Portrait of Francis (1555-1584), Duke of Alençon (1566-1584), Duke of Anjou (1576-1584), heir presumptive to the throne of France from 1574 to 1584, 1572
Francis, Duke of Anjou and Alençon (Hercule François; 18 March 1555 – 10 June 1584) was the youngest son of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici. In 1574, following the death of his brother Charles IX of France and the accession of his other brother Henry III of France, he became heir to the throne. In 1576, he was made Duke of Anjou, Touraine, and Berry. In 1576, he negotiated the Edict of Beaulieu during the French Wars of Religion. In 1579, he was invited by William the Silent to become hereditary sovereign to the United Provinces. On 29 September 1580, the Dutch States General (with the exception of Zeeland and Holland) signed the Treaty of Plessis-les-Tours with the Duke, who would assume the title "Protector of the Liberty of the Netherlands" and become the sovereign.
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