Charles VII - name

info :  Charles VII - 1403 - 1461 - Roi de France

 

Charles VII King of France 1403 - 1461
( born in Paris February 22, 1403 )


 

Antonin dans le rôle de Charles VII

Antonin
alias Charles VII

Charles VII
Kinf of France

Born in Paris 22 Feb. 1403, Charles was the fifth son of Charles VI of France and Isabelle of Bavaria. His four elder brothers — Charles (1386), Charles (1392–1401), Louis (1397–1415) and John (1398–1417) — had each held the title of Dauphin of France, heir to the French throne, in turn; each had died childless, leaving Charles with a rich inheritance of titles, and little else besides.

Almost immediately after his accession to the title of Dauphin, Charles was forced to face the threat to his inheritance, being forced to flee Paris in May 1418 after the soldiers of John the Fearless Duke of Burgundy attempted to capture the city. In the following year, Charles attempted to make a reconciliation between himself and the Duke, meeting him and swearing peace on a bridge at Pouilly, near Melun, in July 1419. This proving insufficient, the two met again on 10 September 1419, on the bridge at Montereau. The Duke, despite previous history, proved over-trusting in his young cousin, assuming the meeting to be entirely peaceful and diplomatic, and bringing with him only a small escort; the Dauphin's men reacted to the Duke's arrival, however, by setting upon him and killing him. Charles's level of involvement remained questionable ever afterwards: although he claimed to have been unaware of his men's intentions, it was considered unlikely by those who heard of the murder, and furthered the feud between the family of Charles VI and the Dukes of Burgundy.

 

Couronnement de Charles VII

Cathédrale Reims

Agnés Sorel Mâitresse du Roi

Château de Chinon

Crowning of
Charles VII

Cathedral of Reims

Agnes Sorel
Mistress of Charles VII

Château
de Chinon


In his adolescent years, Charles was noted for his bravery and style of leadership: at one point after becoming Dauphin, he led an army against the English, dressed in the red, white and blue that represented France; his heraldic device was a mailed fist clutching a naked sword. However, two events in 1421 broke his confidence: he was forced, to his great shame, to withdraw from battle against Henry V of England; Humiliated, and in fear of his life, the Dauphin had fled to the protection of Yolande of Aragon, the so-called Queen of the Four Kingdoms, in southern France, where he was protected by the forceful and proud Queen Yolande, who married him to her daughter, Marie. On the death of Charles's insane father, Charles VI, the succession was cast into doubt: if the Dauphin was legitimate, then he was the rightful heir to the throne, but if not, the heir was the Duke of Orleans, in English captivity; in addition to which, the Treaty of Troyes, signed by Charles VI in 1421, ordered that the throne pass to Henry VI of England, the son of the recently deceased Henry V by Catherine of Valois, daughter of Charles VI. None of the three candidates had an unquestionable claim to the throne; the English, however, being already in control of northern France, including Paris, were able to enforce their King’s claim in those parts of France they occupied. Northern France was thus ruled by an English regent to Henry VI based in Normandy.

Charles, unsurprisingly, refused to allow his nephew to succeed rather than himself, and claimed the title King of France for himself; by indecision and a sense of hopelessness, he failed to make any attempts to throw the English out. Instead, he remained in southern France, where he was still able to exert some small amount of power, maintaining an itinerant court in the Loire Valley at castles such as Chinon being customarily known as "Dauphin".
 

Isabeau de Bavière Mère du Roi Charles VII

Marie d'Anjou

la Reine Marie et ses dames de parage

le Dauphin future Roi Louis XI

Isabeau de Bavière
Mother of
 Charles VII

Marie d'Anjou
wife of Charles VII

Queen Marie
and her
Ladies in waiting

 The Dauphin
 future  Louis XI

 

In 1429, however, came a change. Orleans had been under siege since October 1428; the English regent, the Duke of Bedford (uncle of Henry VI) was advancing into the Duchy of Bar, ruled by Charles's brother-in-law, Rene; the French lords and soldiers loyal to Charles were becoming increasingly desperate; and in the little village of Domrémy, on the border between Lorraine and Champagne, a teenage girl named Jeanne D'Arc ("Joan of Arc"), believing she had been given a divine mission by God, demanded of the Duke of Lorraine  the soldiers and resources necessary to bring her to Chinon, and the Dauphin. Granted an escort of five veteran soldiers and a letter of referral to Charles by the governor of Vaucouleurs, Robert Baudricourt, Jeanne rode to Chinon, where Charles was in residence, arriving there on 10 March.

What followed would later pass into legend. When Jeanne arrived at Chinon, Charles—testing Jeanne's claim to recognize him despite having never seen him—disguised himself as one of his courtiers, and stood in their midst when Jeanne (who was herself dressed in men's clothing) entered the chamber. Jeanne, immediately identifying him, bowed low to him and embraced his knees, declaring "God give you a happy life, sweet King!" Despite attempts to claim that another man was in fact the King, Charles was eventually forced to admit that he was indeed such. Thereafter Jeanne referred to him as "Dauphin" or "Gentle Dauphin" until he was crowned in Reims four months later.

One of the important facts that aided in the ultimate success of Charles VII was the support from the powerful and wealthy family of his wife Marie d'Anjou (1404–63), particularly his mother-in-law the Queen Yolande of Aragon. Despite whatever affection he had for his wife, the great love of Charles VII's life was his mistress, Agnés Sorel.

After the French won the Battle of Patay, Charles was crowned King Charles VII of France on 17 July 1429, in Reims Cathedral. Over the following two decades, King Charles VII recaptured Paris from the English and eventually recovered all of France with the exception of the northern port of Calais.

 

lettre du Roi

Alégorie de la victoire de Charles à Castillon 1453

a Letter of King Charles VII

Charles VII Alegory Victory
Castillon 1453


Charles's later years were marked by increasing hostility between himself and his heir, Louis. Louis demanded real power to accompany his position as the Dauphin; Charles refused. Accordingly, Louis stirred dissent and made plots in attempts to destabilise his father, and quarrelled with his father's mistress, Agnés Sorel. Eventually, in 1446, after Charles's final son, also named Charles, was born, the King banished the Dauphin to the Dauphiny. The two never met again; Louis thereafter refused the King's demands that he return to court, eventually fleeing to the protection of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in 1456.

In 1458, Charles became ill: The King summoned his son, the Dauphin, to him from his exile in Burgundy; the Dauphin refused, and employed astrologers to foretell the exact hour of his father's death.

Finally, however, there came a point in the July of 1461 when the King's physicians concluded that Charles would not live past August. Ill and weary, the King became delirious, convinced that he was surrounded by traitors loyal only to his son; under the pressure of sickness and fever, the King went mad. By now another infection in his jaw had caused a tumour in his mouth; the swelling of this became so large that, for the last week of his life, Charles could swallow no food or water. Although he asked the Dauphin to come to his deathbed, Louis refused, instead waiting for his father to die at Avesnes, in Burgundy.

Although Charles VII's legacy is far overshadowed by the deeds and eventual martyrdom of Joan of Arc, he himself was also responsible for successes unprecedented in the history of the Kingdom of France. When he died, France was for the first time since the Carolingian Emperors united under one ruler, and possessed its first standing army, which in time would yield the powerful gendarme cavalry companies, notable in the wars of the sixteenth century; he had also established the University of Poitiers in 1432, and his policies had brought some economic prosperity to his subjects. His rule as a monarch had at times been marked by indecisiveness and inaction, and his ending years marked by hostility between himself and his son; nonetheless, it is to his credit that he left his kingdom in condition better than he had found it in.
 


King Charles VII died on 22 July 1461

buried at Basilica Cathedral St Denis (Paris, France)



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