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Robert Knecht

Portrait of Francis I, c.1515-20.

So bloody was Francis I’s defeat of the Swiss at the Battle of Marignano in 1515 that it made previous battles resemble ‘children’s games’. Robert J. Knecht traces the French king’s route across the Alps towards war in Italy.

In 1573 Catherine de’ Medici successfully campaigned for her third son, Henri, Duke of Anjou, to be elected to the throne of Poland. Robert J. Knecht tells the story of his brief, dramatic reign.

In May 1610 Henry IV of France was assassinated by a religious fanatic apparently acting alone. Though popular, Henry had nevertheless aroused animosity on his way to kingship, not least because of his Protestant beliefs, writes Robert J. Knecht.

R.J. Knecht looks at the ­practical considerations behind the smooth operation of the huge courts of the Valois kings of France.