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Historical Figure
King Charles IX
History's Charles IX of France
Biographical Information
Title: King of France
Reign: 5 December 1560 –
30 May 1574
Coronation: 15 May 1561
Predecessor: Francis II
Successor: Henry III
Born: 27 June 1550
Died: 30 May 157
Burial: Saint Denis Basilica, France
Religion: Roman Catholic
House: Valois
Relationship Information
TV Character Information
Portrays: King Charles
Portrayed by: Peter Dacunha (Season 1)

Spencer MacPherson

Charles IX was the king of France after his older brother, King Francis died. Charles ruled France for 14 years.


Charles IX was born Charles Maximilian, third son of King Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici, in the royal chateau of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. He was immediately created Duke of Orléans at birth, succeeding his older brother Louis, his father's second son, who had died in infancy the year before.

On 14 May 1564, Charles was presented the Order of the Garter by Henry Carey.

Accession to the Throne[]

Charles's father died in 1559, followed in December 1560 by his older brother, King Francis II. The ten-year-old Charles was immediately proclaimed king and, on 15 May 1561, consecrated in the cathedral at Reims. The government was dominated by his mother, Catherine de' Medici, who at first acted as regent for her young son.

The French Wars of Religion[]

Charles' reign was dominated by The French Wars of Religion, which pitted various factions against each other.

Louis Condé, had already prepared for war, assumed the role of a protector of Protestantism and began to seize and garrison strategic towns along the Loire Valley. The war was followed by four years of an uneasy "armed peace", during which Catherine tried to unite the factions in the successful effort to recapture Le Havre from the English. After this victory, Charles declared his legal majority in August 1563, formally ending the regency. However, Catherine would continue to play a principal role in politics and often dominated her son. In March 1564, the King and his mother set out on a grand tour of France. Their tour spanned two years and they even visited Nostradamus, Carcassonne, Toulouse,where the King and his younger brother Henry were confirmed.

War again broke out in 1567 after reports prompted Charles to support Catholics. Huguenots, fearing a Catholic attack was imminent, tried to abduct the king, seized various cities, and massacred Catholics. After the Battle of Saint-Denis saw a Huguenot defeat, the short war ended in 1568 with the Peace of Longjumeau. The privileges granted to Protestants were widely opposed, however the King's desire to seek a peaceful solution in August 1570 led to yet another truce.

Later in life[]

On 26 November 1570 Charles married Elisabeth of Austria, with whom he fathered one daughter, Marie Elisabeth of Valois. In 1573, Charles fathered an illegitimate son, Charles, Duke of Angoulême, with his mistress.

After the conclusion of the Peace in 1570, the king increasingly came under the influence of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, who had succeeded the slain Prince of Condé as leader of Huguenots after the Battle of Jarnac. Catherine, however, became increasingly fearful of Coligny's unchecked power, especially since he was pursuing an alliance with England. Coligny was also hated by Henry, Duke of Guise, who accused the Admiral of having ordered the assassination of his father Francis of Guise during the siege of Orléans in 1562.

During the peace settlement, a marriage was arranged between Charles' sister Princess Margaret and Henry de Bourbon, the future King Henry IV. Many nobles, traveled to Paris for the wedding, for 18 August 1572.

In the early morning of 24 August 1572, the Duke of Guise moved to avenge his father and murdered Coligny, his body was thrown into the street. The mob action then erupted into the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, a systematic slaughter of Huguenots that was to last five days, and over the next few weeks, the disorder spread to more cities across France. In all, up to 10,000 Huguenots were killed in Paris and the provinces.


In the aftermath of the massacre, the king's fragile mental and physical constitution weakened drastically. His moods swung from boasting about the massacre, to exclamations that the screams of the murdered kept ringing in his ears. Rotating from claiming himself, to blaming his mother.

Charles' physical condition, tending towards tuberculosis, deteriorated to the point where, by spring of 1574, his hoarse coughing turned bloody and his hemorrhages grew more violent.

On his last day, 30 May 1574, Charles called for Henry of Navarre, embraced him, and said, "Brother, you are losing a good friend. Had I believed all that I was told, you would not be alive. But I always loved you... I trust you alone to look after my wife and son. Pray God for me. Farewell."

Charles died at the aged twenty-three years. As his younger brother, Henry, had recently been elected King of Poland and was away from France, their mother Catherine resumed the regency until Henry's return.


  • His birth name was Charles Maximillian.
  • King Charles IX was the third son of King Henry II and would become Francis II' successor in 1560.
  • Charles had 3 half-siblings from her father's mistresses, and 9 more siblings from his parent's marriage.
  • Became King at 10 years old, and ruled for 13 years.
  • Though he was the next King after his brother Francis, he was never given the title Dauphin of France.
  • Charles IX's first, and only wife was Elisabeth of Austria. They had a daughter, Marie Elisabeth.
  • King Charles IX never had a mistress named 'Nicole' however he did have a mistress named Marie Touchet, who would be 16 at the time and was born a farm girl before coming to French Court. They had a son together 8 years later in 1573.
  • His daughter was named, Marie Elisabeth after her grandmother, Empress Maria, and Queen Elizabeth of England, who were her godmothers.
  • Upon his mother's request, ordered the marriage of his sister Princess Margaret to Prince Henry of Navarre. He became the future king of France, and she the Queen.
  • After hIs death, King Henry III personally made sure his widow, mistress and bastard son were all cared for.
  • Both King Charles IX and his older sister Queen Elisabeth died at age 23.

Family Tree[]

Francis I
Claude of France
Louise of France
Charlotte of France
Francis III
Henry II
Catherine de' Medici
Madeleine of Valois
Charles II
Margaret of Valois
Francis II
Elisabeth of Valois
Claude of Valois
Louis of Valois
Charles IX
Henry III
Margaret of Valois

Related Pages[]

Pages related to King Charles are the following:

King Charles 
History's King Charles
House of ValoisKing Charles' CoronationHouse of Medici
Charles and Madeleine's Engagement Party
Peter DacunhaSpencer MacPherson

Historical Figure

Pages: Historical Events | Historical References | Historical Timeline |
Kings: Antoine of Navarre | Edward VI of England | Henry II of France | Henry VIII of England | James V of Scotland | Francis I of France | Francis II of France | Charles IX of France | Philip II of Spain | James VI and I of Scotland and England |
Queens: Catherine of Aragon | Catherine de' Medici | Mary, Queen of Scots | Anne Boleyn | Elizabeth I of England | Jane Grey | Mary I of England | Jeanne of Navarre | Elisabeth de Valois | Marie de Guise |
Princes: Louis of Condé | Don Carlos of Spain | Henry of France | Henry de Bourbon | Francis de Valois |
Princesses: Claude de Valois | Margaret de Valois | Catherine de Bourbon |
Noblemen: Robert Dudley | William Cecil | Henry Stuart | Matthew Lennox | Patrick Ruthven | James Stuart |
Noblewomen: Amy Dudley | Diane de Poitiers | Lucrezia de' Medici | Mary Beaton | Mary Boleyn | Mary Fleming | Mary Livingston | Mary Seton | Margaret Lennox |
Others: David Rizzio | John Knox | Nostradamus | Pope Clement VII |