Charles de Bourbon, III duc de Bourbon

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Charles de Bourbon, III duc de Bourbon

Birthdate: (37)
Birthplace: Montpensier, Puy-de-Dome, Auvergne, France
Death: May 6, 1527 (37)
Rome, Lazio, Italy (Killed in battle)
Place of Burial: Naples, Naples, Campania, Italy
Immediate Family:

Son of Gilbert de Bourbon, comte de Montpensier and Chiara de Gonzaga, contessa de Montpensier
Husband of Suzanne de Bourbon, comtesse de La Marche
Father of Jean Philipe de Bourbon; Catherine, bâtarde de Bourbon; François de Bourbon, comte de Clermont; NN (Twin) de Bourbon and NN (Twin) de Bourbon
Brother of Louise de Bourbon, duchesse de Montpensier; Louis II de Bourbon, comte de Montpensier; François de Bourbon, duc de Châtellerault; Anne de Bourbon and Renée de Bourbon, dame de Mercoeur

Occupation: Comte de Montpensier - 8ème duc de Bourbon et d'Auvergne, Duke of Bourbon and Auvergne, Count of La Marche, Clermont-en-Beauvaisis, l'Isle-Jourdain and Forez, Lord of Beaujeu
Managed by: Private User
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About Charles de Bourbon, III duc de Bourbon

Charles III, Duke of Bourbon, Duke of Bourbon and Auvergne, Count of La Marche, Clermont-en-Beauvaisis, l'Isle-Jourdain and Forez, Lord of Beaujeu, Count of Montpensier, and Dauphin of Auvergne (February 17, 1490 – May 6, 1527)

Charles III was a French military leader. He commanded the Imperial troops of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in what became known as the Sack of Rome in 1527, where he was killed.


Charles was born at Montpensier. His father, Gilbert, Count of Montpensier, died in 1496, and his elder brother Louis II, Count of Montpensier, in 1501, at which time he inherited the family lands in Auvergne.[1] His mother was Clara Gonzaga (1 July 1464- 2 June 1503), a daughter of Federico I Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua, and Margaret of Bavaria.

He succeeded his brother in 1501 as Comte de Montpensier, Dauphin d'Auvergne, Seigneur de Mercœur et de Combraille. He claimed the succession to the patrimony of the Bourbon family, including the Seigneurie de Bourbon, on the death in 1503 without male heirs of Pierre II Duc de Bourbon. To cut short protracted legal disputes, he was betrothed to Suzanne de Bourbon, and from that time was confirmed as Charles III Duc de Bourbon et d'Auvergne. Under the terms of his marriage contract 23 Feb 1505, the family patrimony would belong to Duc Charles III and his heirs.

On 10 May 1505 Charles married Suzanne, Duchess of Bourbon, the heir-general of the House of Bourbon (of which he was the heir-male), and became Duke of Bourbon in her right.

Already distinguished as a soldier in the Italian Wars, he was appointed Constable of France by Francis I of France in 1515, and was rewarded for his services at the Battle of Marignano (where he commanded the vanguard) with the Governorship of Milan.[2] However, Francis was uneasy with the proud and wealthy duke, and soon recalled him from Milan and refused to honor his debts. Charles was further angered by the appointment of Charles IV of Alençon, the King's brother-in-law, as commander of the vanguard during the campaigns in the Netherlands, an office which should have been his.

The death of his wife in 1521 provoked the final breach. Suzanne had left all her estates to him, but the King's mother, Louise of Savoy, claimed them as the heir in proximity in blood, due to their previous entailments. She proposed to settle the question by marrying Charles; but he refused the proposal. On behalf of his mother, Francis confiscated a portion of the Bourbon estates before the lawsuit had even been settled. Seeing no hope of prevailing, Charles made a secret agreement to betray his King and offer his services to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. The Emperor, the Constable, and King Henry VIII of England devised a grand plan to partition France, which came to nothing; the plot was discovered and Charles was stripped of his offices and fled into Italy in 1523. In 1524, he drove the French under Bonnivet from Lombardy, and fought at the Battle of Pavia.

The Emperor gave Duke Charles command of a mixed Spanish-German army (which included a number of Lutherans) sent to chastise Pope Clement VII. He neglected to supply this army with money or food, and Charles was only able to keep it together by promises of loot. Though Clement arranged a truce with the Emperor, the army continued its advance, reaching Rome in May, 1527. The death of Duke Charles — the artist and goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini claimed that he fired the shot that killed him — outside the walls removed the last restraints from the army, which resulted in the sack of Rome.[3]

Governor of Languedoc 27 Jun 1512. Lieutenant-General in Burgundy 26 Oct 1513. Connétable de France 12 Jan 1515. After the battle of Marignano 1515, he was charged with the conquest of Milan and named Lieutenant of Milan. Under his wife's 1519 testament, she confirmed her donation of all her assets to her husband. This was further confirmed under the testament of his mother-in-law Anne de France Oct/Nov 1522. However, François I King of France claimed that the Bourbon patrimony reverted to the French crown on the death of Dss Suzanne. The lawsuit started 12 Aug 1522. Through the influence of Louise de Savoie, mother of François I King of France, his assets were sequestrated. He left France and joined Emperor Karl V, who named him Lieutenant General in Italy. After the death of Duc Charles III at the siege of Rome, the King pronounced the confiscation of all his assets 26 Jul 1527. This decision was reversed under the Treaty of Cambrai 5 Aug 1529, but this was only partially put into effect. King François I created his mother, Louise de Savoie, Dss de Bourbon for life 30 Jun 1528 (registered 11 Aug). On her death in 1531, the King declared her assets united with the crown, representing the final stage in the disputed inheritance of the duchy of Bourbon which had lasted for nearly 50 years. m (contract Paris, Hôtel de Bourbon 26 Feb 1505, Château du Parc-les-Moulins 10 May 1505) his cousin, SUZANNE Dss de Bourbon et d'Auvergne, daughter of PIERRE II Duc de Bourbon et d'Auvergne & his wife Anne de France (10 May 1491-Château de Châtellerault 28 Apr 1521, bur Priory of Souvigny). [Mistress (1): ALAIGNE, a Mongol princess related to Akbar-Khan of Delhi.] Charles III & his wife had two children.

By Suzanne, Charles was the father of a pair of twins and Francis of Bourbon, Count of Clermont. Since none of them survived a year of age, the senior line of the Dukes of Bourbon was extinct in male line with his death in battle, and the junior line (Dukes of Vendôme) were not allowed to inherit, because Charles had forfeited his fiefs by committing treason. However, the county of Montpensier and dauphinate of Auvergne were later returned to his sister Louise.

In conspiracy theories, such as the one promoted in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, he has been alleged to be the thirteenth Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, although he is only listed by his title.


  1. ^ Pardoe, Julie, The Court and Reign of Francis the First, King of France, (Lea and Blanchard:Philadelphia, 1849), 39.
  2. ^ Duruy, Victor, Martha Ward Carey, and John Franklin Jameson, A history of France, (Thomas Y. Crowell and Co.:Boston, 1889), 301.
  3. ^ Treat, James, The Catacombs of Rome, (The Old Corner Bookstore Inc.: Boston, 1907), 81.
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Charles de Bourbon, III duc de Bourbon's Timeline

February 17, 1490
Puy-de-Dome, Auvergne, France
July 7, 1517
Age 27
Château de Moulins
Age 27
Age 27
Age 34
May 6, 1527
Age 37
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Naples, Naples, Campania, Italy