The Bourbons

The Bourbons descended in direct line from Louis IX also called Saint Louis ; they were blood princes. They had precedence over all the other noble men in the Kingdom and were members of the King’s council.

Antoine de Bourbon (1518-1562)

  • Antoine de Bourbon © S.H.P.F.

Duke of Bourbon and Vendôme and first blood prince. He was married to Jeanne d’Albret, queen of Navarre, who had become Protestant in 1560, whereas Antoine remained Catholic. He was killed at the siege of Rouen. He was the father of Henri IV to be.

Charles de Bourbon (1523-1590)

Cardinal of Bourbon and future Charles X of the Leaguers.

Louis de Bourbon (1530-1569)

  • Louis Ier de Condé (1530-1569) © S.H.P.F.

First Prince of Condé, Antoine de Bourbon’s younger brother, he converted to Calvinism in 1558 and led the Protestant uprising in 1562. He was made prisoner at the battle of Dreux and negotiated the Peace of Amboise that ended the first war. He was killed by a Duke of Anjou’s officer at the battle of Jarnac.

Henri de Bourbon (1552-1588)

  • Henri I de Bourbon, Prince de Condé (1552-1588) © S.H.P.F.

Second Prince of Condé and son of Louis. He was made to recant Protestantism after the Saint Bartholomew massacre, and managed to find refuge in Germany where he recruited troops. In July 1574 he was declared “chief, general governor and protector of the Reformed Churches”, a title later given to Henri de Navarre when he returned to the Calvinist faith. Officially Governor of the Picardie region since 1573, he was hostile to reconciliation and resisted the royal troops. He died of an illness, but may have been poisoned by his second wife.

La Maison de Bourbon et les rois de France © Musée virtuel du protestantisme


  • Books
    • COTTRET Bernard, 1598, L’édit de Nantes, Perrin, Paris, 1997
    • GARRISSON Janine, Henri IV, Le Seuil, rééd. 2008, Paris, 1984
    • MIQUEL Pierre, Les Guerres de religion, Fayard, Paris, 1980

Associated tours

  • The eight wars of religion in detail

    The wars lasted thirty-six years. The kingdom of France had 18 million inhabitants at that time – indeed, few other European countries had as many. The growth rate rose considerably...