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Henry VII of Luxembourg (The Kalmar Union)

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Henry VII
Henry VII Luxem (The Kalmar Union).png
Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor
Count of Luxembourg
Reign 5 June, 1288 - 2nd July, 1314
Predecessor Henry VI
Successor John I
Holy Roman Emperor
Reign 27th November, 1301 - 2nd July, 1314
Predecessor Adolf of Nassau
Successor Louis IV
Spouse Margaret of Brabant
Issue John I

Marie
Beatrix
Philippa

House Luxembourg
Father Henry VI
Mother Beatrice d'Avesnes
Born 1275
Valciennes
Died 2nd July, 1314
Pisa, Italia

With his father dead on the battlefield of Worringen the young Henry VII was installed as Count of Luxembourg in 1288. He might have expected a quiet life as count of a minor Imperial province, one which had often looked westward toward France or Burgundy rather than eastward to the Imperial court. However the Archbishop of Cologne, allied to Luxembourg but humiliated during the War of the Limburg Succession decided young Henry could be molded into the protector of the Empire's western fringes.

With Charles III of Anglia frequently involving himself in Imperial affairs it did not take long for the princes of Germany to wake up to Henry's potential either, especially after Adolf of Nassau was brought down partly with Anglian money. Charles III began an aggressive campaign to promote his ally Albert of Hapsburg to the German throne but Cologne, and others', intransience slowly deprived Albert of support, while Henry's perceived lack of ties improved his own position. A series of victories over Anglian forces campaigning for Albert certainly did not go unnoticed. Almost by elimination the other claimants were ruled out and by 1301 Henry had secured the German throne.

The following year the Pope, Boniface VIII, proclaimed his endorsement of the election, something which Adolf had never received. Making common cause against the Hapsburgs, Boniface offered a real Imperial coronation if Henry could restrain Albert and then Rudolph III. Rather than pacifying Germany, instead Henry and his allies were accused of turning it into a 'charnel-house', involving himself in the succession disputes in Bohemia, Hungary and Holland. In 1307 Henry succeeded in out-manoeuvering his rivals and secured his son John's marriage to the last Premsylid heir, Elizabeth of Bohemia. After her death in 1310 the Bohemian nobles elected John the new king, bestowing him with a kingdom and a new focus for the Luxembourg dynasty.

It would only be in 1309 when Henry felt sufficiently safe to cross the Alps and join the pope, now Benedict XI, in Rome. The coronation, not only of Emperor, but of the first King of Italy since Otto IV, was followed by extensive negotiations with the Guelph and Ghibelline factions tearing northern Italia apart. When these broke down he began an intense campaign to restore Imperial power across the Lombard plain. While the cities themselves fell to his armies the peace could not be won and extraction of taxes and claims only deepened divides and hostility to the emperor.

If Italy was not messy enough already, in 1311 he began a feud with the King of Naples, Charles II and his uncle, the new King of Hungary, Charles I who broadly supported the Guelph factions. Both were extremely capable military commanders and fighting in a hostile environment Henry found he had met his match. Rome fell to John in April 1312 while Charles threatened Prague. But Ghibelline forces slowed John's advance while Henry tried in vain to conquer Florence. With support deserting him Henry fell back to Milan then pulled off one last masterstroke, marrying off his daughter Beatrix to Charles I of Hungary, splitting the Bezier family and nullifying the threat in the north.

Benedict XI, captive in Rome, brokered a ceasefire. However, this soon fell apart as the Guelph cities continued to defy Henry. He was planning a massive advance southward with a substantial fleet when he died at Pisa in the summer of 1314. Accusations of poisoning flew back and forth between the Italian factions but it was never proven. The title of Emperor would be fought over by Louis IV and Frederick I of Austria while the county of Luxembourg passed to John I.

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