The Big Chill

As we said, when the dapper Henri II was killed in the joust, the conflict between Protestant and Catholic became unmanageable.  The three sons of Henri and Catherine de Médicis would lead the kingdom from disaster to disaster.  François II would rule for a year and be remembered for the massacre at Amboise.  His wife Mary Stewart would return to Scotland and wage a futile campaign against the Protestant Queen Elizabeth -- and she'd pay with her head.  The next son was Charles IX -- by legend both incompetent and nearly mad.  He was pushed by the radical Guise family to order the Saint Bartholomew's Day massacre where thousands more Huguenots were killed all over France.  The third son was Henri III, a complex but truly religious man who would do all in his power to make peace.  One step was to order the assassination of most radical of the Catholic faction, the Duc de Guise (we missed seeing the room where this happened in Blois).  Being without a male heir he also arranged to name the Protestant Henri de Navarre as his successor.  Henri III would pay with his life.  Early in August 1589, a gentle looking monk would ask Henri to kneel with him in prayer.  Henri would never open his eyes again.  The blow of this knife also struck the heart of Louise de Lorraine, Henri's wife.  She would retire forever to this dark room decorated with the cross of bones and the cornucopia of tears.
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This page last updated on 6/23/2003 10:40:15 PM.