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Saint Vincent's Reading List XLVII: Assassination and Regency

by Rev Edward R Udovic CM 11/25/2013 9:18:00 AM

Arrest de la Cour pour la Regence de la Royne Pendant le Bas Age du Roy. Paris: Chez Mettayer & P. L'Huillier, 1610.

Call Number: SpC. 944.032 F815a1610


The newspaper headlines that announced the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963 were accompanied by headlines which confirmed that Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson had taken the oath of office and had succeeded the deceased president as envisioned by the U.S. constitution.

On 14 May 1610, Henri IV was riding in a carriage through the streets of Paris. The passage was slow and difficult because of the ongoing celebrations for the coronation of the queen, Marie de Medici which had taken place the previous day. As the king’s carriage came to a halt on the Rue de la Ferronnerie a Catholic fanatic, François Ravaillac jumped into the carriage and fatally stabbed the king. Henri IV died within hours of the attack.

The king's nine-year old minor son the dauphin succeeded to the throne as Louis XIII. In the midst of the shock and horror of the regicide of a popular king, the kingdom needed immediate public reassurance of the continuation of royal authority in the form of a regency. Marie de Medici stepped into the breach to ensure her uncontested role as regent on behalf of her son.  The regency was confirmed immediately by the Parlement of Paris.

It is believed that Vincent de Paul first arrived in Paris in late 1609 or early 1610. It is probable therefore that he was in the city on the fateful day, and heard the shocking news of the assassination and the establishment of the regency.

Louis XIII's majority was declared in 1614 when he was only thirteen years of age. Marie de Medici would, however, continue to play a role in the power struggles of the reign that were inevitable given the king’s weaknesses. When the Queen and her party were finally defeated by Cardinal Richelieu in 1632 the king banished her from the kingdom.

As Queen-Mother, Marie commissioned the artist Peter Paul Rubens to create the famous cycle of 24 monumental paintings to hang in her new palace in Paris (now the Luxembourg Palace). The highpoint of the cycle is a painting commemorating "the apotheosis of Henry IV and the proclamation of the regency of Marie de Medici."

The present document is the official proclamation of the establishment of the regency.



St. Vincent’s Reading List is a recurring blog series exploring texts known to have been read and recommended by Saint Vincent de Paul, those which can be presumed to have been read by him, and works published during his lifetime (1581-1660) illustrating his world. All materials discussed are held by DePaul University’s Richardson Library. The entire series may be viewed here.


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