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One of the instigators of the Massacre of St Bartholemew 23 August Henry of Lorraine, Duke of Guise Third Duke of Guise. French Renaissance ruler. Engraving by Allais, c. Massacre of Vassy. Starting of French Wars of Religion. Claude of Lorraine, first Duke of Guise, Bust, facing right, facing. Part of the collection of portrait miniatures. This political caricature was drawn up by those opposed to the League. Taponier Francois de Lorraine, Duke of Guise in court wear. French politician, soldier and leader of the Roman Catholic party. Fought against the Huguenots.

Artist: Delaroche, Paul Hippolyte France. Creator: Unknown. By this marriage, she became known as Renatia di Francia. Her first child, born in , was followed by Alfonso, in On 31 October , her father-in-law died and Ercole succeeded to the throne. Hardly had he rendered his oath of allegiance to Pope Paul III when he turned against the French at his own court, many of whom had been brought by Renee. Both their number and influence displeased him, and while the Curia was urging the duke to put away the French that were suspected of heresy , there came to Ferrara no less a heretic than John Calvin, whose journey to Italy must have fallen in March and April Amongst those, it included a chorister by the name of Jehannet one Cornillan, of the attendants of the duchess, together with a cleric of Tournay , who were taken prisoners and tried.

Meanwhile, notwithstanding its external splendor, her life had grown sad. The last of her French guests, the daughter and son-in-law of Madame de Soubise of Pons , had been obliged, in , by the constraint imposed by the duke, to leave the court. The Counter-Reformation , operative in Rome since , led to the introduction of a special court of the Inquisition at Ferrara, in , through which, in and , death sentences were decreed against Protestant sympathizers, executed by the secular arm. So, as a condition for being reunited with her children she had to recant and abjure her Protestant faith, she yielded, made confession on 23 September , although subsequently she refused to attend Catholic worship, the mass, which for her was a form of blasphemy.

In fact, she made her castle a refuge for them, when her son-in-law once again lighted the torch of war. Again, her conduct won Calvin's praise, she is one of the recurring figures in his correspondence of that period. Under the leadership of Gaspard de Coligny , however, a significant portion of the Huguenot army managed to escape.

The Battle of Moncontour in October of the same year would provide the Catholics with a more definitive victory. From to , she ruled France as regent for King of France. Throughout his reign, Henry excluded Catherine from participating in state affairs and instead showered favors on his chief mistress , Diane de Poitiers , who wielded much influence over him. Henry's death thrust Catherine into the political arena as mother of the frail fifteen-year-old King Francis II ; when he died in , she became regent on behalf of her ten-year-old son King Charles IX and was granted sweeping powers.

He dispensed with her advice only in the last months of her life. Catherine's three sons reigned in an age of constant civil and religious war in France ; the problems facing the monarchy were complex and daunting but Catherine was able to keep the monarchy and the state institutions functioning at a minimum level.