Fact of the day: 21st October

On this day in 1422 Charles VI of France (b. 1368) died.

Charles VI called the Beloved and the Mad was King of France from 1380 to his death. He was a member of the House of Valois.

Charles VI was only 11 when he inherited the throne in the midst of the Hundred Years’ War. The government was entrusted to his four uncles: Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy; John, Duke of Berry; Louis I, Duke of Anjou; and Louis II, Duke of Bourbon. Although the royal age of majority was fixed at 14 (the “age of accountability” under Roman Catholic canon law), the dukes maintained their grip on Charles until he took power at the age of 21.

During the rule of his uncles, the financial resources of the kingdom, painstakingly built up by his father Charles V, were squandered for the personal profit of the dukes, whose interests were frequently divergent or even opposing. As royal funds drained, new taxes had to be raised, which caused several revolts.

Charles’ bouts of insanity became more frequent and of longer duration. During these attacks, he had delusions, believing he was made of glass or denying he had a wife and children. download (1)

He could also attack servants or run until exhaustion, wailing that he was threatened by his enemies. Between crises, there were intervals of months during which Charles was relatively sane.

However, unable to concentrate or make decisions, political power was taken away from him by the princes of the blood, which would cause much chaos and conflict in France.

When Charles VI died, he was succeeded by his son Charles VII, who found the Valois cause in a desperate situation.

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