WI: François-Hercule, Duc d'Alençon Survives, Marries and Has Kids

While the idea of him marrying Elizabeth I is FASCINATING, I don't think it's very likely. So let's exclude such a match from the table (insert reason why here).

Anyhow, the only other marriage I'm AWARE of ever being offered for him is to Henri IV's sister, Catherine. And I doubt Caterina will be comfortable with a Protestant daughter-in-law.

So, who would he marry? And if he WERE to survive his OTL death to inherit the throne of France what would his reign look like?
 
I’ve never got the impression that this Duke of Alencon
was a very prominent, or important, figure in 16th Cen-
tury France who could have had much of an impact if
he’d done things differently than he did IOTL- but if
I’m wrong people, correct me!
 
While the idea of him marrying Elizabeth I is FASCINATING, I don't think it's very likely. So let's exclude such a match from the table (insert reason why here).

Anyhow, the only other marriage I'm AWARE of ever being offered for him is to Henri IV's sister, Catherine. And I doubt Caterina will be comfortable with a Protestant daughter-in-law.

So, who would he marry? And if he WERE to survive his OTL death to inherit the throne of France what would his reign look like?
Well, his son is obviously heir to the throne but by the time when HIII is assassinated he is still a child and a Royal Party is most probably weaker than the Catholic League (financed and backed by Spain) and the Protestants led by Henry of Navarre. With Catherine Medici already dead, the Royal Party does not have an obvious leader capable of making the political decisions so a lot depends on who takes control of the young king. As his uncle and the 1st Prince of Blood, Henry of Navarre should be a regent but this causes the obvious problems. If he ends up in the hands of the Catholic League then the Duke of Mayennene supports him as a Catholic king instead of Cardinal de Bourbon and the war is going on. Now, in OTL Henry was regularly beating his opponents and kept Paris under close blockade until it was relieved by Alexander Parma. This hardly changes but Phillip II May decide to marry the young king to the infanta (in OTL he pushed her candidacy to the French throne but was rejected by Mayenne & Co). This may mean a greater Spanish involvement but, realistically, Phillip did not have enough troops to subdue the Dutch and could spare Parma for only a limited time so I would not push this option too far. Anyway, none of the sides is strong enough to gain a de isive victory so, sooner or later, some compromise should be achieved (in OTL Mayenne executed most of the radical leaders of the Catholic League so the common sense could prevail).

Specific form of the compromise is anybody’s guess so we can assume somewhat modified version of the Ecict of Nantes. But as soon as the peace is signed, Henry has a legal right to require the regent’s position (and the armed force to back up his claim). From this point onward the things are completely unpredictable ( Spanish marriage or its absence would be only one of the numerous factors).
 
Well, his son is obviously heir to the throne but by the time when HIII is assassinated he is still a child and a Royal Party is most probably weaker than the Catholic League (financed and backed by Spain) and the Protestants led by Henry of Navarre. With Catherine Medici already dead, the Royal Party does not have an obvious leader capable of making the political decisions so a lot depends on who takes control of the young king. As his uncle and the 1st Prince of Blood, Henry of Navarre should be a regent but this causes the obvious problems. If he ends up in the hands of the Catholic League then the Duke of Mayennene supports him as a Catholic king instead of Cardinal de Bourbon and the war is going on. Now, in OTL Henry was regularly beating his opponents and kept Paris under close blockade until it was relieved by Alexander Parma. This hardly changes but Phillip II May decide to marry the young king to the infanta (in OTL he pushed her candidacy to the French throne but was rejected by Mayenne & Co). This may mean a greater Spanish involvement but, realistically, Phillip did not have enough troops to subdue the Dutch and could spare Parma for only a limited time so I would not push this option too far. Anyway, none of the sides is strong enough to gain a de isive victory so, sooner or later, some compromise should be achieved (in OTL Mayenne executed most of the radical leaders of the Catholic League so the common sense could prevail).

Specific form of the compromise is anybody’s guess so we can assume somewhat modified version of the Ecict of Nantes. But as soon as the peace is signed, Henry has a legal right to require the regent’s position (and the armed force to back up his claim). From this point onward the things are completely unpredictable ( Spanish marriage or its absence would be only one of the numerous factors).
Well, I meant if Alençon survived his OTL death. And wouldn't his son be pretty young for Isabel Clara Eugenia? I mean, she'd be born in 1560s, and if, as you're suggesting Alençon's son is still a child in 1589, then that means we'd be looking at a 15-20 year age gap.

@isabella @VVD0D95 @Valena
 
Well, I meant if Alençon survived his OTL death. And wouldn't his son be pretty young for Isabel Clara Eugenia? I mean, she'd be born in 1560s, and if, as you're suggesting Alençon's son is still a child in 1589, then that means we'd be looking at a 15-20 year age gap.

@isabella @VVD0D95 @Valena
If Francois becomes king I could see him maybe allying with henri of Navarre against them cathol league. Though maybe to bring about peace he’d marry either a Spanish princess or a guide girl
 
If Francois becomes king I could see him maybe allying with henri of Navarre against them cathol league. Though maybe to bring about peace he’d marry either a Spanish princess or a guide girl
Given Alençon's stint in the Netherlands, that might be iffy. Not to mention that the Only Spanish infantas available would be Alençon's nieces, and the only non-nun Habsburg archduchess available before Anna of Austria (OTL queen of Poland Sweden, but pre-Sigismund considered for both the king of Denmark and the duke of Lorraine) is the Dowager Queen of France, Elisabeth of Austria (Felipe's niece/sister-in-law who refused to remarry OTL). So, I suspect Felipe would have to suggest someone HALF-Habsburg. Assuming that Henri III doesn't arrange Alençon's marriage.
 
Given Alençon's stint in the Netherlands, that might be iffy. Not to mention that the Only Spanish infantas available would be Alençon's nieces, and the only non-nun Habsburg archduchess available before Anna of Austria (OTL queen of Poland Sweden, but pre-Sigismund considered for both the king of Denmark and the duke of Lorraine) is the Dowager Queen of France, Elisabeth of Austria (Felipe's niece/sister-in-law who refused to remarry OTL). So, I suspect Felipe would have to suggest someone HALF-Habsburg. Assuming that Henri III doesn't arrange Alençon's marriage.
This is true hmm who might make a good marriage candidate? We’re there any Portuguese infatas around?
 
This is true hmm who might make a good marriage candidate? We’re there any Portuguese infatas around?
Unfortunately not (unless D. Sebastião is born a female - which needs a POD in the 1550s already). Which means German or Italian (although Caterina TRIED to arrange a marriage between Henri III and Elisabet of Sweden (OTL duchess of Mecklenburg) OTL. Maybe when Henri refuses, Caterina sees the writing on the wall with Bess Next Door and decides to push Alençon-Elisabet?) Other option might be a daughter of Willem the Silent, maybe Emilie of Nassau (who married the Prior of Crato's son OTL), since her older (half-)sister refused to wed a Catholic.
 
Well, I meant if Alençon survived his OTL death. And wouldn't his son be pretty young for Isabel Clara Eugenia? I mean, she'd be born in 1560s, and if, as you're suggesting Alençon's son is still a child in 1589, then that means we'd be looking at a 15-20 year age gap.

@isabella @VVD0D95 @Valena
As I said, the Spanish marriage or its absence could be just one of the numerous factors and hardly a decisive one so it does not make too much sense to go into the endless speculations on that subject. It was the same with a marriage of Henry of Navarre: it did not result in ending the war.

As for Alencon himself, I misinterpreted yours OP. Well, of course, he is a grown up and there is no need to speculate about the regency unless he is doing everybody a favor and dying promptly. The rest is pretty much the same: France split 3 ways with the royal party is the weakest and being expelled from Paris by the CL and the Huguenots strengthening themselves at its expense as well. There is nothing in Alencon’s biography to assume that as a king he would be a great or even capable politician or suddenly would grew up into a good general. At best he could survive long enough to see the end of a war of attrition, which continues even longer than one of the OTL. And after it is over, unless there is some kind of a miracle and he finds his own Richelieu, you have a talentless reign filled with the rebellions, plots and general unhappiness and plagued by a lousy economy.
 
I can not see who Alençon will marry but I am pretty sure either he or his son (if not both) will marry a Guisa or Lorraine...
I think Diane of Guise, third but second surviving daughter of Claude, Duke of Aumale is the most likely candidate (she is three years younger than him while her elder sister is five years older and the only daughter of her uncle was four years older than Alençon) as Lorraine has no princess in the right age bracket (excluding Queen Louise, who is Alençon’s sister-in-law)... A son of Alençon and Diane would be likely around the right age for marrying Marie de Medici...
 
I can not see who Alençon will marry but I am pretty sure either he or his son (if not both) will marry a Guisa or Lorraine...
I think Diane of Guise, third but second surviving daughter of Claude, Duke of Aumale is the most likely candidate (she is three years younger than him while her elder sister is five years older and the only daughter of her uncle was four years older than Alençon) as Lorraine has no princess in the right age bracket (excluding Queen Louise, who is Alençon’s sister-in-law)... A son of Alençon and Diane would be likely around the right age for marrying Marie de Medici...
Would Caterina be able to stomach another Lorraine match (she wasn't Louise's biggest fan), specifically one with the granddaughter of Diane de Poitiers?
 
I can not see who Alençon will marry but I am pretty sure either he or his son (if not both) will marry a Guisa or Lorraine...
I think Diane of Guise, third but second surviving daughter of Claude, Duke of Aumale is the most likely candidate (she is three years younger than him while her elder sister is five years older and the only daughter of her uncle was four years older than Alençon) as Lorraine has no princess in the right age bracket (excluding Queen Louise, who is Alençon’s sister-in-law)... A son of Alençon and Diane would be likely around the right age for marrying Marie de Medici...
OK, he could marry whoever you pick but what would it do in the terms of the end game? We know that marrying Margot Valouis to Henry of Navarre did not produce any political miracle so is there a serious reason to assume that a political marriage could produce a miracle for Alencon?

A decisive military victory by one side was not possible (at least in a short timespan) even in OTL where the “royal” forces (led by Biron and others) joined Henry of Navarre as a rightful successor so what would we have there? A much less capable Alencon is being associated by marriage with the CL (Guises) or Huguenots. Unlike future HIV (well, Henry of Navarre did not have this one 🤪), he is not a successful general or a good politician (not sure if anybody said anything good of him in any aspect) so at best he is a puppet of party’s leadership and the war of attrition keeps going on until the sides are ready to negotiate. Then he would probably manage to screw things up one way or another triggering either a new war or some other kind of a problem.
 
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Would Caterina be able to stomach another Lorraine match (she wasn't Louise's biggest fan), specifically one with the granddaughter of Diane de Poitiers?
Caterina will not like it at all, but François do not need her permission to marry and King Henry can find such wedding convenient...

OK, he could marry whoever you pick but what would it do in the terms of the end game? We know that marrying Margot Valouis to Henry of Navarre did not produce any political miracle so is there a serious reason to assume that a political marriage could produce a miracle for Alencon?

A decisive military victory by one side was not possible (at least in a short timespan) even in OTL where the “royal” forces (led by Biron and others) joined Henry of Navarre as a rightful successor so what would we have there? A much less capable Alencon is being associated by marriage with the CL (Guises) or Huguenots. Unlike future HIV (well, Henry of Navarre did not have this one 🤪), he is not a successful general or a good politician (not sure if anybody said anything good of him in any aspect) so at best he is a puppet of party’s leadership and the war of attrition keeps going on until the sides are ready to negotiate. Then he would probably manage to screw things up one way or another triggering either a new war or some other kind of a problem.
Oh, well such wedding would reinforce the Guisas as leaders of the Catholic party and give them a possible royal puppet (either François or his son)... If François still died before becoming King then Henry III’s heir will be his 14 years old nephew heavily influenced by his maternal relatives...
 
he is not a successful general or a good politician (not sure if anybody said anything good of him in any aspect) so at best he is a puppet of party’s leadership and the war of attrition keeps going on until the sides are ready to negotiate. Then he would probably manage to screw things up one way or another triggering either a new war or some other kind of a problem.
This is verry true. One need only to look at his screw-up in the Netherlands to see a "miniature" version of what France would look like.

Oh, well such wedding would reinforce the Guisas as leaders of the Catholic party and give them a possible royal puppet (either François or his son)... If François still died before becoming King then Henry III’s heir will be his 14 years old nephew heavily influenced by his maternal relatives...
Would be fun if that 14yo inherited his grandmother (Caterina)/great-grandmother (Diane)'s talents for politics and survival (let's face it, Diane de Poitiers stuck around as Henri II's mistress even when there were younger, perkier models available, that shows that she had some talents beyond in the bedroom). That very soon he sees through the Guises (maybe including his mother in that package) and throws them out as soon as their usefulness to him is past.
 
Caterina will not like it at all, but François do not need her permission to marry and King Henry can find such wedding convenient...


Oh, well such wedding would reinforce the Guisas as leaders of the Catholic party and give them a possible royal puppet (either François or his son)... If François still died before becoming King then Henry III’s heir will be his 14 years old nephew heavily influenced by his maternal relatives...
The surviving Guises (aka, mostly Duke of Mayenne) already had been uncontested leaders of the Catholic Party so not too much changes there and if Francis or his son becomes a king with their help, he is their puppet at least for a while. Marriage would not deter him from plotting a palace coup if he wants to try to become independent but the point is that he does not have a power of his own to back him up. So he can do a little bit of assassination as HIII did but how the general breakdown of power look like?
 
@alexmilman @Kellan Sullivan: I think much will depend from when a wedding between Alençon and Diane will be arranged and celebrated... if around 1572/3 that wedding can be used for balancing Marguerite’s Protestant match (as François has two brothers before him and is not unlikely who King Charles will have soon a Dauphin in the cradle)....
 
This is verry true. One need only to look at his screw-up in the Netherlands to see a "miniature" version of what France would look like.



Would be fun if that 14yo inherited his grandmother (Caterina)/great-grandmother (Diane)'s talents for politics and survival (let's face it, Diane de Poitiers stuck around as Henri II's mistress even when there were younger, perkier models available, that shows that she had some talents beyond in the bedroom). That very soon he sees through the Guises (maybe including his mother in that package) and throws them out as soon as their usefulness to him is past.
Pretty unlikely he will go against them... talent for political survival would suggest him to keep his maternal relatives close and use them as shield
 
Pretty unlikely he will go against them... talent for political survival would suggest him to keep his maternal relatives close and use them as shield
I meant once there's "peace" - as a way of steadying the boat, he launches a sort of coup d'etat against his mother and uncles, forces them out of power (similar to what Louis XIII did to Marie de Medicis). It's probably borderline ASB, I know, but I just thought it would be cool to see.
 
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