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Philippe III (April 30, 1245 – October 5, 1285), called the Bold was King of France from 1270 to 1285.

Philippe was born in Poissy to King Louis IX of France and Margaret of Provence, the eldest of four daughters of Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence, and Beatrice of Savoy.

King Philippe III “The Bold” of France

Margaret of Provence younger sisters (thus aunts of Philippe III) were Queen Eleanor of England (wife of King Henry III of England), Queen Sanchia of Germany (wife of Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, brother was Henry III of England. Richard was elected in 1256 as King of Germany by a majority of the seven electoral princes, with the title of King of the Romans, a preparatory step in being named Holy Roman Emperor by the pope).

Margaret’s youngest sister was Queen Beatrice of Sicily (was ruling Countess of Provence and Forcalquier from 1245 until her death, as well as Countess of Anjou and Maine, Queen of Sicily and Naples by marriage to Charles I of Naples).

Becoming Heir to the Throne

As a younger son, Philippe was not expected to become King of France. He had an elder brother Prince Louis (1244-1260). Philippe’s elder brother fell ill after Christmas 1259 and died shortly after New Year, aged fifteen, a month before his sixteenth birthday. At the death of his elder brother Louis Philippe became the heir to the throne. He was then 15 years old and had less skill than his brother, being of a gentle character, submissive, timid and versatile, almost crushed by the strong personalities of his parents.

His mother Margaret made him promise under a solemn oath to remain under her tutelage until the age of 30, but his father King Louis IX preferring to improve his son through education. Pope Urban IV released Philippe from his oath on June 6, 1263.

Marriages of Philippe III

On May 6, 1262, Philippe married Isabella, daughter of King James I of Aragon and his second wife Yolande of Hungary. They had four sons:

Louis (1265–1276)
Philippe IV “the Fair” (1268–1314), King of France
Robert (1269–1271)
Charles, Count of Valois (1270–1325)

Isabella accompanied her husband on the Eighth Crusade against Tunis. On their way home, they stopped in Cosenza, Calabria. Six months pregnant with her fifth child, on January 11, 1271 she suffered a fall from her horse. After they had resumed the trip back to France, Isabella gave birth to a premature stillborn son.

She never recovered from her injuries and the childbirth, and died seventeen days later, on January 28. Her death was a devastating emotional blow to her husband, especially since she had been pregnant. Philippe took the bodies of Isabella and their stillborn son and, when he finally returned to France, buried them in the Basilica of St Denis. Isabella’s tomb, like many others, was desecrated during the French Revolution in 1793.

After death of Isabella, King Philippe married Marie of Brabant on August 21, 1274. Marie was daughter of the late Heinrich III, Duke of Brabant, and Adelaide of Burgundy, Duchess of Brabant. They had three children: Louis (1276-1319), Blanche (1278-1305) and Margaret (1282-1318). Margaret became Queen of England as the second wife of King Edward I of England.

Marriage of Philip and Marie of Brabant, Queen of France

Philippe III was under the strong influence of his mother, Margaret of Provence, and his minion, surgeon and chamberlain (Chambellan) Pierre de La Broce. Not being French, Marie stood out at the French court.

Marie was the step-mother to Philippe’s children. Philippe’s eldest son with his first wife Isabella of Aragon was also named Prince Louis (1264-1276), not to be confused with Philippe III’s elder brother, also named Louis. He died under suspicious circumstances.

Following Louis’ death, Pierre de la Broce, Philippe’s chamberlain, accused Mary of Brabant, Philippe’s second wife, of poisoning Louis. However, by 1277, suspicion had also fallen on Pierre de la Broce, who was then tried for treachery, and hanged at Montfaucon. Despite that, it is widely believed Louis was poisoned, by orders of his stepmother, Marie of Brabant. At Louis death at the age of 12, his younger brother Philippe, succeeded him as heir apparent.


Philippe’s father, King Louis IX, died on August 25, 1270 in Tunis during the Eighth Crusade. Philippe, who was accompanying him, returned to France to claim his throne and was anointed at Reims in 1271.

Coronation of Philippe III in Reims.

Philippe III proved indecisive, soft in nature, and timid. The strong personalities of his parents apparently crushed him, and policies of his father dominated him. People called him “the Bold” on the basis of his abilities in combat and on horseback, and not on the basis of his political or personal character.

Philippe III was pious but not cultivated. He followed the suggestions of others, first of Pierre de La Broce and then of his uncle King Charles I of Naples, Sicily, and Albania.

Philip III made numerous territorial acquisitions during his reign, the most notable being the County of Toulouse, which was annexed to the Crown lands of France in 1271. Following the Sicilian Vespers, a rebellion triggered by Pedro III of Aragon against Philippe’s uncle Charles I of Naples. Philippe led an unsuccessful Aragonese Crusade in support of his uncle. Philippe III was forced to retreat and died from dysentery in Perpignan in 1285. He was succeeded by his second surviving son as King Philippe IV the Fair, who was crowned King of France on January 6, 1286 in Reims.

After the death of Philippe III in 1285, his second wife Queen Marie lost some of her political influence, and dedicated her life to their three children.

Marie lived through Philippe IV’s reign and she outlived all her children. She died in 1322, aged 67, in the monastery at Les Mureaux, near Meulan, where she had withdrawn to in 1316.