Charles VII (22 February 1403 – 22 July 1461), called the Victorious (French: le Victorieux) or the Well-Served (French: le Bien-Servi), was King of France from 1422 to his death, though he was initially opposed by Henry VI of England, whose Regent, the Duke of Bedford, ruled much of France including the capital, Paris.
He was a member of the House of Valois, the son of Charles VI, but his succession to the throne was left questionable by the English occupation of northern France. He was, however, famously crowned in Reims in 1429 through Joan of Arc's effort to free France from the English. His later reign was marked by struggles with his son, the future Louis XI.
Born in Paris, Charles was the fifth son of Charles VI of France and Isabella of Bavaria-Ingolstadt. His four elder brothers, Charles (1386), Charles (1392–1401), Louis (1397–1415) and John (1398–1417) had each held the title of Dauphin of France, heir to the French throne, in turn; each had died childless, leaving Charles with a rich inheritance of titles.
Almost immediately after his accession to the title of Dauphin, Charles was forced to face the threat to his inheritance, being constrained to flee Paris in May 1418 after the soldiers of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy attempted to capture the city. In the following year, Charles attempted to make a reconciliation between himself and the Duke, meeting him on a bridge at Pouilly, near Melun, in July 1419. This proving insufficient, the two met again on 10 September 1419, on the bridge at Montereau. The Duke, despite previous history, proved over-trusting in his young cousin, assuming the meeting to be entirely peaceful and diplomatic, and bringing with him only a small escort; the Dauphin's men reacted to the Duke's arrival, however, by setting upon him and killing him. Charles's level of involvement remained questionable ever afterward: although he claimed to have been unaware of his men's intentions, it was considered unlikely by those who heard of the murder, and furthered the feud between the family of Charles VI and the Dukes of Burgundy. Charles himself was later required by treaty with Philip the Good, John's son, to pay penance for the murder, but he never did so; nonetheless, it is claimed, the event left him with a lifelong phobia of bridges.
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