Charles VI of France

Charles VI (3 December 1368 – 21 October 1422), called the Beloved (French: le Bien-Aimé) and the Mad (French: le Fol or le Fou), was King of France for 42 years from 1380 to his death in 1422, the fourth from the House of Valois.

Charles VI was only 11 when he inherited the throne in the midst of the Hundred Years' War. The government was entrusted to his four uncles, the dukes of Burgundy, Berry, Anjou, and Bourbon. Although the royal age of majority was fixed at 14, the dukes maintained their grip on Charles until he took power at the age of 21. During the rule of his uncles, the financial resources of the kingdom, painstakingly built up by his father, Charles V, were squandered for the personal profit of the dukes, whose interests were frequently divergent or even opposed. As royal funds drained, new taxes had to be raised, which caused several revolts.

In 1388 Charles VI dismissed his uncles and brought back to power his father's former advisers. Political and economic conditions in the kingdom improved significantly, and Charles earned the epithet "the Beloved". But in August 1392, en route to Brittany with his army in the forest of Le Mans, Charles suddenly went mad, slew four knights, and almost killed his brother, Louis I, Duke of Orléans.[1]

From then on, Charles' bouts of insanity became more frequent and of longer duration. During these attacks, he suffered from various delusions, such as believing that he was made of glass, or denying that he had a wife and children.[1] He would also attack servants and run until exhausted, wailing that he was threatened by his enemies. Between crises, there were intervals lasting several months during which Charles (now known as "the Mad") was relatively sane.[1] However, unable to concentrate or make decisions, political power was effectively exercised by his relatives (the princes of blood) and other leading French nobles, whose rivalries and disputes would cause much chaos and conflict in France.

A fierce struggle for power developed between the king's brother, Louis of Orléans, and his cousin, John of Burgundy. When John instigated the murder of Louis in 1407, the conflict degenerated into a civil war between John's supporters – the Burgundians – and opponents – the Armagnacs. Both sides offered large parts of France to the English (who were still nominally at war with the Valois monarchy) in exchange for their support. John of Burgundy himself was assassinated (1419), with Charles VI's son, heir, and namesake, Charles, being involved. In retaliation, John's son, Philip of Burgundy, convinced Charles VI to sign the infamous Treaty of Troyes (1420), which disinherited his offspring and recognized King Henry V of England as the legitimate successor to the throne of France.

When Charles VI died, the succession was claimed both by the King of England and by the disinherited younger Charles, who found the Valois cause in a desperate situation.

Charles VI the Beloved
Charles VI de France - Dialogues de Pierre Salmon - Bib de Genève MsFr165f4
Charles VI by the painter
known as the Master of Boucicaut (1412)
King of France
Reign16 September 1380 – 21 October 1422
Coronation4 November 1380
PredecessorCharles V
SuccessorCharles VII or Henry VI of England (disputed)
Born3 December 1368
Paris, Île-de-France, France
Died21 October 1422 (aged 53)
Paris, France
among others...
FatherCharles V of France
MotherJoan of Bourbon
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Early life

Couronnement de Charles VI le Bien-Aimé
The coronation of Charles VI
Madness of Charles VI
Charles seized by madness in the forest near Le Mans

Charles was born in Paris, in the royal residence of the Hôtel Saint-Pol, on 3 December 1368, the son of the king of France Charles V, of the House of Valois, and of Joan of Bourbon. As heir to the French throne, his older brothers having died before he was born, Charles had the title Dauphin of France. At his father's death on 16 September 1380, he inherited the throne of France. His coronation took place on 4 November 1380, at Reims Cathedral.[2] Although the royal age of majority was 14 (the "age of accountability" under Roman Catholic canon law), Charles did not terminate the regency and take personal rule until 1388.[3]


Charles VI was only 11 years old when he was crowned King of France. Although Charles was entitled to rule personally from the age of 14, the dukes maintained their grip on power until Charles terminated the regency at the age of 21.

During his minority, France was ruled by Charles' uncles, as regents. The regents were Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, Louis I, Duke of Anjou, and John, Duke of Berry - all brothers of Charles V - along with Louis II, Duke of Bourbon, Charles VI's maternal uncle. Philip took the dominant role during the regency. Louis of Anjou was fighting for his claim to the Kingdom of Naples after 1382, dying in 1384; John of Berry was interested mainly in the Languedoc,[4] and not particularly interested in politics; and Louis of Bourbon was a largely unimportant figure, due to his personality (showing signs of mental instability) and status (since he was not the son of a king).

During the rule of his uncles, the financial resources of the kingdom, painstakingly built up by his father Charles V the Wise, were squandered for the personal profit of the dukes, whose interests were frequently divergent or even opposing. During that time, the power of the royal administration was strengthened and taxes re-established. The latter policy represented a reversal of the deathbed decision of the king's father Charles V to repeal taxes, and led to tax revolts, known as the Harelle. Increased tax revenues were needed to support the self-serving policies of the king's uncles, whose interests were frequently in conflict with those of the crown and with each other. The Battle of Roosebeke (1382), for example, brilliantly won by the royal troops, was prosecuted solely for the benefit of Philip of Burgundy. The treasury surplus carefully accumulated by Charles V was quickly squandered.

Charles VI brought the regency to an end in 1388, taking up personal rule. He restored to power the highly-competent advisors of Charles V, known as the Marmousets,[5] who ushered in a new period of high esteem for the crown. Charles VI was widely referred to as Charles the Beloved by his subjects.

Wife and children

He married Isabeau of Bavaria on 17 July 1385,[6] when he was 17 and she was 14 (and considered an adult at the time). Isabeau had 12 children, most of whom died young. Isabeau's first child, named Charles, was born in 1386, and was Dauphin of Viennois (heir apparent), but survived only 3 months. Her second child, Joan, was born on 14 June 1388, but died in 1390. Her third child, Isabella, was born in 1389. She was married to Richard II, King of England in 1396, at the age of 6, and became Queen of England. Richard died in 1400 and they had no children. Richard's successor, Henry IV, wanted Isabella to then marry his son, 14-year-old future king Henry V, but she refused. She married again in 1406, this time to her cousin, Charles, Duke of Orléans, at the age of 17. She died in childbirth at the age of 19.

Isabeau's fourth child, Joan, was born in 1391, and was married to John VI, Duke of Brittany in 1396, at an age of 5; they had children. Isabeau's fifth child born in 1392 was also named Charles, and was Dauphin. Charles VI then became insane. The young Charles was betrothed to Margaret of Burgundy in 1396, but died at the age of 9. Isabeau's sixth child, Mary, was born in 1393. She was never married, and had no children. Isabeau's seventh child, Michelle, was born in 1395. She was engaged to Philip, son of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, in 1404 (both were then aged 8) and they were married in 1409, aged 14. She had one child who died in infancy, before she died in 1422, aged 27.

Isabeau's eighth child, Louis, was born in 1397, and was also Dauphin. He married Margaret of Burgundy, who had previously been betrothed to his brother Charles. The marriage produced no children by the time of Louis's death in 1415, aged 18.

Isabeau's ninth child, John, was born in 1398, and was also Dauphin from 1415, after the death of his brother Louis. He was married to Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut in 1415, then aged 17, but they did not have any children before he died in 1417, aged 19. Isabeau's tenth child, Catherine, was born in 1401. She was married firstly to Henry V, King of England in 1420, and they had one child, who became Henry VI of England. Henry V died suddenly in 1422. Catherine may then have secretly married Owen Tudor in 1429 and had additional children, including Edmund Tudor, the father of Henry VII. She died in 1437, aged 36.

Isabeau's eleventh child, also named Charles, was born in 1403. In 1413, Queen Isabeau and Yolande of Aragon finalized a marriage contract between Charles and Yolande's daughter Marie of Anjou, Charles' second cousin. Since both Dauphin Louis and then Dauphin John died while in the care of John the Fearless, the Duke of Burgundy and regent for the insane King Charles, Yolande became Charles' protectress. Charles became the new Dauphin in 1417 upon the death of his brother John. Now with the heir to the throne of France under her protection, Yolande refused Queen Isabeau's orders to return Charles to the French Court, reportedly replying, "We have not nurtured and cherished this one for you to make him die like his brothers or to go mad like his father, or to become English like you. I keep him for my own. Come and take him away, if you dare." After the death of Charles VI in 1422, the English regents claimed the crown of France for Henry VI, then aged 1, according to the terms of the Treaty of Troyes. However, Charles, aged 19, repudiated the treaty and claimed the throne for himself as King Charles VII, sparking fresh fighting with the English. His marriage to Marie of Anjou in 1422 produced many children, most of whom died at a very early age. Charles VII died in 1461 at age 58, the most long-lived of Isabeau's children.

Isabeau's twelfth and the last child, Philip, was born in 1407, but died shortly after.


Mental illness

Charles VI double d'or La Rochelle 1420
A coin of Charles VI, a "double d'or", minted in La Rochelle in 1420

Charles VI's early successes with the Marmousets as his counselors quickly dissipated as a result of the bouts of psychosis he experienced beginning in his mid-twenties. Mental illness may have been passed on for several generations through his mother, Joanna of Bourbon.[7] Although still called by his subjects Charles the Beloved, he became known also as Charles the Mad.

Charles's first known episode occurred in 1392 when his friend and advisor, Olivier de Clisson, was the victim of an attempted murder. Although Clisson survived, Charles was determined to punish the would-be assassin, Pierre de Craon, who had taken refuge in Brittany. John V, Duke of Brittany was unwilling to hand him over, so Charles prepared a military expedition.

Contemporaries said Charles appeared to be in a "fever" to begin the campaign and disconnected in his speech. Charles set off with an army on 1 July 1392. The progress of the army was slow, which nearly drove Charles into a frenzy of impatience.

As the king and his escort were traveling through the forest near Le Mans on a hot August morning, a barefoot leper dressed in rags rushed up to the King's horse and grabbed his bridle. "Ride no further, noble King!" he yelled: "Turn back! You are betrayed!" The king's escorts beat the man back, but did not arrest him, and he followed the procession for half an hour, repeating his cries.[8]

The company emerged from the forest at noon. A page who was drowsy from the sun dropped the king's lance, which clanged loudly against a steel helmet carried by another page. Charles shuddered, drew his sword and yelled "Forward against the traitors! They wish to deliver me to the enemy!" The king spurred his horse and began swinging his sword at his companions, fighting until one of his chamberlains and a group of soldiers were able to grab him from his mount and lay him on the ground. He lay still and did not react, but then fell into a coma. The king had killed a knight known as "The Bastard of Polignac" and several other men.[9]

Periods of mental illness continued throughout the king's life. During one in 1393, he could not remember his name and did not know he was king. When his wife came to visit, he asked his servants who she was and ordered them to take care of what she required so that she would leave him alone.[10] During an episode in 1395–96 he claimed he was Saint George and that his coat of arms was a lion with a sword thrust through it.[11] At this time, he recognized all the officers of his household, but did not know his wife nor his children. Sometimes he ran wildly through the corridors of his Parisian residence, the Hôtel Saint-Pol, and to keep him inside, the entrances were walled up. In 1405, he refused to bathe or change his clothes for five months.[12] His later psychotic episodes were not described in detail, perhaps because of the similarity of his behavior and delusions. Pope Pius II, who was born during the reign of Charles VI, wrote in his Commentaries that there were times when Charles thought that he was made of glass, and thus tried to protect himself in various ways so that he would not break. He reportedly had iron rods sewn into his clothes so that he would not shatter if he came into contact with another person.[13] This condition has come to be known as glass delusion.

Charles VI's secretary, Pierre Salmon, spent much time in discussions with the king while he was intermittently psychotic. In an effort to find a cure for the king's illness, stabilize the turbulent political situation, and secure his own future, Salmon supervised the production of two distinct versions of the beautifully illuminated guidebooks to good kingship known as Pierre Salmon's Dialogues.[14]

Bal des Ardents

Le Bal des Ardents
The Bal des Ardents, miniature of 1450–80.

On 29 January 1393, a masked ball, which became known as the Bal des Ardents ("Ball of the Burning Men") because of the tragedy that ensued, had been organized by Isabeau of Bavaria to celebrate the wedding of one of her ladies-in-waiting at the Hôtel Saint-Pol. At the suggestion of Huguet de Guisay, the king and four other lords[15] dressed up as wild men and danced about. They were dressed "in costumes of linen cloth sewn onto their bodies and soaked in resinous wax or pitch to hold a covering of frazzled hemp, so that they appeared shaggy & hairy from head to foot".[16] At the suggestion of one Yvain de Foix, the king commanded that the torch-bearers were to stand at the side of the room. Nonetheless, the king's brother Louis I, Duke of Orléans, who had arrived late, approached with a lighted torch in order to discover the identity of the masqueraders, and accidentally set one of them on fire. There was panic as the flames spread. The Duchess of Berry threw the train of her gown over the king in order to protect him.[17] Several knights who tried to put out the flames were severely burned. Four of the wild men perished: Charles de Poitiers, son of the Count of Valentinois; Huguet de Guisay; Yvain de Foix; and the Count of Joigny. Another – Jean, son of the Lord of Nantouillet – saved himself by jumping into a dishwater tub.[18]

Expulsion of the Jews, 1394

On 17 September 1394, Charles suddenly published an ordinance in which he declared, in substance, that for a long time he had been taking note of the many complaints provoked by the excesses and misdemeanors that the Jews had committed against Christians, and that the prosecutors, having made several investigations, had discovered many violations by the Jews of the agreement they had made with him. Therefore, he decreed, as an irrevocable law and statute, that thenceforth no Jew should dwell in his domains ("Ordonnances", vii. 675). According to the Religieux de St. Denis, the king signed this decree at the insistence of the queen ("Chron. de Charles VI." ii. 119).[19] The decree was not immediately enforced, a respite being granted to the Jews in order that they might sell their property and pay their debts. Those indebted to them were enjoined to redeem their obligations within a set time, otherwise their pledges held in pawn were to be sold by the Jews. The provost was to escort the Jews to the frontier of the kingdom. Subsequently, the king released the Christians from their debts.

Struggles for power

With Charles VI mentally ill, from 1393 his wife Isabeau presided over a regency counsel, on which sat the grandees of the kingdom. Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, who acted as regent during the king's minority (from 1380 to 1388), was a great influence on the queen (he had organized the royal marriage during his regency). Influence progressively shifted to Louis I, Duke of Orléans, the king's brother, another contender for power, and it was suspected, the queen's lover.[20] Charles VI's other uncles were less influential during the regency: Louis II of Naples was still engaged managing the Kingdom of Naples, and John, Duke of Berry, served as a mediator between the Orléans party (what would become the Armagnacs) and the Burgundy party (Bourguignons). The rivalry would increase bit by bit and in the end result in outright civil war.

The new regents dismissed the various advisers and officials Charles had appointed. On the death of Philip the Bold in April 1404, his son John the Fearless took over the political aims of his father, and the feud with Louis escalated. John, who was less linked to Isabeau, again lost influence at court.

Wars with Burgundy and England

In 1407, Louis of Orléans was murdered in the rue Vieille du Temple in Paris. John did not deny responsibility, claiming that Louis was a tyrant who squandered money. Louis' son Charles, the new Duke of Orléans, turned to his father-in-law, Bernard VII, Count of Armagnac, for support against John the Fearless. This resulted in the Armagnac-Burgundian Civil War, which lasted from 1407 until 1435, beyond Charles' reign, though the war with the English was still in progress.

With the English taking over much of the country, John the Fearless sought to end the feud with the royal family by negotiating with the Dauphin Charles, the king's heir. They met at the bridge at Montereau on 10 September 1419, but during the meeting, John was killed by Tanneguy du Chastel, a follower of the Dauphin. John's successor, Philip the Good, the new Duke of Burgundy, threw in his lot with the English.

English invasion and death

Charles VI's reign was marked by the continuing conflict with the English, known as the Hundred Years' War. An early attempt at peace occurred in 1396 when Charles' daughter, the almost seven-year-old Isabella of Valois, married the 29-year-old Richard II of England. By 1415, however, the feud between the French royal family and the House of Burgundy led to chaos and anarchy throughout France that Henry V of England was eager to take advantage of. Henry led an invasion that culminated in the defeat of the French army at the Battle of Agincourt in October.

In 1420, the Treaty of Troyes was an agreement signed by Henry V of England and Charles VI of France, recognizing Henry as Charles' successor, and stipulating that Henry's heirs would succeed him on the throne of France. It disinherited the Dauphin Charles (with further claim, in 1421, that the young Charles was illegitimate). It also betrothed Charles VI's daughter, Catherine of Valois, to Henry V (see English Kings of France). The treaty disinheriting the Dauphin of France in favor of the English crown was a blatant act against the interests of the French aristocracy. The Dauphin sealed his fate, in the eyes of the mad king, when he declared himself regent, seized royal authority, and refused to obey the king's order to return to Paris.[21] When the Treaty of Troyes was finalized in May 1420, the Dauphin Charles was only 17 years old.

Charles VI died on 21 October 1422 in Paris, at the Hôtel Saint-Pol. He was interred in Saint Denis Basilica, where his wife Isabeau of Bavaria would join him after her death in September 1435.

Upon the death of Charles VI, his infant grandson, who had become King Henry VI of England at the death of his own father in August 1422, was, according to the Treaty of Troyes, also King of France, and his coronation as such took place at the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris on 26 December 1431. In the meantime, the Dauphin Charles, who had settled in Bourges, Paris being occupied by the English-Bourguignons since 29 May 1418, had to wait the arrival of Joan of Arc to be taken to the cathedral of Reims for his coronation as Charles VII, King of France on 17 July 1429. During his reign, Charles VII, the (disinherited) son of Charles VI, became known as "Charles the Victorious".[22]

Personal life

Marriage and issue

Charles VI married Isabeau of Bavaria (ca. 1371 – 24 September 1435) on 17 July 1385. She gave birth to 12 children:

Name Birth Death Notes
Charles, Dauphin of Viennois 25 September 1386 28 December 1386 Died young. First Dauphin.
Jeanne 14 June 1388 1390 Died young.
Isabella 9 November 1389 13 September 1409 Married (1) Richard II, King of England, in 1396. No issue.[27]
Married (2) Charles, Duke of Orléans, in 1406. Had issue.
Jeanne 24 January 1391 27 September 1433 Married John V, Duke of Brittany, in 1396. Had issue.
Charles, Dauphin of Viennois 6 February 1392 13 January 1401 Died young. Second Dauphin. Engaged to Margaret of Burgundy after his birth.
Marie 22 August 1393 19 August 1438 Never married – became an abbess. No issue. Died of the Plague
Michelle 11 January 1395 8 July 1422 Married Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in 1409.[28] Had no surviving issue.
Louis, Dauphin 22 January 1397 18 December 1415 Married Margaret of Burgundy. No issue. Third Dauphin.
John, Dauphin 31 August 1398 5 April 1417 Married Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut, in 1415. No issue. Fourth Dauphin.
Catherine 27 October 1401 3 January 1437 Married (1) Henry V, King of England, in 1420. Had issue.
Married (?) (2) Owen Tudor. Had issue.
Charles, Dauphin of Viennois 22 February 1403 21 July 1461 The fifth Dauphin became Charles VII, King of France, after his father's death.
Married Marie of Anjou in 1422. Had issue.
Philip 10 November 1407 November 1407 Died young.

He also had one illegitimate child by Odette de Champdivers: Marguerite, bâtarde de France (d. ca.1458).

Charles VI of France Family
Charles VI Family

Cultural references

  • Christine de Pizan dedicates a poem to Charles VI Prière pour le roi Charles in which she pleas for the health of her king.
  • The Romantic French poet Gérard de Nerval wrote a poem dedicated to the king: "Rêverie de Charles VI".[29]
  • The novel The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke describes the old age of Charles VI at length.
  • King Charles VI, and his madness, are mentioned at length in the historical novel In a Dark Wood Wandering (1949) by Hella S. Haasse.
  • The historical novel Blood Royal (aka The Queen's Lover) by Vanora Bennett, about Charles VI's daughter Catherine of Valois, refers to the King, his reign, family and his madness at length.
  • Charles VI is a character in William Shakespeare's Henry V, as "King of France".
  • The character Maqroll is reading a history of Charles in the novel "The Snow of the Admiral" by Alvaro Mutis (1986).

See also



  1. ^ a b c "Biography of Charles VI the mad of France (1368-1422)". Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  2. ^ Jonathan Sumption, The Hundred Years War: Divided Houses, Vol. III, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), 397.
  3. ^ Jonathan Sumption, The Hundred Years War: Divided Houses, Vol. III, 665-666.
  4. ^ Vaughan, 40-41
  5. ^ Vaughn, 42.
  6. ^ Tracy Adams, The Life and Afterlife of Isabeau of Bavaria, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), 5.
  7. ^ Alger, Sarah (2001). The Politics of Madness: Government in the Reigns of Charles VI and Henry V (PDF). p. 24.
  8. ^ W.H. Jervis, A History of France: from the Earliest Times to the Fall of the Second Empire in 1870, (London: John Murray, 1884), 228, §5; Jean Juvenal des Ursins, Histoire de Charles VI, Roy de France, (Paris: A. Desrez, 1841), 377; Michaud, J.F and L.G., Biographie universelle, ancienne et moderne, 85 vols., (Paris: L.G. Michaud, 1813), 8:114 sub Charles VI.
  9. ^ M. Guizot, The History of France from the Earliest Times to the Year 1789, Vol. 2, transl. Robert Black, (P.F. Collier & son, 1902), 189.
  10. ^ R.C. Famiglietti, Royal Intrigue: Crisis at the Court of Charles VI, 1392–1420, New York, 1986, p. 4, citing the chronicle of the Religieux de Saint-Denis, ed. Bellaguet, II, pp. 86–88.
  11. ^ R.C. Famiglietti, Royal Intrigue: Crisis at the Court of Charles VI, 1392–1420, New York, 1986, p. 5, citing the chronicle of the Religieux de Saint-Denis, ed. Bellaguet, II, pp. 404–05.
  12. ^ R.C. Famiglietti, Royal Intrigue: Crisis at the Court of Charles VI, 1392–1420, New York, 1986, p. 6, citing the chronicle of the Religieux de Saint-Denis, ed. Bellaguet, III, p. 348
  13. ^ Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Papa Pio II), I Commentarii, ed. L. Totaro, Milano, 1984, I, p. 1056.
  14. ^ "Pierre Salmon's Dialogues - Wikicommons".
  15. ^ Froissart's Chronicles, ed. T. Johnes, II (1855), p.550
  16. ^ Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror, 1978, Alfred A Knopf Ltd. See the chronicle of the Religieux de Saint-Denis, ed. Bellaguet, II, pp. 64–71, where the squire's name is given correctly as de Guisay.
  17. ^ Froissart's Chronicles, ed. T. Johnes, II (1855), pp.550-2
  18. ^ Froissart's Chronicles, ed. T. Johnes, II (1855), p.550. Note that Froissart and the Religieux de Saint-Denis differ as to when the four men died. Huguet de Guisay had held the office of cupbearer of the king.
  19. ^ History of the reign of Charles VI, titled Chronique de Religieux de Saint-Denys, contenant le regne de Charles VI de 1380 a 1422, encompasses the king's full reign in six volumes. Originally written in Latin, the work was translated to French in six volumes by L. Bellaguet between 1839 and 1852.
  20. ^ Alban Dignat, 23 novembre 1407: Assassinat dans la rue Vieille du Temple, Archived 11 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ R.C. Famiglietti, Royal Intrigue: Crisis at the Court of Charles VI, 1392–1420, New York, 1986, Chapter X.
  22. ^ Chartier, Jean, Chronique de Charles VII, Roi de France, publié avec notes par Vallet de Viriville, Paris 1858
  23. ^ a b c d Anselm de Gibours (1726). Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de France [Genealogical and chronological history of the royal house of France] (in French). 1 (3rd ed.). Paris: La compagnie des libraires. pp. 105–106.
  24. ^ a b Anselm, Histoire généalogique, pp. 109–110
  25. ^ a b Anselm, Histoire généalogique, pp. 102–104
  26. ^ a b c d Anselm, Histoire généalogique, pp. 297–299
  27. ^ Jeffrey Hamilton, The Plantagenets: History of a Dynasty, (Continuum, 2010), 205.
  28. ^ Jonathan Sumption, Cursed Kings: The Hundred Years War IV, (Faber and Faber Ltd., 2015), 103.
  29. ^ (in French) Gérard de Nerval. Rêverie de Charles VI


  • Famiglietti, R.C., Royal Intrigue: Crisis at the Court of Charles VI, 1392–1420, New York; AMS Press, 1986.
  • Famiglietti, R.C., Tales of the Marriage Bed from Medieval France (1300–1500), Providence; Picardy Press, 1992.
  • Potter, Philip J., Kings of the Seine: The French Rulers from Pippin III to Jacques Chirac, 2006, PublishAmerica, Baltimore, ISBN 978-1-4137-8857-0.

External links

Charles VI of France
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 3 December 1368 Died: 21 October 1422
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charles V
King of France
16 September 1380 – 21 October 1422
Succeeded by
Charles VII
contested by Henry II
Dauphin of Viennois
3 December 1368 – 26 September 1386
Succeeded by
Charles III
Preceded by
Charles III
Dauphin of Viennois
28 December 1386 – 6 February 1392
Succeeded by
Charles IV
1422 in France

Events from the year 1422 in France

Catherine of Valois

Catherine of Valois (27 October 1401 – 3 January 1437) was the queen consort of England from 1420 until 1422. A daughter of Charles VI of France, she married Henry V of England, and gave birth to his heir Henry VI of England. Her liaison (and possible secret marriage) with Owen Tudor proved the springboard of that family's fortunes, eventually leading to their grandson's elevation as Henry VII of England. Catherine's older sister Isabella was queen of England from 1396 until 1399, as the child bride of Richard II.

Charles VI

Charles VI may refer to:

Charles VI of France (1368–1422), "the Well-Beloved" and "The Mad King"

Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor (1685–1740), and VI of Naples

Infante Carlos, Count of Montemolin (1818–1861), pretender to the throne of Spain, styled "Charles VI" by Carlists

Charles VI, Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg (1834–1921)

Charles VI (opera), an 1843 opera by Fromental Halévy

Count of Poitiers

Among the people who have borne the title of Count of Poitiers (or Poitou, in what is now France but in the Middle Ages became part of Aquitaine) are:


Warinus (638–677), son of Bodilon

Hatton (735-778)

Renaud (795–843)

Bernard I (815–844)

Emenon or Emeno (828 – 839), brother of Bernard I

Ranulph I (835–866)

Ranulph II (866–890), son of Ranulph I

Gauzbert (857–892)

Robert I (866–923)

Ebalus (or Ebles Manzer) (890–892) (illegitimate son of Ranulph II)(first reign– 890–893)(second reign– 902–935)

Aymar (892–902)

Ebalus (or Ebles Manzer) (restored) (902–935)

William I (935–963) (son of Ebalus)

William II (963–995) (son of William I)

William III (969–1030) (son of William II)

William IV (1030–1038) (1st son of William III)

Odo (Eudes) (1038–1039) (2nd son of William III)

William V (1039–1058) (3rd son of William III)

William VI (1058–1086) (4th son of William III)

William VII (1071–1126) (son of William VI)

William VIII (1099–1137) (son of William VII)

Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine Louis VII of France (1137–1152) obtained title through marriage to Eleanor

Henry II of England (1152, 1156–1189) obtained title through marriage to Eleanor

William IX (1153–1156) son of Eleanor and Henry II of England

Richard I (1169–1196) son of Eleanor and Henry II of England

Otto (1196–1198)

Richard I again (1198–1199)

Richard II (1224) younger brother of Henry III of England

Alphonse I (1220–1271) son of Louis VIII of France

Philip I (1293–1322)

John I (1319–1364)

John II (1340–1416) son of John I

John III (1398–1417) son of Charles VI of France

Charles (1403–1461)

Francis (r. 1695–1715)

Duke of Touraine

Duke of Touraine was a title in the Peerage of France, relating to Touraine.

It was first created in 1360 for Philip, youngest son of King John II of France. He returned the duchy to the Crown in 1363 on being made Duke of Burgundy and died in 1404.

The next creation was in 1386 for Louis, youngest son of King Charles V of France. He returned the duchy to the Crown in 1392 on being made Duke of Orléans and died in 1407.

The third creation was in 1401 for John, fourth son of King Charles VI of France. He became Dauphin of France in 1415 and died unmarried in 1417.

The next creation was in 1416 for Charles, youngest son of King Charles VI of France, who succeeded his brother as Dauphin in 1417. He succeeded as King Charles VII of France in 1422 when the title merged in the Crown.

The fifth creation was in 1423 for the Scottish nobleman Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas, a commander on the French side in the Hundred Years' War. He was killed at the Battle of Verneuil in 1424. His son Lord Wigtown, absent in Scotland, was believed in France to have died without issue, so the title was presumed extinct. When it became apparent that Wigtown had succeeded his father as Earl of Douglas, he was confirmed in the title Duke of Touraine, though not the lands. He died in 1439 and the male line of the fourth Earl of Douglas became extinct on the death of William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas the following year.

The land of Touraine was given, by letters-patent in Bourges on 21 October 1424, to Louis III of Anjou, "King of Sicily" (King of Naples). In 1528, the land of Touraine was given by Francis I of France to his mother Louise of Savoy as an exchange with the Duchy of Nemours, given to her in 1523. The next creation was in 1576 for Francis, youngest son of King Henry II of France, who was created Duke of Anjou and Berry at the same time. He died unmarried in 1584, when the title became extinct.

Glass delusion

The glass delusion is an external manifestation of a psychiatric disorder recorded in Europe mainly in the late Middle Ages and early modern period (15th to 17th centuries). People feared that they were made of glass "and therefore likely to shatter into pieces". One famous early sufferer was King Charles VI of France, who refused to allow people to touch him and wore reinforced clothing to protect himself from accidental "shattering".


Hanaper, properly a case or basket to contain a "hanap" (O. Eng. kneels: cf. Dutch nap), a drinking vessel, a goblet with a foot or stem; the term which is still used by antiquaries for medieval stemmed cups. The famous Royal Gold Cup in the British Museum is called a "hanap" in the inventory of Charles VI of France of 1391.

The word "hanaper" (Med. Lat. hanaperium) was used particularly in the English chancery of a wicker basket in which were kept writs and other documents.

From "hanaper" is derived the modern "hamper," a wicker or rush basket used for carrying game, fish, wine, etc. The verb " to hamper," to entangle, obstruct, hinder, especially used of disturbing the mechanism of a lock or other fastening so as to prevent its proper working, is of doubtful origin. It is probably connected with a root seen in the Icel. hemja, to restrain, and Ger. hemmen, to clog.

For another usage, see Alienation Office.

Henry V of England

Henry V (16 September 1386 – 31 August 1422), also called Henry of Monmouth, was King of England from 1413 until his early death in 1422. He was the second English monarch of the House of Lancaster. Despite his relatively short reign, Henry's outstanding military successes in the Hundred Years' War against France, most notably in his famous victory at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, made England one of the strongest military powers in Europe. Immortalised in the plays of Shakespeare, Henry is known and celebrated as one of the great warrior kings of medieval England.

In his youth, during the reign of his father Henry IV, Henry gained military experience fighting the Welsh during the revolt of Owain Glyndŵr and against the powerful aristocratic Percy family of Northumberland at the Battle of Shrewsbury. Henry acquired an increasing share in England's government due to the king's declining health, but disagreements between father and son led to political conflict between the two. After his father's death in 1413, Henry assumed control of the country and asserted the pending English claim to the French throne.

In 1415, Henry embarked on war with France in the ongoing Hundred Years' War (1337–1453) between the two nations. His military successes culminated in his famous victory at the Battle of Agincourt (1415) and saw him come close to conquering France. Taking advantage of political divisions within France, he conquered large portions of the kingdom and Normandy was occupied by the English for the first time since 1345–1360. After months of negotiation with Charles VI of France, the Treaty of Troyes (1420) recognised Henry V as regent and heir apparent to the French throne and he was subsequently married to Charles's daughter, Catherine of Valois.

Following this arrangement, everything seemed to point to the formation of a union between the kingdoms of France and England, in the person of King Henry. His sudden and unexpected death in France two years later condemned England to the long and difficult minority of his infant son and successor, who reigned as Henry VI in England and Henry II in France.

Isabella of Valois

Isabella of France (9 November 1389 – 13 September 1409) was Queen consort of England as the second spouse of King Richard II. Her parents were King Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria. She married the king at the age of seven and was widowed three years later. She later married Charles, Duke of Orléans, dying in childbirth at the age of nineteen.

Isabella's younger sister, Catherine, was Queen of England from 1420 until 1422, married to Henry V and mother of Henry VI.

Joan II, Countess of Auvergne

Joan II, Countess of Auvergne and Boulogne (French: Jeanne d'Auvergne), also known as Jeanne de Boulogne, and Joan, Duchess of Berry, (1378 – c. 1424), was Sovereign Countess of Auvergne and Boulogne from 1394 until 1424. She was the daughter of John II of Auvergne (died 1394), and second wife of John, Duke of Berry. She is arguably most famous for saving the life of her nephew, King Charles VI of France, during the disastrous Bal des Ardents (Ball of the Burning Men).

Joan of France, Duchess of Brittany

Joan of France (24 January 1391 – 27 September 1433) was Duchess of Brittany by marriage to John V. She was a daughter of Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria.

Louis, Duke of Guyenne

Louis (22 January 1397 – 18 December 1415) was the eighth of twelve children of King Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria. He was their third son and the second to hold the titles Dauphin of Viennois and Duke of Guyenne, inheriting them in 1401, at the death of his older brother, Charles (1392–1401).

Louis was born between the eighth and ninth hours of the evening in the royal Hôtel Saint-Pol in Paris. He was baptised the next day in the parish church of Saint-Paul, with eight prelates attending, including the abbot of Saint-Denis. Present also was a large assembly of noblemen and ladies. The infant was carried to the font by Duke Louis of Orléans, Pierre le Bègue de Villaines and Countess Joan of Ligny. They gave him the name Louis and the archbishop of Vienne performed the baptism.

Louis II, Duke of Bourbon

Louis de Bourbon, called the Good (4 February 1337 – 10 August 1410), son of Peter de Bourbon and Isabella de Valois (the sister of French King Philip VI), was the third Duke of Bourbon.

Duke Louis is reported to have been somewhat mentally unstable, specifically having a trait of nervous breakdowns which is presumably hereditary; this trait was also evidenced in his sister Joanna of Bourbon (the wife of French King Charles V), his nephew Charles VI of France (called "The Mad"), his father Duke Peter, and his grandfather Louis I, Duke of Bourbon.

The teenage Louis inherited the duchy from his father Duke Peter I after his death in the Battle of Poitiers in 1356.

On August 19, 1371, he married Anne of Auvergne (1358–1417), Countess of Forez and a daughter of Beraud II, Dauphin of Auvergne, and his wife the Countess of Forez, and they had four children:

Catherine of Bourbon (b. 1378), d. young

John of Bourbon (1381–1434), Duke of Bourbon

Louis of Bourbon (1388 – 1404), Sieur de Beaujeu

Isabelle of Bourbon (1384 – aft. 1451)In 1390, Duke Louis launched the Barbary Crusade against the Hafsids of Tunis, in conjunction with the Genoese. Its objective was to suppress piracy based in the city of Mahdia, but the siege was unsuccessful. Duke Louis died at Montlucon in 1410, at the age of 73.

Margaret of Nevers

Margaret of Nevers (French: Marguerite; December 1393 – February 1442), also known as Margaret of Burgundy, was Dauphine of France and Duchess of Guyenne as the daughter-in-law of King Charles VI of France. A pawn in the dynastic struggles between her family and in-laws during the Hundred Years' War, Margaret was twice envisaged to become Queen of France.


The marmousets (referred to as les petites gens) is a nickname, first recorded in the chronicles of Jean Froissart, for a group of counselors to Charles VI of France. Although they were neither princes nor civil servants, they were simply very close to the king. Thanks to this position, they were able to access the highest functions of the state. These men were endowed with another quality, the solidarity between them. Chosen by Charles VI in 1388, they vowed to remain united and friends.

Their name, essentially the same as marmoset, referring to monkeys, was also a term for the English at the time.

Michelle of Valois

Michelle of France (11 January 1395 – 8 July 1422) was a Duchess consort of Burgundy. She was a daughter of Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria. She was named for Saint Michael the Archangel after her father noted an improvement in his health after a pilgrimage to Mont Saint-Michel in 1393.

The Night of Queen Isabeau

The Night of Queen Isabeau (German: Die Nacht der Königin Isabeau) is a 1920 German silent historical drama film directed by Robert Wiene and starring Fern Andra, Fritz Kortner, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski and Elsa Wagner. The film depicts the marriage between the mad Charles VI of France and his wife Queen Isabeau. The film is now considered a lost film, but contemporary reviews praised Wiene's direction. The story revolves around insanity, a common theme in his films.

Treaty of Troyes

The Treaty of Troyes was an agreement that King Henry V of England and his heirs would inherit the French crown upon the death of King Charles VI of France. It was signed in the French city of Troyes on 21 May 1420 in the aftermath of Henry's successful military campaign in France. It forms a part of the backdrop of the latter phase of the Hundred Years' War finally won by the French at the Battle of Castillon in 1453, and in which various English kings tried to establish their claims to the French throne.

Valentina Visconti, Duchess of Orléans

Valentina Visconti (1371 – 4 December 1408) was a Sovereign Countess of Vertus, and Duchess consort of Orléans as the wife of Louis de Valois, Duke of Orléans, the younger brother of King Charles VI of France.

Ancestors of Charles VI of France
8. Philip VI of France[25]
4. John II of France[23]
9. Joan of Burgundy[25]
2. Charles V of France
11. John I of Bohemia[23]
5. Bonne of Luxembourg[23]
11. Elizabeth of Bohemia[23]
1. Charles VI of France
12. Louis I, Duke of Bourbon[26]
6. Peter I, Duke of Bourbon[24]
13. Mary of Avesnes[26]
3. Joanna of Bourbon
14. Charles I, Count of Valois[26]
7. Isabella of Valois[24]
15. Mahaut of Châtillon[26]
Merovingians (486–751)
Robertians and Bosonids (751–987)
House of Capet (987–1328)
House of Valois (1328–1589)
House of Lancaster (1422–1453)
House of Bourbon (1589–1792)
First Republic (1792–1804)
First Empire (1804–1815)
Bourbon Restoration (1815–1830)
July Monarchy (1830–1848)
Second Republic (1848–1852)
Second Empire (1852–1870)
Government of National Defense (1870–1871)
Third Republic (1871–1940)
Vichy France (1940–1944)
Provisional Government (1944–1947)
Fourth Republic (1947–1958)
Fifth Republic (1958–present)
Characters and events
On screen
Related plays
Related music
Historical context

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.