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Henri IV - An unfinished reign


Henri III


Henri III was king of Poland (1573–1574) and then king of France (1574–1589). He was the third son of Henri II and Catherine de Médicis to rule as king, after François II and Charles IX. He inherited a kingdom torn by strife, in which his authority was called into question. No less than four civil wars marked his reign, during which he had to cope with the actions of a range of political and religious parties, including the Malcontents, the Protestants and finally the Holy League, one of whose adepts, the monk Jacques Clément, managed to assassinate the king at Saint-Cloud on 2 August 1589. Before he died, Henri III reconciled with Henri de Navarre and ensured that he was recognised as the legitimate heir to the throne.

Portrait of Henri III, king of France
© RMN / René-Gabriel Ojéda
Henri III, king of France, painting on wood after François Clouet, circa 1581. Musée Condé de Chantilly, PE271

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