with various factions including English lords and clergymen in favor of Mary. Relations with the clergy worsened in 1555 as a result of the succession controversy, and were aggravated in the summer of 1555 by the excommunication of Elizabeth I and her husband, creating further fault lines within the court and contributing to the emergence of positions close to the Lutheran, Calvinist and Tyndalian movements. The temptation to distance himself from Rome was strengthened by Clement VIII's refusal to accede to a demand from part of parliament to tax monasteries. The two sovereigns were supported in this by the Queen Dowager and part of the Privy Council, including Thomas Cranmer, but others were reserved or opposed to the idea of supporting the taxation of monasteries. Financial and religious issues took a back seat to diplomatic ones, however, and the succession controversy continued to divide the English nobility and gentry, right up to Parliament. Despite the failure of Henry Pole's conspiracy, Mary's supporters reorganized, benefiting from the support of several prominent English clergymen. In the face of these challenges, Elizabeth I was urged by her entourage to distance herself from Rome and establish her authority over the Church of England, notably by following the example of Gustav I of Sweden. From the autumn of 1555, a project to nationalize Church property was underway, and Elizabeth's allies undertook to defend it in Parliament.
On the diplomatic front, Elizabeth I and her husband worried about the risk of invasion, while the marriage of James VI of Scotland to Catherine of Brittany in the spring of 1555 contributed to the isolation of their kingdom. They sought allies, but the neutrality or opposition of some of their neighbors made the search for allies complicated. Their relations with Charles IX of France deteriorated with his clearer support for Marie's claims, while the pension to the English crown ceased to be paid in the summer of 1555. Faced with the risk of attack by the Duke of Brittany or the King of France, Elizabeth I and Edward VI had their coasts watched and the Calais garrison reinforced to protect it from possible attack. Rumors of an expedition by the Duke of Brittany and his wife at the end of 1555 prompted the royal couple to order their fealty to be extremely vigilant. They considered carrying out a pre-emptive attack against the Breton fleet, but abandoned the project to avoid coming into conflict with Charles IX at a time when they had no allies to counter the latter. The royal couple also had to deal with the conflict dividing the O'Neills as they maintained their support for Conn O'Neill and Shane O'Neill, allying themselves with Sorely McDonnell and receiving support from Thomas Butler to confront his father and brother Feardorcha during this period.
Faced with Elizabeth I and her entourage, her opponents rallied around Mary, notably the lords who had gone into exile after the failure of the 1553 conspiracy, and a few representatives of Irish lords eager to obtain Mary's support in defending their interests. Through the English princess and her husband Francis IV of Brittany, the Marianists sought the support of powerful allies, not only the King of France, because of his links with the Duke of Brittany and his wife, but also other powers. They could take advantage of the prosperity of the Duchy of Brittany to build up a force to complement those that Francis IV of Brittany or Charles IX of France could add to their ranks. The excommunication of Elizabeth I and Edward VI gave them the opportunity to work with Mary and Francis IV on an expedition to place the princess on the English throne. The news of Elizabeth I's planned takeover of the Church of England gave Mary and her allies a new weapon with which to assert her claims and legitimacy.

The beginning of 1556 saw events come to a head: Mary and Francis IV were preparing a large fleet to embark an army. They commissioned Thomas Butler to lead a new insurrection in Ireland to distract their adversaries. Butler disembarked in Ireland in the spring of 1556 with a small armed force and set about seizing the County of Ormonde, over which he had claims, before asking the Irish lords to rally to Mary's side, promising less interference by the English crown in the island's affairs. While some lords remained neutral, others like Shane O'Neill and Sorely McDonnell sided with Thomas Butler, while others like Gerald FitzGerald of Desmond and Conn O'Neill opposed him and supported Thomas Radclyffe against the insurgents. Violent clashes broke out in Tír Eoghain and Ormonde County in April and May 1556, as the English crown sent reinforcements to support the Lord-Lieutenant and prevent an invasion of the island by Mary and her allies. Thanks to these reinforcements, the Lord-Lieutenant managed to defeat Thomas Butler's forces near Carlow in mid-May 1556, but failed to neutralize Shane O'Neill despite another devastating campaign in Ulster.
Taking advantage of the unrest in Ireland, in May 1556 Mary and Francis IV embarked with their allies in a fleet of around 100 ships, accompanied by an armed force of 7,000, most of them Bretons, but also a few English, Welsh and Irish, and mercenaries recruited by the Duke of Brittany in the preceding months. Although they feared running into ships from the fleets of Elizabeth I and Edward VI, Marie and her husband's fleet managed to cross the English Channel without any unpleasant surprises. Mary and Francis IV disembark near Poole on May 16, 1556. Marie announced her intention to reclaim the throne and called for rallies on her behalf. On May 17, they faced a force from Devon, which they quickly neutralized at Bere Regis. After this initial skirmish, Marie and her allies strengthened their forces in the region, leaving Poole on May 19. Mary and her allies supported a northward advance to strengthen their forces and establish her legitimacy, rather than march directly on London. This led Mary and her husband to Salisbury on May 23, before reaching Marlborough on May 26, 1556. As a result of rallies, notably from Dorset thanks to its former Earl Henri Pole, the forces of Mary and her allies numbered around twelve thousand men when they left Marlborough for Oxford, which they reached on May 29, 1556. They were supported by John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, and prepared as they learned of the approach of Edward VI's forces to the north.
Warned on May 18 of the landing of Francis IV and Mary's forces, Elizabeth I and Edward VI set about gathering their forces to repel their adversaries. Mobilizing their forces was difficult, however, due to the fact that some of their forces had already been sent to Ireland, and that the two sovereigns were uncertain about the loyalty of some of the English nobility and gentry, especially as they learned of Dorset's rallying to the Marian cause. The Duke of Suffolk and the Earl of Warwick were joined by the Earl of Worcester, William Somerset. On May 27, 1556, Edward VI joined the armed forces led by John Dudley and Henry Suffolk, while George Boleyn and Henry Howard were charged with protecting London and Elizabeth I. The forces of Edward VI and his allies left Northampton on the 28th and descended on Oxford to stop Mary and Francis IV.
On June 2, 1556, the two armies faced each other near Bicester. The two armies were fairly evenly matched: thirteen thousand men for the army of Mary and Francis IV, sixteen thousand for those of Edward VI. Francis IV could rely on a fairly experienced force, while Edward VI could rely on allies determined to counter what was perceived as a foreign attack. The battle between the two sides was brutal and uncertain, with William Worcester and his forces failing to outflank Francis IV's forces and being halted by John de Vere's forces. The cannons of Francis IV's forces play a crucial role in the battle, as Henry Suffolk's forces press the forces of Henry Pole, made up in part of Dorset volunteers. Francis IV instructs the Swiss pikemen accompanying him to halt his opponent's attack. The situation changes when Francis IV attempts a charge to outflank Henry Suffolk's forces. Edward VI's forces try to stop the charge, whose aim is to cut off their retreat to London or Northampton. During the fighting, Edward VI and Francis IV almost clashed. The experience of Francis IV's Breton and French forces eventually made the difference in the charge and dislocated Edward VI's forces. The latter was almost captured and withdrew with part of his forces to Northampton, while John Dudley was killed and Henry Suffolk captured. By the end of the battle, the forces of Francis IV and his allies had lost almost a thousand men, while Edward VI's forces had been reduced by around five thousand men killed, wounded or taken prisoner. Edward VI reorganized his remaining forces before retreating to London to face the advance of Mary and her allies, while an insurrection led by Thomas Percy broke out in the north.
Success at Bicester allowed Mary and Francis IV to consolidate their position and threaten London. Determined to exploit their success, the princess and her husband considered descending on London, but decided to pursue Edward VI to prevent him from raising new forces. They reached Northampton on June 7, 1556, but had to lay siege to the city on June 8 and 9 as Edward VI escaped to Bedford. They did, however, receive the support of Thomas Percy, son of the last deposed and executed Earl of Northumberland, who had risen up against Elizabeth I and Edward VI in mid-February. Pursuing Edward VI and the rest of his forces, Mary and her allies reached Bedford on June 12, before moving closer to London. Reinforced by the new rallies and the arrival of Thomas Percy's forces, their forces numbered around fourteen thousand men by the time they reached Cambridge on June 13. However, they learned of an attempted attack on Salisbury by Elizabeth I's loyalists on June 14, 1556. This attack led them to reinforce their forces, while at the same time instructing their allies to seek to consolidate their position in the kingdom, particularly with the Welsh and Irish. Reginald Pole accompanied Thomas Percy north to establish the couple's authority in the northern provinces and make contact with the Scots. Mary and Francis IV were reluctant to descend on London, however, unwilling to risk a siege in the event of opposition from the city, but not wanting to see Elizabeth I and her family escape. On June 16, 1556, Mary decided to descend on London with her husband and the bulk of the forces supporting her, and commissioned John de Vere and Arthur Pole to cross the Thames further west in an attempt to cut off the southern route to their adversaries. The Earl of Oxford and the nephew of the Earl of Salisbury crossed the Thames at Marlow on June 22, 1556, before reaching Richmond on June 24. They almost intercepted Elizabeth I and her entourage, but found themselves facing part of George Boleyn's forces at Southwark on June 25, 1556.
Edward VI reached London on June 13, joining forces with Henry Brandon and Henry Howard and his wife and their family. The royal couple planned to defend the capital against their adversaries, the Duke of Suffolk's and Duke of Norfolk's forces numbering around two thousand men and the forces that had accompanied Edward VI after the defeat at Bicester and the desertions around eight thousand. These intentions were hampered, however, by the growing tensions within the capital as Mary and Francis IV drew closer to it, while at the same time strengthening their forces through various rallies. Added to these constraints was the increasingly uncertain support of parliament, as the clergy sided more and more with Marie. Faced with a deteriorating situation, Edward VI and Elizabeth I planned exile and began to prepare their escape, but refused advice from their entourage to leave London quickly to avoid losing what support they still had in the capital.
Mary and her allies left Cambridge on June 17 and descended on London. Their forces reached the outskirts of London on June 21, 1556. Marie asked to negotiate the submission of the city and the surrender of Elizabeth I and Edward VI. She met representatives of her half-sister and the city near the priory of Saint-Barthélemy-le-Grand on June 22, 1556. The representatives of Elizabeth I and Edward VI were reluctant to accept Mary's terms, seeking to buy time to facilitate the escape of the royal couple and their children. The aldermen representing London were more sympathetic to the princess's arguments. The presence of various representatives of the nobility alongside Mary and her husband had an impact on the positions of the representatives of Elizabeth I and the city, reinforcing the divisions within parliament, which no longer seemed certain of supporting Elizabeth I and Edward VI. The first negotiations led Elizabeth I and Edward VI to want to protect their family, while the risk of forfeiture and the threat of insurrection within London became significant. News of the advance of Arthur Pole and John de Vere's forces precipitated Elizabeth I and her husband's decision to leave London. Instructing George Boleyn to cover their departure, the couple and their children left the city on the night of June 23-24, 1556. George Boleyn maintained the presence of his forces in London throughout late June 1556, but had to deal with a rebellion in certain parts of London when rumors of the royal couple's disappearance spread, raising questions and concerns among the population. The Duke of Somerset also had to deal with the risk of being cut off from Elizabeth I and Edward VI. On June 25, part of his forces confronted the Earl of Oxford's forces at Southwark and drove them back, protecting the escape of Elizabeth I and Edward VI.
Mary and her allies learn of the rumors and the departure of Elizabeth I and her husband on June 26, 1556. Mary sought to exploit this news as she met again with representatives from London on June 27, stressing that the flight of those claiming to be their sovereigns was contrary to their duties. This meeting, the influence of the local clergy and the approach of John de Vere's forces precipitated events with George Boleyn forced to flee London during the riot of June 28, 1556, which saw London open its doors to Mary and Francis IV. Mary consolidated her position in the capital, while Francis IV joined John de Vere on June 29. The two men pursued the Duke of Somerset and sought to catch up with Elizabeth I and Edward VI. Their forces clashed with George Boleyn's near Dartford on July 1, 1556. The Duke of Somerset tried to resist the Duke of Brittany and the Duke of Oxford despite the numerical inferiority of his forces, before the pressure of his adversaries led to the rout of his forces and his capture. Francis IV and John de Vere joined Rochester, who surrendered to them on July 3, 1556.
Elizabeth I and Edward VI first reached Rochester on June 26. They prepared their departure and anticipated the risk of attack from their adversaries, seeking to rely on forces loyal to them in Kent. They considered reaching Dover, but were dissuaded by the risk of running into French ships. On learning of the fall of London on June 29, they set about preparing their departure. A disagreement emerged over the destination of exile: Edward VI and Henry Howard defended the choice of the Spanish Netherlands, but Anne Boleyn disagreed, not least because Eleanor of Habsburg was Mary's cousin. In the end, the choice was made to attempt to reach the more neutral Kingdom of Denmark, although Anne Boleyn's opponents suspected her of having supported this destination because of the Lutheran Church. On July 1, 1556, a flotilla was completed, enabling Elizabeth and her entourage to embark. The flotilla managed to leave the Medway on July 2, and was almost attacked by ships in the service of Mary and Francis IV off the Hoo peninsula. Narrowly escaping the confrontation, Elizabeth I and her entourage made their way through the North Sea, where crossing conditions were complicated. The flotilla was forced to stop in The Hague on July 6, 1556. Elizabeth I and Edward VI were struck by mourning with the death of Prince Henry on July 9, 1556, the young prince having fallen ill during the crossing. This loss delayed the departure of the small flotilla, which almost prevented Elizabeth I and Edward VI from leaving The Hague as the authorities tried to prevent them from leaving. They finally left in a hurry on July 12, 1556. They reached the island of Bant, controlled by the county of East Friesland, on July 13. They were welcomed by the regent, Anne of Oldenburg, in Emdem on July 16. Welcomed as best they could by the regent and her three sons, Edzard, John and Christopher, the entourage of the fallen royal couple recuperated from the trip and reflected on what to do next. Joining the Kingdom of Denmark remained a possibility, given its proximity to the Duchy, although the uncertainty of Christian III's reception due to his policy of neutrality was a potential obstacle. Any attempt to reconquer the English throne is ruled out for the time being, due to the lack of means to succeed and the fact that the French alliance is likely to be resurrected by Marie due to her ties. While the county of East Friesland is prosperous and can be a valuable ally, its proximity to the Spanish Netherlands makes it an uncertain territory to remain in for the long term. The latent conflict over Harlingerland, which had involved the county for many years, also resurfaced during the period, with the conquest of the Accum Depression by Count John II "the Terrible" of Harlingerland. This conflict led Anne of Oldenburg to appeal to the Imperial Chamber and the Circle of Lower Rhine-Westphalia, but she had to ask her guests to leave, as their presence could create constraints and difficulties for her. They left the county of East Frisia in August 1556 and, after a difficult crossing, reached Husum in mid-August 1556. They were soon welcomed by Christian III. Although reluctant because of his religious convictions and policy of neutrality, the Danish sovereign eventually granted them hospitality, allowing them to stay at Plön Castle, rebuilt since the War of the Two Kings. The exiles spent the next few years preparing for their return, but had to cope with Christian III's lack of support for them and the difficulties of living despite the pension granted by the Danish sovereign. Their exile was complicated by religious disagreements, with Anne Boleyn expressing her views more openly, while Edward de Courtenay was more reserved and cautious, given the possibility of a return to England. The exile was brightened by the birth of Princess Gertrude in March 1558.

After their success against Elizabeth I and Edward, and despite their failure to capture the couple and their children, Mary and Francis IV work to strengthen their authority in England and to resolve the various problems and challenges they face in the summer of 1556. They first sought to neutralize the potential threats that remained in the kingdom, notably by granting amnesty to those who would submit to their authority. In this way, they secured the submission of Henry Howard, who was released at the beginning of August 1556. Only Devon continued to be troubled during the late summer of 1556, prompting Mary and her husband to send forces to restore order and quell insurrections. Mary could count on the support of her allies and several prominent representatives of the English clergy to establish her authority and legitimize her seizure of power. She also worked to secure the support of Parliament, playing on the flight and exile of her half-sister and the respect of the rules of succession. However, she faced a major challenge from representatives of parliament and the nobility: the question of her husband Francis IV's status. The English barons' apprehension at seeing a French prince on the English throne was considerable, even if this concern was tempered by the fact that he was Duke of Brittany and that certain lords in the south of the kingdom had forged important ties with him. The lords' concerns were also echoed by Charles IX, King of France, through his ambassador, who conveyed the sovereign's requests and thoughts to Mary and her husband at the end of July 1556. Determined to consolidate their position on the throne, Mary and Francis IV undertook to take account of Parliament, and Francis was first considered consort before sovereign, due to his position as duke in the kingdom of France. Mary and her husband also confirmed their commitments made at the Amboise meeting concerning the English and Breton succession.

All their efforts won the support of the representatives of Parliament in early August 1556. They invalidated Elizabeth I and Edward VI as sovereigns and confirmed Mary as the rightful Queen of England, with Francis IV of Brittany as consort. Mary was crowned at Westminster in the second half of August 1556. Shortly after her coronation, she stripped the titles and estates of those close to Elizabeth I and Edward VI, leading in particular to the abolition of the title of Duke of Devon and the recovery of George Boleyn's titles by the Queen. The Queen redistributed some of these estates to her allies, restoring the title of Earl of Salisbury to Henry Pole. She appointed Reginald Pole as Chancellor in recognition of his support for her. She and her Privy Council worked to reorganize the kingdom, partly adopting the policies of Elizabeth I and Edward VI. They relied heavily on Parliament, not least to consolidate their authority in the face of continuing opposition within the kingdom. They adopted the commercial policy of their predecessors, taking advantage of the special ties with the Duchy of Brittany and seeking to build on trade relations with the Spanish Netherlands. However, they had to deal with the problem of enclosures. However, they were able to benefit from a resumption of the pension paid by the French crown from the summer of 1557, following the meeting between Mary I and Charles IX at Guînes in April 1557 to reaffirm the ties between the two kingdoms and confirm by treaty the conditions agreed at the Amboise meeting, notably on the question of English and Breton succession.
On the dynastic front, Marie I had her eldest son Francis brought to England to train and prepare him for his position as crown prince. Her second son Henri remained in France as heir to the Duchy of Brittany, trained by his father when he returned to manage his estates, or by his advisors in his absence. The future Duke of Brittany also spent time at the French court, providing Charles IX with a guarantee that the Duchy of Brittany would not become detached from the kingdom. Aware of the need to consolidate her son's position as heir to the crown, Mary I undertook to choose him an English wife to consolidate his position at court and develop the confidence of the kingdom's representatives in him. The matrimonial question gave rise to some controversy between her and Francis IV, as the Duke of Brittany had intended his son to marry a French princess or a princess of Navarre. In the end, however, Francis IV conceded the decision to his wife. She chose Anne Pole, niece of the Earl of Salisbury and daughter of the late Geoffroy Pole. The marriage between the two young men was arranged in October 1557. The wife of the heir to the crown became pregnant in 1558 and gave birth to a son in September 1558, whom she and Francis named Arthur.
Although she succeeded in strengthening her authority in the kingdom thanks to her abilities and the support of her advisors and husband, Mary I had to contend with a number of plots and attempted insurrections in favor of her half-sister during the late 1550s. The most serious attempt occurred in Kent in April 1557, when Thomas Wyatt the Younger tried to provoke an insurrection in favor of Elizabeth and Edward. Thanks to the actions of the Grand Sheriff of Kent and the intervention of Henry Pole, the attempt was foiled, and Thomas Wyatt was arrested and executed for conspiracy and treason in June 1557. Thomas Wyatt's attempt precipitated the marriage of Prince Francis to Anne Pole. Apart from this attempt at insurrection, other attempts fizzled out for lack of support.

From a religious point of view, Mary I followed her father's and half-brother's policy of putting an end to potential Protestant movements in the kingdom. In her project to consolidate her legitimacy, Mary also relied on leading representatives of the English clergy, such as Stephen Gardiner and Reginald Pole. She disagreed, however, with her husband Francis IV on the question of developing a similar policy in France, on the need to consolidate royal authority over the local clergy, the sovereign being reluctant to strain her relations with the papacy even though Clement VIII's support had been invaluable. However, she had to take account of parliament's expectations, and from 1558 onwards she began to obtain the possibility of taxing monasteries from the Papacy. The strengthening of her ties with the Papacy was not well received by some court officials, who feared a return to papal interference in the kingdom, while the Church of England project of Elizabeth I and Edward VI continued to arouse the interest of some parts of the court and the kingdom's elites.

Among the issues requiring swift resolution, Mary I sought to resolve the various troubles affecting the lands of Ireland. She granted the title of Earl of Ormonde to Thomas Butler in August 1556, and commissioned him to escort Thomas Radclyffe to the Emerald Isle to help resolve the conflicts between the various Irish lords. Thomas Radclyffe returned to London in July 1556 to pay homage to the new sovereign. Mary I and her husband kept him in the position of Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, but instructed him to resolve the troubles between the various Irish lords more diplomatically, before employing his tactics. Marie reverses the decisions of her two predecessors concerning the succession to Tír Eoghain, despite Thomas Radcyffe's disagreement. This decision gave Shane O'Neill the support of the English, but provoked more head-on opposition from Conn O'Neill and his son Feardorcha, the lesser king of Tír Eoghain being determined to defend his choice of successor. Unrest between Shane O'Neill and his relatives continued to affect Tír Eoghain throughout 1557, before Thomas Radclyffe intervened to force Conn O'Neill to accept the traditional succession by tanistria. This did not, however, bring an end to tensions, as Shane was nearly killed in the spring of 1558. The situation was only resolved by the suspicious death of Feardorcha in the summer of 1558, followed by the death of Conn O'Neill the following year, allowing Shane O'Neill to become the new ruler of Tír Eoghain.
Thomas Radclyffe also had to intervene in the troubles that once again affected the small kingdom of Thomond during this period: Dermod O'Brien died in 1557, leading to renewed conflict over the succession, as Dermod's son, Murchadh, was a child. Donnell O'Brien took advantage of the situation to become the new King of Thomond, with the support of the Dál gCais. Thomas Radclyffe is forced to recognize Donnell's new position, although it is contested by Connor O'Brien, his nephew, who claims the position because his father, Donough, had been the designated heir of Conchobhar mac Toirdhealbaig. At Mary I's request, Thomas Radclyffe endeavored to maintain peace in the region while striking a balance between the various Irish lords.
The change of English ruler led the Irish lords to hope for a return to the state they had enjoyed before Henry VIII's death. Although Mary I's Irish policy interfered less in their affairs than it had under her half-sister, the Lord-Lieutenant retained the powers he had acquired in recent years, and did not hesitate to intervene in conflicts between Irish lords to bring them to an end. The Lord-Lieutenant could count on the support of Thomas Butler, even if the latter had to deal with his family's rivalry with the FitzGeralds of Desmond. Marie I thus retained the consequent influence developed by her two predecessors on the island, but worked to develop better relations with the Irish lords.

On the diplomatic front, the years 1556-1559 saw Mary I forge relations with her various neighbors. While she developed important relations with Charles IX of France and James VI of Scotland, meeting the latter in the autumn of 1557, she also turned her attention to the Habsburgs. She developed ties with Eleanor of Habsburg as part of the economic and commercial relations linking the Spanish Netherlands to the Kingdom of England. The death of Charles V in 1556 led Mary I to forge ties with Philip II of Spain. She also forged ties with John II of Norway, as part of her economic exchanges and to protect herself from the continuing threat posed by her half-sister. Finally, she strengthened her relations with the papacy and Clement VIII.
1555-1559: Affirmation of James VI of Scotland
1555-1559: Affirmation of James VI of Scotland
The late 1550s were a period of affirmation for James VI, as the young Scottish king set about consolidating his authority in the first years of his post-regency reign.

James VI began a fairly peaceful reign in the late 1550s, despite internal rivalries within the Scottish royal court. The young king relied on Lennox and his allies to consolidate his authority and continue his father's centralization of power. The young sovereign also endeavored to secure the loyalty of the kingdom's most important clans, notably the English faction represented by the Douglas and James Hamilton. Despite the failure of the matrimonial project between Elizabeth I and James VI, James Hamilton and his allies continued to play an important role at the Scottish court, while the failure of the matrimonial project between Elizabeth I and him gave rise to a major rivalry between the English and French parties. James VI had to manage these rivalries and worked with his entourage to reduce the influence of the English party, notably through his marriage to Catherine of Brittany in the spring of 1555.
While he relied on his mother's advice, he also had to deal with the fact that she more openly expressed her sympathies for the so-called Reformed movements, which fueled opposition from various court representatives and raised questions about the sovereign's religious policy. The latter resumed his father's policy of combating Lutheran and Calvinist ideas, which won him the support of the clergy. The resumption of the fight against Lutheran and Calvinist ideas led to some tensions, as the regency period had allowed the emergence of small movements within the kingdom, mainly in the territories of the marches close to England. In the early years of his reign, James VI sought to accommodate the various factions to ease the tensions that had followed his father's death, but took advantage of the changes on the English throne to strengthen the French party, while maintaining relations with the English faction to counterbalance the influence of his mother and Matthew Stewart.
On the dynastic front, his marriage to Catherine of Brittany saw the birth of Prince James in early 1556, and Prince Matthew in the summer of 1558, while the first child died in the spring of 1557, making Matthew the new heir to the Scottish crown.

On the diplomatic front, James VI maintained cordial but complicated relations with Elizabeth I of England. Despite his refusal to agree to the matrimonial plan proposed by James Hamilton and the young sovereign's representatives, the King of Scotland kept relations calm for a variety of reasons. The young king had to take into account the still-strong position of James Hamilton and his allies at court, and followed the advice of his entourage to avoid conflict at a time when the kingdom was still rather isolated, despite the resumption of stronger relations with the kingdom of France. However, his marriage to Catherine of Brittany and the consequences of the Abergavenny rebellion further complicated relations between the two sovereigns. The situation changed in 1556 with the successful expedition of Francis IV of Brittany and Mary, which placed the latter on the English throne. James VI set about forging and strengthening his relations with the new sovereign, which won him the trust and support of the English party. He met Mary I in Durham in September 1557, enabling him and the sovereign to renew Anglo-Scottish relations.
Under the influence of his mother and the French party supported by Matthew Stewart, James VI strengthened his relations with the kingdom of France and Charles IX. He married Catherine of Brittany in the spring of 1555, renewing relations with the kingdom of Lys and strengthening his ties with François IV of Brittany, whom he tacitly supported in the 1556 expedition to reclaim the English throne on his wife's behalf. In the spring of 1559, James VI visited the kingdom of France and met Charles IX in Rouen. During his visit, which included a stay at the Château de Blois, the King of Scotland reaffirmed the ties between his kingdom and that of his kinsman, before returning to his kingdom in the autumn of 1559.
In addition to his relations with the kings of England and France, James VI forged ties with John II of Norway, notably through trade in the North Sea. In the development of relations between the two kingdoms, the matrimonial question was raised, initially with a marriage project between James VI and Eleanor of Norway, but the marriage project between his sister Anne and John II's heir, Prince Charles, was decided during the period before materializing in the summer of 1559 with Anne's dispatch to Norway, her wedding taking place in Oslo Cathedral in September 1559.
1555-1559: Italian status quo New
1555-1559: Italian status quo
The late 1550s were a period of relative peace and stability in the Italian peninsula, even if tensions remained high in the Swiss cantons to the north.

For the papacy, the years 1555-1559 were a very dynamic and flourishing period. Clement VIII continued to step up the fight against Protestant ideas, notably strengthening the role of the Inquisition in the battle against publications. From 1557, he drew up an index condemning heretical writings, strengthening the arsenal against the spread of Protestant ideas and further weakening their influence in Christendom. This did not prevent the Pope from being a great patron of artists and writers, enabling Rome to reinforce its position as the great cultural center of the Italian peninsula, while Milan had suffered somewhat from the French presence and Florence was recovering from the various troubles that had affected it over the previous decade. Rome thus benefited from the emergence of an architecture that its detractors described as Baroque. Clement VIII encouraged the development of this new style, seeing it both as a means of reinforcing Rome's magnificence and of countering Protestant ideas through the imposing allure of its buildings, sculptures and paintings. The theological reforms and the policy of patronage were complemented by other noteworthy measures, notably the Papal Bull of spring 1559, which reformed the Julian calendar and saw the abolition of some ten days in May 1559 to make up for the time lag resulting from the mismatch between the Julian calendar year and the tropical year. This measure, which established the Clementine calendar, was the fruit of the work of Italian and Iberian mathematicians and astronomers during the period, following the Pope's request to create a new calendar. Clement VIII began to suffer from gout at the very end of the decade, complicating his ability to travel, particularly throughout the papal states.
On the diplomatic front, Clement VIII maintained good relations with Charles IX, supporting the efforts of the French sovereign and the Church of France to counter the spread of Protestant ideas in the kingdom. Relations with the kingdom of England were complex, and changed with events. His relations with Elizabeth I deteriorated as a result of his support for Mary Tudor's claim to the English throne, reinforced by his decision to excommunicate Elizabeth I and Edward VI in the autumn of 1556 after they had declined to respond to his request to cede the throne to Mary. Mary's triumph in regaining the throne enabled the pope to forge important relations with the new sovereign. Clement VIII also maintained important relations with the Habsburgs, principally Charles V. After the latter's death, he developed relations with Philip II of Spain and Ferdinand I, although his relations with the latter were both more important, due to Ferdinand I's support for Louis III of Hungary against the Ottomans, and more complicated, due to the new emperor's policy of compromise with the Protestant princes through the Treaty of Augsburg of 1557. The imperial succession quarrel and Ferdinand's policy of religious compromise led Clement VIII to hesitate to recognize Ferdinand as Charles V's successor in early 1557, but the pontiff finally did so in the autumn of 1557. The Pope was committed to mobilizing the Christian powers against the Ottomans, although the development of Saadian power in North Africa also attracted the Pope's attention.

The Duchy of Milan was the other peninsular territory to prosper in the late 1550s, thanks to the actions and decisions of Francesco II. During this period, the Duke of Milan managed to regain some of the lustre that had marked his father's reign prior to the conflicts of the 1540s. He maintained close ties with his mother Bona, who efficiently managed the Duchy of Bari, making it very prosperous. Bona's death in 1558 led Francesco to become the new Duke of Bari, further enhancing his wealth and prosperity. This prosperity enabled him to reduce his financial dependence on the Fugger family and Genoese bankers. On the religious front, Francesco II set out to counter the spread of Reformed ideas from the Swiss cantons, contributing in particular to the establishment of the Roman Inquisition on his lands in 1557. Francesco II also developed a lavish and cultured court, attracting in 1559 the services of Sofonisba Anguissola, a woman artist who had proved herself to Michelangelo in Rome during the preceding years. She entered the service of the Duke's wife, Catherine.
On the diplomatic front, Francesco II forged important ties with the Papacy, but also with the Habsburgs, although Bona's death in 1558 caused some tension with Philip II of Spain, with rumors of the new Spanish king's desire to reclaim the territory of Bari. Relations with the Republic of Genoa eased over the period, enabling him to step up trade and partially emancipate himself from the financial tutelage of the Fuggers. Francesco II's relations with the kingdom of France were more complicated by Charles IX's claims to the duchy, although the resumption of trade did ease tensions. Relations with the Duchy of Savoy were ambiguous, due to the development of cordial commercial ties on the one hand, and Louis II of Savoy's rapprochement with the Kingdom of France on the other. Its relations with the Swiss cantons were complicated by religious divisions within the Confederation, while its ties with the Alliance of the Three Leagues were strained by the Valtellina and religious issues.

During the late 1550s, Cosimo de' Medici and Vittoria devoted themselves to restoring Florence to the lustre it had enjoyed during the previous Medici periods, and preparing Alessandro II for his position as Duke. They also had to look after their children, Isabella and Giovanni, born in April 1556. Alessandro II took over the reins of power in the autumn of 1558. The young duke relied on Cosimo de' Medici's experience and skills to consolidate his authority over the city. Alessandro II felt duty-bound to restore his lineage to its former glory, and set about establishing a major patronage program to restore Florence to a position of prominence in the region's cultural life.
The truce with Siena was maintained, but remained fragile due to rivalries between the two cities and the claims of the Farnese and Medici on the Sienese city. Only the arbitration of Clement VIII prevented Cosimo de' Medici from relaunching hostilities, despite numerous incidents during the period.
On the diplomatic front, the Duchy's relations with the Republic of Siena were tense and conflict-ridden, while Vittoria sought to defend her rights to the territory, supported by Cosimo de' Medici, who saw an opportunity to neutralize their city's great rival. The arrival in power of Alessandro II contributed to heightening tensions, as he felt more legitimate in reclaiming Siena due to his kinship with Pieri Luigi de Farnese and his position as Duke of Florence. The Florentine duchy forged relations with the papacy and above all the Habsburgs, especially Philip II of Spain after the latter succeeded Charles V in 1557. Relations with the kingdom of France were more uncertain, due to Charles IX's diplomatic relations with Siena. Alessandro II established relations with the Duchy of Milan. The Medici strengthened their ties with the Republic of Genoa and Andrea Doria, seeking to make them a valuable ally in preserving their position over Florence.

The Republic of Siena sought to strengthen and consolidate its position in the late 1550s. Peter Strozzi took advantage of the fragile truce to consolidate the new republic and strengthen its institutions, even if he took over some of the decisions made during Pieri Luigi's reign. He set up an oligarchic council to govern the city. He reorganized the city's defenses and sought to improve those of the territory still controlled by Siena. Economically and commercially, the city fared well despite the constraints imposed by its tumultuous relations with Florence.
On the diplomatic front, the new Sienese republic maintained cordial relations with the papacy, eager to rely on Clement VIII to maintain the truce and status quo with Florence and the Medici. Peter Strozzi helped strengthen the city's relations with the kingdom of France, giving it a powerful ally and protector against Florence and the Farneses. Relations with the other Italian cities were uncertain, but tended to be fairly neutral, allowing for commercial exchanges in particular. Only the relationship with Florence remained tense and uncertain, with the truce in danger of being broken as incidents peppered the period. The enthronement of Alessandro II at the head of the Duchy of Florence further worsened relations, as the young duke was keen to neutralize the Sienese republic and take it over due to his links with the Farnese family.

By the end of the 1550s, the Republic of Genoa was once again prospering, trading extensively with the various Italian territories and trading extensively in the western Mediterranean, particularly with the kingdoms of Spain and Naples. This prosperity resulted from Andrea Doria's efforts to reorganize the city's governance and develop relations with the Habsburgs to guarantee the city's independence from French interference. The Genoese admiral forged links with the Medici of Florence to gain other allies in the Italian peninsula. His relations with the Duchy of Milan calmed and improved, thanks in particular to the influence of Genoese banks on the Duchy's financial situation and vigilance against Charles IX. His relations with Louis II of Savoy were complicated by the latter's rapprochement with the French crown. His relations with the Habsburgs were the most important, although he had to renew them after the death of Charles V, drawing closer to the new King of Spain, Philip II.

In the late 1550s, the Republic of Venice sought to maintain peace with its neighbors in order to renew its prosperity, particularly in its complicated relations with the Ottoman Empire. The Serenissima maintained important relations with the Duchy of Milan and the Kingdom of France, and improved its ties with the Papacy. The Maritime Republic maintained more ambiguous ties with the Habsburgs, notably Ferdinand of Habsburg, who became the new Duke of Verona after the death of his brother. It developed relations with Louis III of Hungary, despite tensions and divisions within the Hungarian court.

The Swiss cantons experienced a period of tense stability due to religious tensions and tumultuous relations with the Duchy of Savoy. Events within the Holy Roman Empire and stability in the Italian peninsula affected the stability of the confederation, while the strengthening of Catholic proselytism influenced by the decisions of the Council of Mantua and the various popes. Protestant cantons found it difficult to resist the militant character of the Catholic Church, and strengthened their ties with the Alliance of the Three Leagues and the Republic of Geneva, even if they disagreed with some of John Calvin's positions. The absence of major conflicts affected the mercenary policy of the Catholic cantons, who turned to the Kingdom of Hungary and offered their services in support of King Louis III against the Ottomans.
Relations between the Swiss cantons and the Alliance of the Three Leagues were complicated by religious disagreements, particularly between the cantons belonging to the former Christian Union and the cantons of Graubünden. The Catholic Swiss cantons had important relations with the Habsburgs and the papacy, and renewed ties with the kingdom of France, while the Protestant cantons found themselves isolated with distant relations with some of the Protestant cities and princes of the empire lands, even if the advent of Emperor Ferdinand I and the Treaty of Augsburg in 1558 affected these relations. The Alliance of the Three Leagues also maintained difficult relations with the Duchy of Milan, with the return of the Sforzas reopening the question of control of Valtellina between the two territories.
The Republic of Geneva saw Jean Calvin and the city council strongly reinforce the decisions put in place before the conflict with the Duchy of Savoy. The defeat of the Savoyards and the help of the Bernese helped to destabilize the opposition of the notables and the Catholic faction. Jean Calvin is also considered the figurehead of the Reformed movements, thanks to his commitment and ideas. The small republic maintained close ties with the canton of Berne and had complicated relations with the duchy of Savoy, but also had to deal with tense relations with Catholic cantons and its proximity to the kingdom of France, where the struggle against Calvinist ideas had become fierce.

Louis II of Savoy worked to consolidate his authority over the Duchy of Savoy during the years 1555-1559. The duke sought to reorganize his duchy and restore his finances after the difficult conflict with Geneva and Berne. This led him to request loans from Genoese banks. He reorganized the duchy's administrative services, inspired in part by the policies of Charles IX. He also pursued an important policy inspired by the decisions of the Council of Mantua to counter the spread of Calvin's ideas in his duchy, authorizing the construction of a seminary in Nice in 1557.
On the diplomatic front, Louis II developed his relations with the kingdom of France, especially as the Habsburgs' influence waned somewhat after the death of Charles V in 1556. This strengthening of relations between the duke and the French court led to his marriage to Marie de France in the spring of 1558. The demise of Charles V led to a reorganization of relations with the Habsburgs, with the Duke now a vassal of Ferdinand I. His relations with the Swiss cantons and the Republic of Geneva were tense and difficult, leading him to deal with the canton of Berne to maintain peace and restore relations with the latter. Having to rely on Genoese banks to help restore some of his duchy's financial capacity, Louis II forged ties with the Republic of Genoa, even if his proximity to Charles IX contributed to some tension and vigilance on the part of Andrea Doria. Louis II also forged important ties with the papacy, notably as part of his religious policy to counter the spread of John Calvin's ideas.
Seems Italy is stable for now, hopefully things will remain that way as another war would just devastate the region, but it seems no one is interested in a war, at least against fellow Christian powers
Seems Italy is stable for now, hopefully things will remain that way as another war would just devastate the region, but it seems no one is interested in a war, at least against fellow Christian powers

Well, Charles IX is trying to settle for some stability, especially with the issue of Reformation or handling the situation in the kingdom of England, and would prefer a "Louis XI" approach to handle Italye. Concerning the Habsburg, they will be tackled in the next thread with the succession.