Campaign of the Month: August 2011
Le Ballet de l'Acier
- The spring campaign finds royal forces laying seige to the duc de Mayenne at the fortress of Soissons.
- On 24 April, Concino Concini, marquis d’Ancre, enters a gateway to the Louvre; the gate snaps shut behind him, cutting him off from his retinue and guards. The favorite is seized by the marquis de Vitry, a captain of the king’s guards, and placed under arrest; when d’Ancre hesitates, Vitry and others draw their pistols and kill him. On being told the news, Louis is said to reply, “Many thanks to you. From this moment I am king!” accompanied by cheers of “Vive le roi!” from the courtiers in the palace. The next day a mob disinters d’Ancre’s corpse and hangs it from the Pont-Neuf where it is torn to pieces.
- On receiving word of the assassination, the gates of Soissons are thrown open and beseigers and beseiged greet one another, animosities immediately set aside. The conspirators are adjudged by the Parlement de Paris to have executed justice on behalf of the king. D’Ancre’s wife is tried for witchcraft but convicted of treason instead and executed in July. The favorite’s advisors are removed from power; the bishop of Luçon returns to his diocese. Marie de’ Medicis is placed under house arrest on her estate in Blois. Louis surrounds himself with a council composed largely of greybeards from his father Henri’s reign, but the king’s favorite, the duc de Luynes, the king’s falconer and one of the conspirators in the d’Ancre assassination, is placed at the council’s head.
- After desultury skirmishing against the Spanish along the Savoy-Milan frontier, the duc de Lesdiguières is recalled by the king, to avoid further antagonizing the Spanish.
- With the kingdom at peace and the king no longer under the direct influence of his mother or her favorites, Louis and Luynes summon the Assembly of Notables in December to hammer out the specifics for implementing reforms suggested by the Estates-General. A ban on the sale of offices is to be implemented as soon as another source of royal revenue can be identified.
- The king issues an edict of restitution requiring his government in the tiny kingdom of Navarre to permit Catholics the freedom to worship and to own property, rights abrogated by the domain’s Protestants.
- Luynes marries Marie de Rohan-Montbazon; the young, vivacious duchesse is soon placed in charge of the queen’s household, and after an initial period of suspicion, the duchesse de Luynes and Queen Anne become close friends.