Gaspard de Coligny, comte de Coligny, was born on 16 February 1519 at Châtillon-sur-Loing (the town has been renamed to Châtillon-Coligny in 1896). He was the son of Gaspard de Coligny, Marshal of France, and his wife Louise de Montmorency. His mother had been previously married to Fercy de Mailly, by whom she had three children. Gaspard de Coligny and Louise de Montmorency's marriage produced four sons, Pierre (1515-1528), Odet de Coligny (1517-1571) and François d'Andelot (1521-1569).
Gaspard's father died when he was three years old. He was raised with his brothers by his mother Louise.
In 1530, Louise de Montmorency became lady of honour of Eléonore de Habsbourg, king François I's second wife. Her sons lived at court and Gaspard was close to the king's sons. While his brother Odet chose an ecclesiastical career, Gaspard distinguished himself in military action (1542-1546).
In 1547, Gaspard de Coligny married Charlotte de Laval (daughter of Count Gui XVI de Laval). They had eight children :
Charlotte de Laval died in 1568.
On 25 March 1571, Gaspard married Jacqueline de Montbel, comtesse d'Entremont et de Nottage (1541-1600). Their only child, Béatrice, was born four months after her father's death.
Gaspard de Coligny converted to Protestantism around 1560, after his wife Charlotte and his brother François. He rejected violence against Protestants and condemned the events of Amboise. He joined Condé when the war between Catholics and Protestants broke out (1562).
In 1571, Coligny managed to regain King Charles IX's favor. However, he was hated by the Catholics at court and could only have limited influence.
On 22 August 1572, soon after the marriage of Henri de Navarre and the king's sister Marguerite, Coligny was injured by Charles de Louviers. The king sent his physician, Ambroise Paré, to take care of him and promise justice. But at the same time, the murder of Protestant leaders had been decided, and in the night between 23 and 24 August (Saint Barthélemy), Gaspard de Coligny was murdered in his bed. His body was thrown by the window, mauled, decapitated, and exposed at Montfaucon (the place were hangings were carried out).
The mythical Annietta de Coligny is not one of Gaspard de Coligny's known children and no daughter ‘Annietta’ is mentioned in the Admiral’s own record of his family). She is only known through the book Universal International Genealogy and of the Ancient Fernald Families (1909) by Charles Augustus Fernald, a notoriously fabricated genealogy.
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