chapter  Six
Authority contested
Royal power, the duc de Guise, the Catholic League and the towns of Champagne, 1580–1585
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On 10 June 1584, Francois, duc d’Anjou, younger brother of King Henri III and heir apparent to the throne died in the champenois city of Chateau-Thierry, which formed part of his appanage. His death constituted a turning point in the Wars of Religion comparable only to the St Bartholomew’s Massacres. Anjou’s death and the resulting Catholic distress also prompted a renewed Catholic League, in imitation of the moribund leagues of the 1570s. On the northern frontier of Champagne, the city of Mezieres also found itself caught between conflicting orders from the king and from Guise. The council was buffeted from both sides with letters exhorting the same course of action, but for different purposes: the king and Dinteville for preserving royal authority and Guise for establishing his military headquarters in Chalons. The council responded by further heightening the town’s security.