The most illustrious branch of the House of Lorraine, named after the town of Guise. It rose to the peak of its power in the 16th century.
Claude, first Duke of Guise, fifth son of René II, Duke of Lorraine; b. Castle of Condé, Oct. 20, 1496; d. Joinville, April 12, 1550. He settled in France as a result of the contest with his elder brother Antoine over the succession to the Duchy of Lorraine. Claude accompanied King Francis I to the war in Italy and received 22 wounds at the battle of Marignano (1515). He defeated the English at Hesdin (1522), drove the Germans from Champagne (1523), and suppressed the peasant revolt in Lorraine (1527). King Francis I created him duke, and he was made governor of Champagne, and distinguished himself in the campaign of 1542 in Luxembourg and in the defense of Landrecies in 1543. It was he who established the eminence of the Guises. In 1513 Claude married Antoinette de Bourbon, sister of Charles, Duke of Vendôme. Among their 12 children were Francis, second Duke of Guise; Charles, Cardinal de Lorraine; Louis, Cardinal de Guise; René, Marquis d'Elbeuf; and Mary, mother of Mary Stuart of Scotland. According to his son Francis, Claude was fatally poisoned.
Mary, daughter of Claude; b. Nov. 22, 1515; d. Edinburgh Castle, June 10, 1560. She married first (1534) Louis II d'Orléans, Count de Longueville, and then in 1538, James V of Scotland, who died in 1542, leaving her with one child, Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary of Guise became regent in 1554.
Francis, second Duke of Guise, one of France's greatest generals, son of Claude; b. Château of Bar, Feb. 17, 1519; d. Orléans, Feb. 24, 1563. He early acquired the reputation of an intrepid soldier; he fought his first battles at Montmédy (1542), Landrecies (1543), and Saint-Dizier (1544) and was scarred by the wound received near Boulogne in 1545 and hence known as "Le Balafré." In 1551 Francis took part in the campaign that won
Metz, Toul, and Verdun for France; in 1552 to 1553 he defended Metz against Charles V of Germany and distinguished himself at the battle of Renty (1554). Francis later commanded the expedition against Naples (1556), after which he was nominated lieutenant-general of the kingdom by Henry II. He also fought against the English, and his capture of Calais (1558) and other places (Guines, Ham, Thionville, Arlon) led to the Treaty of Cateau Cambrésis (1559). With his brother Claude, Francis became all-powerful during the 16-month reign of Francis II, who married his niece Mary Stuart. The duke lost direct influence over Charles IX, who was dominated by Catherine de' Médicis. He formed a triumvirate (with Constable Anne de Montmorency and Marshal de Saint-André) to oppose the policy of Catherine, who was bent on concessions to the Huguenots. On March 1, 1562, he was involved in the Vassy Massacre of the Huguenots, which began the Wars of Religion. After capturing Rouen (October), he defeated the Huguenots at Dreux (December) and besieged Orléans. He was mortally wounded by a pistol shot fired by the Huguenot Jean Poltrot de Méré (February 18). In 1549 he had married Anne d'Este, daughter of the Duke of Ferrara. His children were Henry, third Duke of Guise; Catherine; Charles de Mayenne; Louis, Archbishop of Reims. Francis was the author of Memoirs.
Charles, brother of Francis; b. Joinville, Feb. 17, 1525; d. Avignon, Dec. 26, 1574. Charles was archbishop of Reims (1538) and cardinal (1547), known as Cardinal de Guise until 1550 and as Cardinal de Lorraine thereafter. Extremely intolerant, he tried to bring the Inquisition to France and was responsible for the cruel suppression of the Huguenot conspiracy of Amboise against the Guises (1560). He became head of the family after his brother's assassination (1563) and conducted an ineffectual and cowardly policy. He was a patron of men of letters such as Rabelais and Ronsard and founder of the University of Reims (1547–49). His daughter Anne d'Arne married Besme (Jean Yanowitz), who was responsible for killing Adm. Gaspard de Coligny during the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day. Charles left many letters and sermons, e.g., Oraison prononcée au colloque de Poissy (1562). He also participated in the Council of Trent.
René, Marquis d'Elbeuf, brother of Francis; b. 1536;d. 1566. René took part in the defense of Metz (1552), the battle of Renty (1554), and the recapture of Calais (1558). He was general of the galleys. René was father of Charles de Lorraine, who was later created duke. It is through his line that the House of the Guises has survived to the present day.
Henry I, third Duke of Guise, Prince of Joinville, son of Francis; b. Dec. 31, 1550; d. Blois, Dec. 23, 1588. Scarred by a wound received at Dormans (1575), like his father he was named "Le Balafré." Early in life he participated in campaigns against the Turks (1566) and against the Huguenots at Saint-Denis (1567) and at Jarnac and Moncontour (1569). Henry forced Coligny to raise the siege of Poitiers (1569), directed the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day (1572), and was instrumental in 1576 in organizing the League, of which he became leader. He had ambitions of becoming King of France. On May 12, 1588 ("Day of the Barricades"), he became the idol of the Parisians and master of the crowds in revolt, but he found circumstances unfavorable for a coup against royalty. Guise was assassinated by order of King Henry III at the States-General of Blois. He had married Catherine de Clèves in 1570 and had 14 children, of whom five survived.
Louis, son of Francis; b. Dampierre, July 6, 1555; d. Blois, Dec. 24, 1588. He became archbishop of Reims in 1574 and cardinal in 1578. He supported the League, and like his brother Henry, was assassinated by command of King Henry III.
Charles, Duke of Mayenne, son of Francis; b. March 26, 1554; d. Soissons, Oct. 3, 1611. Charles went to war with his brother Henry and participated in the defense of Poitiers and in the battles of Moncontour and Brouage. He became lieutenant-general of the realm. After the death of his brother Henry, although pressed by relatives (especially his sister Mme. de Montpensier), he refused to contend for the crown; instead he concentrated his ability on giving the League a strong organization. After submitting to King Henry IV in 1596, he served him faithfully. Mayenne married Henriette of Savoy; they had four children, of whom three survived.
Bibliography: h. forneron, Les Ducs de Guise et leur époque, 2 v. (Paris 1877). r. de bouillÉ, Histoire de ducs de Guise, 4 v. (Paris 1849–50). du trousset de valincour, La Vie de François de Lorraine, duc de Guise (Paris 1681). a. bailly, Henri le Balafré, duc de Guise (Paris 1953). h. d. sedgwick, The House of Guise (Indianapolis 1938). For additional bibliography, see wars of religion; league, the holy; st. bartholomew's day, massacre of.
[w. j. stankiewicz]
Guise (gēz, gwēz), influential ducal family of France.
The First Duke of Guise
The family was founded as a cadet branch of the ruling house of Lorraine by Claude de Lorraine, 1st duc de Guise, 1496–1550, who received the French fiefs of his father, René II, duke of Lorraine and Bar. In 1513 Claude connected himself by marriage with the French royal family. He fought in the Italian Wars under King Francis I and was wounded (1515) at Marignano; as governor of Champagne he fought successfully against the English and the imperial troops. He was created a duke and peer by Francis I, who, however, ultimately came to regard him with distrust. Claude's daughter, Mary of Guise, married King James V of Scotland and was the mother of Mary Queen of Scots (Mary Stuart).
The Second Duke of Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine
Claude's son François de Lorraine, 2d duc de Guise, 1519–63, became conspicuous, at the accession (1547) of Henry II, as the rival for power of Anne, duc de Montmorency. In the final stages of the Italian Wars, François distinguished himself in the defense of Metz (1552), led the expedition to Italy against King Philip II of Spain, and after the failure of the expedition returned to defend France from English and Spanish attacks; in 1558 he took Calais from the English. With the accession (1559) of the youthful Francis II, who was married to the duke's niece, Mary Stuart, François de Guise and his brother the Charles de Guise, Cardinal de Lorraine, c.1525–1574, were given control of the government.
The brothers' arrogance, their persecution of the Protestants, and their enmity toward the princes of Bourbon and Condé led to the conspiracy of Amboise (see Amboise, conspiracy of), which they suppressed (1560). Shortly afterward, however, the death of Francis II deprived the Guises of power; Catherine de' Medici, as regent, dominated the government. As a result, in 1561 the duke joined with Montmorency and Marshal Saint-André in the so-called triumvirate, which, at the head of the Catholic party, opposed both the Huguenots and the tolerant policy of the regent. The murder of Protestants at Vassy by Guise's troops brought about the outbreak of the Wars of Religion (1562–98; see Religion, Wars of), and Guise took the field against the Huguenots. Victorious at Dreux (1562), he was assassinated while preparing to attack Orléans.
The Cardinal de Lorraine was largely responsible for the persecution of the Protestants during the reign of Francis II. At the Colloquy of Poissy (1561) he defended Catholicism against Theodore Beza; at the Council of Trent (1562–63) he at first upheld the independence of the Gallican church but later reversed his position and attempted to have the decrees of the council proclaimed in France. He subsequently negotiated with Philip II of Spain for Spanish support of the Catholic cause in France. After the downfall of Michel de L'Hôpital, Charles temporarily returned to power until 1570. He was the most consummate politician in his family and a master of intrigue.
The Third Duke of Guise
Charles's nephew Henri de Lorraine, 3d duc de Guise, 1550–88, son of François, fought in the Wars of Religion and cooperated with Catherine de' Medici in planning the massacre of the Huguenots on Aug. 24, 1572 (see Saint Bartholomew's Day, massacre of). After the peace of 1576 he formed the Catholic League (see League), and King Henry III, although secretly afraid of the League, became its nominal head. After the death of Francis, duke of Alençon and Anjou (1584), Henri de Lorraine revived (1585) the League in opposition to the Protestant Henry of Navarre (later King Henry IV), who had become heir presumptive to the throne.
War broke out between the League and Henry of Navarre. Although the king was the nominal head of the League, he was overshadowed by the immensely popular de Guise, who had designs on the throne. In May, 1588, when de Guise returned to Paris, the Parisians revolted against the king on the Day of the Barricades (May 12). However, instead of taking the throne Guise permitted Henry III to escape, and the king named him lieutenant general of France. Later in the same year, however, the king brought about his assassination.
Other Members of the Guise Family
Henri's brother Louis de Lorraine, Cardinal de Guise, 1555–88, was killed at the same time as Henri. After their deaths the leadership of the League devolved upon their brother, Charles, duc de Mayenne. Henri was succeeded by his son Charles de Lorraine, 4th duc de Guise, 1571–1640.
Henri de Lorraine, 5th duc de Guise, 1614–64, son of the 4th duke, was archbishop of Reims but became duke after the death of his older brother (1639) and of his father. He conspired (1641) against Cardinal Richelieu and was forced to live in exile for a time in Flanders. In 1647 he took part, as representative of the house of Anjou, in the insurrection at Naples against Spanish rule. Captured by the Spanish (1648), he was a prisoner until 1652. He made a new attack on Naples in 1654, then returned to Paris, where, as grand chamberlain, he played a prominent role in the social life of the court. He was succeeded by his nephew, Louis Joseph de Lorraine, 6th duc de Guise, 1650–71. With François Joseph de Lorraine, 7th duc de Guise, 1670–75, son of the 6th duke, the line came to an end.
See H. N. Williams, The Brood of False Lorraine (1918); H. D. Sedgwick, The House of Guise (1938).
guise / gīz/ • n. an external form, appearance, or manner of presentation, typically concealing the true nature of something: he visited in the guise of an inspector | telemarketing and selling under the guise of market research.