The Edict of 19 April was a religious edict promulgated by the regency council of Charles IX of France on 19 April 1561. The edict would confirm the decision of the Estates General of 1560-1 as regarded the amnesty for religious prisoners. The edict would however go further in an effort to calm the unrest that was sweeping France, outlawing the use of religious epithets and providing a pathway for religious exiles to return to the country. Despite not being an edict of toleration for Protestantism, the more conservative Catholics would interpret the edict as a concession to the Huguenots, leading to the Parlement of Paris to remonstrate the crown. The edict would be endorsed and furthered in the more sweeping Edict of July a few months later, before it in turn was superseded by the first edict of toleration, the Edict of Saint-Germain.
The growth of Protestantism in France, under Henry II of France was of great concern to the king. He passed several edicts, hoping to stamp the religion out, with first the Edict of Châteaubriant in 1551, then the Edict of Compiègne in 1557, and finally the Edict of Ecouen in 1559. He was not however able to devote his full attentions to the stamping out of the new sect in France, distracted as he was by the Italian Wars. With their conclusion at the Peace of Cateau Cambresis he hoped to change his attentions to matters at home, however, an accident during a joust took his life. With the kings sudden death, the young Francis II took the throne, his policy directed by his maternal uncles, Francis, Duke of Guise and Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine. They initially sought continuity with the prior regime, passing four more edicts between the death of Henri and February 1560, in which they decreed any house found to have held Protestant worship, would be razed, landlords who harboured Protestant tenants, would be prosecuted.
The crisis that ensued from the Amboise conspiracy offered an opportunity for them to change tactics in the face of concerted opposition. The first Edict of Amboise (1560) published a week before the attempt on the castle separated the concept of heresy from that of sedition as two separate crimes, with those convicted of the former prior to the edicts publication, to be freed on amnesty. The Edict of Romorantin continued in this more liberal framework, transferring the trial of heresy cases to the purview of the ecclesiastical courts, which lacked the ability to sentence defendants to death. While this did not abolish the death penalty for heresy as they could still refer cases to the Parlements for sentencing, it acted as a de facto abolition of the death penalty for heresy.