|Duke of Lorraine|
Charles III, Duke of Lorraine, studio of François Clouet, oil on panel
|Born||18 February 1543|
Ducal Palace of Nancy
|Died||14 May 1608(aged 65)|
|Spouse||Claude of France|
|Issue||Henry II, Duke of Lorraine|
Christina, Grand Duchess of Tuscany
Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine
Antoinette, Duchess of Jülich-Cleves-Berg
Francis II, Duke of Lorraine
Catherine, Abbess of Remiremont
Elisabeth, Electress of Bavaria
|Father||Francis I, Duke of Lorraine|
|Mother||Christina of Denmark|
Charles III (18 February 1543 - 14 May 1608), known as the Great, was Duke of Lorraine from 1545 until his death.
He is the direct male ancestor of all rulers of the Habsburg-Lorraine dinasty, including all Emperors of Austria.
In 1545, his father died, and his mother served as the regent during his minority. During his childhood, his aged great-grandmother, Philippa of Gelderland, died in 1547, leaving also her inheritance to the young Charles. His dynasty claimed the Kingdom of Jerusalem and used also the title of Duke of Calabria as symbol of their claims to the Kingdom of Naples. Additionally, they had a claim to the Duchy of Gelderland, inherited from Charles of Egmont, Duke of Gelderland.
In 1552, Lorraine was invaded by France, his mother's regency was terminated and Charles was removed from Lorraine to France, to be raised at the French royal court in accordance to the needs of French interests. In 1559, he was married to Claude of France, and allowed to depart to Lorraine and take control of his domain.
The reign of Charles III is regarded as a great age of peace and prosperity for Lorraine. He pursued a policy of strict neutrality between France and The Holy German Empire, as well as during the French Wars of Religion. He founded the University of Pount-a-Mousson. He also expanded his realm by the incorporation of Pfalzburg from George John I, Count Palatine of Veldenz in 1590, and tried to conquer also Lützelstein, though George John I's widow, Anna of Sweden, managed to negotiate a truce.
In 1589, he broke his policy of neutrality and allied himself with the French Catholic League because he, as a Catholic, could not accept Henry of Navarre as king of France. In his peace with Henry in 1594, he married his son to Henry's sister Catherine de Bourbon.
|Charles III, Duke of Lorraine||Father:
Francis I, Duke of Lorraine
Antoine, Duke of Lorraine
René II, Duke of Lorraine
Philippa of Guelders
Renée of Bourbon-Montpensier
Gilbert, Count of Montpensier
Christina of Denmark
Christian II of Denmark
John of Denmark
Christina of Saxony
Isabella of Austria
Philip I of Castile
Joanna of Castile