Francis III, Duke of Brittany
Francis III of Brittany was Duke of Brittany and Dauphin of Viennois as the first son and heir of King Francis I of France and Duchess Claude of Brittany. Francis I said of his son at birth, "a beautiful dauphin, the most beautiful and strong child one could imagine and who will be the easiest to bring up." His mother, Duchess of Brittany, said, "tell the King that he is more beautiful than himself." The Dauphin was christened at Amboise on 25 April 1519. Leonardo da Vinci, brought to Amboise by Francis I, designed the decorations. One of the most researched aspects of the Dauphin's short life is the time he and his brother Henry spent as hostages in Spain; the king had been badly defeated and captured at the Battle of Pavia and became a prisoner of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor in the Alcázar in Madrid. In order to ensure his release, the king signed the Treaty of Madrid. However, in order to ensure that Francis abided by the treaty, Charles demanded that the king's two older sons take his place as hostages.
Francis agreed. On 15 March 1526, the exchange took place at the border between France. Francis immediately repudiated the treaty and the eight-year-old Dauphin and his younger brother Henry spent the next three years as captives of Charles V, a period that scarred them for life; the Dauphin's "somber, solitary tastes" and his preference for dressing in black were attributed to the time he spent in captivity in Madrid. He became bookish, preferring reading to soldiering; as first son and heir to a king of France the Dauphin was a marriage pawn for his father. He could not be wasted in marriage, as many felt his brother Henry had been with his marriage to Catherine de' Medici, there were several betrothals to eligible princesses throughout the Dauphin's life; the first was when he was an infant, to the four-year-old Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII of England and Catherine of Aragon. In 1524, the Dauphin inherited the Duchy of Brittany on his mother's death, becoming Duke Francis III, although the Duchy was ruled by officials of the French crown.
The Duchy was inherited upon the death of Francis by Henry. The Dauphin Francis died at Château Tournon-sur-Rhône on 10 August 1536, at the age of eighteen; the circumstances of his death seemed suspicious, it is believed by many that he was poisoned. However, there is ample evidence that he died of natural causes tuberculosis; the Dauphin had never recovered his health from the years spent in damp, dank cells in Madrid. After playing a round of tennis at a jeu de paume court "pré d'Ainay", the Dauphin asked for a cup of water, brought to him by his secretary, Count Montecuccoli. After drinking it, Francis died several days later. Montecuccoli, brought to the court by Catherine de' Medici, was accused of being in the pay of Charles V, when his quarters were searched a book on different types of poison was found. Catherine de' Medici was well known to have an interest in the occult. Under torture, Montecuccoli confessed to poisoning the Dauphin. In an age before forensic science, poison was suspected whenever a young, healthy person died shortly after eating or drinking.
There was no way to trace the substance after death. There have been several other suspected cases of political-murder-by-poison in the French royal family through the ages, it is suspected that the Dauphin's younger brother, Charles may have been poisoned
Duchy of Brittany
The Duchy of Brittany was a medieval feudal state that existed between 939 and 1547. Its territory covered the northwestern peninsula of Europe, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, the English Channel to the north, it was less definitively bordered by the Loire River to the south, Normandy and other French provinces to the east. The Duchy was established after the expulsion of Viking armies from the region around 939; the Duchy, in the 10th and 11th centuries, was politically unstable, with the dukes holding only limited power outside their own personal lands. The Duchy had mixed relationships with the neighbouring Duchy of Normandy, sometimes allying itself with Normandy, at other times, such as the Breton-Norman War, entering into open conflict. Henry II of England invaded Brittany in the mid-12th century and became Count of Nantes in 1158 under a treaty with Duke Conan IV. Henry's son, became Duke through his marriage to Constance, the hereditary Duchess; the Angevins remained in control until the collapse of their empire in northern France in 1204.
The French Crown maintained its influence over the Duchy for the rest of the 13th century. Monastic orders supported by the Breton aristocracy spread across the Duchy in the 11th and 12th centuries, in the 13th, the first of the mendicant orders established themselves in Brittany's major towns. Civil war broke out in the 14th century, as rival claimants for the Duchy vied for power during the Breton War of Succession, with different factions supported by England and France; the independent sovereign nature of the Duchy began to come to an end upon the death of Francis II in 1488. The Duchy was inherited by his daughter, but King Charles VIII of France had her existing marriage annulled and married her himself; as a result, the King of France acquired the title of Duke of Brittany - jure uxoris. The Ducal crown became united with the French crown in 1532 through a vote of the Estates of Brittany, after the death of Queen Claude of France, the last sovereign duchess, her sons Francis III, Duke of Brittany and Henry II of France would in any case have created a personal union on the death of their father.
Following the French Revolution, as a result of the various republican forms of French government since 1792, the duchy was replaced by the French system of départements which continues under the Fifth Republic of France. In modern times the departments have joined into administrative regions although the administrative region of Brittany does not encompass the entirety of the medieval duchy; the Duchy of Brittany that emerged in the early 10th century was influenced by several earlier polities. Prior to the expansion of the Roman Empire into the region, Gallic tribes had occupied the Armorican peninsula, dividing it into five regions that formed the basis for the Roman administration of the area, which survived into the period of the Duchy; these Gallic tribes – termed the Armorici in Latin – had close relationships with the Britonnes tribes in Roman Britain. Between the late 4th and the early 7th centuries, many of these Britonnes migrated to the Armorican peninsula, blending with the local people to form the Britons, who became the Bretons.
The reasons for these migrations remain uncertain. These migrations from Britain contributed to Brittany's name. Brittany fragmented into small, warring regna, each competing for resources; the Frankish Carolingian Empire conquered the region during the 8th century, starting around 748 taking the whole of Brittany by 799. The Carolingians tried to create a unitary administration around the centres of Rennes and Vannes using the local rulers, but the kings of Brittany's hold on the region remained tenuous. Carolingian technology and culture began to influence Brittany, the church in Brittany began to emulate the Frankish model; the greatest influence on the Duchy, was the formation of a unitary Brittany kingdom in the 9th century. In 831 Louis the Pious appointed Nominoe, the Count of Vannes, ruler of the Bretons, imperial missus, at Ingelheim in 831. After the death of Louis in 840, Nominoe rose to challenge the new emperor, Charles the Bald, emboldened in part by new Viking raids on the empire.
Charles the Bald created the Marches of Neustria to defend Western Francia from the Bretons and the Vikings. Erispoe fought Charles the Bald, who felt that a quick attack would challenge the new Breton leader. Erispoe won a victory at the Battle of Jengland and, under their Treaty of Angers in 851, Brittany's independence was secured; the new kingdom collapsed under Viking attack. In 853 the Viking Godfried left the Seine with his fleet, sailed around the Breton peninsula and sacked Nantes. Erispoe entered into an alliance with the leader of another Viking fleet, who betrayed him, resulting in Erispoe's defeat at the hands of the Vikings. A weakened Erispoe ruled until 857 when he was assassinated and followed as Breton ruler by his cousin and rival, the Count of Rennes and Nantes. Viking raids continued. Alan I defeated one wave of Vikings around 900, expanding the kingdom to include not only the Breton territories of Léon, Domnonée, the Vannetais, but the Frankish counties of Rennes, Nantes and Avranches, as well as the western parts of Poitou and Anjou.
Alan I's military success resulted in a period of peace from Viking invasions and few raids from the Vikings were recorded from 900 through to 907. After Alan I's death in 907, Brittany was overrun once again by Vikings. Fulk the Red, Count of Anjou, is said to have occupied Nantes from 907 to 919 when he abandoned it to the invading Vikings. In 919, the
Republic of Genoa
The Republic of Genoa was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, incorporating Corsica from 1347 to 1768, numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean. The republic began when Genoa became a self-governing commune within the imperial Kingdom of Italy, ended when it was conquered by the French First Republic under Napoleon and replaced with the Ligurian Republic. Corsica was ceded to France in the Treaty of Versailles of 1768; the Ligurian Republic was annexed by the First French Empire in 1805. Before 1100, Genoa emerged as an independent city-state, one of a number of Italian city-states during this period. Nominally, the Holy Roman Emperor was overlord and the Bishop of Genoa was president of the city. Genoa was one of the so-called "Maritime Republics", along with Venice and Amalfi and trade and banking helped support one of the largest and most powerful navies in the Mediterranean; the Adorno and other smaller merchant families all fought for power in this Republic, as the power of the consuls allowed each family faction to gain wealth and power in the city.
The Republic of Genoa extended over modern Liguria and Piedmont, Corsica and had complete control of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Through Genoese participation on the Crusades, Genoese colonies were established in the Middle East, in the Aegean, in Sicily and Northern Africa; the collapse of the Crusader States was offset by Genoa's alliance with the Byzantine Empire. As Venice's relations with the Byzantine Empire were temporarily disrupted by the Fourth Crusade and its aftermath, Genoa was able to improve its position. Genoa took advantage of this opportunity to expand into Crimea. Internal feuds between the powerful families, the Grimaldi and Fieschi, the Doria and others caused much disruption, but in general the republic was run much as a business affair. Between 1218–1220 Genoa was served by the Guelph podestà Rambertino Buvalelli, who introduced Occitan literature to the city, soon to boast such troubadours as Jacme Grils, Lanfranc Cigala, Bonifaci Calvo. Genoa's political zenith came with its victory over the Republic of Pisa at the naval Battle of Meloria in 1284, with a temporary victory over its rival, Venice, at the naval Battle of Curzola in 1298.
This prosperity did not last. The Black Death was imported into Europe in 1347 from the Genoese trading post at Caffa in Crimea, on the Black Sea. Following the economic and population collapse, Genoa adopted the Venetian model of government, was presided over by a doge; the wars with Venice continued, the War of Chioggia —where Genoa managed to decisively subdue Venice—ended with Venice's recovery of dominance in the Adriatic. In 1390 Genoa initiated a crusade against the Barbary pirates with help from the French and laid siege to Mahdia. Though it has not been well-studied, the fifteenth century seems to have been a tumultuous time for Genoa. After a period of French domination from 1394–1409, Genoa came under rule by the Visconti of Milan. Genoa lost Sardinia to Aragon, Corsica to internal revolt and its Middle Eastern, Eastern European and Asia Minor colonies to the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Genoa was able to stabilize its position as it moved into the sixteenth century thanks to the efforts of Andrea Doria, who established a new constitution in 1528, making Genoa a satellite of the Spanish Empire.
Under the ensuing economic recovery, many aristocratic Genoese families, such as the Balbi, Grimaldi and Serra, amassed tremendous fortunes. According to Felipe Fernandez-Armesto and others, the practices Genoa developed in the Mediterranean were crucial in the exploration and exploitation of the New World. Christopher Columbus, for example, was a native of Genoa and donated one-tenth of his income from the discovery of the Americas for Spain to the Bank of Saint George in Genoa for the relief of taxation on foods. At the time of Genoa's peak in the 16th century, the city attracted many artists, including Rubens and Van Dyck; the architect Galeazzo Alessi designed many of the city's splendid palazzi, as did in the decades that followed by fifty years Bartolomeo Bianco, designer of centrepieces of University of Genoa. A number of Genoese Baroque and Rococo artists settled elsewhere and a number of local artists became prominent. At the time of its founding in the early 11th century the Republic of Genoa consisted of the city of Genoa and the surrounding areas.
As the commerce of the city increased, so did the territory of the Republic. By 1015 all of Liguria fell under the Republic of Genoa. After the First Crusade in 1098 Genoa gained settlements in Syria. In 1261 the city of Smyrna in Asia Minor became Genoese territory. In 1255 Genoa established the colony of Caffa in Crimea. In the following years the Genoese established further colonies in Crimea: Soldaia and Cembalo. In 1275 the Byzantine Empire granted the islands of Samos to Genoa. Between 1316 and 1332 Genoa established the Black Sea colonies of La Samsun in Anatolia. In 1355 the Byzantine Emperor John V Palaiologos granted Lesbos to a Genoese lord. At the end of the 14th century the c
Madeleine of Valois
Magdalene of Valois or Madeleine of Valois was a French princess who became Queen of Scotland as the first spouse of King James V. The marriage was arranged as a condition of the Treaty of Rouen, James was to be betrothed to another bride, but he preferred Madeleine, they married, but her health, poor since birth and she died six months after the wedding, giving her the moniker the "Summer Queen" of Scots. Madeleine was born at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the fifth child and third daughter of King Francis I of France and Claude, Duchess of Brittany. Frail from birth, she grew up in the warm and temperate Loire Valley region of France, rather than at Paris, as her father feared that the cold would destroy her delicate health. Together with her sister Margaret, she was raised by Marguerite de Navarre; this lasted until her father remarried and his new wife, Eleanor of Austria, took them into her own household. By her sixteenth birthday, she had contracted tuberculosis. Three years before Madeleine's birth, the Franco-Scottish Treaty of Rouen was made to bolster the Auld Alliance after Scotland's defeat at the Battle of Flodden.
A marriage to a French Princess for the Scottish King was one of its provisions. In April 1530, John Stewart, Duke of Albany, was appointed commissioner to finalise the royal marriage between James V and Madeleine. However, as Madeleine did not enjoy good health, another French bride, Mary of Bourbon, was proposed. Mary of Bourbon would be given a dowry. James V contracted to marry Mary of Bourbon, travelled to France in 1536 to meet her, but smitten with the delicate Madeleine, asked Francis I for her hand in marriage. Citing her illness and the harsh climate of Scotland, which he feared would prove fatal to his daughter's failing health, Francis I refused to permit the marriage. James V continued to press Francis I for Madeleine's hand, despite his reservations and nagging fears, Francis I reluctantly granted permission to the marriage when Madeleine made her interest in marrying James obvious; the pair married on 1 January 1537 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Francis I provided Madeleine with a generous dowry, which boosted the Scottish treasury.
According to the marriage contract made at Blois, Madeleine renounced her and any of her heirs' claims to the French throne. If James died first, Madeleine would retain for her lifetime assets including the Earldoms of Fife, Strathearn and Orkney with Falkland Palace, Stirling Castle, Dingwall Castle, with the Lordship of Galloway and Threave Castle. After months of festivities and celebrations, the couple left France for Scotland in May 1537. By this time, Madeleine's health had deteriorated further, she was sick when the royal pair landed in Scotland, they arrived at Leith at 10 o'clock on 19 May. According to John Lesley the ships were laden with her possessions. A detailed list of wedding presents from Francis I survives; some of her French courtiers came too and are included among the eleven named members of her household. Madeleine wrote to her father from Edinburgh on 8 June 1537 saying that she was better and her symptoms had diminished. However, a month on 7 July 1537, the so-called "Summer Queen" of Scots, died in her husband's arms at Edinburgh, Scotland.
Queen Madeleine was interred in the Royal Chapel Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh, next to King James II of Scotland. The grave was desecrated by a mob in 1776 and her still beautiful head was stolen. Madeleine's marriage and death was commemorated by the poet David Lyndsay's Deploration of Deith of Quene Magdalene, the poem describes the pageantry of the marriage in France and Scotland. Of all citeis principall! Quhilk did Solempnitlie, throw arkis triumphall. * * * * * *Thou mycht have sene the preparatiounMaid be the Thre Estaitis of ScotlandIn everilk ciete, castell and town* * * * * *Thow saw makand rycht costlie scaffaldingDepaynted weill with gold and asure fyne* * * * * *Disagysit folkis, lyke creaturis devyne,On ilk scaffold to play ane syndrie storieBot all in greiting turnit thow that glorie. Less than a year after her death, her husband married the widowed Mary of Guise, who had attended his wedding to Madeleine. Twenty years listed amongst the treasures in Edinburgh Castle were two little gold cups, an agate basin, a jasper vase, crystal jug given to Madeleine when she was a child in France
School of Fontainebleau
The Ecole de Fontainebleau refers to two periods of artistic production in France during the late Renaissance centered on the royal Palace of Fontainebleau that were crucial in forming the French version of Northern Mannerism. In 1531, the Florentine artist Rosso Fiorentino, having lost most of his possessions at the Sack of Rome in 1527, was invited by François I to come to France, where he began an extensive decorative program for the Château de Fontainebleau. In 1532 he was joined by Francesco Primaticcio. Rosso died in France in 1540. On the advice of Primaticcio, Niccolò dell'Abbate was invited to France in 1552 by François's son Henri II. Although known for their work at Fontainebleau, these artists were invited to create works of art for other noble families of the period and were much esteemed and well-paid; the works of this "first school of Fontainebleau" are characterized by the extensive use of stucco and frescos, an elaborate system of allegories and mythological iconography. Renaissance decorative motifs such as grotesques and putti are common, as well as a certain degree of eroticism.
The figures are elegant and show the influence of the techniques of the Italian Mannerism of Michelangelo and Parmigianino. Primaticcio was directed to make copies of antique Roman statues for the king, thus spreading the influence of classical statuary. Many of the works of Rosso and dell'Abate have not survived; the paintings of the group were reproduced in prints etchings, which were produced at Fontainebleau itself, in Paris. These disseminated the style through France and beyond, record several paintings that have not survived; the mannerist style of the Fontainebleau school influenced French artists such as the painter Jean Cousin the Elder, the sculptors Jean Goujon and Germain Pilon, and, to a lesser degree, the painter and portraitist François Clouet the son of Jean Clouet. Although there is no certain proof, most scholars have agreed that there was a printmaking workshop at the Palace of Fontainebleau itself, reproducing the designs of the artists for their works in the palace, as well as other compositions they produced.
The most productive printmakers were Léon Davent, Antonio Fantuzzi, Jean Mignon, followed by the "mysterious" artist known from his monogram as "Master I♀V", the workshop seems to have been active between about 1542 and 1548 at the latest. These were the first etchings made in France, not far behind the first Italian uses of the technique, which originated in Germany; the earliest impressions of all the Fontainebleau prints are in brown ink, their intention seems to have been reproductive. The intention of the workshop was to disseminate the new style developing at the palace more both to France and to the Italians' peers back in Italy. Whether the initiative to do this came from the king or another patron, or from the artists alone, is unclear. David Landau believes; the enterprise seems to have been "just premature" in terms of catching a market. The etched prints were marked by signs of the workshop's inexperience and sometimes incompetence with the technique of etching, according to Sue Welsh Reed: "Few impressions survive from these plates, it is questionable whether many were pulled.
The plates were poorly executed and not well printed. Some may have been made of metals soft as copper, such as pewter." A broadening market for prints preferred the "highly finished textures" of Nicolas Beatrizet, "proficient but uninspired" engravers such as René Boyvin and Pierre Milan. Niccolò dell'Abbate Damiano del Barbiere, Italian stuccoist and sculptor Francesco Scibec da Carpi Italian furniture maker, who worked on the boiseries. Léon Davent, French etcher Antonio Fantuzzi, Italian painter and etcher Rosso Fiorentino Juste de Juste Franco-Italian sculptor and etcher Luca Penni Francesco Primaticcio Léonard Thiry, Flemish and etcher From 1584 to 1594, during the Wars of Religion the château of Fontainebleau was abandoned. Upon his accession to the throne, Henri IV undertook a renovation of the Fontainebleau buildings using a group of artists: the Flemish born Ambroise Dubois and the Parisians Toussaint Dubreuil and Martin Fréminet, they are sometimes referred to as the "second school of Fontainebleau".
Their late mannerist works, many of which have been lost, continue in the use of elongated and undulating forms and crowded compositions. Many of their subjects include mythological scenes and scenes from works of fiction by the Italian Torquato Tasso and the ancient Greek novelist Heliodorus of Emesa, their style would continue to have an influence on artists through the first decades of the 17th century, but other artistic currents would soon eclipse them. Ambroise Dubois Toussaint Dubreuil Martin Fréminet Jacobson, Karen
Louise of Savoy
Louise of Savoy was a French noble and regent, Duchess suo jure of Auvergne and Bourbon, Duchess of Nemours, the mother of King Francis I. She was politically active and served as the Regent of France in 1515, in 1525–1526 and in 1529. Louise of Savoy was born at Pont-d'Ain, the eldest daughter of Philip II, Duke of Savoy and his first wife, Margaret of Bourbon, her brother, Philibert II, Duke of Savoy, succeeded her father as ruler of the duchy and head of the House of Savoy. He was, in turn, succeeded by Duke of Savoy; because her mother died when she was only seven, she was brought up by Anne de Beaujeu,who was regent of France for her brother Charles VIII. At Amboise she met Margaret of Austria, betrothed to the young king and with whom Louise would negotiate peace several decades later. At age eleven, Louise married Charles of Count of Angoulême, on 16 February 1488 in Paris, she only began living with him. Despite her husband having two mistresses, the marriage was not unhappy and they shared a love for books.
The household of Charles was presided over by his châtelaine Antoinette de Polignac, Dame de Combronde, by whom he had two illegitimate daughters, Jeanne of Angoulême and Madeleine. Antoinette became Louise's confidante, her children were raised alongside Louise's own. Charles had another illegitimate daughter, Souveraine, by Jeanne le Conte, who lived in the Angoulême chateau, she would arrange marriages for her husband's illegitimate children. Their first child, was born on 11 April 1492; when her husband fell ill after going out riding in the winter of 1495, she nursed him and suffered much grief when he died on 1 January 1496. When she was widowed at the young age of 19, Louise deftly maneuvered her children into a position that would secure for each of them a promising future. Though they remained in Cognac for two years, she moved her family to court at the ascension of King Louis XII, her husband's cousin. Louise had a keen awareness for the intricacies of politics and diplomacy, was interested in the advances of arts and sciences in Renaissance Italy.
She made certain that her children were educated in the spirit of the Italian Renaissance helped by her Italian confessor, Cristoforo Numai from Forlì. She commissioned books for them and she taught Francis Italian and Spanish; when Louis XII became ill in 1505, he determined that Francis should succeed him and both Louise and his wife Anne of Brittany should be part of the regency council. He recovered and Francis became a favourite of the king, who gave him his daughter Claude of France in marriage on 8 May 1514. Following the marriage, Louis XII designated Francis as his heir. With the death of Louis XII on 1 January 1515, Francis became king of France. On 4 February 1515, Louise was named Duchess of Angoulême, on 15 April 1524, Duchess of Anjou, her mother having been one of the sisters of the last dukes of the main branch of Bourbon, after the death of Suzanne, Duchess of Bourbon, in 1521, Louise, on basis of proximity of blood, advanced claims to the Duchy of Auvergne and other possessions of the Bourbons.
This led her in rivalry against Charles III, Duke of Bourbon, Suzanne's widower, whom she proposed to marry in order to settle the Bourbon inheritance issue. When her suit was insultingly rejected by Charles, Louise instigated efforts to undermine him; this led to his attempt to regain his lost status by waging war against the King. He died in 1527 having failed to regain his lost titles. Louise became duchess in the name of her son. Louise of Savoy remained politically active on behalf of her son in the early years of his reign especially. During his absences, she acted as regent on his behalf. Louise served as the Regent of France in 1515, during the king's war in Italy, again from 1525 to 1526, when the king was at war and during his time as prisoner in Spain. In 1524, she sent one of her servants, Jean-Joachim de Passano, to London to open unofficial negotiations with Cardinal Wolsey for a peace treaty, she initiated friendly relations with the Ottoman Empire by sending a mission to Suleiman the Magnificent requesting assistance, but the mission was lost on its way in Bosnia.
In December 1525, a second mission was sent, led by John Frangipani, which managed to reach Constantinople, the Ottoman capital, with secret letters asking for the deliverance of King Francis I and an attack on the Habsburg. Frangipani returned with a positive answer from Suleiman, on 6 February 1526, initiating the first steps of a Franco-Ottoman alliance, she was the principal negotiator for the Treaty of Cambrai between France and the Holy Roman Empire, concluded on 3 August 1529. That treaty, called "the Ladies' Peace", put an end to the second Italian war between the head of the Valois dynasty, Francis I of France, the head of the Habsburg dynasty, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor; the Treaty temporarily confirmed Habsburg hegemony in Italy. The treaty was signed by Louise of Savoy for France and her sister-in-law, Margaret of Austria, for the Holy Roman Empire. Louise of Savoy died on 22 September 1531, in Grez-sur-Loing, her remains were entombed at Saint-Denis in Paris. After her death her lands, including Auvergne, merged in the crown.
Through her daughter Margaret of Angoulême and her granddaughter Jeanne d'Albret, she is the ancestress of the Bourbon kings of France, as her great-grandson, Henry of Navarre, succeeded as Henry IV of France. Ha
Charles II de Valois, Duke of Orléans
Charles II of Orléans was the third son of Francis I and Claude of France. From his birth until the death of his oldest brother Francis, Dauphin of France, in 1536, Charles was known as the Duke of Angoulême. After his brother's death, he became Duke of Orléans, a titled held by his surviving brother Henry, who had succeeded Francis as Dauphin and would become King of France as Henry II. By all accounts, he was the most handsome of Francis I's sons. Smallpox made him blind in one eye, he was known for his wild antics, his practical jokes and his extravagance and frivolousness, which his father approved of wholeheartedly. He was. In addition, he was popular with everyone at his father's court, it was believed that the French nobility of the time would have much preferred to have him as the Dauphin as opposed to his downcast brother, who never seemed to recover from his years of captivity in Spain. In 1540 he was granted the title of Count of Clermont. In 1542, Francis I and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, again went to war against each other.
Charles fought and captured Luxembourg, but fearful that he would miss the glory of Perpignan, under siege by the Dauphin Henry, he headed south. Luxembourg was retaken several times during the war. On 19 September 1544, the Treaty of Crépy was signed. Charles had a choice to marry one of two relatives of the Emperor: One option was Infanta Maria of Spain, daughter of Emperor Charles V and Isabella of Portugal, with the Netherlands or the Low Countries of Franche-Comté as her dowry; the other option was Archduchess Anna of Austria, daughter of Ferdinand I, King of Hungary and Bohemia and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary. She would receive Milan as her dowry; as the groom's father, Francis I was expected by the Treaty to endow his son with Angoulême, Châtellerault and Orléans. The Peace of Crépy offended Charles' elder brother the Dauphin Henry and his wife, Catherine de' Medici; as a minor point, Henry considered Milan to be his birthright anyway, as the heir of Valentina Visconti. More his brother Charles would by this settlement become as powerful as a monarch, would be supported by the Emperor, dividing French interests, creating a strategic nightmare.
Many historians believe that this is what Charles V, hoping to use Charles of France as an adversary against Henry, had in mind. The rivalry between Charles and his brother, the Dauphin Henry, was dangerous. However, it solved itself with the death of Charles. In the autumn of 1545, Charles was on his way to Boulogne, under siege. On 6 September, they came across a cluster of houses, emptied and sealed off "from the plague"—probably a form of influenza. Stating that "no son of a King of France died of plague", Charles entered some of the infected houses with his brother. Laughing, he slashed at bedding with his sword and started a pillow fight with some of his traveling companions. Stories have been told of him lying down on one of the infected beds and rolling around on the bedding; that evening, after dining with his father and brother, he took ill, suffering from pain, a high fever and shaking limbs. His brother rushed to his sickroom but was barred from entering, being physically restrained on three occasions.
Charles died on 9 September 1545. Some thought that he had been most agreed that it was the "plague" that killed him, he is buried next to his father, Francis I and his brother, the Dauphin Francis at the Abbey of Saint-Denis. At the time of his death, he possessed the Duchies of Angoulême, Châtellerault. Charles was known for his wild antics. Stories have it that once he jumped up behind Charles V, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, his father's sworn enemy and shouted, "You are my prisoner". Charles V spurred his horse into a frantic gallop without once looking behind him, his brother, was delighted at the fright his brother gave the Emperor. His father's Swiss Guard nicknamed him "Abednago"