War of the Three Henrys
(March 1585–August 1589)
The eighth of the French Wars of Religion. It was precipitated by the efforts of Duke Henry of Guise to exclude the Huguenot Henry of Navarre from the succession to the French throne. Guise, backed by Spain and the Catholic League (Holy League), forced Henry III to capitulate in the Treaty of Nemours (1585) and to accept the Catholic Cardinal de Bourbon as his heir instead of Henry of Navarre. In the ensuing conflict, Henry III lost control of events and Guise acted as if he were king himself. In late 1588, Henry III had both Guise and the Cardinal de Bourbon murdered. When Henry III was murdered in turn (1589), most of France was in League or Huguenot hands, and Henry of Navarre became king as Henry IV.