Francis II, Duke of Lorraine

Francis II (François de Lorraine; 27 February 1572 – 14 October 1632) was the son of Charles III, Duke of Lorraine and Claude of Valois. He was Duke of Lorraine briefly in 1625, quickly abdicating in favour of his son.

Francis II
Count of Vaudémont
François II duc de Lorraine et de Bar en 1625 (1572-1632).jpg
Duke of Lorraine and Bar
Reign25 November 1625 – 1 December 1625
SuccessorCharles IV
Born27 February 1572
Ducal Palace of Nancy
Died14 October 1632(1632-10-14) (aged 60)
Badonviller, France
(m. 1597; died 1627)
French: François de Lorraine
English: Francis of Lorraine
FatherCharles III, Duke of Lorraine
MotherPrincess Claude of France


The youngest son of Charles III, Duke of Lorraine, and his wife Claude of France,[1] Francis was styled the Count of Vaudémont during his father's reign (1545–1608) as well as during that of his older brother Henry II (1608–1624). His father appointed him as his deputy (Lieutenant General) of Lorraine, while in 1594 he was out of the country.

That same year he was Lieutenant General of the French king in Toul and Verdun. From September to October 1606 he was in his father's diplomatic mission in England. Rowland Whyte mentioned him dancing at Hampton Court in the presence chamber of Anne of Denmark.[2] He spent much of the time hunting with King James away from London, where there was plague. They returned to Hampton Court and James gave him a jewel worth 10,000 crowns.[3]

In 1621 he fell out with his brother Henry II, who had become duke in 1608, and went to Germany for the emperor to fight the Protestants. The reason for the rift was Henry's intention to have Francis's son Charles marry Henry II's daughter Nicolette of Lorraine and to leave Lorraine to her, even though the will of Duke René II had provided for a strictly male succession. Henry and his wife Margherita Gonzaga had only had daughters. After negotiations, the issue was then resolved and the marriage took place but the couple did not have any children and the duchy was to revert to Francis' other son, the future Nicholas II, Duke of Lorraine.

Engraving of his wife, Christina of Salm.

After Francis' brother died on 31 July 1624, the situation became complicated; Henry's final rules specified that Charles could only be the Duke of Lorraine as Nicolette's husband.

In November 1625, however, it was Francis himself who became the ruler of Lorraine. Having claimed the duchy for himself, he got it on 21 November 1625 from the duchy's States General.

After he had paid the duchy's debt out of its treasury five days later, he abdicated in favour of his son, who by then had pushed aside his wife and who then ruled in his own right.

In his will, Francis stated that he "never had ambitions to wear a crown in this world". After his abdication, Francis II took on the management of the county of Vaudémont. He died less than a year later.


He married Christina of Salm and had the following issue:

  1. Henri de Lorraine, Marquis of Hattonchâtel (1602–1611) died young;
  2. Charles de Lorraine, Duke of Lorraine (1604–1675) married Nicolette of Lorraine, no issue; married (bigamously) Béatrix de Cusance and had issue;
  3. Henriette de Lorraine (1605–1660), married Louis de Lorraine, Prince of Lexin, son of Louis II, Cardinal of Guise, no issue;
  4. Nicolas, Duke of Lorraine (1609–1670), married Claude de Lorraine and had issue;
  5. Marguerite de Lorraine (1615–1672), married Gaston de France, Duke of Orléans and had issue;
  6. Christine de Lorraine (1621–1622) died in infancy.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Tenace 2012, p. 286.
  2. ^ John Nichols, Progresses of James the First, vol. 2 (London, 1828), pp. 99-100: Michael Brennan, Noel Kinnamon, Margaret Hannay, Letters of Rowland Whyte to Sir Robert Sidney (Philadelphia, 2013), pp. 566-7.
  3. ^ Horatio Brown, Calendar State Papers, Venice: 1603-1607, vol. 10 (London, 1900), pp. 413 no. 596, 416 no. 599.


  • Tenace, Edward Shannon (2012). "Messianic Imperialism or Traditional Dynasticism? The Grand Strategy of Philip II and the Spanish Failure in the Wars of the 1590s". In Andrade, Tonio; Reger, William (eds.). The Limits of Empire: European Imperial Formations in Early Modern World History: Essays in Honor of Geoffrey Parker. Ashgate Publishing. pp. 281–308.

Preceded by Duke of Lorraine
25 November 1625 – 1 December 1625
Succeeded by