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In the summer of 1589, France was afflicted by the Wars of Religion. The authority of King Henri III was severely destabilized by a litany of political parties which were being funded by foreign powers. The Catholic League was supported by King Philip II of Spain, the protestant French Huguenots were supported by the Dutch and Queen Elizabeth I of England and the Malcontents who were led by Henri’s younger brother the Duke of Alençon. The Malcontents were made up of Catholic and protestant aristocrats who jointly opposed the absolutist ambitions of the king. Henri himself took the position that a strong and religiously tolerant monarchy would save France from collapse.
During this religious and political strife, there was a young Burgundian Dominican lay brother named Jacques Clément who became fanatically religious and an ardent partisan of the Catholic League. He viewed any Protestantism as heresy and many heard him…
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