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Henri IV - An unfinished reign

The coronation of Marie de Médicis

Before setting off on a campaign whose outcome was so uncertain, Henri IV took care to ensure the continuity of the monarchy, as Louis the Dauphin was only nine years old. Henri had stipulated that in his absence, his wife would rule the kingdom as regent, aided by a 15-person Regency Council in which he had complete confidence.

Nevertheless, some in the queen's entourage thought that something was missing – the one element that would definitively establish Marie's authority over the people of France: a coronation. The queen herself urged Henri to grant her this privilege. After much prevarication, he gave in. Marie de Médicis was crowned queen at Saint-Denis on 13 May 1610. The entire court attended the lavish ceremony, about which Richelieu said, "never was there such an gathering of nobility […], never were the princes so splendidly turned out, never were the ladies and princesses more bedecked in jewels." Henry himself was present, and was clearly pleased to see his wife "play the queen", as he put it. As a "crowning touch", Henri had planned a triumphal entry into Paris for his newly-crowned queen, to take place on the following Sunday, 16 May.

All of this was thus on the king's mind on that Friday morning of 14 May 1610, as he prepared to meet his fate.

Related multimedia

Title: The coronation of Marie de Médicis

The coronation of Marie de Médicis
© RMN / Jean Christian, Hervé Lewandowski
Caption:
The coronation of Marie de Médicis at Saint-Denis on 13 May 1610, by Pierre Paul Rubens, Musée du Louvre

Title: Anointing and coronation of Marie de Médicis

Anointing and coronation of Marie de Médicis
© Musée national du château Pau / Jean-Yves Chermeux
Caption:
Anointing and coronation of Marie de Médicis after Nicolas Bollery, 1610, engraving, Musée national du château Pau, Inv. P. 65.10.10.

Title: Marie de Médicis and the Dauphin Louis

Marie de Médicis and the Dauphin Louis
© Musée du château royal de Blois / François Lauginie 2008
Caption:
Marie de Médicis and the Dauphin Louis by Charles Martin, 1603, oil on canvas, Musée du château royal de Blois, Inv. 861.14.3.
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