Henri d'Angoulême

Henri d'Angoulême (1551 in Aix-la-Chapelle – 1586 in Aix-en-Provence), sometimes called "Henri, bâtard de Valois" or "Henri de France", soldier, was the illegitimate son of Henry II of France and Lady Janet Fleming, who was herself an illegitimate daughter of James IV of Scotland.[1]


Titled Count of Angoulême by his father, he served as abbot of La Chaise-Dieu, located in the Auvergne, became Grand Prior of France[2] and Admiral of the Levant, and ruled as Governor of Provence from 1579 until his death in 1586.

In 1570, the supporters of Mary, Queen of Scots, who was exiled in England, selected Henri as a potential leader of a French military force to aid them in their civil war against the King's Men who supported James VI of Scotland. The Queen's Men thought that Henri's Scottish and French royal ancestry would gain him respect in Scotland and England. Although the Queen's men put the idea to John Lesley, Queen Mary's ambassador in France, French soldiers and Henri were not sent to Scotland.[3]

Henri d'Angoulême took a major role in the two extended military battle against Huguenot strongholds during the height of the French Wars of Religion, engaging in the massive Siege of La Rochelle (1572–1573), organized by the Duke of Anjou, future Henry III of France, and leading the five-year Siege of Ménerbes (1573–1578), fought at a citadel in the Luberon foothills cherished by Pope Pius V.

While serving as Governor of Provence, his secretary was the poet François de Malherbe.[4] Henri wrote many sonnets, one of which was set to music by Fabrice Caietain.[5]

In 1586, Henri was killed at Aix-en-Provence in a duel with Philip Altoviti, who also was mortally wounded in the fight.[6]


  1. Robert J. Sealy, The Palace Academy of Henry III, (Droz, 1981), 206.
  2. Jeanice Brooks, Courtly song in late sixteenth-century France, (The University of Chicago Press, 2000), 124.
  3. Cameron, Annie, ed., Warrender Papers, vol.1 (1931), 85-6
  4. (FR) George Joseph and Maria Green, La Poésie Française du Premier 17e siècle: Textes et Contextes: "François Malherbe", Ed. David Lee Rubin, (Rookwood Press, Inc., 2004), 112.
  5. Jeanice Brooks, Courtly song in late sixteenth-century France, (The University of Chicago Press, 2000), 124.
  6. Blanche M. Kelly, The Catholic Encyclopedia: "Francois Malherbe", Vol. 9, Ed. Charles George Herbermann and Edward Aloysius Pace, (The Encyclopedia Press, Inc., 1913), 569.

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