Henry of Valois

Henry of Valois Henry of Valois (1551-1589), the son of King Henry II of France, he was the first king of Poland to be elected in free election by all the gentry in 1573. On the occasion of this first election, the so-called Henrician Articles were formulated. From then all, on ascending the Polish throne every king elect had to pledge to observe these articles. The articles listed the most important principles underlying the state system, including the superior role of the Seym. The choice of the first king proved unfortunate. Henry arrived in Poland in January 1574, in the midst of a severe winter. He did not like Polish customs, and the Poles disliked him and his courtiers. When notified of the sudden death of his elder brother, Charles IX, Henry secretly fled Cracow in June 1574 in order to assume the French throne. His escape made a very bad impression in Poland. [art]