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Early Modern History Seminar - MICHEL DE WAELE (Université Laval, Quebec): 'Who’s afraid of the Duke of Guise? Henry III and the Emergence of the League'

When:Mo 11-12-2023 16:00 - 17:00
Where:Exposition room, Harmonie building & online

The Guise family are one of the most notorious actors in the French Wars of Religion. This paper will explore the relationship between the Duke of Guise en the monarchy – in particular King Henri III – during the 1580s, also known as the period of the League. Until recently, the alleged incompetence of the king and the ambition of the Guise were so taken for granted, that the king's inability to respond to the revolt of the Guise did not attract the attention of historians. Yet when news of the duke's rebellion reached Henri, the king in fact noted that "the plot has been set up so secretly that I must admit that I find myself surprised". How, then, should we explain the king’s surprise? This paper will argue that the Guise, who had never taken up arms against the crown before, did not worry Henri III much. He was more concerned with the activities of two other notorious rebels, the Duke of Montmorency and the King of Navarre. More widely, this paper will make the case for reconsidering the Protestant and Bourbon narrative that has so often discredited the Guise family.

Moderator: David van der Linden