Duke of Guise
History's Duke of Guise
Biographical Information
Real Name: Francis, Duke of Guise
Title: Francis de Lorraine II

Prince of Joinville
Duke of Guise
Duke of Aumale

Born: 17 February 1519
Death: 24 February 1563
Age: 44
Religion: Roman Catholic
House: House of Guise
Gender: Male Male
Parents: Claude, Duke of Guise (Father)

Antoinette de Bourbon (Mother)

Wife: Anna d'Este
Family: Mary of Guise (Sister)

Claude de Guise (Brother)
King Henry II (Cousin)
Mary Stuart (Niece)

Children: Henry I, Duke of Guise

Catherine de Lorraine
Charles of Lorraine, Duke of Mayenne
Louis II, Cardinal of Guise

Affiliations: House of Guise

House of Bourbon

COD: Assassination
TV Character Information
First appearance: Toy Soldiers
Portrays: Duke of Guise
Portrayed by: Gil Darnell

Historical Figure

Duke of Guise who was most famous for being Mary, Queen of Scots uncle and successful military career.


Born at Bar-le-Duc, Guise was the son of Claude, Duke of Guise, and his wife Antoinette de Bourbon. His sister, Mary of Guise, was the wife of James V of Scotland and mother to Mary, Queen of Scots. He had had a total of 12 siblings, including, Claude de Guise.

Francis, was the youthful cousin of Henry II of France, with whom he was raised and by birth a prominent individual in France.

In 1545, he was seriously wounded at the Second Siege of Boulogne, but recovered. He was struck with a lance through the bars of his helmet. The steel head pierced both cheeks, and six inches of the shaft were snapped off by the violence of the blow. He sat firm in his saddle, and rode back unassisted to his tent. Francis bore the scar of that wound to his grave.

In 1548 he was magnificently wedded to Anna d'Este, daughter of the duke of Ferrara, Ercole II d'Este and Princess Renée.

Military CareerEdit

In 1551, Francis was created Grand Chamberlain of France. He won international renown in 1552 when he successfully defended the city of Metz from the forces of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and defeated the imperial troops again at the Battle of Renty in 1554, but the Truce of Vaucelles temporarily curtailed his military activity.

He led an army into Italy in 1557 to aid Pope Paul IV, but was recalled to France and made Lieutenant-General of France after the defeat of the Constable de Montmorency at the Battle of St. Quentin. Taking the field, he captured Calais from the English on 7 January 1558. Throughout the reign of King Henry Guise was the premier military figure of France.

The accession of Francis's niece Mary, Queen of Scots, and her husband, King Francis II of France, however, was a triumph for the Guise family. The Duke of Guise and his brother, Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine were supreme in the royal council.

Later in LifeEdit

In reaction to the power at court of the ultra-Catholic Guise, Louis Condé organized an amateurish plot to kidnap the Duke of Guise and his brother Charles, the Cardinal of Lorraine. The plot was discovered and violently suppressed. It initiating a series of assassinations and counter-assassinations in an increasingly toxic atmosphere. In the immediate aftermath Louis Condé fled court, and the House of Guise was back in full force. This soon resulted rather in the imprisonment of Louis Condé.

King henry died on December 5th in 1560. Within a few months their influence kept chaning back and forth in their favour. After the accession of Charles IX, The Duke lived in retirement on his estates. The Queen regent, Catherine de' Medici, was at first inclined to favour the Protestants. To defend the Catholic cause, The Duke, with his old enemy, the Constable de Montmorency and the Maréchal de Saint-André formed the the Triumvirate. His former military hero's public image was changing.

The plan of the Triumvirate was to treat with Habsburg Spain and the Holy See, and come to an understanding with the Lutheran princes of Germany to abandon the idea of relieving the French Protestants. In July, 1561, Guise wrote to the Duke of Württemberg. Soon Catherine de' Medici was defeated.

As Guise passed through Wassy-sur-Blaise on his way to Paris, a massacre of Protestants took place. It is not known to what extent he was responsible for this, but the Massacre of Vassy kindled open military conflict in the French Wars of Religion. The siege of Bourges in September was the opening episode, then Rouen was retaken from the Protestants by Guise after a month-long siege. During the Battle of Dreux at the end, everything turned by Guise to the advantage of the Catholic cause, and Louis Condé, leader of the Huguenots, was taken prisoner.


In the fourth encounter, Guise was about to take Orléans from the supporters of Condé when he was wounded on 18 February 1563 by the Huguenot assassin, Jean de Poltrot de Méré, and died 6 days later during surgery.

It was not the first plot against his life. A hunting accident — Francis had been appointed Grand Veneur of France in 1556 — had been planned, as Sir Nicholas Throckmorton informed Queen Elizabeth I of England on May 1560, but the plot was uncovered by one and his five co-conspirators fled.


  • His real name was Francis de Lorraine II but was renamed Christian for the show.
  • Connected to the House of Bourbon on his mother's side.
  • His other titles included Prince of Joinville, Duke of Guise, Duke of Aumale
  • King Henry II and the Duke of Guise were actually childhood friends.
  • In 1557 he led an army into Italy to aid Pope Paul IV, but was recalled to France soon after.
  • On 7 January 1558, he captured Calais from the English — an enormous propaganda victory for France. Throughout the reign of King Henry II, Guise was the premier military figure of France, the "grand duc de Guise" as his contemporary Brantôme called him.
  • Died at 44 from an assassination made by a Louis Condé supporter.
  • Died 1 week after his birthday.
  • Catherine de' Medici's daughter, Princess Margaret was secretly involved with his son, Henry of Guise.

Family TreeEdit

Claude, Duke of Guise
Antoinette de Bourbon
Marie Guise
King James
Duke of Guise
Anna d'Este
Charles of Guise
Claude de Guise
Louise de Brézé
Louis of Guise
René of Guise
Queen Mary
King Francis
Charles of Lorraine
Charles, Duke of Aumale
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