Charles De Lorraine, a French statesman, brother of the second duke of Guise, and best known as the cardinal de Lorraine, born in Joinville, Feb. 17, 1525, died Dec. 26, 1574. At the age of 13 he received the archbishopric of Rheims, which his uncle Jean de Lorraine had resigned in his favor. In 1547 he officiated at the coronation of Henry II., and almost immediately afterward was made a cardinal. He was sent to Rome in 1555 to conclude an alliance with the pope against Charles V., and both in this and in various other diplomatic missions displayed a remarkable talent in the management of affairs of state. His conduct, however, sometimes excited the suspicion of his sovereign; and having on one occasion seriously offended the king by assuming the title of cardinal of Anjou, and thereby reviving the claims of his family to the county of Provence, it needed all the influence of the Guises and the protection of Diana of Poitiers to restore him to favor. In 1558 he had a secret interview at Peronne with the bishop of Arras (afterward Cardinal Granvelle), minister of Philip II., at which he was induced to lend his influence for a peace between France and Spain and the mutual cooperation of the two monarchs against the Protestants. The peace was concluded soon afterward, but the cardinal had now quarrelled with Diana, and both in the negotiations for this treaty and in the subsequent favors of the French king saw himself supplanted by the constable de Montmorency. Under Francis II., whom he also crowned, he was restored to power and obtained the administration of the finances.
In 1561 he placed the crown upon the head of Charles IX. He sat in the council of Trent the following year, and threatened, if the council were not declared above the pope, to present a protest signed by 120 bishops. He went to Madrid in 1569 to negotiate a marriage between Charles IX. and Elizabeth of Austria. The cardinal was a liberal patron of letters and the founder of the university of Rheims. He possessed great powers of oratory and literary ability, but was vain, ambitious, and presumptuous, and incurred much enmity.