Louis XI of France

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Louis XI (3 July 1423 – 30 August 1483), called the Prudent (French: le Prudent) and the Universal Spider (Middle French: l'universelle araignée) or the Spider King, was the King of France from 1461 to 1483. He was the son of Charles VII of France and Mary of Anjou, a member of the House of Valois, grandson of Charles VI and Isabeau of Bavaria and one of the most successful kings of France in terms of uniting the country. His 22-year reign was marked by political machinations, spinning a spider's web of plot and conspiracy which earned him his nickname.

His scheming and love for intrigue earned him many enemies, in particular the following:

Louis is known to have been shrewd and often vicious. In curbing the power of the dukes, he vastly expanded the power of the monarchy.

Contents

Biography

Early life

He was born at Bourges, Cher in 1423, when the English held northern France and his father Charles VII was restricted to the centre and south. Louis was the grandson of the strong-willed Yolande of Aragon, the princess who was the driving force in saving France from the English. Louis despised his father, regarding him as a weakling.

On 24 June 1436 he met his father’s diplomatic choice for daughter-in-law, Margaret of Scotland, daughter of James I, King of Scots.[1] His marriage was forced upon him which did not help their relationship. However, royal marriages in the 15th century were always political.[2] There are no direct accounts from Louis or his young bride of their first impressions of each other, and it is mere speculation to say whether or not they actually had negative feelings for each other. Several historians think that Louis had a predetermined attitude to hate his wife. But it is universally agreed upon that Louis entered the ceremony and the marriage itself dutifully, as evidenced by his formal embrace of Margaret upon their first meeting.

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