Henry IV

Early Life

Raised as a Protestant, he was recognized (1569) by the Huguenot leader Gaspard de Coligny as the nominal head of the Huguenots. As a result of the temporary reconciliation (1570) between the Huguenots and the crown, Henry was betrothed to Margaret of Valois, sister of King Charles IX. A few days after his marriage (Aug. 18, 1572) the massacre of the Huguenots (see Saint Bartholomew's Day, massacre of) took place. Henry saved his life by abjuring Protestantism; however, he remained a virtual prisoner of the court until 1576, when he escaped, returned to the Protestant faith, and joined the combined Protestant and moderate Roman Catholic forces in the fifth of the Wars of Religion (see Religion, Wars of).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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