GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 1999-03 > 0920924197
From: John Carmi Parsons <>
Subject: Re:Subject: Re: Catherine of Valois / legitimacy of Henry VI
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 15:16:37 -0500 (EST)
On Mon, 8 Mar 1999 Michelle.Murphy% wrote:
>>The last-born was a son, Philip, who died at birth on 10 November 1407; he
>>was popularly thought to have been fathered by Charles VI's brother Louis
>>d'Orleans, who was murdered one evening very shortly afterward when he was
>>leaving Isabeau's residence after having supper with her.
> Were there any children between Charles VII and Philip? I'm surprised that
> Charles VI and Isabeau had been living as man and wife to any extent at that
> stage, particularly as he was mad during the period between Charles VII and
> Philip's births.
No children are known to have been born between Charles VII and Philip.
> Also Isabeau would have been quite old at this stage, as it was 18 years after
> the birth of her first child, Isabelle.
Age was not necessarily a significant factor in medieval aristocratic women's
childbearing. Many bore children well into their 40s--Eleanor of Aquitaine
was very likely as old as 45 when she had her last child, Isabella of
Angouleme (King John's widow) married her second husband at 32 and bore him at
least 9 children so she was surely past 40 when she stopped having children,
and Eleanor of Castile was 43. If we are correct in believing that Philippa of
Hainault was born in 1310, she would also have been in her mid-40s when she
bore her last child. In any event, Isabeau is usually said to have been b. ca
1370, which is consistent with the date of her marriage; so in 1407 she would
have been in her late 30s, which is by no means beyond the point of no return
when it came to childbearing.
>>But remember, there were plenty of other Valois and Bourbons too, so the mere
>>fact that Louis XI might not have been a true Valois would not of itself have
>>opened the door to Edward IV.
> True, but I'm just surprised that any king, particularly one whose father had to
> win his throne back in war, would feel secure enough to reveal that he was not
> quite sure of his legitimacy. And remember, it's not as though Isabeau had ANY
> claim to the French throne herself, so if Charles VII was not Charles VI's son,
> he might effectively be saying that he had no right whatsoever to the French
> throne. Even if his father was Louis Duke of Orleans, that would still make him
> illegitimate, and the next legitimate male heir would be Charles Duke of Orleans
> (Louis's legitimate son, some years older than Charles VII).
> So no matter which way you look at it, Louis XI was surely making a severe
> misstep by making such a comment, one which is incongruous given his reputation
> as being so wily that he was known as the "spider of Europe"!
The 100 Years' War was not fought over the legitimacy of Charles VII but over
Edward III's claim to the French throne through his mother. No matter which
way we cut it, Louis XI was the *de facto* king of France; like Charles VII
(whose claim was "disinfected" by Joan of Arc), Louis XI had been accepted by
the French nobility and the Church and anointed with celestial balsam from the
Holy Ampulla. Nothing could undo that. (Cf. Henry VI of England's poor little
coronation as king of France in Paris, which did him no good at all.)
I rather suspect that by openly denigrating Isabeau in this way and suggesting
that he himself was not a true Valois, Louis XI was really demonstrating the
strengths of his own position. Remember, he was the king who ended the 100
Years' War once and for all. And, upon the death of Charles the Rash of
Burgundy, Louis re-united that rich fief to the Crown. Louis was in the
strongest position of any king of France since Philip IV and he could afford
to poke some grim fun at himself. There weren't many around who would have
dared laugh at him. With him, maybe, but definitely not at him.
|Re:Subject: Re: Catherine of Valois / legitimacy of Henry VI by John Carmi Parsons <>|