Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine
Charles de Lorraine Duke of Chevreuse
Duke of Chevreuse
Duke of Chevreuse was a French title of nobility, elevated from the barony of Chevreuse in 1545. Originally created for Jean de Brosse, Duc d'Étampes, it was transferred in 1555 to Charles of Guise, the Cardinal of Lorraine, and became a possession of the House of Guise, becoming the title of the...

, was a French Cardinal
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

, a member of the powerful House of Guise
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...

. He was known at first as the Cardinal of Guise, and then as the second Cardinal of Lorraine
Lorraine (province)
The Duchy of Upper Lorraine was an historical duchy roughly corresponding with the present-day northeastern Lorraine region of France, including parts of modern Luxembourg and Germany. The main cities were Metz, Verdun, and the historic capital Nancy....

, after the death of his uncle, John, Cardinal of Lorraine
John, Cardinal of Lorraine
Jean de Lorraine was a French cardinal, who was archbishop of Reims, Lyon and Narbonne, bishop of Metz, Toul, Verdun, Thérouanne, Luçon, Albi, Valence, Nantes and Agen...

 (1550). He was the protector of Rabelais and Ronsard and founded Reims University
Reims University
Reims University was one of the largest and most important universities in Europe during the Middle Ages. It was established in 1548 by papal bull, but shut down in 1793, during the French Revolution....

. He is sometimes known as the Cardinal de Lorraine.


Born in Joinville, Haute-Marne
Joinville, Haute-Marne
Joinville is a commune in the Haute-Marne department in north-eastern France.Its medieval château-fort, which gave to members of the House of Guise their title, duc de Joinville, was demolished during the Revolution of 1789, but the 16th-century Château du Grand Jardin built by Claude de Lorraine,...

, Charles of Guise was the son of Claude, Duke of Guise
Claude, Duke of Guise
Claude de Lorraine, duc de Guise was a French aristocrat and general. He became the first Duke of Guise in 1528....

 and his wife Antoinette de Bourbon
Antoinette de Bourbon
Antoinette de Bourbon was a French noblewoman of the House of Bourbon. She was the wife of Claude de Lorraine, Duke of Guise...

. His older brother was François, Duke of Guise. His sister Mary of Guise
Mary of Guise
Mary of Guise was a queen consort of Scotland as the second spouse of King James V. She was the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots, and served as regent of Scotland in her daughter's name from 1554 to 1560...

 was wife of James V of Scotland
James V of Scotland
James V was King of Scots from 9 September 1513 until his death, which followed the Scottish defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss...

 and mother of Mary, Queen of Scots. He was made Archbishop of Reims
Archbishop of Reims
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Reims is an archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. Erected as a diocese around 250 by St. Sixtus, the diocese was elevated to an archdiocese around 750...

 in 1541 or 1538 (?), Cardinal on 27 July 1547 (the day after the coronation of king Henry II of France
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,...

, at which he had officiated), and Bishop of Metz on 18 May 1550, in succession to his uncle. He resigned the see of Metz on 22 April 1551.

The efforts of this cardinal to enforce his family's pretensions to the Countship of Provence, and his temporary assumption, with this object, of the title of Cardinal of Anjou were without success. He failed also when he attempted, in 1551, to dissuade Henry II from uniting the Duchy of Lorraine to France. He succeeded, however, in creating for his family interests certain political alliances that occasionally seemed in conflict with each other. He coquetted for instance on the one hand with the Lutheran princes of Germany, and on the other his interview (1558) with the Cardinal de Granvelle (at Péronne) initiated friendly relations between the Guises and the royal house of Spain.

Thus the man who, as the Archbishop of Reims, crowned successively Henry II, 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...

 and 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:...

 had a personal policy which was often at variance with that of the court. This policy rendered him at times an enigma to his contemporaries. The chronicler Pierre de L'Estoile
Pierre de L'Estoile
-Life:Born in Paris into a middle-class background, Pierre de l'Estoile was tutored by Mathieu Béroalde. He knew Agrippa d'Aubigné. He became a law student at Bourges...

 accused him of great duplicity; Brantôme
Pierre de Bourdeille, seigneur de Brantôme
Pierre de Bourdeille, seigneur de Brantôme was a French historian, soldier and biographer.-Life:Brantôme was born in Périgord, Aquitaine, the third son of the baron de Bourdeille...

 spoke of his "deeply stained soul, churchman though he was", accused him of skepticism and claimed to have heard him occasionally speak half approvingly of the Confession of Augsburg. He is also often held to be responsible for the outbreak of the Huguenot wars
French Wars of Religion
The French Wars of Religion is the name given to a period of civil infighting and military operations, primarily fought between French Catholics and Protestants . The conflict involved the factional disputes between the aristocratic houses of France, such as the House of Bourbon and House of Guise...

, and seems now and then to have attempted to establish the Inquisition
The Inquisition, Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis , was the "fight against heretics" by several institutions within the justice-system of the Roman Catholic Church. It started in the 12th century, with the introduction of torture in the persecution of heresy...

 in France. Many libelous pamphlets aroused against him strong religious and political passions. From 1560 at least twenty-two were in circulation and fell into his hands; they damaged his reputation with posterity as well as among his contemporaries. One of them, "La Guerre Cardinale" (1565), accuses him of seeking to restore to the Holy Roman Empire the three former prince-bishoprics
Three Bishoprics
The Three Bishoprics constituted a province of pre-Revolutionary France consisting of the prince-bishoprics of Verdun, Metz, and Toul within the Lorraine region....

 of 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
Verdun is a city in the Meuse department in Lorraine in north-eastern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department.Verdun is the biggest city in Meuse, although the capital of the department is the slightly smaller city of Bar-le-Duc.- History :...

, in Lorraine, which had been conquered by Henry II. A discourse attributed to Théodore de Bèze (1566) denounced the pluralism of the cardinal in the matter of benefice
A benefice is a reward received in exchange for services rendered and as a retainer for future services. The term is now almost obsolete.-Church of England:...


Under Charles IX, the Cardinal of Guise constantly alternated between disgrace and favour. In 1562, he attended the Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

, possessing the full confidence of his royal master. Louis de Saint-Gélais, Sieur de Lansac, Arnaud du Ferrier, president of the Parlement
Parlements were regional legislative bodies in Ancien Régime France.The political institutions of the Parlement in Ancien Régime France developed out of the previous council of the king, the Conseil du roi or curia regis, and consequently had ancient and customary rights of consultation and...

 of Paris, and Guy de Faur de Pibrac, royal counsellor, who represented Charles IX at the Council from 26 May 1562, towards the end of the year were joined by the Cardinal Lorraine. He was instructed to arrive at an understanding with the Germans, who proposed to reform the church in head and members and to authorize at once Communion under Both Kinds, prayers in the vernacular and the marriage of the clergy.

In the reform articles which he presented (2 January 1563), he was silent on the last point, but petitioned for the other two. Pius IV was indignant, and the cardinal denounced Rome as the source of all abuses. In the questions of precedence which arose between him and the Spanish ambassador, Count de Luna, Pius IV decided for the latter. However, in September 1563, on a visit to Rome, the cardinal, intent perhaps on securing the pope's assistance for the political ambitions of the Guises, professed opinions less decided Gallican. Moreover, when he learned that the French ambassadors, who had left the council, were dissatisfied because the legate
Papal legate
A papal legate – from the Latin, authentic Roman title Legatus – is a personal representative of the pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church. He is empowered on matters of Catholic Faith and for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters....

s had obtained from the council approval of a project for the "reformation of the princes", which the latter deemed contrary to the liberties of the Gallican church
Gallican Church
The Gallican Church was the Catholic Church in France from the time of the Declaration of the Clergy of France to that of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy during the French Revolution....

, he endeavoured, though without success, to bring about the return of the ambassadors, prevailed on the legates to withdraw the objectionable articles and strove to secure the immediate publication in France of the decrees of the council; this, however, was refused by Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman who was Queen consort of France from 1547 until 1559, as the wife of King Henry II of France....


When in 1566 François de Montmorency
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....

, royal governor of Paris and his personal enemy, attempted to prevent the cardinal from entering the capital with an armed escort, the ensuing conflict and the precipitate flight of the cardinal gave rise to an outcry of derision which obliged him to retire to his diocese for two years. In 1570 he aroused the anger of Charles IX by inducing Duke Henri, the eldest of his nephews, to solicit the hand of Margaret of Valois
Marguerite de Valois
Margaret of Valois was Queen of France and of Navarre during the late sixteenth century...

, the king's sister, and in 1574 he vexed the king still more when, through spite, he prevented the marriage of this princess with the king of Portugal. His share in the negotiations for the marriage between Charles IX and Elizabeth of Austria, and for that of Margaret Valois with the prince of Navarre
Henry IV of France
Henry IV , Henri-Quatre, was King of France from 1589 to 1610 and King of Navarre from 1572 to 1610. He was the first monarch of the Bourbon branch of the Capetian dynasty in France....

, seems to have won him some favor only briefly, for Catherine de' Medici knew only too well what a constant menace the personal policy of the Guises constituted for that of the king. Shortly after the death of Charles IX, the cardinal appeared before his successor, Henry III
Henry III of France
Henry III was King of France from 1574 to 1589. As Henry of Valois, he was the first elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with the dual titles of King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1573 to 1575.-Childhood:Henry was born at the Royal Château de Fontainebleau,...

, but died soon afterwards, at Avignon.

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