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Sons and Daughters Sent Abroad: Successes and failures of foreign princes at the French court in the Sixteenth Century

Spangler, JW (2017) Sons and Daughters Sent Abroad: Successes and failures of foreign princes at the French court in the Sixteenth Century. Proslogion, 3 (1). pp. 48-89. ISSN 2308-0698

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Abstract

In the era of centralisation of the great powers in Europe, dynasties rul- ing smaller states on the margins between France, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire developed strategies for survival. One of these was to establish a presence at the courts of these larger states, by sending members of the ruling dynasty itself. This article looks in particular at the court of France, where such princely emissaries established lineages known to historians as the «foreign princes», the princes étrangers. The French monarchy desired the presence of these princes as well, for various political and ceremonial reasons. The successes and failures of the foreign princes sent to the French court can be measured at the individual level and the wider dynastic level, and are examined by scrutinising activities of secular princes (male and female) as well as prelates. The results are varied, and depended on a variety of ever-shifting factors, notably the establishment of kinship ties with the royal dynasty, a solid independent financial base, and individual character. By the end of the period, some smaller states had survived; others had not.

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