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Character French Male Royal King Prince Married Deceased Historical Figure
King Francis I
History's Francis I
Biographical Information
Title: King of France
Born: 12 September 1494
Age: 52
Religion: Roman Catholic
Originally From: France
Wife: Claude, Duchess of Brittany

Eleanor of Austria

Parents: Charles d'Orléans (Father)

Louise of Savoy (Mother)

Family: Marguerite de Navarre (Sister)
Children: Duke Francis

King Henry
Queen Madeleine
Charles of Valois
Margaret of Valois

Affiliations: House of Valois
Physical Description
Gender: Male Male
Status: Deceased
Signature: Francis I's Signature
Character Information
First appearance: Long Live The King (Mentioned)

Francis of Valois (Francis I) was the King of France, and the father of King Henry II and his brother Duke Francis. He traded his children freedom and safety for his own and sent them to Spain as prisoners for his own release.

In Reign[]

Season 1[]

Long Live The King - (Mentioned)
King Henry told his son how him and his older brother Duke Francis were traded by his own father in 1525 as replacement hostages and held in Spain by King Charles V for 4 years until Henry was about 10 years old.

Season 4[]

Coup de Grace - (Mentioned)
King Charles and Gideon Blackburn are at French Court talking about a Da Vinci painting. Charles's grandfather Francis of Valois purchased it while he was King.

Family Tree[]

King Francis I
Claude of France
Duke Francis
King Henry
Queen Catherine
Madeleine of Valois
Charles of Valois
Margaret of Valois
King Francis
Mary Stuart
Queen Elisabeth
King Philip
Princess Claude
Luc Narcisse
King Charles
Prince Henri
Princess Margot
John Philip
Prince Don Carlos


  • King Francis I never appeared on Reign.

In History[]

Early Life[]

Francis was the only son of Charles, Count of Angoulême. His family was not expected to inherit the throne, as his third cousin King Charles VIII was still young at the time of his birth, as was his father's cousin the future King Louis XII. However, Charles VIII died childless and was succeeded by Louis XII, who had no male heir. The Salic Law prevailed females from inheriting the throne. Therefore four-year-old Francis of Valois became the heir to France in 1498.

In 1505, Louis XII, having fallen ill, ordered that his daughter Claude and Francis be married immediately via proxy on 18 May 1514. Louis died shortly afterwards and Francis inherited the throne. He was crowned King of France on 25 January 1515, with Claude as his wife and queen.

Later in Life[]

Francis was also renowned as a man of letters. Francis wanted to bring culture to the war-obsessed French nation. Not only did Francis support a number of major writers of the period, he was a poet himself, if not one of particular abilities. Francis worked diligently at improving the royal library. Francis employed agents in Italy to look for rare books and manuscripts, just as he had agents looking for art works. During his reign, the size of the library greatly increased. Not only did he expand the library, there is also evidence that he read the books he bought for it, a much rarer event in the royal annals. Francis set an important precedent by opening his library to scholars from around the world in order to facilitate the diffusion of knowledge.

In 1537, Francis signed the Ordonnance de Montpellier, which decreed that his library be given a copy of every book to be sold in France. Francis' older sister, Marguerite, Queen of Navarre, was also an accomplished writer who produced the classic collection of short stories known as the Heptameron. Francis corresponded with the abbess and philosopher Claude de Bectoz, of whose letters he was so fond that he would carry them around and show them to the ladies of his court.

Italian Wars[]

Francis' most devastating defeat occurred at the Battle of Pavia in 1525 during another part of the continuing The Italian Wars or the Four Years' War. Francis was captured by the forces of King Charles V. his horse was injure, which led Francis to be captured by the Spaniards.

Francis I was held captive in Madrid. In the Treaty of Madrid the following year, Francis was forced to make major concessions to Charles V before he was freed 3 months later. Among the concessions that Francis I yielded to Charles V were the surrender of any claims to Naples and Milan in Italy, along with a few more steep stipulations. Additionally, Francis I was allowed to return to France in exchange for his two sons, Francis and Henry, but once he was free he argued that his agreement with Charles was made under duress.

Francis persevered in his hatred of Charles V and desire to control Italy by conquest. The repudiation of the Treaty of Madrid led to the War of the League of Cognac. Accordingly, when Pope Clement VII became fearful of the ambitions of the Holy Roman Empire in Italy and negotiated with Venice to form the League of Cognac. Francis I, willingly, joined this anti-empire league on 22 May 1526.


Francis died on 31 March 1547, on his son and successor's Henry II's 28th birthday. It is said that "he died complaining about the weight of a crown that he had first perceived as a gift from God".

Francis' tomb and that of his wife and mother, along with the tombs of other French kings and members of the royal family, including his daughter-in-law Catherine de' Medici and grandson, King Henry III were desecrated on 20 October 1793. Known as the Reign of Terror at the height of the French Revolution.

Historical Notes[]

  • In 1524, King Francis I assisted the citizens of Lyon in financing the expedition to North America. On this expedition, they visited the present day New York City, naming it New Angoulême, and claimed Canada's Newfoundland for the French crown.
  • He and Catherine were very close, and actually preferred her over his own son, the future King Henry II.
  • His cousin, Princess Madeleine, was the mother of his beloved daughter-in-law, Catherine de' Medici.
  • King James, King Francis I of France, the young Prince Henry, and King Henry II of Navarre (Queen Jeanne's father) all went boar-hunting together in 1536, before King James' wedding to Princes Madeleine.

Historical 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[]

v  d  e
King: Charles IX of France Queen: Catherine de' Medici (Regent)
House of Valois
Heir: Henry of Valois Lands: Kingdom of France
Title(s): King of France · King of Poland · King Consort of Scotland · Grand Duke of Lithuania · Duke of Orléans ·
Deceased Members: Louis of Valois · Henriette of Valois · Emone of Valois · Henry II of France · Francis II of France
Household: ·

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 |