In the last years of the reign of Francis I., cardinal du Bellay was in favour with the duchesse d'Etampes, and received a number of benefices - the bishopric of Limoges (1541), archbishopric of Bordeaux (1544), bishopric of Le Mans (1546); but his influence in the council was supplanted by that of Cardinal de Tournon.
Moreover, his younger brother, Charles of Orleans, who was of a more sprightly temperament, was his father's favourite; and the rivalry of Diane and the duchesse d'Etampes helped to make still wider the breach between the king and the dauphin.
Diane, Montmorency and the Guises were all-powerful, and dismissed Cardinal de Tournon, de Longueval, the duchesse d'Etampes and all the late king's friends and officials.
Whatever the number of these, he had only two titular mistresses - at the beginning of the reign Francoise de Chateaubriant, and from about 1526 to his death Anne de Pisseleu, whom he created duchesse d'Etampes and who entirely dominated him.
Drawn between various influences, that of Marguerite d'Angouleme, the du Bellays, and the duchesse d'Etampes, who was in favour of the Reformation or at least of toleration, and the contrary influence of the uncompromising Catholics, Duprat, and then Montmorency and de Tournon, he gave pledges successively to both parties.