René II, Duke of Lorraine

René II, Duke of Lorraine

René II (May 2 1451 – December 10 1508) was Count of Vaudémont from 1470, Duke of Lorraine from 1473, and Duke of Bar from 1483 to 1508. He claimed the crown of the Kingdom of Naples and the County of Provence as the Duke of Calabria 1480–1493 and as King of Naples and Jerusalem 1493–1508. He succeeded his uncle John of Vaudémont as Count of Harcourt in 1743, exchanging it for the county of Aumale in 1495. He succeeded as Count of Guise in 1504.


He was born in Angers, the son of Yolande of Lorraine and Frederick, Count of Vaudémont.

René spent his youth in the court of his grandfather René I of Anjou between Angers and Provence, succeeding to his father in Vaudémont in 1470 and, three years later, to his uncle as captain of Angers, senechal and governor of Anjou. In the same year he became Duke of Lorraine, which was at the time under the pressure of both Louis XI of France and Charles the Bold of Burgundy, with whom he initially allied. When the latter began to establish garrisons in Lorraine, however, René secretly allied with Louis (1474). Charles invaded the duchy and René was forced to quit Nancy (January 11 1476). He regained the city on October 5, and moved to Switzerland to hire an army of Swiss mercenaries; with this force René defeated Charles at the Battle of Nancy (January 5 1477). In 1476, upon the death of his grandmother, he became sole Count of Harcourt and Baron of Elbeuf.

Later, René got to bad terms with Louis, who had taken most of his heritage. He moved to Italy and defeated the Duke of Ferrara in the Battle of Adria as an ally of the Republic of Venice.

When his mother Yolande died in 1483, he succeeded as Duke of Bar, and in her claims to the kingdoms of Naples and Jerusalem.

In 1485 René took part in the first phase of the so called "Mad War", but prudentially retired after a while. In 1488 the Neapolitans offered him the crown of the Kingdom of Naples, and René set an expedition to gain possession of the realm; he was however halted by the new French king, Charles VIII, who intended to claim the realm himself.

In 1495, to settle a dispute with his second cousin, Jean IV de Rieux, over their grandmothers' inheritance, he ceded to Jean the county of Harcourt and its appurtenances, retaining only Elbeuf and Brionne, and receiving the county of Aumale. [cite book | title=Noble Power During the French Wars of Religion | first=Stuart | last=Carroll | publisher=Cambridge University Press | year=1998
isbn=0521624045 | pages=17–19 | url= | accessdate=2008-09-29

René fell ill during a hunt in Fains, and died in December 1508.

Family and children

On his mother's side, he was a grandson of Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine. His father was a member of the Vaudémont family, a junior branch of the Lorraine ducal family, descending from John I, Duke of Lorraine. He was thus both heir-general and heir-male to the Duchy when he succeeded on the death of his cousin Nicholas in 1473.

He married on September 9, 1471 Jeanne d'Harcourt (d. 1488), Countess of Tancarville, but the marriage was annulled in 1485.

René married Phillipa of Guelders in Orléans on September 1, 1485 and had the following children:
* Charles (b. August 17, 1486, Nancy), d. young
* François (July 5, 1487, Pont-à-Mousson) (died at birth)
* Antoine, Duke of Lorraine (1489–1544)
* Nicholas (April 9, 1493, Nancy), d. young
* Claude, Duke of Guise (1496–1550), first Duke of Guise
* John, Cardinal of Lorraine and Bishop of Metz (1498–1550)
* Louis, Count of Vaudémont (1500–1528)
* Francis, Count of Lambesc (1506–1525)
* Anne (December 19, 1490, Bar-le-Duc – 1491)
* Isabelle (November 2, 1494, Lunéville – bef. 1508)
* Claude and Catherine (twins) (November 24, 1502, Bar-le-Duc), d. young

ee also

* Dukes of Lorraine family tree


*cite book|first=Henry |last=Bogdan|title=La Lorraine des ducs, sept siècles d'histoire
*cite book|first=Georges |last=Poull|title=La maison ducale de Lorraine

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