House of Guise

The House of Guise was founded by Claude de Lorraine the first Duc de Guise from 1496 to 1550 who received the French fiefs of his father, René II, Duke of Lorraine and Duke of Bar. René II was the son of Iolande, who was the daughter of the "Good King Rene", who was the great grandson of King John II of France and Count of Guise. When Rene I married Isobella, daughter of the King of Lorraine, he was made the Duke of Lorraine and also Count of Guise. The House of Guise was a branch of the ducal family of Lorraine that played an important role in the religious troubles of France during the 17th century. The Guise's laid claim for a brief period of time to the throne of France because they were descendants of Charlemagne. This occurred when Henry III of France was childless and after his younger brother Francois' death Henry de Navarre was made heir, but the Pope excommunicated Henry de Navarre and his cousin the Prince of Conde calling them heretics therefore not fit for the throne. The Pope supported the Guise family.

A brief genealogy summarized from Guise Family Nexus

Rene I's sister Marie married King Charles VII of France. Rene's daughter Marguerite married King Henry VI of England who was prominent in the War of the Roses. Rene I many titles, including those of Guise and Lorraine, passed through Rene's daughter Iolonde to her son Rene II. Rene II married Phillipa De Guildre also of the House of Lorraine and had ten children. His eldest, Antoine became the Duke of Lorraine, married Renee DeBourbon Montpensier and is the ancestor of the House of Hapsburg-Lorraine. Rene II's second son, Claude became the Duke of Guise, which became a French Ducal title also. Claude Duc De Guise married Antoinette DeBourbon and had twelve children. Claude's eldest, Marie first married Louis D'Orleans and second married King James V of Scotland, becomimg the ancestor of the House of Stuart. Claude's second son, Francoise, became the 2nd Duc De Guise and had seven children. Claude's third son, Charles became the Cardinal of Lorraine (Claude's brother Jean was the First Cardinal). Claude's next son Louis became the First Cardinal of Guise and the Bishop of Metz. Francoise's son Henri became 3rd Duc De Guise, and he sired fourteen children. And thus extends the issue of Rene, the House of Guise and all it's branches.

The Guises upheld Catholic interests firmly but not only in France, but also in Scotland, where Marie de Lorraine and her daughter, Mary Stuart, later Mary Queen of Scots, were allied to them.

The Guises apparent religious devotion to Roman Catholicism, however, was often tarnished by their own violence, and by that of their partisans. It also covered certain plans for political reform that were dangerous to monarchical centralization. Finally, the relationship between Spain and the House of Guise which existed for thirty-five years caught the suspicion of French patriotism. Not to be biased it must be said that the Huguenots were also guilty of many acts of violence, and appealed to England, as the Guises did to Spain, and that the Calvinistic nobility was even more dangerous to French unity than that of the Catholic.

Notable members of the House of Guise are:

Claude de Lorraine
Jean de Lorraine
Francois de Lorraine
Charles de Lorraine
Louis I de Lorraine
Mary of Guise
Henri I de Lorraine
Charles III de Lorraine
Charles IV de Lorraine
Henri de Lorraine


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