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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 699 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CLAUDE OF LORRAINE, count and afterwards 1st duke of Guise (1496—1550), was born on the loth of October 1496. He was educated at the French court, and at seventeen allied himself to the royal house of France by a marriage with Antoinette de Bourbon (1493—1583) daughter of Francois, Count of Vendome. Guise distinguished himself at Marignano (1515), and was long in recovering from the twenty-two wounds he received in the battle; in 1521 he fought at Fuenterrabia, when Louise of Savoy ascribed the capture of the place to his efforts; in 1522 he defended northern France, and forced the English to raise the siege of Hesdin; and in 1523 he obtained the government of Champagne and Burgundy, defeating at Neufchateau theimperial troops who had invaded his province. In 1525 he destroyed the Anabaptist peasant army, which was overrunning Lorraine, at Lupstein, near Saverne (Zabern). On the return of Francis I. from captivity, Guise was erected into a duchy in the peerage of France, though up to this time only princes of the royal house had held the title of duke and peer of France. The Guises, as cadets of the sovereign house of Lorraine and descendants of the house of Anjou, claimed precedence of the Bourbon princes. Their pretensions and ambitions inspired distrust in Francis I., although he rewarded Guise's services by substantial gifts in land and money. The duke distinguished himself in the Luxemburg campaign in 1542, but for some years before his death he effaced himself before the growing fortunes of his sons. He died on the 12th of April 1550. He had been supported in all his undertakings and intrigues by his brother JOHN, cardinal of Lorraine (1498—1550), who had been made coadjutor of Metz at the age of three. The cardinal was archbishop of Reims, Lyons and Narbonne, bishop of Metz, Toul, Verdun, Therouanne, Lucon, Albi, Valence, Nantes and Agen, and before he died had squandered most of the wealth which he had derived from these and other benefices. Part of his ecclesiastical preferments he gave up in favour of his nephews. He became a member of the royal council in 1530, and in 1536 was entrusted with an embassy to Charles V. Although a complaisant helper in Francis I.'s pleasures, he was disgraced in 1.542, and retired to Rome. He died at Nogentsur-Yonne on the 18th of May 1550. He was extremely dissolute, but as an open-handed patron of art and learning, as the protector and friend of Erasmus, Marot and Rabelais he did something to counter-balance the general unpopularity of his calculating and avaricious brother. Claude of Guise had twelve children, among them Francis, 2nd duke of Guise; Charles, 2nd cardinal of Lorraine (1524-1574), who became archbishop of Reims in 1538 and cardinal in 1547; Claude, marquis of Mayenne, duke of Aumale (1526-1573), governor of Burgundy, who married Louise de Breze, daughter of Diane de Poitiers, thus securing a powerful ally for the family; Louis (1527-1578), bishop of Troyes, archbishop of Sens and cardinal of Guise; Rene, marquis of Elbeuf (1536-1566), from whom descended the families of Harcourt, Armagnac, Marsan and Lillebonne; Mary of Lorraine (q.v.), generally known as Mary of Guise, who after the death of her second husband, James V. of Scotland, acted as regent of Scotland for her daughter Mary, queen of Scots; and Francis (1534-1563), grand prior of the order of the Knights of Malta. The solidarity of this family, all the members of which through three generations cheerfully submitted to the authority of the head of the house, made it a formidable factor in French politics.

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