Portrait of Henry III (1551-1589), King of France (1574-1589), King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania (1573-1574), Duke of Anjou (1566-1574), 1580
Henry III (19 September 1551 – 2 August 1589; Polish: Henryk Walezy) was King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1573 to 1575 and King of France from 1574 until his death. He was the last French monarch of the House of Valois. As the fourth son of King Henry II of France, he was not expected to inherit the French throne and thus was a good candidate for the vacant throne of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, where he was elected King/Grand Duke in 1573. During his brief rule, he signed the Henrician Articles into law, recognizing the Polish nobility's right to freely elect their monarch. Aged 22, Henry abandoned Poland-Lithuania upon inheriting the French throne when his brother, Charles IX, died without issue. France was at the time plagued by the Wars of Religion, and Henry's authority was undermined by violent political parties funded by foreign powers.
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