King of France and Poland born at Fontainebleau the 19 September 1551 and died in Saint-Cloud 2 August 1589. It was the third son of Henri II and Catherine de Medicis, so not ascended to the throne until the death childless of their brethren more, Francisco II and Carlos IX; until then, it carried the title of Duke of Anjou.
Of the ten children of Enrique II and Catherine de Médicis, Enrique was the favorite of his mother, which pressed for Enrique II which in 1567, after dead Anne de Montmorency, was named lieutenant general of France. Despite the important position occupied by its qualities as military they were rather scarce and their successes are due to the good make of his second in command, Marshal Tavannes; This was the case in 1569 in Montcontour.
It is not at all clear the responsibility and participation of Henry, by then Duke of Anjou, in the St. Bartholomew's day massacre, in which by order of the King, Carlos IX, and of the Queen Mother, Catherine de Médicis, executed more than ten thousand Huguenots in all France. If completely ambiguous participation in the wars of Religion, which in nothing helped solve the problem facing Catholics and Huguenots in France is clear however.
In 1573 he was in la Rochelle when received the news that he had been elected as King of Poland. Only the direct threat of Carlos IX succeeded Enrique to abandon Paris, where was the Princess of count with which I wanted to get married, and formed to deal with the unstable Polish throne. On 30 May the following year Carlos IX died and France remained without King to not have left direct heir, by which Henry was quick to return to homeland to assert their rights.
As King of France was devoted to luxury and the eccentricities, he showed no interest in that fiery in France and devoted himself to a dissolute life, leaving the Government in the hands of Ministers as the thinker Jean Bodin. Between 1575 and 1588 the Royal authority was exercised directly by Catherine de Medicis who knew how to maintain the difficult balance between Protestants and Catholics with great intelligence that badly needed France at that time.
In may 1576, Catherine de Médicis, signed a treaty that ended the fifth civil war between Protestants and Catholics in Étigny-les-Sens. But the conduct of Enrique, lacking in morals, their numerous dalliances with Protestantism, the intrigues of the guise and Spain, ended up achieving more radical Catholics to form a Holy League. Henry in an attempt to control the situation was named head of the League, but it was in vain, while the League was forced to accept its nominal headquarters, the authentic leader of the same was Prince Henry, Duke of guise.
In 1582, Enrique III appointed Admiral of France in Joyeuse, his followers, whom he had promoted no for since his rise to the throne. In 1586 he appointed him Governor of Normandy, at the time giving in marriage to Margarita de Lorraine, sister of the Queen. These engagements were celebrated with the representation of Balet Comique de la Reine, the first Ballet de Cour in France.
In 1584 died childless brother single male that was left to the King, Francisco, Duke of Alençon and Anjou. Since Enrique III had no male offspring of his marriage with Luisa de Lorena, and according to the Salic law, which excluded women from the throne, the Royal heir came to be a Huguenot, Henry of Bourbon, King of Navarre. Catholics, concentrated in the most powerful League, were not willing to accept that a Huguenot sit in the Catholic throne of France. The true danger of decomposition of the Kingdom, Enrique III made an effort conciliator; He invited the Navarrese King to renounce their rights to the throne of France or which became to Catholicism. Obviously Borbón Enrique refused to give up their rights and to abjure their religion, since this would only get lose his Protestant supporters and would replace them with Christian support who ever fiarían of such a conversion.
Enrique III enacted the edict of Nemours whereby Protestantism was outlawed in France in July 1585. The response was immediate, and war broke out again. This confrontation is known as Guerra of the three Enriques, since it involved: Enrique III as nominal head of the Catholics; Enrique Guisa as authentic Catholic leader and Enrique de Borbón as representative of the Protestants. Of the three best located was Enrique Guisa since it won who he won would be close to the throne; Henry III realized and decided to remove it from the fight, ordering them to go to champagne. Henry I of Lorena, Duke of guise, on the other hand decided to consolidate its position through the search for international support. Entered into dealings with Felipe II of Spain, which supported their cause in order to weaken his old enemy, France, and even take over the throne; to this end, Felipe II sent economic aid in 1587 to Enrique Guisa. The Duke of guise entered also in dealings with the Pope Gregorio XIII, so this allowed warfare to the King of France, but the declared aim of the League was the war against the Protestants. The Pope agreed, even though it had also pledged to help Enrique III.
On 9 April 1588 Enrique de Guisa, disobeying his King, arose in Paris. On 12 may the Parisian crowds were laid to the streets in support of the guise, all a hero for the people; the movement was such that Enrique III was forced to leave the city. The problem is that I had no where to go, since the Protestant France belonged to Henry de Bourbon and the Catholic Enrique Guisa; the King only had some minor places loyalty and a handful of followers. The political genius of Enrique III appeared in such dramatic situation. In Rouen, he signed an edict by which confirmed the League, excluded from the throne to Henry of Bourbon and gave to the Duke of guise a series of squares that make their positions, at the time, who appointed him lieutenant general of the Kingdom. All these measures were in fact empty, since the League was strong enough to expel the King from his capital, so it did not need any confirmation; on the other hand, the Duke of guise was owner of the squares that the King granted and was owner of their armies. These provisions were therefore a confirmation from the King of the situation in which it was found, and an effective way to gain time.
At the end of 1588 Enrique III convened the States-General in Blois to discuss, in theory, the reforms that were needed in the Kingdom. The Duke of guise was one of the first to go to the regia call. Once in the meeting, Enrique III called Enrique Guisa to his private quarters where you were waiting for a dozen of the King's men given death. His brother, the Archbishop of Reims, Luis de Lorraine, was also assassinated the next day. The mother of the King, Catherine of Médicis faulted hard, during the fifteen days that remained him of life, his son for the murder of the two leaders of the guise family. Henry III lost much of the few supports that still retained, the League strongly condemned the crime, people went on street (day of the barricades, may of 1588) in a wave of protests that forced Enrique III to take refuge in Tours. It only had firm support in these moments, Enrique Borbón, King of Navarre and representative of the aspirations of the Protestants. In the difficult situation in which the Valois monarch was, it engaged in negotiations with the King of Navarre, these negotiations succeeded since the French monarch gave to all the demands of the navarro.
The Protestant army and what remained of the Royal Army went together to quell the rebellion in their heart, in Paris. July 30, 1589 began preparations for the Paris site. Henry III gave sinister threats against the leaders of the rebellion, threats that could not carry out the one of August it was killed by the Dominican religious James Clement, this arose in Saint Cloud, the Parisian site command center, and requested an audience with the King in his capacity as religious, achieved once launched on the monarch he stabbed. Clement was immediately executed by followers of the King, which could do nothing to save Enrique III. In Rome the praise of James in the pulpit, was made in Paris were his portrait next to the Blessed Sacrament and all France, was le martyr and was called Holy. Henry III died the next day of the attack, after naming his successor Enrique de Borbón, with Enrique III Valois dynasty became extinct and began that of Bourbon.
During the reign of Enrique III was founded the order of the Holy Spirit in 1578 with the idea of creating a body of Knights completely loyal to the monarch, in the difficult years that he lived in France. Actually the order fulfilled this objective, since until his death was one of the few supports that Enrique III could always count. Another significant aspect of the reign was the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, conducted by Gregory XIII, in replacement of the Julian.