1589, Royal France, Henry III. Nice Copper Double Tournois Coin. F-VF
Mint Year: 1589
Mint Place: Paris
Denomination: Double Tournois
Obverse: Laureate and armoured bust of Henry III of France right. Control mark (dot) below I letter in HENRI.
Comment: Henry was King of Poland from 1573-1574!
Legend: . HENRI. III. R. DE. FRAN. ET. POL . (A)
Reverse: Royal arms (three lis symbols) within inner circle.
Legend: + DOVBLE TOVRNOIS * I589 .
Henry III of France (19 September 1551 – 2 August 1589, born Alexandre-Édouard de Valois-Angoulême, Lithuanian: Henrikas Valua;), was King of France from 1574 to 1589, and as Henry of Valois, first elected King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1573 to 1574.
Henry was born at the Royal Château de Fontainebleau, Seine-et-Marne, third son of King Henry II and Catherine de' Medici, grandson of François I and Claude de France, and brother of François II and Charles IX of France. He was made duc d'Angoulême and duc d'Orléans in 1560, and duc d'Anjou in 1566.
In 1564 his name became Henri. He was his mother's favorite; she called him chers yeux ("Precious Eyes") and lavished her fondness and affection upon him for most of his life. His elder brother Charles grew to detest him, resenting Henry's greater health and activity.
In his youth, he was considered the best of the sons of Catherine de' Medici and Henry II. Unlike his father and elder brothers, he had little interest in the traditional Valois pastimes of hunting and physical exercise. Although he was both fond of fencing and skilled in it, he preferred to indulge his tastes for the arts and reading. These predilections were attributed to his Italian mother.
At one point in his youth he showed a tendency towards Protestantism as a means of rebelling. At the age of nine, calling himself un petit Huguenot, he refused to attend Mass, sang Protestant psalms to his sister Margot (exhorting her all the while to change her religion and cast her Book of Hours into the fire), and even bit the nose off a statue of Saint Paul. His mother firmly cautioned her children against such behaviour, and he would never again show any Protestant tendencies -- instead becoming nominally Roman Catholic.
Prior to ascending the throne, he was a leader of the royal army in the French Wars of Religion against the Huguenots, and took part in the victories over them at Battle of Jarnac and Battle of Moncontour. While still Duke, he was involved in the plot for the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre (but did not participate), in which thousands of Huguenots were killed; his reign as King, like the ones of his elder brothers Francis II and Charles IX, would see France in constant turmoil over religion.
In 1570, discussions commenced to arrange for Henry to court Elizabeth I of England. Elizabeth, almost 37, was in need of a husband in order to produce an heir. However, nothing came of these discussions. Elizabeth is viewed by historians as having intended only to arouse the concern of Spain, rather than to have seriously contemplated marriage. The chance of marriage was further blighted by their differing religious views - Henry was at least formally a Catholic while Elizabeth was a Protestant - and his opinion of Elizabeth. Henry tactlessly referred to Elizabeth as a putain publique (a "public whore") and made stinging remarks about their difference in age. Upon hearing (inaccurately) that she limped because of a varicose vein, he called her an "old creature with a sore leg."
In 1573, Henry was elected King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. As conditions for his free election, he was compelled to sign pacta conventa and the Henrician Articles, pledging religious tolerance in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Henry chafed at the restrictions on monarchic power under the Polish-Lithuanian political system of "Golden Liberty". The sister to the previous king, Anna Jagiellon, had strongly influenced the Polish-Lithuanian parliament to elect Henry, with the understanding that they would be married thereafter in order to legitimise his reign.
Three months after his coronation as King of Poland, upon the death of his brother Charles IX, Henry secretly left Poland and returned to France, where he was crowned King on 13 February 1575, at Rheims Cathedral.
Although when he married Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont (14 February 1575) he was expected to produce an heir, they were unable to conceive a child.
In 1576, Henry signed the Edict of Beaulieu, granting many concessions to the Huguenots. His action resulted in the Catholic activist, Henry I, Duke of Guise, forming the Catholic League. After much posturing and negotiations, Henry was forced to rescind most of the concessions that had been made to the Protestants in the Edict of Beaulieu.
In 1584, the King's youngest brother and heir presumptive, François, duc d'Anjou, died. Under Salic Law, the next heir to the throne was Protestant Henry III of Navarre, a descendant of St. Louis IX. Under pressure from the Duke of Guise, Henry III issued an edict suppressing Protestantism and annulling Henry III of Navarre's right to the throne.
Henry began a great friendship with the Feuillant reformer Jean de la Barrière and built a monastery for him and his followers to commemorate their friendship in 1587.
On 12 May 1588, when the duc de Guise entered Paris, Henry III fled the city.
On 23 December 1588, at the Château de Blois, the duc de Guise arrived in the council chamber where his brother Louis II, Cardinal of Guise, waited. The Duke was told that the King wished to see him in the private room adjoining the royal bedroom. There guardsmen murdered the Duke, then the Cardinal. To make sure that no contender for the French throne was free to act against him, the King had the Duke's son imprisoned.
The Duke of Guise had been highly popular in France, and the citizenry turned against King Henry for the murders. The Parlement instituted criminal charges against the King, and he fled Paris to join forces with Henry III of Navarre, setting up the Parliament of Tours.
On 1 August 1589, Henry III lodged with his army at Saint-Cloud, Hauts-de-Seine, prepared to attack Paris, when a young fanatical Dominican friar, Jacques Clément, carrying false papers, was granted access to deliver important documents to the King. The monk gave the King a bundle of papers and stated that he had a secret message to deliver. The King signaled for his attendants to step back for privacy, and Clément whispered in his ear while plunging a knife into his abdomen. Clément was killed on the spot by the guards.
At first the King's wound did not appear fatal, but he enjoined all the officers around him, in the event that he did not survive, to be loyal to Henry of Navarre as their new king. The following morning — the day that he was to have launched his assault to retake Paris — Henry III died.
Chaos swept the attacking army, most of it quickly melting away; the proposed attack on Paris was postponed. Inside the city, joy at the news of Henry III's death was near delirium; some hailed the assassination as an act of God.
The short reign of Henry at Wawel Castle in Poland was marked by a clash of civilizations between the Polish and the French. The young king and his followers were astonished by several Polish practices and disappointed by the rural poverty and harsh climate of the country. The Polish, on the other hand, wondered if all Frenchmen were as concerned with their appearance as their new King appeared to be.
In many aspects, Polish culture had a positive influence on France. At Wawel, the French were introduced to new methods of septic facilities, in which litter (excrement) was taken outside the castle walls. On returning to France, Henry ordered the construction of such facilities at the Louvre and other palaces. Other inventions introduced to the French by the Polish included a bath with regulated hot and cold water and the fork.
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