he marriage of Francis II, the Dauphin of France to the young Mary Stuart took place on Sunday, April 24, 1558 at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. It was said to be a magnificent event with a parade of musicians, richly clothed royalty, bishops, courtiers and heralds.
Mary was a childhood friend and constant companion of Francis from the time she was sent to the French court as a six year old. They grew up happily together in an idyllic, secure setting surrounded by servants and others whose only purpose was the well-being of their royal charges.
Francis was not interested in studies, in fact, it is said he did not have an aptitude for learning. He was more enthusiastic about hawking and horse riding. Mary, however, enjoyed her studies, in particular she loved to write poetry, and loved music. When she first came to the French court she could only speak in the Scots, but within a few months she was able to converse in French with some of the children. Both Mary and Francis enjoyed taking part in sporting events, such as riding, hawking and archery . And, in spite of Francis’ sickly disposition, they spent many happy hours enjoying the hunts and the outdoors along with the other children of the French court.
When his father Henry II died in a jousting accident, Francis II was crowned King. His mother, Catherine de Medici, became regent of France because Francis was only 15 years old at the time of his father’s death. It is said that she was regent in name only and the powerful Guises, Mary’s uncles, were the real powers that governed France..
Francis, a sickly child from birth, suffered from chronic respiratory problems all of his life. One day, a chronic inflammation of the middle ear brought on by constant ear infections made him very ill. A huge swelling appeared behind his ear caused by the spreading of the inflammation/infection and his condition worsened. He died when an abscess formed in his brain as a result of the inflammation. Francis II, King of France died at the age of almost 17.
If you have Adobe Acrobat Reader you can click here (**note: please click back button on Acrobat Reader to return to this page) to see an Ancestral Genealogy chart for Francis II. You will see the names of his parents, grandparents and greatgrandparents.
Cathedral of St. Denis, outside Paris, France.