[MR] Wikipedia: Catherine of Valois
Garth Groff and Sally Sanford
mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Tue Jan 3 03:57:50 PST 2023
On this date in 1437, former Queen of England Catherine of Valois died,
possibly from childbirth complications, or from some other unspecified
Catherine (born 1401) was the daughter of French king Charles VI, generally
known as "*Charles le fou"*, or "Charles the Mad". And he was. Although he
had periods of lucidity, most of Charles' adult life was spent walled up in
a palace, the *Hôtel Saint-Pol*, with armed guards at the only exit after
his instability caused several deaths among his courtiers.
Catherine was used as a pawn during the Hundred Years War. In 1420 she was
married off to the English king Henry V of Agincourt fame. Under the Treaty
of Troyes, Charles VI acknowledged that Catherine and Henry's first male
child would become the next King of France. Whether Charles was competent
to agree to the treaty didn't matter to the English. Whose butt sat on the
Throne of France was what the whole Hundred Year's War was about, and
the English had just won (or so they thought). The Treaty of Troyes
completely stripped Charles VI's son, the inept Dauphin Charles (later King
Charles VII), of his inheritance. Most of the French nobility refused to
accept this defeat, and the wars continued for another 30 or so years.
Queen Catherine gave birth to a son, another Henry, in 1421. When his
father died of dysentery in 1422 and Charles VI expired a few months later
from unknown causes, the child became Henry VI, King of both England and
France, though the French part was always pretty shaky.
The adult Henry VI proved to be almost as unstable as his grandfather. He
was prone to indecision and fits of madness. From 1453 he went through
several periods of insanity, particularly after the English were finally
ejected from France. This allowed the opportunistic House of York
to stir up the Wars of the Roses. The throne was usurped by Edward Duke of
York who ruled as Edward IV. In 1471 while imprisoned in the Tower of
London, Henry VI conveniently died during a "fit of religious melancholy"
while at prayer. More likely, he was offed by Edward's henchmen, and the
body carefully positioned in the chapel where he was later found.
Henry's madness raises a question about Catherine. Was she a carrier of
whatever caused Charles VI's madness, and did she pass bad genes to her
son? We will never know, but the similar insanities are suggestive.
Catherine's Wikipedia bio is found at
Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge 🦆
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