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Francis I

Francis I

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Francis I was inconstant, amorous, hot-headed and flawed. Yet he was also arguably the most significant king that France ever had. Francis saw himself as the first Renaissance king, a man who was the exemplar of courtly and civilised behaviour throughout France and Europe. A courageous and heroic warrior, he was also a keen aesthete, an accomplished diplomat and an energetic ruler who turned his country into a force to be reckoned with. Yet he was also capricious, vain and arrogant, taking hugely unnecessary risks. His great feud with his nemesis Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, defined European diplomacy and sovereignty, but his notorious alliance with the great Ottoman ruler Suleiman threatened to destroy everything. Leonie Frieda's account explores the life of the man who was the most human of all Renaissance monarchs - and the most enigmatic.