Francis III (Brittany)

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François de France (born February 28, 1518 at Amboise Castle ; † August 10, 1536 at Tournon Castle ). He was the son of the French King Francis I and Claude de France , Duchess of Brittany. In his capacity as the eldest son and presumed heir to the throne, he bore the title Dauphin or, more precisely, Dauphin von Viennois .

Francis III of Brittany
Blason dauphine for Bretagne.svg

François was baptized in Amboise on April 25, 1519 , the decorations for the baptism ceremony were made by Leonardo da Vinci . With the death of his mother in 1524 he inherited the Duchy of Brittany . The assembly of estates ( États ) of Brittany immediately recognized him as duke and thus deprived his father, the king, of the opportunity to appoint him himself.

The following year, his father was captured by Emperor Charles V at the Battle of Pavia (1525) and was only released in exchange for Franz and his younger brother Heinrich . On March 15, 1526, the two brothers were handed over at the Spanish-French border. They stayed in Spain for four years, until 1530.

On the eve of the announcement of the unification of the until then relatively independent Brittany with France in Nantes , on August 14, 1532, Francis was crowned Duke. In this context, he left the French Ordre de Saint-Michel and joined the Breton Order of Ermine . He spoke his oath as duke in French and Breton . Further activities of Franz 'in this direction led the king to remove him from Brittany. He never ruled his territories, nor did he benefit from the proceeds that went into the royal treasury.

Duke Franz III. died at the age of eighteen, eleven years before his father, on August 10, 1536 at Tournon Castle on the Rhone , after drinking a glass of water. He was neither married nor engaged with no legitimate or illegitimate descendants. He was buried in the Saint-Denis basilica in Paris . His brother Henri succeeded him as heir to the throne and Duke of Brittany .

Count Montecuccoli, his secretary, was charged with poisoning him in the service of Emperor Charles. Various poisons were found during a search of his quarters and he confessed to the murder under torture . However, the thesis of death by poison is controversial among historians.


  1. Schwennicke goes to his European family tables . New episode, volume 2: The states outside Germany, the governing houses of the other states of Europe. Stargardt, Marburg 1984, plate 25, from poisoning.