Henry III was king of France from 1574 to 1589. In his youth, preliminary discussions were held for him to court Elizabeth I. However, she seems not to have seriously contemplated marriage with him, and he was openly scathing of her and their difference in age. His reign, like those that preceded it, was one of religious turmoil involving Catholics and Huguenots, members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France. Henry was Catholic, but he signed an edict offering many concessions to the Huguenots. This angered the powerful Duke of Guise who formed the Catholic League, forcing Henry to take a harder stance against the Protestants. Relations with the Duke of Guise were extremely strained from this point on.
When Bruno arrived in France, Henry heard talk of his special memory technique and summoned him to court to learn more. He satisfied himself that Bruno’s skills had nothing to do with witchcraft or devilry, and was apparently greatly impressed by him. Bruno published a book under Henry’s patronage, dedicated to him, called The Shadows of Ideas. In April 1583 Bruno travelled to England with letters of recommendation from Henry, to become the guest of the French ambassador Castelnau.