Louis XIII of France: Wikis


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Louis XIII
King of France and Navarre,
Reign 14 May 1610 – 14 May 1643
Coronation 17 October 1610
Predecessor Henry IV
Successor Louis XIV
Spouse Anne of Austria
Louis XIV
Philippe I, Duke of Orléans
House House of Bourbon
Father Henry IV
Mother Marie de' Medici
Born 27 September 1601(1601-09-27)
Château de Fontainebleau, France
Died 14 May 1643 (aged 41)
Paris, France
Burial Saint Denis Basilica, France
For the cognac, see Louis XIII de Rémy Martin.

Louis XIII (27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643) was King of France and Navarre from 1610 to 1643. Along with his First Minister Cardinal Richelieu, Louis "the Just" is remembered for the establishment of the Académie française and participation in the Thirty Years' War against the House of Habsburg.[1] France's greatest victory in the war came at the Battle of Rocroi, five days after Louis' death, "marking the end of Spain's military ascendancy in Europe."[2]


Early life, 1601—1610

Born at the Château de Fontainebleau, Louis XIII was the eldest child of Henri IV of France (1589-1610) and Marie de' Medici (1575-1642). As son of the King, he was a Fils de France, and as the eldest son, the Dauphin. His father was the first Bourbon King of France, having succeeded his ninth cousin, Henry III of France (1574–1589), in application of Salic law. Louis XIII's paternal grandparents were Antoine de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme and Jeanne d'Albret, Queen of Navarre; his maternal grandparents were Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and Johanna, archduchess of Austria, and Eleonora de' Medici, his maternal aunt, was his godmother[3]

Speech impediment

James I’s ambassador to Paris, Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury, who presented his credentials to Louis XIII in 1619, remarked on Louis’ extreme congenital speech impediment, and his double teeth:

...I presented to the King [Louis] a letter of credence from the King [James] my master: the king [Louis] assured me of a reciprocal affection to the king [James] my master, and of my particular welcome to his Court: his words were never many, as being so extream [sic] a stutterer that he would sometimes hold his tongue out of his mouth a good while before he could speak so much as one word; he had besides a double row of teeth, and was observed seldom or never to spit or blow his nose, or to sweat much, 'tho he were very laborious, and almost indefatigable in his exercises of hunting and hawking, to which he was much addicted...[4]

Rule of Marie de' Medici, 1610—1617

Coin of Louis XIII, struck 1612
Obverse: (French) LOYS XIII, ROY DE FRANCE ET NAVARRE, in English: "Louis XIII, King of France and Navarre." Reverse: (French) DOVBLE TOVRNOIS, 1612, in English: "Double Tournois, 1612."

Louis XIII ascended to the throne in 1610, at the age of eight-and-a-half, upon the assassination of his father. His mother, Marie de' Medici, acted as Regent until Louis XIII came of age at thirteen. Marie maintained most of her husband's ministers, with the exception of Maximilien de Béthune, duc de Sully, who was unpopular in the country. She mainly relied on Nicolas de Neufville, seigneur de Villeroy, Noël Brûlart de Sillery, and Pierre Jeannin. Marie pursued a moderate policy, confirming the Edict of Nantes. She was not, however, able to prevent rebellion by nobles like Henry II de Bourbon, prince de Condé, the next-in-line to the throne. Condé did squabble with Marie in 1614, briefly raising an army, but he received little support, and Marie was able to raise her own army. Nevertheless, Marie agreed to call an Estates General assembly to address Condé's grievances.

Louis in 1616

This Estates General assembly was delayed until Louis XIII formally came of age on his thirteenth birthday. Although Louis's coming-of-age formally ended Marie's Regency, she remained the de facto ruler of France. The Estates General accomplished little, spending its time discussing the relationship of France to the Papacy and the venality of offices, but not reaching any resolutions.

Beginning in 1615, Marie came to rely increasingly on Concino Concini, who now assumed the role of her favourite. Concini was widely unpopular because he was an Italian, and therefore a foreigner. This further antagonized Condé, who launched another rebellion in 1616. Huguenot leaders supported Condé's rebellion, which led the young Louis XIII to conclude that they would never be loyal subjects. Eventually, Condé and Queen Marie made peace via the Treaty of Loudun, which allowed Condé great power in government, but didn't remove Concini. With growing dissatisfaction from nobles due to Concini's position, Queen Marie, with Louis' help, imprisoned Condé to protect Concini, leading to renewed revolts against the Queen and Concini.

In the meantime, Charles d'Albert, the Grand Falconer of France, convinced Louis XIII that he should break with his mother and support the rebels. Louis thus organized a palace coup d'état. As a result, Concino Concini was assassinated (24 April 1617) and Marie was sent into exile in Blois. Louis created Charles d'Albert, his new favourite, the first duke of Luynes.

Ascendancy of Charles de Luynes, 1617—1621

Charles de Luynes (1578-1621), royal favourite, 1617-1621.

Luynes soon became as unpopular as Concini had been. Other nobles resented what they saw as Luynes's monopolization of the King. Luynes was seen as not as competent as Henry IV's ministers, who had surrounded Marie de' Medici, and who were now dying off.

The Thirty Years' War broke out in 1618. The French Court was initially unsure what side to support. On the one hand, France's traditional rivalry with the House of Habsburg argued in favour of intervening on behalf of the Protestant powers. On the other hand, Louis XIII had had a strict religious Catholic upbringing, and his natural inclination was therefore to support the Catholic Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II.

The French nobles were further antagonized against Luynes by the 1618 revocation of the paulette tax and by the sale of offices in 1620. From her exile in Blois, Marie de' Medici became the obvious rallying point for this discontent, and the bishop of Luçon was allowed to act as her chief adviser, serving as a go-between to Marie and the King.

French nobles launched a rebellion in 1620, but their forces were easily routed by royal forces at Les Ponts-de-Cé in August 1620. Louis then launched an expedition against the Huguenots of Béarn who had defied a number of Royal decisions. This expedition managed to re-establish Catholicism in Béarn. However, the Béarn expedition drove Huguenots in other provinces into a rebellion led by Henri, duc de Rohan.

In 1621, Louis XIII was formally reconciled with his mother. Luynes was created Constable of France and Louis and Luynes set out to quell the Huguenot rebellion. The siege at the Huguenot stronghold of Montauban had to be abandoned after three months, owing to the large number of Royal troops who had succumbed to camp fever. One of the victims of camp fever was Luynes, who died in December 1621.

Rule by Council, 1622—1624

A young Louis XIII.

Following the death of Luynes, Louis determined that he would rule by council. His mother returned from exile and, in 1622, entered this council where Henry II de Bourbon, prince de Condé recommended violent suppression of the Huguenots. The 1622 campaign, however, followed the pattern of the previous year: Royal forces won some early victories, but were unable to complete a siege, this time at the fortress of Montpellier.

The rebellion was ended by the Treaty of Montpellier, signed by Louis XIII and Henri, duc de Rohan in October 1622. The treaty confirmed the tenets of the Edict of Nantes: several Huguenot fortresses were to be razed, but the Huguenots retained control of Montauban and La Rochelle.

Louis ultimately dismissed Noël Brûlart de Sillery and Pierre Brulart, vicomte de Puisieux in 1624 because of his displeasure with how they handled the diplomatic situation over the Valtellina with Spain. Valtellina was an area with Catholic inhabitants under the suzerainty of the Protestant Grisons. It served as an important route to Italy for France and also it provided an easy connection between the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburg Kingdoms, especially in helping each others with armies if necessary. Spain was constantly interfering in the Valtellina, which angered Louis as he wanted to hold possession of this strategically important passageway. (At these years the French Kingdom was literally surrounded by the Habsburgs as they were the Kings of Spain and Austria. As a plus these empires included the territories of today's Belgium, the Netherlands, parts of Germany and Northern Italy.)

Ministry of Cardinal Richelieu, 1624—1643

Louis XIII on horseback, with Cardinal Richelieu.

Cardinal Richelieu played a major role in Louis XIII's administration from 1624, decisively shaping the destiny of France for the next eighteen years. As a result of Richelieu's work, Louis XIII became one of the first examples of an absolute monarch. Under Louis and Richelieu, the crown successfully intervened in the Thirty Years' War against the Habsburgs, managed to keep the French nobility in line, and retracted the political and military privileges granted to the Huguenots by Henry IV (while maintaining their religious freedoms). In addition, Louis had the port of Le Havre modernized, and he built a powerful navy.

Unfortunately, time and circumstances never permitted the King and the Cardinal to attend to the administrative reforms (particularly of France's tax system) which were urgently needed.

Louis also worked to reverse the trend of promising French artists leaving for Italy to work and study. He commissioned the painters Nicolas Poussin and Philippe de Champaigne to decorate the Louvre. In foreign matters, Louis organized the development and administration of New France, expanding its settlements westward along the Saint Lawrence River from Quebec City to Montreal.

Royal styles of
Louis XIII

Blason France moderne.svg

Reference style His Most Christian Majesty
Spoken style Your Most Christian Majesty
Alternative style Monsieur Le Roi

Relationships and issue

Duke of Orléans

On two occasions the King's younger brother, Gaston, Duke of Orléans had to leave France for conspiring against the King's government, and for attempting to undermine the influence of both his mother and of Cardinal Richelieu. After waging an unsuccessful war in Languedoc, he took refuge in Flanders. In 1643, on the death of Louis XIII, Gaston became lieutenant-general of the kingdom, and fought against Spain on the northern frontiers of France.


On 24 November 1615, Louis XIII married Anne of Austria, daughter of Philip III of Spain. This marriage followed a tradition of cementing military and political alliances between the Catholic powers of France and Spain with Royal marriages. The tradition went back to the marriage of Philip II of Spain with the French Princess, Elisabeth of Valois. The marriage was only briefly happy, and the King's duties often kept them apart. After twenty-three years of marriage and four miscarriages, Anne finally gave birth to a son in 1638, the future Louis XIV.

Many regarded this birth as a divine miracle and, in show of gratitude to God for the long-awaited birth of an heir, his parents named him Louis-Dieudonné (“God-given”). As another sign of gratitude, according to several interpretations, seven months before his birth, France was dedicated by Louis XIII to the Virgin Mary, who, many believed, had interceded for the perceived miracle.[5][6][7] However, the text of the dedication does not mention the royal pregnancy and birth as one of its reasons. Also, Louis XIII himself is said to have expressed his skepticism with regards to the miracle after his son's birth.[8]


The couple had the following children:

Name Lifespan Notes
stillborn child December 1619
stillborn child 14 March 1622
stillborn child 1626
stillborn child April 1631
Louis de France, King of France 5 September 1638 – 1 September 1715 Married Maria Theresa of Austria (1638-1683) in 1660. Had issue.
Philippe de France, Duke of Orléans 21 September 1640 – 8 June 1701 married (1) Princess Henrietta Anne of England (1644-1670) in 1661. Had issue. Married (2) Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate (1652-1722) in 1671. Had issue.


There is no evidence that Louis had mistresses (consequently earning the title of 'Louis the Chaste'), but persistent rumours insinuated that he may have been homosexual or at least bisexual. Tallemant des Réaux, drawing from rumors told to him by a critic of the king (the marquise de Rambouillet), explicitly speculated in his Historiettes what happened in the King's bed. A liaison with an equerry, François de Baradas, ended when the latter lost favour fighting a duel after duelling had been forbidden by royal decree.[9] He was also allegedly captivated by Marquis de Cinq-Mars, who was later executed for conspiring with the Spanish enemy in time of war. Tallemant described how on a Royal journey, the King "sent M. le Grand [de Cinq-Mars] to undress, who returned, adorned like a bride. 'To bed, to bed' he said to him impatiently... and the mignon was not in before the King was already kissing his hands."[10]

In fiction and film

Louis XIII as painted by Justus van Egmont in the 1670s.
  • Louis XIII, his wife Anne, and Cardinal Richelieu all became central figures in Alexandre Dumas, père's novel, The Three Musketeers and subsequent film adaptations. The book depicts Louis as a man willing to have Richelieu as a powerful advisor but aware of his scheming; he is depicted as a bored and sour man, dwarfed by Richelieu's intellect. Films such as the 1948 version or the 1973 version tend to treat Louis XIII as a comical character by depicting him as bumbling and incompetent. He is also a major character in the French television cartoon Albert the Fifth Musketeer, where he is depicted as childish, unintelligent, and indifferent to his authority.
  • Louis XIII, his wife Anne, Cardinal Richelieu, Cardinal Mazarin and members of the Royal family are mentioned throughout the course of the 1632 Series.
  • Louis XIII also appears in novels of Robert Merle's Fortune de France series.
  • Ken Russell directed the film The Devils, in which Louis XIII is a significant character, albeit one with no resemblance to the real man. Louis XIII is portrayed as an effeminate homosexual who amuses himself by shooting Protestants dressed up as birds. The film was based on Aldous Huxley's book The Devils of Loudun.
  • Louis XIII also appears in the Doctor Who audio drama The Church and the Crown.
  • In the opening of the comic adaptation of the movie, "GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra", Louis XIII is referenced. Destro's ancestor is forced to wear an iron mask for the crime of selling arms to both Louis XIII and his enemies. The year given for this event is 1641.


Louis XIII of France
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 27 September 1601 Died: 14 May 1643
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Henry IV
King of France
14 May 1610 – 20 October 1620
Titles unified
King of Navarre
as Louis II
14 May 1610 – 20 October 1620
Co-Prince of Andorra
14 May 1610 – 20 October 1620
Title merged into French crown
New title
former Titles unified
King of France and Navarre
20 October 1620 – 14 May 1643
Succeeded by
Louis XIV
Preceded by
Felipe IV of Spain
Count of Barcelona
as Lluís I
1641 – 14 May 1643
French royalty
Preceded by
François II
Dauphin of France
27 September 1601 – 14 May 1610
Succeeded by
Louis XIV
Preceded by
Henri IV
Dauphin of Viennois
as Louis IV
27 September 1601 – 14 May 1610
Preceded by
Henry II de Bourbon, prince de Condé
Heir to the Throne
as Heir apparent
27 September 1601 — 14 May 1610
Succeeded by
Nicholas Henri, Duke of Orléans

See also


  1. ^ Schneider, Robert A. History 1450-1789: Louis XIII. Accessed Feb. 15, 2010.
  2. ^ Battle of Rocroi. (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved February 16, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  3. ^ James 1897, pp. 421
  4. ^ Herbert of Cherbury 1830, pp. 116
  5. ^ Our Lady of Graces and the birth of Louis XIV The website of the Sanctuary of Our Lady at Cotignac, Provence. Retrieved on 2008-01-24
  6. ^ Bremond 1908, pp. 381 "Sans l'assurance d'avoir un fils, Louis XIII n'aurait pas fait le voeu de 1638." Translation: "Without the assurance of having a son, Louis XIII would not have made the vow of 1638."
  7. ^ "Louis XIV". MSN Encata. 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. http://www.webcitation.org/5kx6kxUSq. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  8. ^ Dulong, Claude, Anne d’Autriche. Paris: Hachette, 1980. "Irrité de voir tant de courtisans parler de "miracle", Louis XIII aurait répliqué que "ce n'était point là si grand miracle qu'un mari couchât avec sa femme et lui fasse un enfant." Translation: "Irritated to see so many courtiers speak of a “miracle”, Louis XIII is said to have replied: “it was not such a great miracle that a husband slept with his wife and made her a child.”"
  9. ^ Crompton 2006, pp. 338 The grandson of Henry III, Saint-Luc, penned the irreverent rhyme: 'Become a bugger, Baradas / if you are not already one / like Maugiron my grandfather / and La Valette'.
  10. ^ Crompton 2006, pp. 338


  • Bremond, Henri (1908), La Provence mystique au XVIIe siècle, Paris: Plon-Nourri  [1]
  • Crompton, Louis (2006), Homosexuality & Civilization, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674022-33-5  [2]
  • Dulong, Claude, Anne d’Autriche. Paris: Hachette, 1980.
  • Herbert of Cherbury, Edward (1830), The life of Edward, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, Whittaker, Treacher, and Arnot  [3]
  • James, Ralph N. (1897), Painters and Their Works, L.U. Gill  [4]

Further reading

  • Howell, James "Louis XIII" English historiographer Royal 1661-1666
  • Huxley, Aldous. "The Devils of Loudun". The 1952 book tells the story of the trial of Urbain Grandier, priest of the town who was tortured and burned at the stake in 1634.
  • Knecht, Robert, Renaissance France, genealogies, Baumgartner, genealogical tables.
  • Moote, A. Lloyd. Louis XIII, the Just. Berkeley; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press, 1991, (paperback), ISBN 0-520-07546-3).
  • Willis, Daniel A. (comp). The Descendants of Louis XIII. Clearfield, 1999.

External links

Simple English

File:Louis XIIIval
Louis XIII of France

Louis XIII of France (27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643) was King of France from 1610 to 1643. He was the son of Henri IV and Marie de Medici.[1] He lived during the time of the Thirty Years War and had to deal with many rebellions. He was proud of his country, and tried to encourage French artists to stay in France instead of going off to Italy. He did this by giving them work in the Louvre.

Although he was married people thought that he would never produce an heir. Then, after 23 years of marriage, his wife Anne gave birth to a baby boy. He was to become King Louis XIV of France.

His other son was Philippe of France, Duke of Orléans


  1. "Louis XIII" (in English). NNDB. 2009. http://www.nndb.com/people/404/000086146/. Retrieved 2009-09-11. 

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