Charles IX (1550−1574) was nine years old when he became king of France. In this picture he is not that much older. His mother, Catherine de’ Medici, acted as regent with the assistance of her advisors, including several members of the Laubespine family. Secretary of State Claude II de Laubespine (1510− 1567), Claude III’s father, helped the king and his mother formulate foreign policy and cope with domestic disturbances during the Wars of Religion. He was amply rewarded for his service to the crown and was able to prepare his son for a similar political career. Born and bred for high office, Claude III became one of the king’s closest confidants.