Francis II of France

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Francis II of France (French: François II) (19 January 1544 – 5 December 1560) was aged 15 when he succeeded to the throne of France after the accidental death of his father King Henry II in 1559. He was only King for some 18 months before he died in December 1560, aged only 16, and King consort of Scotland (1558–1560), as the husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.

He was born at the Royal Chateau at Fontainebleau, the son of Henry II, King of France (31 March 1519 – 10 July 1559) and Catherine de' Medici (13 April 1519 – 5 January 1589).[1]

He was the grandson of King Francis I of France, and of Claude of France, and the brother of King Charles IX of France, and of King Henry III of France. He was also the first husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Contents

King consort of Scots

Following the death of her father, James V, King of Scots, Mary I had been crowned Queen of Scots, in Stirling Castle, on 9 September 1543, at the age of nine months. The marriage between Mary, Queen of Scots, and Francis, Dauphin of France, was arranged by Henry II of France in 1548, when Francis was just four years old. Once the marriage agreement had been formally ratified, the now six-year-old Mary was sent to France, to be raised in the royal court until the marriage.

Despite the fact that Queen Mary was tall for her age (eventually reaching 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), making her almost a giant in the sixteenth century) and fluent in speech, while Francis was abnormally short and stuttered, Henry II commented that "from the very first day they met, my son and she got on as well together as if they had known each other for a long time".[2]

On 24 April 1558, the fourteen-year-old Dauphin was married to the Queen of Scots in a union that could have given the future kings of France the throne of Scotland and also a claim to the throne of England through Mary's great-grandfather, King Henry VII of England. However, Mary and Francis were to have no children during their short lived marriage, possibly due to Francis' illnesses or his undescended testicles.[3]

King of France

A year after his marriage, Francis's father, Henry II, died, and Francis, still only fifteen years old, was crowned king at Reims. The crown was so heavy that nobles had to hold it in place for him.[4] His mother, Catherine de' Medici, was appointed regent, but it is considered that Mary's uncles Francis, Duke of Guise and Charles of Guise may have held the real power in that period.

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