Campaign of the Month: August 2011
Le Ballet de l'Acier
- The queen mother once again attracts a small army to her cause, assisted by the duc de Vendôme and the comte de Soissons. The eighteen year-old king rejects the advice of Luynes and the council to pursue negotiations, instead following Condé‘s recommendation to bring the rebels forcibly to heel, initiating a second War of the Mother and Son. Louis leads his army, first into Normandy, then into Anjou, leading to the decisive Battle of Ponts-de-Cé on 7 August. Marie’s forces are routed by the royal army; the king personally spends seventeen hours in the saddle during the engagement. The queen mother pleads for the king’s grace which is granted on her promise never to take arms against him again; the king also commutes the death sentence of the comte de St-Aignan, commander of the queen mother’s forces at Ponts-de-Cé. The queen mother and her retinue are permitted to return to Paris, where she takes up residence in the Palais de Luxembourg.
- Louis, flushed with victory and with the royal army at his back, turns south from Angers and travels to Navarre, entering Pau for the first time as its sovereign 20 October and enforcing the neglected 1617 edict of restitution permitting Catholic worship once again in the Protestant kingdom. Protestants refusing to support the king’s will are replaced with Catholics loyal to Louis. Huguenots elsewhere in France are deeply concerned by the king’s actions, despite Louis’ continuing efforts to ensure compliance with the Edict of Nantes protecting the rights of the Reformed Church.
- In November the General Assembly of Reformed Churches meets in La Rochelle, the most powerful Huguenot stronghold in France. The belligerent rhetoric of the Protestant delegates lead Louis to demand an end to their deliberations, but on Christmas Day the Huguenot leaders elect to resist the king. They organize to defend Protestant communities against the royal army. Royal propoganda paints the Huguenots as declaring a “republic” within France in the style of the Dutch, denying not only the sovereignty of the Church but the crown as well.