Arthur III of Brittany, Duchy of Brittany, Earl of Richmond, Henry IV of England, John IV of Brittany, Kingdom of England, Peter II of Brittany
Pierre II (1418–1457), was Duke of Brittany, Count of Montfort and titularEarl of Richmond, from 1450 to his death. He was son of Duke Jean VI and Jeanne of France, a daughter of Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria. Pierre II was a younger brother of François I, Duke of Brittany.
While Pierre II was Count of Guingamp, he fought against the English in Normandy in 1449 and in 1450 with his brother, François I, Duke of Brittany, and his uncle the Constable de Richemont.
They took several cities, including Coutances, Saint-Lô and Ferns. Upon the death of his brother in 1450, Peter became Duke. Since François did not have a son, according to the provisions of the first Treaty of Guerande (1365) that did not allow the succession of girls, he appointed Pierre in preference to his own daughters, Margaret and Marie, to succeed him.
Pierre II then pursued the murderers of his other brother, Gilles.
By 1455, Pierre II and his wife, Françoise d’Amboise, had failed to produce offspring. Given the health problems of Pierre II, this raised the question of succession. To prevent the throne of Brittany from falling into foreign hands, the Duke decided to marry his niece, Margaret, the eldest daughter of his deceased brother François, to his cousin, François, Count of Étampes.
To seal the marriage, the Duke summoned the Estates of Brittany, a sovereign court, at Vannes to meet on November 13, 1455, in the upper room of la Cohue. The court, composed of the main Breton lords bishops, abbots and representatives of cities approved the marriage.
The wedding started on November 16 with a grand mass in Saint Peter’s cathedral in Vannes, presided over by the Bishop of Nantes, Guillaume de Malestroit. Further celebrations subsequently took place including banquets, dances and jousts.
During dinner, the Duke led the newly espoused lady to a room in the Hermine, where she sat in the middle of the canopy … The Duke dined in the room with the main Lords … The Duke had the groom near him, under his canopy … After dinner, at about four hours, the dance began with the high minstrels.
The Duke led the Lady Malestroit, Monsieur de Laval led the duchess, other Lords led other Ladies, and continued to dance to the night … The next day the games began, which lasted four days; and after the Lords had passed the time in great joy and feasts they left Vennes.
The relatively short reign of the Duke did not make a mark on history. His contemporaries described Pierre II as simple, well advised by his wife, but little suited to the ducal function, heavy mind as body, prone to mood swings.
He participated in the Battle of Castillon in 1453. While he was still only Count of Guingamp, he had a tomb carved from himself in the Notre-Dame de Nantes which was lost during the French Revolution.
It is said that, in 1803, when the church was being destroyed, the engineer Pierre Fournier opened the tomb but found only a mannequin. It is unknown whether the Duke was actually buried in the tomb.
In June 1442 Pierre married Françoise d’Amboise (1427–1485), daughter of Louis d’Amboise, Viscount of Thouars and Prince of Talmond, Françoise was later beatified by the Catholic Church. The marriage never produced any children.
Pierre II died in 1457 with no known issue. He was succeeded by his uncle Arthur who became Arthur III, Duke of Brittany.
Arthur III, Duke of Brittany, was more commonly known as Arthur de Richemont. The name Richemont reflects the fact that he inherited the English title of Earl of Richmond, which was held by previous dukes of Brittany, but his tenure was never recognized by the English crown.
Arthur III was a younger son of Duke Jean IV of Brittany and his third wife Joanna of Navarre. Joanna was a daughter of King Charles II of Navarre and Jeanne of France (the daughter of Jean II of France [called The Good], and his first wife, Bonne of Luxembourg).
Joanna of Navarre was later Queen of England by marriage to King Henry IV. She served as regent of Brittany from 1399 until 1403 during the minority of her son. She also served as regent of England during the absence of her stepson, Henry V, in 1415.
After the death of Arthur’s father, the English Crown refused to recognize his heirs as earls. Nevertheless, they continued to style themselves “Count of Richmond”, while the English title was given to John Plantagenet, Duke of Bedford (1389–1435) in 1414.