Charles, Count of Valois
|Count of Valois|
|Born||12 March 1270|
|Died||16 December 1325 (aged 55)|
|Father||Philip III of France|
|Mother||Isabella of Aragon|
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Charles of Valois (12 March 1270 – 16 December 1325), the third son of Philip III of France and Isabella of Aragon, was a member of the House of Capet and founder of the House of Valois, whose rule over France would start in 1328.
Charles ruled several principalities. He held in appanage the counties of Valois, Alençon and Perche. Through his marriage to Margaret of Anjou, he became Count of Anjou and Maine. Through his marriage to Catherine I, titular empress of the Latin Empire, he was titular Latin Emperor of Constantinople from 1301–1307, although he ruled from exile and only had authority over Crusader States in Greece.
The grandson of Louis IX of France, Charles of Valois was a son, brother, brother-in-law and son-in-law of kings or queens (of France, Navarre, England and Naples). His descendants, the House of Valois, would become the royal house of France three years after his death, beginning with his son Philip VI of France.
Charles had as appanage the counties of Valois, Alençon and Perche (1285). He became in 1290 count of Anjou and of Maine by his marriage with Margaret, eldest daughter of Charles II, titular king of Sicily; by a second marriage, contracted with the heiress of Baldwin II de Courtenay, last Latin emperor of Constantinople, he also had pretensions on this throne. But he was son, brother, brother-in-law, son-in-law, and uncle of kings or of queens (of France, of Navarre, of England, and of Naples), becoming, moreover, after his death, father of a king (Philip VI).
Charles thus dreamed of more and sought all his life for a crown he never obtained. In 1284, the pope recognized him as King of Aragon (under the vassalage of the Holy See), as son of his mother, in opposition to King Peter III, who after the conquest of the island of Sicily was an enemy of the papacy. Charles then married Marguerite of Sicily, daughter of the Neapolitan king, in order to re-enforce his position in Sicily, supported by the Pope. Thanks to this Aragonese Crusade undertaken by his father Philip III against the advice of his brother, the future Philip the Fair, he believed he would win a kingdom and won nothing but the ridicule of having been crowned with a cardinal's hat in 1285, which gave him the sobriquet of the "King of the Cap." He would never dare to use the royal seal which was made on this occasion and would have to renounce the title.
His principal quality was to be a good military leader. He commanded effectively in Flanders in 1297. The king quickly deduced that his brother could conduct an expedition in Italy against Frederick II of Sicily. The affair was ended by the peace of Caltabellotta.
Charles dreamed at the same time of the imperial crown and married in 1301 Catherine de Courtenay, who was a titular empress. But it needed the connivance of the Pope, which he obtained by his expedition to Italy, where he supported Charles II of Anjou against Frederick II of Sicily, his cousin. Named papal vicar, he lost himself in the imbroglio of Italian politics, was compromised in a massacre at Florence and in sordid financial exigencies, reached Sicily where he consolidated his reputation as a looter and finally returned to France discredited in 1301–1302.
Charles was back in shape to seek a new crown when the German king Albert of Habsburg was murdered in 1308. Charles's brother, who did not wish to take the risk himself of a check and probably thought that a French puppet on the imperial throne would be a good thing for France, encouraged him. The candidacy was defeated with the election of Henry VII as German king, for the electors did not want France to become even more powerful. Charles continued to dream of the eastern crown of the Courtenays.
He did benefit from the affection which Philip the Fair, who had suffered from the remarriage of their father, brought to his only full brother, and he found himself given responsibilities which largely exceeded his talent. Thus it was he who directed in 1311 the royal embassy to the conferences of Tournai with the Flemish; he quarreled there with his brother's chamberlain Enguerrand de Marigny, who openly flouted him. Charles did not pardon the affront and would continue the vendetta against Marigny after the king's death.
The premature death of Louis X in 1316 gave Charles hopes for a political role, but he could not prevent his nephew Philip, from taking the regency while awaiting the birth of Louis X's posthumous son. When that son (John I of France) died after a few days, Philip took the throne as Philip V. Charles was initially opposed to Philip's succession, for Louis X had left behind a daughter, Joan. However, he later switched sides and backed Philip V, probably realizing that Philip's precedent would bring him and his line closer to the throne.
In 1324, he commanded with success the army of his nephew Charles IV (who succeeded Philip V in 1322) to take Guyenne and Flanders from King Edward II of England. He contributed, by the capture of several cities, to accelerate the peace, which was concluded between the king of France and his niece, Isabella, queen-consort of England.
The Count of Valois died 16 December 1325 at Nogent-le-Roi, leaving a son who would take the throne of France under the name of Philip VI and commence the branch of the Valois. Had he survived for three more years and outlived his nephew, Charles would have become King of France in his own right. Charles was buried in the now-demolished church of the Couvent des Jacobins in Paris – his effigy is now in the Basilica of St Denis.
Marriages and children
Charles was married three times.
- Isabelle of Valois (1292 – 1309); married John, Prince of Brittany (later John III, Duke of Brittany).
- Philip VI (1293 – 22 August 1350), first King of the Valois Dynasty.
- Joan of Valois (1294 – 7 March 1342); married William I, Count of Hainaut, and had issue.
- Margaret of Valois (1295 – July 1342); married Guy I of Blois-Châtillon, Count of Blois, and had issue.
- Charles II of Valois (1297 – 26 August 1346 at the Battle of Crécy), Count of Alençon. Married first Jeanne de Joigny and second Marie de la Cerda.
- Catherine of Valois (1299 – died young).
- John of Valois (1302 – 1308), Count of Chartres.
- Catherine II of Valois (1303 – October 1346), titular Empress of Constantinople and Princess of Achaea. She married Philip I d'Anjou, Prince of Taranto, and had issue.
- Joan of Valois (1304 – 9 July 1363); married Robert III of Artois and had issue.
- Isabelle of Valois (1305 – 11 November 1349), Abbess of Fontevrault.
- Marie of Valois (1309 – 28 October 1332); married Charles, Duke of Calabria, and had issue.
- Isabella of Valois (1313 – 26 July 1383). She married Peter I, Duke of Bourbon.
- Blanche of Valois (1317 – 1348); married Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor. Sometimes called "Marguerite".
- Louis of Valois (1318 – 2 November 1328), Count of Chartres and Lord of Châteauneuf-en-Thymerais.
Charles de Valois was also known to have one natural child by an unknown mother. This child was placed in a nunnery, and yet was also treated as a legitimate heir to estates, being granted title to lands in Avignon upon her majority:
Charles is a major character in Les Rois maudits (The Accursed Kings), a series of French historical novels by Maurice Druon. He was portrayed by Jean Deschamps in the 1972 French miniseries adaptation of the series, and by Jacques Spiesser in the 2005 adaptation.
- Small 2004, p. 214.
- Taylor 2006, p. 55.
- Hallam 1980, p. 285.
- Wood 1966, p. 42-43.
- de Venette 1953, p. 312.
- Doubleday 2001, p. 172.
- Housley 1992, p. 53.
- Jackson-Laufer 1999, p. 83-84.
- Russell 2013, p. 299.
- Hand 2013, p. 217.
- Lewis 1965, p. 20.
- "Official website: Les Rois maudits (2005 miniseries)" (in French). 2005. Archived from the original on 15 August 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
- "Les Rois maudits: Casting de la saison 1" (in French). AlloCiné. 2005. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
- Doubleday, Simon R. (2001). The Lara Family: Crown and Nobility in Medieval Spain. Harvard University Press.
- Hallam, Elizabeth (1980). Capetian France:987–1328. Longman Group UK.
- Hand, Joni M. (2013). Women, Manuscripts and Identity in Northern Europe, 1350–1550. Ashgate Publishing.
- Housley, Norman (1992). The later Crusades, 1274–1580: from Lyons to Alcazar. Oxford University Press.
- Jackson-Laufer, Guida Myrl (1999). Women Rulers Throughout the Ages: An Illustrated Guide. ABC-CLIO.
- Lewis, P. S. (1965). "War, Propaganda and Historiography in Fifteenth-Century France and England". Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. Cambridge University Press. Vol. 15: 1-21.
- Russell, Delbert W. (2013). "The Cultural Context of the French Prose "remaniement" of the Life of Edward the Confessor by a nun of Barking Abbey". In Wogan-Browne, Jocelyn (ed.). Language and Culture in Medieval Britain: The French of England, C.1100-c.1500. Boydell & Brewer.
- Small, Carola M. (2004). "Charles of Valois". In Kleinhenz, Christopher (ed.). Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia. Routledge.
- Taylor, Craig, ed. (2006). Debating the Hundred Years War. Vol.29. Cambridge University Press.
- de Venette, Jean (1953). Newhall, Richard A. (ed.). The Chronicle of Jean de Venette. Translated by Birdsall, Jean. Columbia University Press.
- Wood, Charles T. (1966). The French Apanages and the Capetian Monarchy: 1224–1328. Harvard University Press.
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|Ancestors of Charles of Valois|
- Brown University History Page on Charles of Valois
- Britannica entry on Charles of Valois
- GJGFrench Wikipedia page on Charles de Valois (fr)
- Historia Nostra page on Charles de Valois (fr)
|Titles in pretence|
|— TITULAR —
| Count of Maine
| Count of Anjou|
Title last held byJohn Tristan
| Count of Valois|
Title last held byPeter
| Count of Alençon
Title last held byJoan
| Count of Chartres