This section on I will show how I render foreign titles. It’s really pretty simple. Except for rare occasions I always render foreign titles in English.
The rare example of when I use the native language to render titles are with the French Monarchy (also Spain and Portugal but more on that in a moment).
First of all in French the title of King is translated as Roi and I never use it. What I do use is the title of Duke which translates to Duc in French.
The title Duc also is accompanied with the article de which in English is the word the. Here is an example…duc de Bourgogne. Bourgogne is translated as Burgundy in English but I always us the English translation for the name of the region.
Philippe I, Duc d’Orléans
A notable Duke of Burgundy is Philip the Bold. In French it’s Philippe II le Hardi duc de Bourgogne. I generally end up with a mish-mash of French and English and will call him Philippe II The Bold, Duc de Burgundy…or Philippe II The Bold, Duke of Burgundy.
An interesting usage is with the Dukedom of Orléans. In French the article de drops the e and uses a d along with an apostrophe when the Dukedom begins with a vowel.
An example is Philip the brother of King Louis XIV. In French it is written as Philippe I, Duc d’Orléans. However, I will also refer to him as Philippe I, Duke of Orléans. I’m wildly inconsistent with this.
French Royals also had the style and rank Fils de France which translates to Son of France for boys and was held by the sons of the kings and dauphins of France. A daughter was known as a fille de France, in English, Daughter of France. In these instances I always use the French translation.
The dauphin, the heir to the French throne, was the most senior of the fils de France and was usually addressed as Monsieur le dauphin. The king’s next younger brother, also a fils de France, was known simply as Monsieur, and his wife as Madame. In these instances I also stick with the French translation.
Another saying for French Royals was Prince/Princess of the Blood. In French this is translated as Prince/Princess du sang is a person legitimately descended in male line from a sovereign. The female equivalent was applied to the daughter of a prince of the blood prince du sang.
As I mentioned Spain and Portugal are similar. They have a concept of Son or Daughter of Spain/Portugal and in their native language it translates to Infante for males and Infanta for women.
Technically speaking, the title Prince and Princess of Spain and Portugal do not exist. In its place Infante and Infanta are used.
Princess Elisabeth de Bourbon of France, Queen of Spain
However, Infante and Infanta are often anglicised and translated as Prince/Princess and they are considered as having the title and rank of a Prince/Princess even if they do not officially use that title. The only Spanish royal using the title of Prince/Princess is the heir apparent or heir presumptive to the throne who usually bears the title Prince/Princess of Austria.
In my work I stick with the Spanish titles of Infante and Infanta of Spain.
Another honorific in Spain is Don and in Portugal it’s Dom.
The female equivalent is Doña and Dona in Portuguese.
In Spanish, although originally a title reserved for royalty, select nobles, and church hierarchs, it is now often used as a mark of esteem for a person of personal, social or official distinction, such as a community leader of long standing, a person of significant wealth, or a noble, but may also be used ironically. As a style, rather than a title or rank, it is used with, rather than in place of, a person’s name.
I tend to completely ignore the usage of Don and Dom and Doña and Dona. As I mentioned I’m very inconsistent!
That is it for now and will continue next with the usage of German titles.
Louis, Duke of Burgundy (August 16, 1682 – February 18, 1712), was the eldest son of Louis, Grand Dauphin, and Dauphine Maria Anna and grandson of the reigning King Louis XIV of France. He was known as the “Petit Dauphin” to distinguish him from his father, who died in April 1711, when the former became the official Dauphin of France. He never reigned, as he died in 1712 while his grandfather was still on the throne. Upon the death of Louis XIV in 1715, the Duke of Burgundy’s son became Louis XV.
Louis was born in the Palace of Versailles in 1682, the eldest son of the French Dauphin, Louis, who would later be called le Grand Dauphin, and his wife, Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria, the eldest daughter of Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria and his wife Princess Henriette Adelaide of Savoy.
Her maternal grandparents were Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy and Christine Marie de Bourbon of France, the second daughter of Henri IV of France and Marie de’ Medici, thus her husband the dauphin was her second cousin.
His father was the eldest son of the reigning king, Louis XIV and his wife Queen Maria Theresa of Spain born an Infanta of Spain and Portugal at the Royal Monastery of El Escorial, she was the daughter of Felipe IV-III of Spain and Portugal and his wife Elisabeth de Bourbon of France daughter of Henri IV of France and Marie de’ Medici.
Louis de Bourbon, Duke of Burgundy & Dauphin of France
At birth, Prince Louis received the title of Duke of Burgundy (duc de Bourgogne). In addition, as the son of the Dauphin and grandson to the king, he was a fils de France and also second in the line of succession to his grandfather, Louis XIV, after his father.
Louis grew up with his younger brothers: Philippe, Duke of Anjou, who became King Felipe V of Spain; and Charles, Duke of Berry, under the supervision of the royal governess Louise de Prie. He lost his mother when he was eight. His father, viewed as lazy and dull, never played a major role in politics.
At the age of 15, he was married to his second cousin, Princess Marie-Adélaïde of Savoy, the daughter of Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy and Anne Marie d’Orléans. She was the daughter of Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, younger brother of Louis XIV, and Henrietta of England, the youngest daughter of Charles I of England, who was the daughter of Henri IV of France and his wife Maria de Medici.
This match had been decided as part of the Treaty of Turin, which ended Franco-Savoyard conflicts during the Nine Years’ War. The wedding took place on December 7, 1697 at the Palace of Versailles.
Military career and politics
In 1702, at the age of 20, Louis was admitted by his grandfather King Louis XIV to the Conseil d’en haut (High Council), which was in charge of state secrets regarding religion, diplomacy and war. His father had been admitted only at the age of 30.
In 1708, during the War of the Spanish Succession, Louis was given command of the army in Flanders, with the experienced soldier Louis Joseph, Duke of Vendôme, serving under him. The uncertainty as to which of the two should truly command the army led to delays and the need to refer decisions to Louis XIV.
Continued indecision led to French inactivity as messages travelled between the front and Versailles; the Allies were then able to take the initiative. The culmination of this was the Battle of Oudenarde, where Louis’s mistaken choices and reluctance to support Vendôme led to a decisive defeat for the French.
In the aftermath of the defeat, his hesitation to relieve the Siege of Lille led to the loss of the city and thereby allowed the Allies to make their first incursions onto French soil.
Louis was influenced by the dévots and was surrounded by a circle of people known as the faction de Bourgogne, notably including his old tutor François Fénelon, his old governor Paul de Beauvilliers, Duke of Saint-Aignan and his brother-in-law Charles Honoré d’Albert, Duke of Chevreuse, as well as the renowned memorialist, Louis de Rouvroy, Duke of Saint-Simon.
These high-ranking aristocrats sought a return to a monarchy less absolute and less centralised, with more powers granted to the individual provinces. Their view was that government should work through councils and intermediary organs between the king and the people.
These intermediary councils were to be made up not by commoners from the bourgeoisie (like the ministers appointed by Louis XIV) but by aristocrats who perceived themselves as the representatives of the people and would assist the king in governance and the exercise of power. Had Louis succeeded to the throne, he might have applied this concept of monarchy.
Death and legacy
Louis became Dauphin of France upon the death of his father in 1711. In February 1712, his wife contracted measles and died on February 12. Louis himself, who dearly loved his wife and who had stayed by her side throughout the fatal illness, caught the disease and died six days after her at the Château de Marly on February 18 aged 29. Both of his sons also became infected.
The elder son of Louis, Duke of Burgundy, Louis, Duke of Brittany, the latest in a series of Dauphins, succumbed on March 8, leaving his brother, the two-year-old Duke of Anjou, who was later to succeed to the throne as Louis XV.
As it was thought that the chances of survival of this frail child, now heir apparent to his seventy-three-year-old great grandfather, were minimal, a potential succession crisis loomed.
Moreover, overnight the broad hopes and squabbling of the aristocrats caused this system to fail, and it was soon abandoned in 1718 in favour of a return to absolute monarchy.
From the Emperor’s Desk: Yesterday I featured Louis I, Duke of Orléans On the anniversary of his murder. Today I am featuring his son, Charles, Duke of Orléans Orléans, on the anniversary of his birth.
Charles of Orléans (November 24, 1394 – January 5, 1465) was Duke of Orléans from 1407, following the murder of his father, Louis I, Duke of Orléans. He was also Duke of Valois, Count of Beaumont-sur-Oise and of Blois, Lord of Coucy, and the inheritor of Asti in Italy via his mother Valentina Visconti
He is now remembered as an accomplished medieval poet, owing to the more than five hundred extant poems he produced, written in both French and English, during his 25 years spent as a prisoner of war and after his return to France.
Charles was born in Paris, the son of Louis I, Duke of Orléans and Valentina Visconti, daughter of Gian Galeazzo, Duke of Milan and his first wife Isabelle of Valois, a daughter of King Jean II the Good of France by his first wife, Bonne of Bohemia.
Charles acceded to the Duchy of Orléans at the age of thirteen after his father had been assassinated on the orders of Jean the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. Charles was expected to carry on his father’s leadership against the Burgundians, a French faction which supported Jean the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy.
The latter was never punished for his role in Louis’ assassination, and Charles had to watch as his grief-stricken mother Valentina Visconti succumbed to illness not long afterwards. At her deathbed, Charles and the other boys of the family were made to swear the traditional oath of vengeance for their father’s murder.
During the early years of his reign as duke, the orphaned Charles was heavily influenced by the guidance of his father-in-law, Bernard VII, Count of Armagnac, for which reason Charles’ faction came to be known as the Armagnacs.
After war with the Kingdom of England was renewed in 1415, Charles was one of the many French noblemen at the Battle of Agincourt on October 25, 1415. He was discovered unwounded but trapped under a pile of corpses. He was taken prisoner by the English, and spent the next twenty-four years as their hostage. After his capture, his entire library was moved by Yolande of Aragon to Saumur, to prevent it from falling into enemy hands.
He was held at various locations, moved from one castle to another in England, including the Tower of London, and Pontefract Castle – the castle where England’s young King Richard II, cousin once removed of the then incumbent English King Henry V, had been imprisoned and died 15 years earlier at the age of 33.
The conditions of his confinement were not strict; he was allowed to live more or less in the manner to which he had become accustomed, like so many other captured nobles. However, he was not offered release in exchange for a ransom, since the English King Henry V had left instructions forbidding any release: Charles was the natural head of the Armagnac faction and in the line of succession to the French throne, and was therefore deemed too important to be returned to circulation.
It was during these twenty-four years that Charles would write most of his poetry, including melancholy works which seem to be commenting on the captivity itself, such as En la forêt de longue attente.
The majority of his output consists of two books, one in French and the other in English, in the ballade and rondeau fixed forms. Though once controversial, it is now abundantly clear that Charles wrote the English poems which he left behind when he was released in 1440. Unfortunately, his acceptance in the English canon has been slow. A. E. B. Coldiron has argued that the problem relates to his “approach to the erotic, his use of puns, wordplay, and rhetorical devices, his formal complexity and experimentation, his stance or voice: all these place him well outside the fifteenth-century literary milieu in which he found himself in England.
One of his poems, Is she not passing fair?, was translated by Louisa Stuart Costello and set to music by Edward Elgar. Claude Debussy set three of his poems to music in his Trois Chansons de Charles d’Orléans, L.92, for unaccompanied mixed choir. Reynaldo Hahn set six of them : Les Fourriers d’été, Comment se peut-il faire ainsi, Un loyal cœur (Chansons et Madrigaux – 1907) ; Quand je fus pris au pavillon, Je me mets en votre mercy, Gardez le trait de la fenêtre (Rondels – 1899).
Finally freed in 1440 by the efforts of his former enemies, Philippe the Good and Isabella of Portugal, the Duke and Duchess of Burgundy, he set foot on French soil again after 25 years, by now a middle aged man at 46 and “speaking better English than French,” according to the English chronicler Raphael Holinshed. Philippe the Good had made it a condition that the murder of Charles’ father Louis of Orleans by Philip’s own father, Jean the Fearless, would not be avenged (Jeann himself had been assassinated in 1419.)
Charles agreed to this condition prior to his release. Meeting the Duchess of Burgundy after disembarking, the gallant Charles said: “M’Lady, I make myself your prisoner.” At the celebration of his third marriage, with Marie of Cleves, he was created a Knight of the Golden Fleece. His subsequent return to Orléans was marked by a splendid celebration organised by the citizens.
He made an unsuccessful attempt to press his claims to Asti in Italy, before settling down as a celebrated patron of the arts. He died at Amboise in his 71st year.
Marriage and children
Charles married three times. His first wife Isabella of Valois (daughter of Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria, and widow of Richard II of England), whom he married in Compiègne in 1406, and died in childbirth. Their daughter, Joan married Jean II of Alençon in 1424 in Blois.
Afterwards, in 1410 he married Bonne of Armagnac, the daughter of Bernard VII, Count of Armagnac and his wife Bonne of Berry. Bonne died before he returned from captivity. The couple had no mutual children . On his return to France in 1440, Charles married Marie of Cleves in Saint-Omer (daughter of Adolph I, Duke of Cleves and Maria of Burgundy, Duchess of Cleves (1393 – 1466) who was the second child of Jean the Fearless and Margaret of Bavaria, and an elder sister of Philippe the Good.
Maria of Burgundy became the second wife of Adolph, Count of Mark in May 1406. He was made the 1st Duke of Cleves in 1417. They were the grandparents of King Louis XII of France and the great-grandparents of Johann III, Duke of Cleves, father of Anne of Cleves, who was fourth Queen consort of Henry VIII of England. By their daughter, Catherine, they were ancestors of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Charles and Maria had three children:
Marie of Orléans (1457 – 1493). Married Jean of Foix in 1483.
Louis XII of France (1462–1515)
Anne of Orléans (1464–1491), Abbess of Fontevrault and Holy Cross Abbey Poitiers.
Louis I of Orléans (March 13, 1372 – November 23, 1407) was Duke of Orléans from 1392 to his death. He was also Duke of Touraine (1386–1392), Count of Valois (1386?–1406) Blois (1397–1407), Angoulême (1404–1407), Périgord (1400–1407) and Soissons (1404–07).
Born March 13, 1372, Louis was the second son of King Charles V of France and Joanna of Bourbon and was the younger brother of Charles VI.
Joanna of Bourbon was a daughter of Peter I, Duke of Bourbon, and Isabella of Valois, a half-sister of Philippe VI of France.
From October 1340 through at least 1343, negotiations and treaties were made for Joanna of Bourbon to marry Amadeus VI, Count of Savoy. The goal was to bring Savoy more closely into French influence. Following this she was betrothed to Humbert, Dauphin of Viennois, which also fell through.
On April 8, 1350, Joanna married her cousin, the future Charles V of France, at Tain-l’Hermitage. Since they were second cousins, their marriage required a papal dispensation. Born thirteen days apart, they both were 12 years old.
In 1374, Louis was betrothed to Catherine, heir presumptive to the throne of Hungary. Louis and Catherine were expected to reign either over Hungary or over Poland, as Catherine’s father, Louis I of Hungary, had no sons. Catherine’s father also planned to leave them his claim to the Crown of Naples and the County of Provence, which were then held by his ailing and childless cousin Joanna I.
However, Catherine’s death in 1378 ended the marriage negotiations. In 1384, Elizabeth of Bosnia started negotiating with Louis’ father about the possibility of Louis marrying her daughter Mary, notwithstanding Mary’s engagement to Sigismund of Luxembourg. If Elizabeth had made this proposal in 1378, after Catherine’s death, the fact that the French king and the Hungarian king did not recognise the same pope would have presented a problem. However, Elizabeth was desperate in 1384 and was not willing to let the schism stand in the way of the negotiations.
Antipope Clement VII issued a dispensation which annulled Mary’s betrothal to Sigismund and a proxy marriage between Louis and Mary was celebrated in April 1385. Nonetheless, the marriage was not recognised by the Hungarian noblemen who adhered to Pope Urban VI. Four months after the proxy marriage, Sigismund invaded Hungary and married Mary, which ultimately destroyed Louis’ chances to reign as King of Hungary.
Role in court and the Hundred Years’ War
Louis d’Orléansplayed an important political role during the Hundred Years’ War. In 1392, his elder brother Charles the Mad (who may have suffered from either schizophrenia, porphyria, paranoid schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) experienced the first in a lifelong series of attacks of ‘insanity’.
It soon became clear that Charles was unable to rule independently. In 1393 a regency council presided over by Queen Isabeau was formed, and Louis gained powerful influence.
Louis disputed the regency and guardianship of the royal children with Jean the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. The enmity between the two was public and a source of political unrest in the already troubled France. Louis had the initial advantage, being the brother rather than the first cousin of the king, but his reputation as a womanizer and the rumour of an affair with the queen consort Isabeau of Bavaria made him extremely unpopular.
For the following years, the children of Charles VI were successively kidnapped and recovered by both parties, until the Duke of Burgundy managed to be appointed by royal decree to be the guardian of Louis, the Dauphin and regent of France.
Louis did not give up and took every effort to sabotage Jean’s rule, including squandering the money raised for the relief of Calais, then occupied by the English. After this episode, Jean and Louis broke into open threats and only the intervention of Jean of Valois, Duke of Berry and uncle of both men, avoided a civil war.
Louis was reportedly responsible for the deaths of four dancers at a disastrous 1393 masquerade ball that became known as the Bal des Ardents (Ball of the Burning Men). The four victims were burnt alive when a torch held by Louis came too close to their highly flammable costumes. Two other dancers wearing the same costumes (one of whom was Charles VI himself) narrowly escaped a similar fate.
On Sunday, November 20, 1407, the contending Dukes exchanged solemn vows of reconciliation before the court of France. But only three days later, Louis was brutally assassinated in the streets of Paris, by the orders of the Duke of Burgundy Jean the Fearless. Louis was stabbed while mounting his horse by fifteen masked criminals led by Raoulet d’Anquetonville, a servant of the Duke of Burgundy. An attendant was severely wounded.
Jean was supported by the population of Paris and the University. He could even publicly admit the killing. Rather than deny it, Jean had the scholar Jean Petit of the Sorbonne deliver a peroration justifying the killing of tyrants.
Louis’ murder sparked a bloody feud and civil war between Burgundy and the French royal family which divided France for the next twenty-eight years, ending with the Treaty of Arras in 1435.
Marriage and issue
In 1389, Louis married Valentina Visconti, daughter of Gian Galeazzo, Duke of Milan and his first wife Isabelle of Valois, a daughter of King Jean II the Good of France by his first wife, Bonne of Bohemia.
The union produced eight children. Among them were Louis’ eldest son, Charles, Duke of Orléans (1394 – 1465), who married Marie of Cleves (daughter of Adolph I, Duke of Cleves) and was father of Louis XII, King of France.
Another son was Jean, Count of Angoulême (1399 – 1467), who was the grandfather of Francis I of France.
On September 17, 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 of the Jews against Christians, and that the prosecutors had made several investigations and discovered that the Jews broke the agreement with the king on many occasions.
Therefore, he decreed, as an irrevocable law and statute, that 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). The decree was not immediately enforced, a respite being granted to the Jews in order that they have enough time to 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 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. Philippe II 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.
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 Jean 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, Jean 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 September 10, 1419, but during the meeting, Jean the Fearless killed by Tanneguy du Chastel, a follower of the Dauphin. Jean’s successor, Philippe II 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, a situation 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 May 1420, Henry V and Charles VI signed the Treaty of Troyes, which named Henry as Charles’ successor, and stipulated that Henry’s heirs would succeed him on the throne of France. It disinherited the Dauphin Charles, then only 17 years old. (In 1421, it was implied in Burgundian propaganda that the young Charles was illegitimate.) The treaty also betrothed Charles VI’s daughter, Catherine of Valois, to Henry. Disinheriting the Dauphin in favor of Henry was a blatant act against the interests of the French aristocracy, supported by the Duke of Burgundy.
The Dauphin who had declared himself regent for his father when the Duke of Burgundy invaded Paris and captured the king, had established a court at Bourges.
Charles VI died on October 21, 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.
Henry V of England died just a few weeks before him, in August 1422, leaving an infant son, who became King Henry VI of England. Therefore, according to the Treaty of Troyes, with the death of Charles VI, little Henry became King of France. His coronation as such was in Paris (held by the English since 1418) at the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris on December 26, 1431.
The son disinherited by Charles VI, the Dauphin Charles, continued to fight to regain his kingdom. In 1429 Joan of Arc arrived on the scene. She led his forces to victory against the English, and took him to be crowned in Reims Cathedral as King Charles VII of France on July 17, 1429. He became known as “Charles the Victorious” and was able to restore the French line to the throne of France by defeating the English in 1450.
Charles VI (December 3, 1369 – October 21, 1422), called the Beloved and later the Mad, was King of France for 42 years, from 1380 until his death in 1422. He is known for his mental illness and psychotic episodes which plagued him throughout his life. Charles’s reign would see his army crushed at the Battle of Agincourt, leading to the signing of the Treaty of Troyes, which made his future son-in-law Henry V of England his regent and heir to the throne of France. However, Henry would die shortly before Charles, which gave the House of Valois the chance to continue the fight against the English, leading to their eventual victory and the end of the Hundred Years’ War in 1453.
Charles was born in Paris, in the royal residence of the Hôtel Saint-Pol, on December 3, 1368, the son of the king of France Charles V, of the House of Valois, and of Joanna of Bourbon. As heir to the French throne, his elder brothers having died before he was born, Charles held the title Dauphin of France.
At his father’s death on September 16, 1380, he inherited the throne of France. His coronation took place on November 4, 1380, at Reims Cathedral. Charles VI was only 11 years old when he was crowned King of France. During his minority, France was ruled by Charles’ uncles, as regents. Although the royal age of majority was 14 (the “age of accountability” under Roman Catholic canon law), Charles terminated the regency only at the age of 21.
The regents were Philippe the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, Louis I, Duke of Anjou, and Jean, Duke of Berry – all brothers of Charles V – along with Louis II, Duke of Bourbon, Charles VI’s maternal uncle. Philippe 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; Jean of Berry was interested mainly in the Languedoc, and not particularly interested in politics; and Louis of Bourbon was a largely unimportant figure, owing to his personality (showing signs of mental instability) and status (since he was not the son of a king).
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, 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.
Charles VI’s early successes with the Marmousets as his counselors quickly dissipated as a result of the bouts of psychosis he experienced from his mid-twenties. Mental illness may have been passed on for several generations through his mother, Joanna of Bourbon. 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. Jean 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 July 1, 1392. The progress of the army was slow, driving 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.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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. This condition has come to be known as glass delusion.
Charles VI married Isabeau of Bavaria (ca. 1371 – 24 September 1435) on July 17, 1385. She gave birth to 12 children. Isabeau of Bavaria (or Isabelle; also Elisabeth of Bavaria-Ingolstadt; c. 1370 – 1435) was queen of France between 1385 and 1422. She was born into the House of Wittelsbach as the eldest daughter of Duke Stephen III of Bavaria-Ingolstadt and Taddea Visconti of Milan. At age 15 or 16, Isabeau was sent to the young King Charles VI of France; the couple wed three days after their first meeting.
Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; September 5, 1638 – September 1, 1715), known as Louis the Great (Louis le Grand) or the Sun King (le Roi Soleil), was King of France and Navarre from May 14, 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in European history. Louis XIV’s France was emblematic of the age of absolutism in Europe.
Louis XIV was born on September 5, 1638 in the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, to Louis XIII of France and Navarre and Anne of Austria. He was named Louis Dieudonné (Louis the God-given) and bore the traditional title of French heirs apparent: Dauphin. At the time of his birth, his parents had been married for 23 years. His mother had experienced four stillbirths between 1619 and 1631. Leading contemporaries thus regarded him as a divine gift and his birth a miracle of God.
Louis XIV began his personal rule of France in 1661, after the death of his chief minister, the Italian Cardinal Mazarin. An adherent of the concept of the divine right of kings, Louis continued his predecessors’ work of creating a centralised state governed from the capital. He sought to eliminate the remnants of feudalism persisting in parts of France and, by compelling many members of the nobility to inhabit his lavish Palace of Versailles, succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy, many members of which had participated in the Fronde rebellion during his minority.
By these means he became one of the most powerful French monarchs and consolidated a system of absolute monarchy in France that endured until the French Revolution. He also enforced uniformity of religion under the Gallican Catholic Church. His revocation of the Edict of Nantes abolished the rights of the Huguenot Protestant minority and subjected them to a wave of dragonnades, effectively forcing Huguenots to emigrate or convert, and virtually destroying the French Protestant community.
Louis XIV surrounded himself with a variety of significant political, military, and cultural figures, such as Mazarin, Colbert, Louvois, the Grand Condé, Turenne, Vauban, Boulle, Molière, Racine, Boileau, La Fontaine, Lully, Charpentier, Marais, Le Brun, Rigaud, Bossuet, Le Vau, Mansart, Charles, Claude Perrault, and Le Nôtre.
During Louis’s long reign, France emerged as the leading European power and regularly asserted its military strength. A conflict with Spain marked his entire childhood, while during his reign, the kingdom took part in three major continental conflicts, each against powerful foreign alliances: the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, and the War of the Spanish Succession.
In addition, France also contested shorter wars, such as the War of Devolution and the War of the Reunions. Warfare defined Louis’s foreign policy and his personality shaped his approach. Impelled by “a mix of commerce, revenge, and pique”, he sensed that war was the ideal way to enhance his glory. In peacetime he concentrated on preparing for the next war. He taught his diplomats that their job was to create tactical and strategic advantages for the French military.
In 1658, as war with France began to wind down, a union between the royal families of Spain and France was proposed as a means to secure peace. Infanta Maria Theresa and Louis XIV were double first cousins: Louis XIV’s father was Louis XIII of France, who was the brother of Infanta Maria Theresa’s mother, while her father was brother to Anne of Austria, Louis XIV’s mother.
Spanish procrastination led to a scheme in which France’s prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin, pretended to seek a marriage for his master with Margaret Yolande of Savoy. When Felipe IV of Spain heard of a meeting at Lyon between the Houses of France and Savoy in November 1658, he reputedly exclaimed of the Franco-Savoyard union that “it cannot be, and will not be”. Felipe then sent a special envoy to the French court to open negotiations for peace and a royal marriage.
A marriage by proxy to the French king was held in Fuenterrabia. Her father and the entire Spanish court accompanied the bride to the Isle of Pheasants on the border in the Bidassoa river, where Louis and his court met her in the meeting on the Isle of Pheasants on June 7, 1660, and she entered France. On June 9, the marriage took place in Saint-Jean-de-Luz at the recently rebuilt church of Saint Jean the Baptist. After the wedding, Louis wanted to consummate the marriage as quickly as possible. The new queen’s mother-in-law (and aunt) arranged a private consummation instead of the public one that was the custom.
Louis XIV and his wife Maria Theresa of Spain had six children from the marriage contracted for them in 1660. However, only one child, the eldest, survived to adulthood: Louis, le Grand Dauphin, known as Monseigneur. Maria Theresa died in 1683, whereupon Louis remarked that she had never caused him unease on any other occasion.
Despite evidence of affection early on in their marriage, Louis was never faithful to Maria Theresa. He took a series of mistresses, both official and unofficial. Among the better documented are Louise de La Vallière (with whom he had five children; 1661–67), Bonne de Pons d’Heudicourt (1665), Catherine Charlotte de Gramont (1665), Françoise-Athénaïs, Marquise de Montespan (with whom he had seven children; 1667–80), Anne de Rohan-Chabot (1669–75), Claude de Vin des Œillets (one child born in 1676), Isabelle de Ludres (1675–78), and Marie Angélique de Scorailles (1679–81), who died at age 19 in childbirth. Through these liaisons, he produced numerous illegitimate children, most of whom he married to members of cadet branches of the royal family.
Louis proved relatively more faithful to his second wife, Françoise d’Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon. He first met her through her work caring for his children by Madame de Montespan, noting the care she gave to his favorite, Louis Auguste, Duke of Maine. The king was, at first, put off by her strict religious practice, but he warmed to her through her care for his children.
When he legitimized his children by Madame de Montespan on December 20, 1673, Françoise d’Aubigné became the royal governess at Saint-Germain. As governess, she was one of very few people permitted to speak to him as an equal, without limits. It is believed that they were married secretly at Versailles on or around October 10, 1683 or January 1684. This marriage, though never announced or publicly discussed, was an open secret and lasted until his death.
Despite the image of a healthy and virile king that Louis sought to project, evidence exists to suggest that his health was not very good. He had many ailments: for example, symptoms of diabetes, as confirmed in reports of suppurating periostitis in 1678, dental abscesses in 1696, along with recurring boils, fainting spells, gout, dizziness, hot flushes, and headaches.
From 1647 to 1711, the three chief physicians to the king (Antoine Vallot, Antoine d’Aquin, and Guy-Crescent Fagon) recorded all of his health problems in the Journal de Santé du Roi (Journal of the King’s Health), a daily report of his health. On November 18, 1686, Louis underwent a painful operation for an anal fistula that was performed by the surgeon Charles Felix de Tassy, who prepared a specially shaped curved scalpel for the occasion. The wound took more than two months to heal.
Louis died of gangrene at Versailles on September 1, 1715, four days before his 77th birthday, after 72 years on the throne. Enduring much pain in his last days, he finally “yielded up his soul without any effort, like a candle going out”, while reciting the psalm Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina (O Lord, make haste to help me). His body was laid to rest in Saint-Denis Basilica outside Paris. It remained there undisturbed for about 80 years, until revolutionaries exhumed and destroyed all of the remains found in the Basilica.
Louis outlived most of his immediate legitimate family. His last surviving in-wedlock son, Louis. the Grand Dauphin, died in 1711. Barely a year later, Louis, Duke of Burgundy, the eldest of the Dauphin’s three sons and then heir to Louis XIV, followed his father to the grave. Burgundy’s elder son, Louis, Duke of Brittany, joined them a few weeks later. Thus, on his deathbed, Louis’ heir was his five-year-old great-grandson, Louis, Duke of Anjou, Burgundy’s younger son, who became King Louis XV.
Louis, Duke of Burgundy (August 16, 1682 – February 18, 1712), was the eldest son of Louis, Grand Dauphin, and grandson of the reigning French monarch, King Louis XIV of France and Navarre. He was known as the “Petit Dauphin” to distinguish him from his father, until his father died in April 1711. At that time he became the official Dauphin of France. He died in 1712 before his grandfather, the King. Upon the death of Louis XIV in 1715, the Duke of Burgundy’s son became King Louis XV.
Louis, Duke of Burgundy, “Petit Dauphin” of France
Louis was born in the Palace of Versailles, the eldest son of the young 21-year-old Dauphin, Louis, who would later be called le Grand Dauphin, and his wife, Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria, the eldest daughter of Ferdinand-Maria, Elector of Bavaria and his wife Princess Henriette-Adelaide of Savoy. Her maternal grandparents were Victor-Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy and Christine-Marie of France, the second daughter of Henri IV of France and Marie de’ Medici, thus her husband the dauphin was her second cousin.
Louis’s father was the eldest son of King Louis XIV of France, by then at the height of his powers at age 44. At birth, he received the title of Duke of Burgundy (duc de Bourgogne). In addition, as the son of the Dauphin and grandson to the king, he was a fils de France and also second in the line of succession to his grandfather, Louis XIV after his father.
Louis XIV, King of France and Navarre. (Grandfather)
Louis grew up with his younger brothers: Philippe, Duke of Anjou, who became King Felipe V of Spain; and Charles, Duke of Berry, under the supervision of the royal governess Louise de Prie. He lost his mother when he was eight. His father, viewed as lazy and dull, never played a major role in politics.
At the age of 15, Louis, Duke of Burgundy, was married to Marie-Adélaïde of Savoy (December 6, 1685 – February 12, 1712) the eldest daughter of Victor-Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy, and of Anne-Marie d’Orléans. Anne-Marie d’Orléans was the daughter of Philippe I, Duke of Orléans and Henrietta of England. Philippe I, Duke of Orléans was the younger brother of Louis XIV. Henrietta of England was the youngest daughter of Charles I of England and Henrietta-Maria of France who was the youngest daughter of Henri IV of France (Henri III of Navarre) and his second wife, Marie de’ Medici.
Marie-Adélaïde of Savoy
This made Louis, Duke of Burgundy, and Marie-Adélaïde of Savoy were second cousins. This match had been decided as part of the Treaty of Turin, which ended Franco-Savoyard conflicts during the Nine Years’ War. The wedding took place on December 7, 1697 at the Palace of Versailles.
Military career and politics
In 1702, at the age of twenty, Louis was admitted by his grandfather King Louis XIV to the Conseil d’en haut (High Council), which was in charge of state secrets regarding religion, diplomacy and war. His father had been admitted only at the age of thirty.
In 1708, during the War of the Spanish Succession, Louis was given command of the army in Flanders, with the experienced soldier Louis-Joseph, Duke of Vendôme, (great-grandson of Henri IV of France via an illegitimate line) serving under him. The uncertainty as to which of the two should truly command the army led to delays and the need to refer decisions to Louis XIV.
Continued indecision led to French inactivity as messages travelled between the front and Versailles; the Allies were then able to take the initiative. The culmination of this was the Battle of Oudenarde, where Louis’s mistaken choices and reluctance to support Vendôme led to a decisive defeat for the French. In the aftermath of the defeat, his hesitation to relieve the Siege of Lille led to the loss of the city and thereby allowed the Allies to make their first incursions onto French soil.
Louis, le Grand Dauphin. (Father)
Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria (Mother)
Louis was influenced by the dévots and was surrounded by a circle of people known as the faction de Bourgogne (Burgundy’s faction), which was most notably made up of his old tutor François Fénelon, his old governor Paul de Beauvilliers, Duke of Saint-Aignan and his brother-in-law Charles Honoré d’Albert, Duke of Chevreuse, as well as the renowned memorialist, Louis de Rouvroy, Duke of Saint-Simon.
These high-ranking aristocrats sought a return to a monarchy less absolute and less centralised, with more powers granted to the individual provinces. Their view was that government should work through councils and intermediary organs between the king and the people. These intermediary councils were to be made up not by commoners from the bourgeoisie (like the ministers appointed by Louis XIV) but by aristocrats who perceived themselves as the representatives of the people and would assist the king in governance and the exercise of power. Had Louis succeeded to the throne, he might have applied this concept of monarchy.
Death and legacy
Louis became Dauphin of France upon the death of his father in 1711. In February 1712, his wife contracted measles and died on February 12. Louis himself, who dearly loved his wife and who had stayed by her side throughout the fatal illness, caught the disease and died six days after her at the Château de Marly on February 18, aged 29. Both of his sons also became infected. The elder, Louis, Duke of Brittany, the latest in a series of Dauphins, succumbed to the disease on March 8, leaving his brother, the two-year-old Louis, Duke of Anjou, who was later to succeed to the throne as Louis XV.
Since, however, it was thought that the chances of survival of this frail child, now heir apparent to his seventy-three-year-old great grandfather, were minimal, a potential succession crisis loomed.
Moreover, overnight the broad hopes of the faction de Bourgogne were destroyed and its members would soon die of natural deaths. Nonetheless, some of their ideas were put into practice when, Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, as regent during Louis XV’s minority, created a form of government known as polysynody, where each ministry was replaced by a council composed of aristocrats. However, the absenteeism, ineptitude and squabbling of the aristocrats caused this system to fail, and it was soon abandoned in 1718 in favour of a return to absolute monarchy.
1. Louis, Duke of Brittany (June 25, 1704 – April 13, 1705) died of convulsions;
2. Louis, Duke of Brittany (January 9, 1707 – March 8, 1712) died of measles;
3. Louis XV of France (February 15, 1710 – 10 May 1774) first engaged to Infanta Mariana-Victoria of Spain; married Marie Leszczyńska and had issue; died of smallpox.
The Sancy Diamond, a pale yellow diamond of 55.23 carats (11.046 g), was once reputed to have belonged to the Mughals of antiquity, but it is more likely of Indian origin owing to its cut, which is unusual by Western standards.
The Sancy Diamond
The shield-shaped stone comprises two back-to-back crowns (the typical upper half of a stone) but lacks any semblance to a pavilion (the lower portion of a stone, below the girdle or midsection).
The Sancy’s known history began circa 1570. Several sources state it belonged to Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy (1433-1477) In 1495 the diamond passed to Charles the Bold’s cousin King Manuel I of Portugal (1469-1521 When Portugal was threatened to come under Spanish rule, claimant António, Prior of Crato fled the country with the bulk of the Portuguese Crown Jewels. He spent his life trying to get allies to regain the Portuguese throne in the French and English courts, and sold the diamond to Nicolas de Harlay, Seignure de Sancy.
Other sources claim that the diamond was purchased in Constantinople by de Sancy. He was popular in the French Court and was later French Ambassador to Turkey. Something of a gem connoisseur, de Sancy used his knowledge to prosperous advantage.
Henri IV, King of France and Navarre
Henri III of France (1551-1589) suffered from premature baldness and tried to conceal this fact by wearing a cap. As diamonds were becoming increasingly fashionable at the time, Henri arranged to borrow de Sancy’s diamond to decorate his cap. Henri IV (1553-1610) also borrowed the stone, for the more practical purpose of using it as security for financing an army. Legend has it that a messenger carrying the jewel never reached his destination, but de Sancy (by then Superintendent of Finance) was convinced that the man was loyal and had a search conducted until the site of the messenger’s robbery and murder was found. When the body was disinterred, the jewel was found in the faithful man’s stomach.
De Sancy later sold the diamond to James I-VI of England, Scotland and Ireland (1566-1625) in March 1605 when it is thought the Sancy acquired its name. It weighed 53 carats and cost 60,000 French crowns. It was described in the Tower of London’s 1605 Inventory of Jewels as “…one fayre dyamonde, cut in fawcetts, bought of Sauncy.” James had it set into the Mirror of Great Britain, with diamonds from the Great H of Scotland.
James II-VII, King of England, Scotland and Ireland
The Sancy was briefly possessed by Charles I, King of England, Scotland and Ireland (1600-1649) and then by his third son James II-VII, King of England, Scotland and Ireland (1633-1701). Beleaguered after a devastating defeat, James took shelter under Louis XIV of France and Navarre (1638-1715) fickle host who tired of his exiled guest. Facing destitution, James had no choice but to sell the Sancy to Cardinal Mazarin in 1657 for the reported sum of £25,000. The cardinal bequeathed the diamond to the king upon his death in 1661.
The Sancy was thus domiciled in France. In 1722 a new crown was created for King Louis XV (1710-1774). It was used at his coronation and was embellished with diamonds from the Royal Collection. The new crown was made by Laurent Ronde, the French Crown jeweller.
Crown of Louis XV
It originally contained a collection of Mazarin Diamonds, Including the Sancy diamond in the fleur-de-lis at the top of the arches, and the famous ‘Regent’ diamond, which was set in the front of the crown, as well as hundreds of other precious diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires.
Louis XV, King of France and Navarre
The Sancy Diamond disappeared during the French Revolution when brigands raided the Garde Meuble (Royal Treasury). As well as the Sancy, other treasures stolen were the Regent diamond, and the French Blue diamond which is known today as the Hope diamond.
The Sancy was in the collection of Vasiliy Rudanovsky until 1828 when purchased by Prince Demidoff for £80,000. It remained in the Demidov family collection until 1865 when sold to Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, an Indian prince, for £100,000. He sold it only a year later, creating another gap in its history. It reappeared in 1867, displayed at the Paris Exposition, carrying a price tag of one million francs; the gem then vanished again for forty years.
The Sancy Diamond with the French Crown Jewels
The Sancy next surfaced in 1906 when bought by William Waldorf Astor, 1st Viscount Astor, from famous Russian collector A.K.Rudanovsky. The prominent Astor family possessed it for 72 years until the 4th Viscount Astor sold it to the Louvre for $1 million in 1978. The Sancy now rests in the Apollo Gallery, sharing attention with the likes of the Regent and the Hortensia Diamonds.
Maximilian I (March 22, 1459 – January 12, 1519) was Holy Roman Emperor from 1508 until his death. Maximilian was the son of Friedrich III, Holy Roman Emperor, and Eleanor of Portugal, daughter of King Duarte of Portugal and his wife Infanta Eleanor of Aragon. Maximilian was born at Wiener Neustadt on March 22, 1459. His father named him for an obscure saint, Maximilian of Tebessa, whom Friedrich believed had once warned him of imminent peril in a dream.
Friedrich III, Holy Roman Emperor and Infanta Eleanor of Portugal
At the time, the dukes of Burgundy, a cadet branch of the French royal family, with their sophisticated nobility and court culture, were the rulers of substantial territories on the eastern and northern boundaries of France. The reigning duke, Charles the Bold, was the chief political opponent of Maximilian’s father Friedrich III. Friedrich was concerned about Burgundy’s expansive tendencies on the western border of his Holy Roman Empire, and, to forestall military conflict, he attempted to secure the marriage of Charles the Bold’s only daughter, Mary of Burgundy, to his son Maximilian. After the Siege of Neuss (1474–75), he was successful. The wedding between Maximilian and Mary took place on August 19, 1477.
Mary, Duchess of Burgundy
Maximilian’s wife had inherited the large Burgundian domains in France and the Low Countries upon her father’s death in the Battle of Nancy on 5 January 1477. Already before his coronation as the King of the Romans in 1486, Maximilian decided to secure this distant and extensive Burgundian inheritance to his family, the House of Habsburg, at all costs.
The Duchy of Burgundy was also claimed by the French crown under Salic Law, with Louis XI of France vigorously contesting the Habsburg claim to the Burgundian inheritance by means of military force. Maximilian undertook the defence of his wife’s dominions from an attack by Louis XI and defeated the French forces at Guinegate, the modern Enguinegatte, on August 7, 1479.
Maximilian and Mary’s wedding contract stipulated that their children would succeed them but that the couple could not be each other’s heirs. Mary tried to bypass this rule with a promise to transfer territories as a gift in case of her death, but her plans were confounded. After Mary’s death in a riding accident on March 27, 1482 near the Wijnendale Castle, Maximilian’s aim was now to secure the inheritance to his and Mary’s son, Philipp the Handsome.
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian ruled jointly with his father for the last ten years of the latter’s reign, from c. 1483 to his father’s death in 1493. Maximilian was elected King of the Romans on February 16, 1486 in Frankfurt-am-Main at his father’s initiative and crowned on April 9, 1486 in Aachen. He became Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire upon the death of his father in 1493. He was never crowned by the pope, as the journey to Rome was always too risky. He was instead proclaimed Emperor Elect by Pope Julius II at Trent, thus breaking the long tradition of requiring a papal coronation for the adoption of the imperial title.