René of Châlon (1519 – 1544) was a Prince of Orange and stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht and Gelre. René inherited the Princedom of Orange on condition that he used the name and coat of arms of the Châlon-Orange family. History knows him therefore as René of Châlon instead of as “René of Nassau-Breda.” René of Châlon married Anna of Lorraine (1522-1568) on 20 August 1540 at Bar-le-Duc. They had only one child, a daughter named Maria, who lived only 3 weeks and was buried in the “Grote Kerk” in Breda. In 1544, René took part in the siege of St. Dizier in the service of Emperor Charles V. He was mortally wounded in battle and died with the Emperor attending at his bedside. René was buried in Grote Kerk in Breda, near the resting-place of his short-lived daughter.
A commemorative cenotaph stands in the church of St. Etienne in Bar-le-Duc, France. Sculptor Ligier Richier did this macabre masterpiece in 1547 on request either of Rene or his widow that Chalon portray him in his tomb figure as “not a standard figure but a life-size skeleton with strips of dried skin flapping over a hollow carcass, whose right hand clutches at the empty rib cage while the left hand holds high his heart in a grand gesture” set against a backdrop representing his earthly riches.