Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Louis XIII of France
Born at the Château de Fontainebleau, Louis was the first child of Henri IV and Marie de' Medici. He ascended to the throne at age nine after the assassination of his father. His mother, along with Cardinal Richelieu, acted as Regent for the minor Louis until he reached the age of sixteen, when Louis took the reins of government into his own hands. The assassination of Concino Concini (April 24, 1617), who had greatly influenced Marie's policymaking, effectively removed the Queen Mother's favorite from a position of power. Under Louis' rule, the Bourbon Dynasty continued to flourish, but the question of freedom of religion continued to haunt the country.
The brilliant and energetic Cardinal Richelieu played a major role in Louis XIII's administration, decisively shaping the destiny of France for the next 25 years, dying only months before the king himself. As a result of Richelieu's work, Louis became one of the first exemplars of an absolute monarch. Under Louis XIII, the Hapsburgs were humiliated, a powerful navy was built, the French nobility was firmly kept in line behind their king, and the special privileges granted to the Huguenots by his father were canceled. He had the port of Le Havre modernized. He started a fashion of wearing wigs by wearing one himself to conceal his baldness.
The King also did everything to reverse the trend for the promising artists of France to work and study in Italy. Louis commissioned the great artists Nicolas Poussin and Philippe de Champaigne to decorate the Luxembourg Palace. In foreign matters, Louis XIII organized the development and administration of New France, expanding the settlement of Quebec westward along the Saint Lawrence River from Quebec City to Montreal.
He was married to a Hapsburg Princess, Anne of Austria (1601-1666), daughter of King Philip III of Spain. Their marriage, like Bourbon-Habsburg relationships, was never a happy one, and for most of it they lived apart. However, fulfilling her duty, after twenty years of marriage and four miscarriages, Anne finally gave birth to a son in 1638. It is still not certain that Louis XIV was actually Louis XIII's son. While there is no reliable evidence that Louis ever slept with any of his favorites, his marriage was not consummated until 1619 and his most intense emotional ties were with a series of handsome men.
Though Richelieu was firmly in charge of French policies, the king's favorites left their mark on the reign. The first was the duc de Luynes, the boy's closest adult friend and adviser at the outset of his reign, 23 years his senior. The last of the king's favorites (1639-1642) was the much younger marquis de Cinq-Mars, who was executed for conspiring with the Spanish enemy in time of war.
Louis XII in fiction
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