This lovely little portrait was painted in the 19th century, inspired from an older work. It is a portrait of King Charles IX (1550-1574), son of King Henri II, who ruled France from 1560 until his death, and Queen Catherine de Medici. Charles IX acceded to the throne at the age of ten, succeeding his brother François II.
His reign was marked by the wars of religion which tore the kingdom apart and reached the pinnacle of violence with St Bartholomew’s Day massacre in August 1572. Charles IX’s sister, Marguerite de Valois, had just married the Protestant Prince Henri of Navarre, who was to become King Henri IV of France – a political union that aimed to reconcile Catholics and Protestants.
In poor health, the young Charles IX found himself seriously weakened by the torments of his reign. He died on May 30, 1574, at the age of twenty-three – his death was soon followed by rumours of poisoning.