m. 13 or 16 Nov 1455
m. 27 Jun 1471
Facts and Events
Francis II of Brittany (in Breton Frañsez II, in French François II) (23 June 1433 – 9 September 1488) was Duke of Brittany from 1458 to his death. He was the son of Richard of Brittany and the grandson of the late Duke John V. Francis' life was characterised by conflicts with King Louis XI of France (War of the Public Weal) and with his son King Charles VIII.
Francis II was married twice, first to his cousin Margaret of Brittany, first daughter of Duke Francis I, then to Margaret of Foix, princess of Navarre. Only one daughter, Anne of Brittany, from his second marriage, survived to adulthood. Francis also had three bastard children with Antoinette de Maignelais, who had been the mistress of Charles VII of France before.
During the minority of Charles VIII of France, Francis II, anxious to maintain his duchy's independence, aligned himself with the Duke of Orléans and the count of Angoulême against the regency of Anne of France, who had been pursuing the same underhand politics as her father towards Brittany. In intervening in the politics of his neighbour France, however, he neglected his own realm. His corrupt and oppressive prime minister, Guillaume Chauvin, was overthrown by treasurer general Pierre Landais. But a large part of the nobility, bribed and supported by Anne and Charles, who were eager to subjugate Brittany, performed a coup d'état against Landais, who was eventually hanged. As protector of the Lancastrian exile, it is possible that Francis willed his Honour of Richmond to Henry Tudor, who styled himself Earl of Richmond, although that remains an unrecorded issue between them and little would be gained for his vulnerable heiress in such lesser status. (History has shown that those with conflicting claims to titles can work as temporary allies, such as the many cooperations between monarchs of England and France, despite their many wars.) Without assistance from Brittany's traditional allies, the English, who were embroiled in the Wars of the Roses, Francis saw his duchy ravaged in what is known as the Mad War (La Guerre Folle).
Nevertheless, in 1486, the Estates of Brittany confirmed the succession of Brittany on Francis' daughter Anne, to assure independence from France. The Treaty of Chateaubriant, signed in 1487 with France, reaffirmed Brittany's independence, but the French continued to harass the duchy. Francis then allied with Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, against France; however, Brittany was defeated 28 July in the Battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier. A few days later, on 10 August, Francis was forced to sign the Treaty of Verger. Under the terms of the treaty, the duke was compelled to submit himself and his duchy as a vassal of the king of France. Francis II died shortly afterwards, following a fall from his horse during a leisurely ride. After his death, Charles VIII invaded Brittany and forced the heiress Anne to marry him, thus gaining control of the duchy.