[MR] Wikipedia: House of Valois

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Mon Feb 4 02:58:02 PST 2019

Noble Friends,

Well, it's a slow news day in history, so I want to comment briefly on the
French monarchy, specifically the House of Valois. This line of kings ruled
France from 1328 to 1589, and the establishment of this dynasty was one of
the excuses (by the English) for the Hundred Years war. The House Valois
survived the English and somehow hung on for years. Four (or five) Valois
sub-branches were major players in their own right in European history.

The dynasty began when the direct House of Capet line failed in 1328.
Charles IV, last of Philip IV's three sons, died without male issue, though
there were a mess of daughters. A 1316 precedent, and later Salic Law,
forbade women from succeeding to the French throne, and also forbade male
descendants of these women from succeeding.

Philip's niece Joan, who had been excluded by the 1316 ruling after the
death of her father, Louis X, had the strongest claim to the throne. She
was bought off by giving her the throne of the small kingdom of Navarre on
the French/Spanish border, which did recognize female succession and she
became Joan of Navarre (mother of Charles "The Bad", of whom I have written
about in the past).

Isabella of France, the only surviving child of Philip IV, had been Queen
Consort of England, and mother of Edward III. Thus her claim, and that of
her son, were invalid to the French. Edward was more than a bit sore over
being brushed aside, and started the Hundred Years War to to get his butt
on the French throne.

It was Philip IV's nephew, also a Philip (do I detect a lack of imagination
in the naming of French kings/dukes/counts?) who got all the marbles, so to
speak. His claim was the best as male heir, and was strengthened by having
been named as regent by the dying Charles IV. Philip was already Count of
Valois, so when he became Philip VI, he established the line of House of
Valois kings, which were really just a continuation of the House of Capet.

Confused? You should look at the genealogy chart at
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Valois , though that may still make
your head spin.

So over the years French kings, as kings like to do, produced a blizzard of
sons, plus legions of daughters. These sons had to be put to work, so they
were given duchies or counties to rule, and some established their own
cadet branches of Valois nobles as the generations slid them further and
further from the throne. The daughters were usually married off to cement

Valois eventually had four main sub-branches: Valois-Orléans under the
Dukes of Orléans, with its own sub-sub-branch, Valois-Angoulême. Then there
was the Valois-Anjou branch which ruled Naples. House Valois-Burgundy
became the most powerful and richest branch, eventually ruling Flanders,
Luxembourg, Holland, and a lot of French territories as well. They became
bitter enemies of their Orléans cousins, and sided with the English during
the Hundred Years War. When their male line failed in 1477, Valois-Burgundy
lands outside of France passed to the Holy Roman Empire. Finally, there was
the House Valois-Alençon, which eventually went extinct and their lands
returned to the French Crown.

To make matters even more confusing, there were two Valois branches founded
by bastards, House Valois-Dunois and House Valois-Saint-Remy.

In 1589, the ruling House Valois line failed due to lack of a male heir.
The French crown passed to the House of Bourbon, which was itself part of
the Capetian dynasty.

So there you have it, sort of. There is plenty of fodder here for research,
if you can keep all those repeating names straight.

Yours Aye,

Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆

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