Sons of Philip IV: the Last Three Capetian Kings of France

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Part 1: Louis X

France's King Philip IV had three sons who were the last rulers of France from the Capetian Dynasty. They were Louis X, Philip V, and Charles IV.

King Louis X of France

Louis was born on Oct. 4, 1289 in Paris. His mother was Joan of Navarre. When his mother died, in 1305, Louis became King of Navarre. As the oldest son of the King of France, he was the heir apparent to that throne as well. In that same year, Louis married Margaret of Burgundy; they had a daughter, named Joan.

A royal scandal dominated court life in 1313. In the Tour de Nesle Affair, the wives of all three of Philip's sons faced accusations of improper behavior. The men involved were tortured and executed; the women involved were imprisoned for the rest of their lives.

King Philip IV died in 1314, and Louis became King Louis X. His wife died in prison the next year, and the new king married again, to Clementia of Hungary.

The reign of Louis X was notable for two things: intense squabbles between nobles and the freedom of slaves. Louis himself was headstrong and came to be known as Louis the Stubborn and Louis the Quarreler. His uncle and royal advisor Charles of Valois prevailed on the king to exact a handful of vendettas against ministers who had served under Philip IV, including his chamberlain, Enguerrand de Marigny.

As well, in 1315, King Louis X declared that any slave who set foot on French soil was free. He added that French serfs would have to purchase their freedom and that that money would go to the Crown.

Another moneymaking endeavor of Louis X was to allow Jews to live in France again. His father had expelled Jewish people from the country in 1306. Louis allowed them back in so long as they agreed to wear armbands and live in areas of previous Jewish settlement.

Louis continued his father's struggle to keep Flanders in the fold. Philip IV had fought a war in the early 14th Century. Louis continued that struggle, which began to seem endless.

Louis also got married, in 1307, to Joan II, Countess of Burgundy; they had five children together, four girls and a boy. (That boy, Philip, lived less than a year.)

For all of his penchant for immersing himself in the affairs of state, Louis also enjoyed recreational pursuits. One of his favorites was jeu de paume, which has English translations of "real tennis" and "court tennis"; it was the ancestor of what people today would recognize as lawn tennis or just tennis. Louis didn't like playing outdoors and so ordered indoor courts built. The practice spread throughout the country. It was after a particularly lengthy tennis match that Louis died, on June 5, 1316, having drunk a large amount of wine. Some sources say that he died of pneumonia; others suspect poisoning.

Louis's wife, Clementia, was pregnant when her husband died. Louis' next youngest brother, Philip, served as regent for five months, including Louis' son was born. The reign of King John I was very short however: The boy lived only five days. When he died, Philip was named king in his own right.

Next page > Philip V > Page 1, 2, 3

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