Catherine de Medici Debate

France's weak kings

Much more to blame for the French wars of religion were Catherine’s sons, Francis, Charles and Henry, all three being young and sickly. Francis young age allowed the Guises to take control of the French court and to effectively rule France and Montgomery lost his high position this widened aristocratic rivalries. These rivalries were a large factor in the cause of the French wars of religion, as the Huguenots feared that the Guises were running the country and disliked their hard line policy against them. Huguenots feared prosecution under the Guises. The lack of a strong King meant that people started to rebel where as before they would not have dared. This meant the Huguenots became more and more violent and the Guises in effective control responded with more violence. When Catherine became regent under Charles the situation was already extremely fragile and close to breaking, therefore even though Catherine tried to follow a line of moderation people’s tempers were too high and people too suspicious. She also lacked the authority of a King to implement peace. Henry was older and seemed to have the intelligence to rule as an effective king but he failed to take the time and instead idled away. He was also by the time he became King faced with an explosive situation that he could not or would not deal with.

Responses

This is unfair to take all the blame away from Catherine, yes she had rubbish sons but that meant she had to rule so surely she is more to blame. Maybe people wouldn’t have rebelled so much with a strong King but the fact still is she handled the situation terribly.

Richard - Bath

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