Anglo-French Relations The Cloak of Secrecy A personal voyage of detection

The Characters of Balzac's 'La Comédie Humaine': Fact or Fiction?

At this point I recalled that I had seen the Foix name in the State Papers of Queen Elizabeth 1’s time, and a quick search revealed that two cousins, Frederic Foix-Candalle and Gaston Foix-Gurcon (Marquis de Trans) were sent to London in May 1559 as French hostages for the performance of the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis. They returned to France the following year.

It became quickly clear to me that the Foix were an extraordinary family that had risen to the pinnacles of success in many fields before dying out in the early 1700’s. The Foix of Elizabeth’s court were actually Grailly who became Foix through marriage. They were Savoyards from Gex by Lake Geneva, and from there they established bases in Guyenne and England. Their involvement with, and loyalty to, England and its Kings has been exceptional.

The name sequence used by that family runs as follows:

Foix family name sequence

In addition I found that a French Ambassador to Elizabeth’s court was Paul de Foix, who turned out to be Paul de Foix-Carmain de Nègrepelisse (1528-84), who was related to both Foix-Candalle and Foix-Gurcon and to de Gramonts (see Tree 1). He was also related to Catherine de Medici through his grandmother Jeanne de la Tour d’Auvergne, and she became his sponsor and correspondent. Like his relation Francois de Foix-Candalle, Paul de Foix had achieved a reputation as one of the more cultured men of his time, having been well schooled in all the classical disciplines including philosophy and mathematics. In 1552 Paul de Foix became an adviser with regard to Catherine’s personal affairs.

Then in 1561 he gained prominence as special emissary to Mary Queen of Scots (Guise), and in 1562 as Ambassador to England for four and a half years, and finally again in 1571-72 as special Ambassador to promote the marriage of the Duc d’Anjou. (The Manchester United football star Eric Cantona became a star of the big screen with his portrayal of Paul de Foix in the 1996 film ‘Elizabeth’).



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