Henry II

(1519-1559) (Henri II)
   king of France
   Born at saint-Germain-en-Laye, Henry II was the son of Francis I and Claude de France. He married Catherine de' medici in 1537 and, in 1547, succeeded to the throne. During his reign, he was much influenced by his mistress, diane de poitiers, and by the duke of montmorency, constable of France. A staunch Catholic, Henry II persecuted the Protestants (see huguenots) during the later years of his reign. His foreign policy was a continuation of his father's: he waged war against the Holy Roman Emperor Charles v, seizing from him the bishoprics of Verdun, Metz, and Toul in 1552, and he engaged in war with England (1557-58), winning back Calais, the last English possession in France. From 1556 to 1559, he was involved in war with Philip II of spain, the French forces being badly defeated at Saint-Quentin (1557). Peace with spain and England was restored by the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis (1559), by which Henry II gave up French possessions in italy. The same year, he was mortally wounded in a jousting tournament. From his marriage to Catherine he had 10 children, three of whom reigned: francis ii, charles ix, and HENRY III.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

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