Charles IV of France

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Charles IV, known as the Fair (18/19 June 1294 – 1 February 1328), was the King of France and of Navarre (as Charles I) and Count of Champagne from 1322 to his death: he was the last French king of the senior Capetian lineage.

Contents

Personality and marriage

Charles IV was the third son of Philip IV; like his father, Charles was known as "the fair" or "the handsome".[1] By virtue of his mother, Joan I of Navarre's, birthright, Charles claimed the title Charles I, King of Navarre. From 1314 to his accession to the throne, he held the title of Count of La Marche, and was crowned King of France in 1322 at the cathedral in Reims. Unlike either Philip IV or Philip V, Charles is usually felt to have been a relatively conservative, "straight laced"[2] king - he was "inclined to forms and stiff-necked in defence of his prerogatives",[3] but disinclined either to manipulate them to his own ends or achieve wider reform.[4]

Charles married his first wife, Blanche of Burgundy, the daughter of Otto IV, Count of Burgundy in 1308, but Blanche was caught up in the Tour de Nesle scandals of 1314 and imprisoned.[5] After Charles assumed the throne he refused to release Blanche, their marriage was annulled and Blanche retreated to a nunnery.[6] His second wife, Marie of Luxembourg, the daughter of Henry VII, the Holy Roman Emperor, died following a premature birth.[7]

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