Charles IV, called the Fair in France and the Bald in Navarre, was the last direct Capetian King of France and King of Navarre from 1322 to his death. Charles was the son of Philip IV, like his father. Beginning in 1323 Charles was confronted with a peasant revolt in Flanders, as duke of Guyenne, King Edward II of England was a vassal of Charles, but he was reluctant to pay homage to another king. In retaliation, Charles conquered the Duchy of Guyenne in a known as the War of Saint-Sardos. In a peace agreement, Edward II accepted to swear allegiance to Charles, in exchange, Guyenne was returned to Edward but with a much-reduced territory. When Charles IV died without heir, the senior lineage of the House of Capet ended. He was succeeded by his cousin Philip of Valois, but the legitimacy was one factor of the Hundred Years War. By virtue of the birthright of his mother, Joan I of Navarre, 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. Charles married his first wife, Blanche of Burgundy, the daughter of Otto IV, Count of Burgundy, in 1308, after Charles assumed the throne he refused to release Blanche, their marriage was annulled, and Blanche retreated to a nunnery. His second wife, Marie of Luxembourg, the daughter of Henry VII, Charles married again in 1325, this time to Jeanne dÉvreux, she was his first cousin, and the marriage required approval from Pope John XXII. Jeanne was crowned queen in 1326, in one of the better recorded French coronation ceremonies, the coronation was also the first appearance of the latterly famous medieval cook, Guillaume Tirel, then only a junior servant. During the first half of his reign Charles relied heavily on his uncle, Charles of Valois, for advice, Charles of Valois would have been aware that if Charles died without male heirs, he and his male heirs would have a good claim to the crown. Charles undertook rapid steps to assert his own control, executing the Count of LIsle-Jourdain, a troublesome southern noble, Charles, a relatively well educated king, also founded a famous library at Fontainebleau. During his six-year reign Charles administration became increasingly unpopular and he debased the coinage to his own benefit, sold offices, increased taxation, exacted burdensome duties, and confiscated estates from enemies or those he disliked. He was also involved in Jewish issues during the period. Charles father, Philip IV, had confiscated the estates of numerous Jews in 1306, and Charles took vigorous, finally, Charles at least acquiesced, or at worst actively ordered, in the expulsion of many Jews from France following the leper scare. Charles inherited a long-running period of tension between England and France, once Charles took up the throne, Edward attempted to avoid payment again
Image: Charles IV Le Bel
Marriage of Charles IV and Marie of Luxembourg, by Jean Fouquet
A Charles IV tournois coin; Charles debased the French coinage during his reign, creating some unpopularity.