Anne de Montmorency

Anne de Montmorency, duc de Montmorency, Honorary Knight of the Garter (March 15, 1493, Chantilly, Oise
Chantilly, Oise
Chantilly is a small city in northern France. It is designated municipally as a commune in the department of Oise.It is in the metropolitan area of Paris 38.4 km...

 – November 12, 1567, Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

) was a French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 soldier, statesman and diplomat. He became Marshal of France
Marshal of France
The Marshal of France is a military distinction in contemporary France, not a military rank. It is granted to generals for exceptional achievements...

 and Constable of France
Constable of France
The Constable of France , as the First Officer of the Crown, was one of the original five Great Officers of the Crown of France and Commander in Chief of the army. He, theoretically, as Lieutenant-general of the King, outranked all the nobles and was second-in-command only to the King...


Early life

Montmorency was born at Chantilly
Chantilly, Oise
Chantilly is a small city in northern France. It is designated municipally as a commune in the department of Oise.It is in the metropolitan area of Paris 38.4 km...

 to the ancient Montmorency family
Montmorency family
Montmorency, pronounced , the name of one of the oldest and most distinguished families in France, derived from the city of Montmorency, now in the Val-d'Oise département, in the immediate neighborhood of Enghien-les-Bains and Saint-Denis, about 9 miles northwest of Paris.The family, since its...

. His father had a senior status in the household of the king Louis XII
Louis XII of France
Louis proved to be a popular king. At the end of his reign the crown deficit was no greater than it had been when he succeeded Charles VIII in 1498, despite several expensive military campaigns in Italy. His fiscal reforms of 1504 and 1508 tightened and improved procedures for the collection of taxes...

. As a young boy he was brought up with the future King Francis I
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...

 and they became close. In 1512, aged 19, Montmorency fought at the Battle of Ravenna
Battle of Ravenna (1512)
The Battle of Ravenna, fought on 11 April 1512, by forces of the Holy League and France, was a major battle of the War of the League of Cambrai in the Italian Wars...

, and in 1514 his sister Louise de Montmorency
Louise de Montmorency
Louise de Montmorency was a French noblewoman from the ancient House of Montmorency. She was the younger sister of Anne de Montmorency, Constable of France, and the mother of Gaspard de Coligny, Admiral of France....

 married Gaspard I de Coligny
Gaspard I de Coligny
Gaspard I de Coligny, seigneur de Châtillon , known as the Marshal of Châtillon, was a French soldier. He served in the Italian Wars from 1495 to 1515, and was created Marshal of France in 1516....

, and their children included the admiral of France
Gaspard de Coligny
Gaspard de Coligny , Seigneur de Châtillon, was a French nobleman and admiral, best remembered as a disciplined Huguenot leader in the French Wars of Religion.-Ancestry:...


Reign of Francis I

When the young king acceded to the throne in January 1515, Montmorency became an influential member of his court. When the king reasserted the French claim to Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 the same year, Montmorency followed his king into Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and distinguished himself at Marignano
Battle of Marignano
The Battle of Marignano was fought during the phase of the Italian Wars called the War of the League of Cambrai, between France and the Old Swiss Confederacy. It took place on September 13 and 15, 1515, near the town today called Melegnano, 16 km southeast of Milan...


Montmorency was named captain of the Bastille
The Bastille was a fortress in Paris, known formally as the Bastille Saint-Antoine. It played an important role in the internal conflicts of France and for most of its history was used as a state prison by the kings of France. The Bastille was built in response to the English threat to the city of...

 in 1516 and became governor of Novara
Novara is the capital city of the province of Novara in the Piedmont region in northwest Italy, to the west of Milan. With c. 105,000 inhabitants, it is the second most populous city in Piedmont after Turin. It is an important crossroads for commercial traffic along the routes from Milan to Turin...

. In 1518 he was one of the hostages in England for Francis I's debt to Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 for the city of Tournai
Tournai is a Walloon city and municipality of Belgium located 85 kilometres southwest of Brussels, on the river Scheldt, in the province of Hainaut....

. He returned to France to attend a short and unsuccessful peace conference between the French and the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 in May 1519. The following year he was present at the Field of the Cloth of Gold
Field of the Cloth of Gold
The Field of Cloth of Gold is the name given to a place in Balinghem, between Guînes and Ardres, in France, near Calais. It was the site of a meeting that took place from 7 June to 24 June 1520, between King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France. The meeting was arranged to increase...

 and afterwards had charge of diplomatic negotiations in England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 when relations between the two countries again began to sour.

In August 1521, Montmorency helped to command the defence of Mézières
Charleville-Mézières is a commune in northern France, capital of the Ardennes department in the Champagne-Ardenne region. Charleville-Mézières is located on the banks of the Meuse River.-History:...

 against the Imperial German army. In the same year he commanded the Swiss
Swiss mercenaries
Swiss mercenaries were notable for their service in foreign armies, especially the armies of the Kings of France, throughout the Early Modern period of European history, from the Later Middle Ages into the Age of the European Enlightenment...

 in Italy. His troops were defeated in the Battle of La Bicocca on April 27, 1522, but he was made Marshal of France
Marshal of France
The Marshal of France is a military distinction in contemporary France, not a military rank. It is granted to generals for exceptional achievements...

 in recognition of his courage.

Montmorency spent the next three years defending northern France against the English invasion of 1523. By that time England had allied with the Holy Roman Empire. In 1524 he again joined Francis I in a campaign to retake Milan. On February 24, 1525, an army of Italians, Spanish and Germans defeated the French at the Battle of Pavia
Battle of Pavia
The Battle of Pavia, fought on the morning of 24 February 1525, was the decisive engagement of the Italian War of 1521–26.A Spanish-Imperial army under the nominal command of Charles de Lannoy attacked the French army under the personal command of Francis I of France in the great hunting preserve...

 and captured both de Montmorency and his king. Both were sent to Spain but Montmorency was released soon afterwards. He was one of the negotiators of the Treaty of Madrid in 1526 and attended his king when he was exchanged for his two eldest sons. In 1530 he returned the king's sons to France.

On March 23, 1526, Anne de Montmorency was named Grand Master of France
Grand Master of France
The Grand Master of France was, during the Ancien Régime and Bourbon Restoration in France, one of the Great Officers of the Crown of France and head of the "Maison du Roi", the king's royal household...

 charged with supervision of the royal household and the king's private service. In 1527 he married Madeleine, the daughter of René of Savoy
René of Savoy
René of Savoy was a French nobleman and soldier. He was count of Villars and of Tende . Known as "the Great Bastard of Savoy", he was the illegitimate son of Philip II, Duke of Savoy and Libera Portoneri - this made him the originator of the Savoie-Villars branch of the House of...

. He supported the king's efforts to form an alliance against Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

. He worked with Cardinal Wolsey to form an alliance between Francis I and Henry VIII in 1527. This led to a new war against the Holy Roman Empire that ended with the Peace of Cambrai.

In 1536, Francis I invaded the Duchy of Savoy
Duchy of Savoy
From 1416 to 1847, the House of Savoy ruled the eponymous Duchy of Savoy . The Duchy was a state in the northern part of the Italian Peninsula, with some territories that are now in France. It was a continuation of the County of Savoy...

, against the advice of Montmorency, staking claim to the lands of the duchy but also to pressure Charles V to give Milan back to him. Charles V invaded Provence from Northern Italy in retaliation. Francis appointed Montmorency, who had now retired from the court, to be the governor of Languedoc, the lieutenant general in the southeast of France and they led the defence of Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

 using scorched earth
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

 tactics. Montmorency evacuated Aix-en-Provence
Aix , or Aix-en-Provence to distinguish it from other cities built over hot springs, is a city-commune in southern France, some north of Marseille. It is in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, in the département of Bouches-du-Rhône, of which it is a subprefecture. The population of Aix is...

 and concentrated his forces near Avignon
Avignon is a French commune in southeastern France in the départment of the Vaucluse bordered by the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 94,787 inhabitants of the city on 1 January 2010, 12 000 live in the ancient town centre surrounded by its medieval ramparts.Often referred to as the...

. By the early autumn Charles V had been forced to retreat his army to Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 and lift the siege of Marseille
Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...


Montmorency joined the king in Picardy
This article is about the historical French province. For other uses, see Picardy .Picardy is a historical province of France, in the north of France...

 and at the end of the Netherlands campaign marched to relieve Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

. He led the French troops in 1537 when they attacked Artois in the Netherlands and captured many towns before the ten-year truce. On February 10, 1538 the king made him Constable of France
Constable of France
The Constable of France , as the First Officer of the Crown, was one of the original five Great Officers of the Crown of France and Commander in Chief of the army. He, theoretically, as Lieutenant-general of the King, outranked all the nobles and was second-in-command only to the King...

Afterwards Montmorency begun to support peace with the Holy Roman Emperor, against the prevailing attitude of the court. He renewed negotiations with the Holy Roman Empire and encouraged the Pope Paul II
Pope Paul II
Pope Paul II , born Pietro Barbo, was pope from 1464 until his death in 1471.- Early life :He was born in Venice, and was a nephew of Pope Eugene IV , through his mother. His adoption of the spiritual career, after having been trained as a merchant, was prompted by his uncle's election as pope...

 to create a settlement. He managed to get the two kings to meet at Aigues-Mortes in July 1538. According to the deal he had brokered, Francis expected that Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 would give Milan to one of Francis' sons as a sign of alliance, but Charles gave the title to his son Philip.

This result was a diplomatic failure and de Montmorency fell out of royal favor. Francis I turned to his rivals Cardinal Tournon, Claude d'Annebault
Claude d'Annebault
Claude d'Annebault was a French military officer; Marshall of France ; Admiral of France ; and Governor of Piedmont in 1541. He led the French invasion of the Isle of Wight in 1545...

 and his mistress Anne de Pisseleu d'Heilly
Anne de Pisseleu d'Heilly
Anne de Pisseleu d'Heilly , Duchess of Étampes, was the mistress of Francis I of France.She was a daughter of Adrien de Pisseleu, seigneur d'Heilly, a nobleman of Picardy, who, with the rise of his daughter at court, was made seigneur of Meudon, master of waters and forests of Île de France, of...

, the Duchess of Étampes
Étampes is a commune in the metropolitan area of Paris, France. It is located south-southwest from the center of Paris . Étampes is a sub-prefecture of the Essonne department....

. Montmorency retired from court in June 1541. Having lost his post as a governor of Languedoc, he was forbidden to exercise his other offices. He continued to maintain correspondence with the prince Henry.

Henry II

Montmorency did not return to public life until the accession of Henry II
Henry II of France
Henry II was King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559.-Early years:Henry was born in the royal Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, the son of Francis I and Claude, Duchess of Brittany .His father was captured at the Battle of Pavia in 1525 by his sworn enemy,...

 in March 1547. The new king gave him back all his former offices and dismissed the duchesse d'Étampes and her followers. In 1548 Montmorency crushed the insurrections in the southwest, particularly at Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture...

. From 1549-50 Montmorency led the war in the Boulonnais
The Boulonnais, also known as the "White Marble Horse", is a heavy draft horse breed. It is known for its elegant, though large, appearance and is found in many colors. The breed's origins trace to a period before the Crusades and, during the 17th century, Spanish Barb, Arabian and Andalusian blood...

, negotiating the treaty for the surrender of Boulogne
-Road:* Metropolitan bus services are operated by the TCRB* Coach services to Calais and Dunkerque* A16 motorway-Rail:* The main railway station is Gare de Boulogne-Ville and located in the south of the city....

 on March 24, 1550. As a reward the king created him a duke and peer of France and in 1551 his barony was expanded into a duchy. Soon afterwards his armies fought in the northeast when the French army seized Metz
Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...

, Toul
Toul is a commune in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department in north-eastern France.It is a sub-prefecture of the department.-Geography:Toul is located between Commercy and Nancy, and situated between the Moselle River and the Canal de la Marne au Rhin....

 and Verdun.

Francis II

Montmorency's attempt to relieve St Quentin
Battle of St. Quentin (1557)
The Battle of Saint-Quentin of 1557 was fought during the Franco-Habsburg War . The Spanish, who had regained the support of the English, won a significant victory over the French at Saint-Quentin, in northern France.- Battle :...

 on August 10, 1557 led to his defeat and capture by Spanish Habsburg forces. He was not released until October 1558 at the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis. By this time the Guises
House of Guise
The House of Guise was a French ducal family, partly responsible for the French Wars of Religion.The Guises were Catholic, and Henry Guise wanted to end growing Calvinist influence...

 had supplanted him and the 15-year-old king Francis II
Francis II of France
Francis II was aged 15 when he succeeded to the throne of France after the accidental death of his father, King Henry II, in 1559. He reigned for 18 months before he died in December 1560...

 treated him with indifference. Montmorency had to give up his Great Master status to the Duke of Guise. However, his son was appointed marshal by way of indemnity. He himself retired to his estates.

French Wars of Religion

On the accession of Charles IX
Charles IX of France
Charles IX was King of France, ruling from 1560 until his death. His reign was dominated by the Wars of Religion. He is best known as king at the time of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.-Childhood:...

 in 1560 Montmorency again assumed his duties in the court. However, when the Protestant-minded House of Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 asserted influence over the young king, the Roman Catholic Montmorency left the court. In April 1561 he allied himself with Francis, Duke of Guise
Francis, Duke of Guise
Francis de Lorraine II, Prince of Joinville, Duke of Guise, Duke of Aumale , called Balafré , was a French soldier and politician.-Early life:...

, his former enemy, and Jacques d'Albon, Marshal Saint-Andre to form the Triumvirate, an association for the defense of Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....


Montmorency played an important part in the war of 1562. He was captured early in the Battle of Dreux
Battle of Dreux
The Battle of Dreux was fought on 19 December 1562 between Catholics and Huguenots. The Catholics were led by Anne de Montmorency while Louis I, Prince of Condé led the Huguenots....

 when the cavalry under him was routed. Montmorency's soldiers eventually won the battle, but it was one of the bloodiest of the 16th century. He helped negotiate the Treaty of Amboise on March 19, 1563. In 1567 the Huguenots agitated for a fairer settlement.

On November 10, 1567, aged 74, Montmorency led the royal army to victory at Saint-Denis
Battle of Saint-Denis (1567)
The Battle of Saint-Denis was fought on November 10, 1567 between Catholics and Protestants during the French Wars of Religion in Saint-Denis near Paris, France.Anne de Montmorency with 16,000 Royalists fell on Condé's 3,500 Huguenots...

, but was fatally wounded and died two days later.


His marriage produced twelve children:
  • François
    François de Montmorency
    François, Duc de Montmorency was the eldest son of the first Duc de Montmorency, Anne.He was Duke of Montmorency, Count of Dammartin, Baron of Chateaubriant and Lord of L'Isle-Adam. Grand Master of France and Peer of France....

     (1530–1579), succeeded his father as duke of Montmorency.
  • Henri
    Henri Ier de Montmorency
    Henri I de Montmorency , Marshal of France, and Constable of France, seigneur of Damville, served as governor of Languedoc from 1563 to 1614. He became Duke of Montmorency on his brother's death in 1579....

     (1534–1614), succeeded his elder brother as duke of Montmorency.
  • Charles
  • Gabriel
  • Guillaume (died 1593)
  • Eléonore (died 1557) married François de La Tour d'Auvergne, parents of Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, Duke of Bouillon
  • Jeanne (1528–1596), married Louis III de La Trémoille
    Louis III de La Trémoille
    Louis III de La Trémoille , 1st Duke of Thouars, was a sixteenth-century French nobleman of the La Tremoille family. He was the son of François II de La Trémoille and his wife, Anne de Laval....

  • Catherine (1532–1624) married Gilbert de Lévis, Duke of Ventadour
    Duke of Ventadour
    Duke of Ventadour was a noble title in the peerage of France granted to Gilbert de Lévis de Ventadour by Henry IV of France in 1589. It is named after the Château de Ventadour.-List of Dukes of Ventadour, 1589—1717:...

     and had issue; great great grandparents of Anne Geneviève de Lévis
    Anne Geneviève de Lévis
    Anne Geneviève de Lévis was a French noblewoman. She was Duchess of Rohan-Rohan and Princess of Soubise by marriage. Anne Geneviève was the only child of Madame de Ventadour, governess of the young Louis XV. She married twice and had children with her second husband...

  • Marie
  • Anne
  • Louise
  • Madeleine

Family tree

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