Kings, Emperors and Presidents of France Part 3 : The Capetian dynasty and the Valois.

With the death of Louis V, the last Carolingian ruler, his dynasty ended. It is the beginning of the Capetian Dynasty, which will be divided into several houses ( or branches ) : The direct Capetian ( main branch ), the Valois and the Bourbons. The Valois are themselves divided into smaller branches, the d’Orléans and the Angoulême.

Huges I Capet (987-996 ), grandson of Robert I is elected King of the Franks after the death of Louis V the Lazy.

Robert II the Pious ( 996-1031 ), is crowned in December 996, two months after the death of his father.

Henri I ( 1031-1060 ), son of Robert II the Pious.

Philippe I ( 1060-1108 ), is crowned at the age of 8 when is father Henri I died. Baldwin V of Flanders, uncle of the new King is the regent until he comes of age to rule.

Louis VI the Fat ( 1108-1137 ), son of Philippe I.

Louis VII the Young ( 1137-1180 ), like his grandfather Philippe I, the new King is too young to rule by himself his kingdom. Sauger, prime minister, take the regency.

Philippe II Auguste ( 1180-1223 ), son of Louis VII. He is the first ruler to use the title King of France and no longer King of the Franks.

Louis VIII the Lion ( 1223-1226), son of Philippe II take the throne after his father’s death. He died of illness during a military campaign.

Louis IX the Just ( 1226-1270 ) also know as Saint-Louis , is only 11 when he access his father’s throne. The regent is his mother, Blanche of Castille. He died of the same illness his father had, dysentery.

Philippe III the Bold ( 1270-1285 ), son of Saint-Louis.

Philippe IV the Fair ( 1285-1314 ), son of Philippe III. He was King of Navarre by marriage with Queen Jeanne I before being King of France.

Louis X the Quarreler ( 1314-1316 ), son of Philippe IV, died while his wife was pregnant.

Jean I the Posthumous ( November 1316-November 1316 ), was crowned the day of his birth and he died four days later. He is the only case of this sort in the history of France. Between the death of his father and his birth, Philippe of Poitier became regent.

Philippe V the Tall ( 1316-1322 ) is the brother of Louis X and became King of France after the death of his sibling’s only son, Jean I, for whom he was the regent but known as Philippe de Poitier. He died without an heir.

Charles IV the Fair ( 1322-1328 ), third brother of Louis X, is crowned when his older brother Philippe V died. He died six years later without an male heir. His delicate succession is among the many reasons of the One Hundred Year War.

After the death of Charles IV the Fair, Philippe of Valois became regent while the Queen was pregnant. If the child to be born is a boy, he will be King but Blanche of France was born.This delicate situation put an end to the main Capetian branch and was the beginning of the Valois.

Philippe VI the Catholic ( 1328-1350 ), nephew of Philippe IV the Fair (not the last King Charles IV the Fair ) was crowned when his cousin Charles IV’s posthumous girl was born. Edward the Third of England, grandson of Charles IV the Fair, claimed the throne of France. It is the beginning of the One Hundred Year War.

Jean II the Good ( 1350-1364 ), son of Philippe VI. During the battle of Poitier in 1356, he was captured by the English and died 8 years later in London.

Charles V the Wise ( 1364-1380 ), son of Jean II. The death of his wife Jeanne de Bourbon weakened him until his death in September 1380.

Charles VI the Beloved (1380-1422 ), son of Charles V, he died of madness in 1392. Charles VI was also named the Mad.

Charles VII the Victorious ( 1422-1461 ), son of Charles VI. His accession to the throne was contested by the English ( during the One Hundred Year War ). He waited 1429 to access his father’s throne with the help of Joan of Arcs.

Louis XI the Prudent ( 1461-1483 ), son of Charles VII. During his reign, he dealt with the duke of Burgundy and annexed his lands.

Charles VIII the Affable ( 1483-1498 ), the only son of Louis XI. He lost his father’s conquest ( Burgundy, duchy of Artois among others ) and died at the age of 27 after a accident during a real tennis game ( the sport of the Kings, le jeu de paume ) where the King hit a stone door. He died without a son.

Louis XII the Father of the People ( 1498-1515 ), was a cousin of Charles VIII. Before being King of France, Louis XII was Duke of Orléans. He was a Valois-Orléans. He died without a son.

François I the Father of the Letters ( 1515-1547 ), cousin of Louis XII. He is consider as a notable King of the French Renaissance and certainly one of the most notorious King. His reign was full of military and diplomatic acts. He died of a disease in 1547. He belongs to branch of Valois-Angoulême.

Henri II ( 1547-1559 ), son of François I. To celebrate the union of his daughter Elizabeth with King Felipe II of Spain, he organized a huge tournament in which he was hurt. He died ten days later due to the wounds. Henri II was a Valois-Angoulême.

François II ( 1559-1560 ), son of Henri II. He was married to Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland. Despite his short reign, François II was a major character to the French wars of religion. It is said that his mother, Catherine De’ Medici, poisoned him. François II did not have a son. He was a Valois-Angoulême.

Charles IX ( 1560-1574 ), inherited the throne after the death of his brother François II. He died of a disease in 1574. He was a Valois-Angoulême.

Henri III ( 1574-1589 ), brother of François II and Charles IX. Before being King of France, he was know as Henryk Walezy, monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth ( King of Poland and Grand-Duke of Lithuania ). He was murdered in 1589. Henri III was a Valois-Angoulême and the last of Capetian dynasty of the Valois.

When Henri III died without any son to inherit his crown, the Valois Kings disappeared. The next heir to the throne is Henri de Bourbon ( Henri III of Navarre ), a direct descendant of King Saint-Louis ( eleven generations earlier ). Henri de Bourbon took the throne with name of Henri IV, the first of the Bourbon branch of the Capetian dynasty which will come in the next article. 

Do not forget to read the first part and second part  of the story of the Kings of France!

By Alister

Studying at the University of Besançon, Burgundy Franche-Comté, France

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