Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 12: Birthday of "le grand Roi"

François Ier by Jean Clouet. Oil on oak panel, circa 1530
Five hundred and nineteen years ago today, a son was born to a count of a minor branch of the house of Valois. François d'Angoulême became heir presumptive to the French king, Louis XII, only when it became clear Louis himself would have no sons. On his deathbed in 1515, Louis married his daughter Claude to her cousin, making François King of France at the age of twenty. François ruled for thirty-two years, during which time the French court blossomed, power became centralized, and France competed with England and Spain for control of the Continent. François reformed the judicial system, established French as the realm's official language, and sponsored exploration of the New World. He enticed Italian artists and artisans to France, supported writers and scholars, and designed and built elegant palaces throughout the kingdom. His sons and grandsons ruled France through the end of the century. Known for his joie de vivre, his exquisite taste, and his embrace of the chivalric code of honor, François is revered by the French as le grand roi François.


Anonymous said...

Great summary of Francois Premier - looking forward to a publication date for your new book!

Julianne Douglas said...

Thank you very much! :)