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In the All For One: Tales of the Musketeers :



Louis XIII, born September 27, 1601, was the son of Henri IV of France and Marie de Médici. During his reign the Hapsburgs were humiliated, a powerful navy was built, the French nobility was firmly kept in line behind their king, and the special privileges granted to the Huguenots by his father were canceled. He had the port of Le Havre modernized.

The King also did everything to reverse the trend for the promising artists of France to work and study in Italy. Louis commissioned the great artists Nicolas Poussin and Philippe de Champaigne to decorate the Luxembourg Palace. In foreign matters, Louis XIII organized the development and administration of New France, expanding the settlement of Quebec westward along the Saint Lawrence River from Quebec City to Montreal.

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In 1572 Henri succeeded to the throne of the small kingdom of Navarre. Two years later he became heir to Henri III, king of France. When that king died in 1589, Henri became the nominal king of France but because he had been raised as a Protestant the Catholic League opposed his succession. Although victorious at the battles of Ivry and Arques, he failed to take Paris.

Finally, declaring that Paris vaut bien une messe (Paris was worth a Mass) he permanently renounced Protestantism. His entrance into the Roman Catholic Church secured for him the allegiance of the vast majority of his subjects and he was crowned King of France at the Cathedral of Chartres on February 27, 1594. In 1598, however, he declared the Edict of Nantes, which gave circumscribed toleration to the Huguenots.

Although he was a man of kindness, compassion, and good humor, and much loved by his people, King Henri IV was assassinated on 14 May, 1610 in Paris, by a fanatic called François Ravaillac, and was buried at Saint Denis Basilica. *************************************************************

Born in Florence, Italy, Marie de Médici was the daughter of Francis, Grand Duke of Tuscany. In October 1600 she married Henri IV of France, as his second wife. She brought as part of her dowry, 600,000 crowns. Her eldest son, the future king Louis XIII, was born at Fontainebleau the following year.

The marriage was not a successful one. The queen feuded with Henri's mistresses, in language that shocked French courtiers. During her husband's lifetime Marie showed little sign of political taste or ability. Hours after Henri's assassination in 1610 she was confirmed as Regent by the Parlement of Paris. She was soon entirely under the influence of her unscrupulous Italian favourite, Concino Concini, who was created Marquis d'Ancre and Marshal of France. They dismissed Henri IV's able minister the duc de Sully. Through Concini and the Regent, Italian representatives of the Roman Catholic Church hoped to force the suppression of Protestantism in France. Half Hapsburg herself, she abandoned the traditional anti-Hapsburg French policy. Under the regent's lax and capricious rule, the princes of the blood and the great nobles of the kingdom revolted, and the queen, too weak to assert her authority, consented (May 15, 1614) to buy off the discontented princes. The opposition was led by Henri de Bourbon~Condé, Duc D'Enghien, who pressured Marie into convoking the Estates General (1614-15), the last time they would meet in France until the opening events of the French Revolution.

However, in 1617 her son Louis XIII, already several years into his legal majority, asserted his authority, ordering the assassination of Concini, and exiling the Queen to the Chateau Blois. After two years of virtual imprisonment "in the wilderness" as she put it, she escaped from Blois in the night of 21/22 February 1619 and became the figurehead of a new aristocratic revolt headed by Gaston d'Orleans, which Louis' forces easily dispersed. Through the mediation of Richelieu the king was reconciled with his mother, who was allowed to hold a small court at Angers, and resumed her place in the royal council in 1621.

After the death of his favorite, the duke of Luynes, Louis turned increasingly for guidance to Richelieu. Marie de Medici's attempts to displace Richelieu ultimately led to her attempted coup; for a single day, the journée des dupes, November 12, 1630, she seemed to have succeeded; but the triumph of Richelieu was followed by her exile to Compiègne in 1630, from where she escaped to Brussels in 1631, and later to Cologne, where she died in 1642, scheming against Richelieu to the end.

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Anne of Autsria was born in Valladolid, Spain, on September 22, 1601, the daughter of Hapsburg parents, Philip III, king of Spain, and Margaret of Austria.

On November 24, 1615, she was married to King Louis XIII of France (1601-1643), part of the Bourbon Dynasty. They would have two sons, Louis (the dauphin) and Philippe I, Duke of Orléans. Although Anne was said to be one of the most beautiful women in Europe, the marriage was not a happy one, filled with mistrust. King Louis tried to prevent her obtaining the regency after his death.

However, in 1643 Parliament ratified her powers on his death. Their five-year-old son was crowned King Louis XIV of France. Anne assumed the regency but entrusted the government to the prime minister, Jules Mazarin, who was believed to be her lover.

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