27 Apr: The Duel That Shocked France

King Henri III of France had a favourite group of young courtiers – his ‘mignons’ (or ‘cuties’, ‘sweeties’, or ‘‘darlings’) – known for dressing in an effeminate and eye-catching style. On 27th April, 1578, they  engaged in a bloody duel with a rival gang in a battle that came to be known as ‘The Duel of the Mignons’.

Was it a ‘beautiful’ battle, a classical allusion to Roman combat, as some scribes argued? Or, as the King himself concluded, a pointless – and rather farcical – loss of life?

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explore Henri’s ‘mummy’s boy’ reputation; reveal how many Frenchmen slaughtered each other in this fashion during the five bloody decades from 1575; and explain why, when turning up at a sunrise duel, it’s always best to remember your dagger… 

Further Reading:

• ‘King Henri III and His Mignons’ (The Gay & Lesbian Review, 2020): https://glreview.org/article/king-henri-iii-and-his-mignons/

• ‘On this day in history: Duel of the Mignons, 1578’ (The Modern Historian, 2012): http://modernhistorian.blogspot.com/2012/04/on-this-day-in-history-duel-of-mignons.html

• ‘The King’s darlings – The Mignons’ (Whitehall Moll History Clips):

#France #1500s #Royals #Strange #LGB

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