Charles II de Valois, duc d'Orléans

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Charles de Valois, duc d'Angoulême

Birthplace: Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Yvelines, Île-de-France, France
Death: Died in Abbeville, Somme, Picardie, France
Cause of death: Probablement la peste
Place of Burial: Saint-Denis, Seine-Saint-Denis, Île-de-France, France
Immediate Family:

Son of François I, roi de France and Claude de Valois-Orléans, reine de France
Brother of Louise de Valois; Charlotte de Valois; François III de Valois, dauphin de France; Henri II de Valois, roi de France; Madeleine de Valois, Queen consort of Scots and 2 others
Half brother of Henry de La Rieux; Louis de Saint Gelais, seigneur de Lansac and Nicolas d'Estouteville, seigneur de Villecouvin

Occupation: херцог д'Орлеан, неженен, умрял без деца
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Charles II de Valois, duc d'Orléans,_Duc_d%27Orl%C3%A9ans

Charles d'Angoulême, Duke of Orléans (January 22, 1522 – September 9, 1545) was the third son of King Francis I of France and Claude of France, daughter of Louis XII of France.

Duke of Orléans

Upon the death of Francis, Dauphin of France (Francis I's eldest son) in 1536, Charles became Duc d'Orléans, a titled he received from his brother Henri, who was now dauphin and later Henry II of France.

By all accounts, he was the most handsome of Francis I's sons. Smallpox made him blind in one eye, but it seems that it was not noticeable. He was known for his wild antics, his practical jokes and his extravagance and frivolousness, which his father approved of wholeheartedly.[1]. He was, by far, his father's favorite son. In addition, he was popular with everyone at his father's court, and it was widely believed that the French nobility of the time would have much preferred to have him as the Dauphin as opposed to his downcast brother, Henri, who never seemed to recover from his years of captivity in Spain.[1]

In 1542, Francis I and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor again went to war against each other. Charles fought and captured Luxembourg, but then fearful that he would miss the glory of Perpignan, which was under siege by the Dauphin Henri, he headed south. Luxembourg was lost and retaken several times during the war.

Marriage arrangements

On September 19, 1544, the Treaty of Crépy was signed. Charles had a choice to marry one of two relatives of the Emperor:

One option was Maria of Spain, daughter of Emperor Charles V and Isabella of Portugal, with the Netherlands or the Low Countries of Franche-Comté as her dowry.

The other option was Anna of Austria, daughter of Ferdinand I, King of Hungary and Bohemia and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary. She was a niece of Charles V through her father and would receive Milan as her dowry. As the groom's father, Francis I was expected by the Treaty to endow his son with Angoulême, Châtellerault, Bourbon and Orléans.

The Peace of Crépy deeply offended Charle's elder brother the Dauphin Henri and his wife, Catherine de' Medici. As a minor point, Henri considered Milan to be his birthright anyway, as the heir of Valentina Visconti. More importantly, his brother Charles would by this settlement become as powerful as a monarch, and would be supported by the Emperor, dividing French interests, and creating a strategic nightmare. Many historians believe that this is exactly what Charles V, hoping to use Prince Charles as an adversary against Henri, had in mind.


The rivalry between Charles and his brother, the Dauphin Henri, was potentially dangerous. However, it solved itself with the death of Charles. In the autumn of 1545, Charles was on his way (with his brother, the Dauphin) to Boulogne, which was under siege. On 6 September, they came across a cluster of houses that had been emptied and sealed off "from the plague" -- probably a form of influenza. Stating that "no son of a King of France ever died of plague", Charles entered some of the infected houses with his brother [2]. Laughing, he slashed at bedding with his sword and started a pillow fight with some of his traveling companions. Stories have also been told of him (on a dare) lying down on one of the infected beds and rolling around on the bedding. Later that evening, after dining with his father and brother, he took suddenly ill, suffering from pain, a high fever, vomiting and shaking limbs. His brother rushed to his sickroom immediately, but was barred from entering, being physically restrained on three occasions.

Charles died on September 9, 1545. Some thought that he had been poisoned, but most agreed that it was the "plague" that killed him. He is buried next to his father, Francis I and his brother, the Dauphin Francis at the Abbey of Saint-Denis.

At the time of his death, he possessed the Duchies of Angoulême, Bourbon, and Châtellerault.


Charles was known for his wild antics. Stories have it that once he jumped up behind Charles V, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and his father's sworn enemy and shouted, "You are my prisoner". Apparently, Charles V spurred his horse into a frantic gallop without once looking behind him. His brother, Henri, was delighted.

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Charles II de Valois, duc d'Orléans's Timeline

January 22, 1522
Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Yvelines, Île-de-France, France
September 9, 1545
Age 23
Abbeville, Somme, Picardie, France
Saint-Denis, Seine-Saint-Denis, Île-de-France, France