Born March 31, 1519 in the Royal Château at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, the son of François I and Claude de France, his marriage was arranged to Catherine de Medici (1519-1589) on October 28, 1533 when both were 14 years old.
He was crowned king, on July 25, 1547 in the cathedral at Reims, his reign marked by wars with Austria, and the persecution of the Protestant Huguenots. Henri II severely punished them, burning them alive or cutting out their tongues for speaking their Protestant beliefs. Even someone suspected of being a Huguenot was imprisoned for life.
Henri II was an avid hunter and participant in jousting tournaments. On July 1, 1559, during a match to celebrate a peace treaty with his longtime enemies, the Hapsburgs of Austria and to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Elizabeth to King Philip II of Spain, King Henri's eye was pierced by a sliver from a shattered lance that penetrated the brain. He suffered terribly, passing away on July 10, 1559 and was buried in a cadaver tomb in Saint Denis Basilica.
He was succeeded by his son, Francis II. Henri II's death resulted in the next forty years in France being filled with turbulence as his sons and other claimants to the French crown fought for power.
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