Louis, Prince of Condé (1530–1569)

Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé (7 May 1530 – 13 March 1569) was a prominent Huguenot leader and general, the founder of the Condé branch of the House of Bourbon.

Louis de Bourbon
Prince of Condé
Louis Ier de Bourbon, 1er prince de Condé (1530-1569).jpg
Born(1530-05-07)7 May 1530
Died13 March 1569(1569-03-13) (aged 38)
SpouseÉléanore de Roucy
Françoise d'Orléans
IssueHenri I de Bourbon, prince de Condé
François, Prince of Conti
Charles II de Bourbon-Vendôme
Charles, Count of Soissons
HouseBourbon-Condé (Founder)
FatherCharles de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme
MotherFrançoise d'Alençon
ReligionCalvinist (Huguenot)
prev. Roman Catholic


Coat-of-arms of Louis, Prince of Condé.

Born in Vendôme, he was the fifth son of Charles de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme.[1] His mother was Françoise d'Alençon, the eldest daughter of René, Duke of Alençon, and Margaret of Lorraine.[2] His older brother Antoine de Bourbon married Jeanne d'Albret (Queen of Navarre). [3] Their son, Condé's nephew, became Henry IV of France. Condé's cousin, through his father - who was the brother of Antoinette de Bourbon - was Mary of Guise.

As a soldier in the French army, Condé fought at the Siege of Metz in 1552,[4] when Francis, Duke of Guise successfully defended the city from the forces of Emperor Charles V, and again at the Battle of St. Quentin in 1557.[4]

Whilst returning from a campaign in Italy, Louis stopped in Geneva to hear a sermon.[5] After his conversion to Protestantism, he is suspected to have become involved in the Conspiracy of Amboise in 1560,[a][b][6] a plot by the Huguenots and members of the House of Bourbon to abduct the adolescent King Francis II and usurp the power of the House of Guise, who were the leaders of the Catholic party. The plot failed, leading to the massacre of many Huguenots.[7] Condé was arrested in late October 1560,[8] but later released 20 December 1560, upon the King's death.[9][10]

On 2 April 1562, Condé, commanding a Huguenot army, captured Orléans, with it he issued a draft stating that King Charles IX was being held hostage by the House of Guise.[11] However, Queen-mother Catherine de' Medici proclaimed she and her son were not hostages and that Condé's actions were unlawful and constituted a rebellion.[11] Condé was captured at the battle of Dreux in 1562.[12] At Orléans, the duke of Guise was assassinated, and when the Queen's fears that the war might drag on led her to negotiate a truce, Condé negotiated the Peace of Amboise with the Catholic party in 1563, which gave the Huguenots some religious toleration.[13] In the Battle of Jarnac, Louis I de Bourbon, prince de Condé was killed after his surrender[14] and his body paraded on a donkey in Jarnac, to Catholic jeers.

His son, Henri, also became a Huguenot general.[15]


Condé married in 1551 Eléanor de Roucy de Roye (1536–1564),[16] heiress of Charles de Roye. She brought as her dowry the château and small town of Conti-sur-Selles, southwest of Amiens, which would pass to their third son, progenitor of the princes de Conti. They had:

  1. Henri de Bourbon, Prince of Condé[3]
  2. Marguerite de Bourbon b. 8 Nov 1556
  3. Charles de Bourbon b. 3 Nov 1557
  4. François de Bourbon, Prince of Conti b. 19 Aug 1558[3]
  5. Charles de Bourbon, Cardinal, Archbishop of Rouen, b. 30 Mar 1562[3]
  6. Louis de Bourbon b. 30 Mar 1562
  7. Madeleine de Bourbon b. 7 Oct 1563
  8. Catherine de Bourbon b. 1564

On 8 Nov 1565 he married Francoise d'Orleans, Mademoiselle de Longueville,[3] they had:

  1. Charles de Bourbon, Count of Soissons b. 3 Nov 1566, Nogent le Rotrou[3]
  2. Louis de Bourbon b. 1567
  3. Benjamin de Bourbon b. 1569

He allegedly fathered a son by his mistress Isabelle de Limeuil, who served as Maid of Honour to Catherine de' Medici and was a member of her notorious group of female spies known at the French court as the "Flying Squadron". He vigorously denied paternity much to Isabelle's chagrin.[17]

Depiction in mediaEdit

Louis Condé is played by British actor Sean Teale in the TV show Reign. He has an affair with Mary, Queen of Scots and leads a coup against the monarchy.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Lucien Romier states Louis initiated the conspiracy, but according to Knecht the evidence is inconclusive[6]
  2. ^ Regnier de la Planche, a contemporary source, claims a group of persons instigated the conspiracy[6]


  1. ^ Holt 1999, p. 218.
  2. ^ Potter 1995, p. 378.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Knecht 1989, p. 134.
  4. ^ a b Mullett 2010, p. 107.
  5. ^ Knecht 1989, p. 15.
  6. ^ a b c Knecht 1989, p. 24.
  7. ^ Knecht 2000, p. 67.
  8. ^ Knecht 2000, p. 71.
  9. ^ Sutherland, N.M. (1984). Princes, Politics and Religion 1547-89. Hambledon Press. p. 64.
  10. ^ de Ruble, Alphonse (1885). Antoine de Bourbon et Jeanne d'Albret : suite de Le mariage de Jeanne d'Albret, t. 3. p. 18.
  11. ^ a b Knecht 2000, p. 85-86.
  12. ^ Knecht 2000, p. 101.
  13. ^ Knecht 1989, p. 38.
  14. ^ Tucker 2010, p. 527.
  15. ^ Knecht 2000, p. 185.
  16. ^ de Boislisle 1902, p. 198.
  17. ^ Strage 1976, p. 131.
  18. ^ "Reign - Season 2- Sean Teale joins cast". Spoiler TV. Retrieved 31 January 2015.


  • de Boislisle, A. (1902). "Trois Princes de Conde: A Chantilly". Annuaire-Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de France (in French). 39 (2).
  • Holt, Mack P. (1999). The French Wars of Religion, 1562-1629. Cambridge University Press.
  • Knecht, R.J. (1989). The French Wars of Religion, 1559-1598. Longman.
  • Knecht, R.J. (2000). The French Civil Wars. Pearson Education Limited.
  • Mullett, Michael (2010). Historical Dictionary of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Scarecrow Press.
  • Potter, David (1995). Keen, Maurice (ed.). A History of France, 1460–1560: The Emergence of a Nation State. Macmillan.
  • Strage, Mark (1976). Women of Power: The Life and Times of Catherine de' Medici. Harcourt, Brace & Jovanovich.
  • Tucker, Spencer C., ed. (2010). "March 13, 1569:Battle of Jarnac". A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East. ABC-CLIO.

Louis, Prince of Condé (1530–1569)
Cadet branch of the House of Bourbon
Born: 7 May 1530 Died: 13 March 1569
French nobility
New title
Dynasty founded
Prince of Condé
1546 – 13 March 1569
Succeeded by
Henri I de Bourbon