29 November, 2014

29 November 1314: Death of Philip IV of France

29 November 2014 marks the 700th anniversary of the death of Edward II's father-in-law (and second cousin) King Philip IV of France.  Philip was forty-six when he died, and had been king for twenty-nine years since the death of his father Philip III on 5 October 1285.

Philip was born sometime in 1268 as the second son of Philip of France and Isabel of Aragon.  He was born in the reign of his grandfather Louis IX, who died on 25 August 1270, at which point Philip's father acceded as Philip III, and also during the reign of his maternal grandfather, the Spanish king Jaime I of Aragon, who died in July 1276.  Philip IV was the great-grandson of King Andras II of Hungary, and the great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson of Harold Godwinson, the king of England killed at Hastings in 1066, via Harold's daughter Gytha of Wessex and her husband Vladimir Monomakh of Kiev.  Philip's uncle on his mother's side was Pedro III of Aragon and he was the first cousin of Alfonso III and Jaime II of Aragon, and his aunt Violante married Edward II's uncle Alfonso X of Castile and was the mother of Sancho IV, who was both Philip's first cousin and Edward II's.  Philip and Edward themselves were second cousins: their paternal grandmothers were sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence, queens of France and England.

Philip had two younger brothers: Robert, born in 1269, who died as a child, and Charles of Valois, born in March 1270, father of the Valois dynasty which ruled France from 1328 to 1589.  Their mother Isabel of Aragon was pregnant with her fifth child when she died in January 1271 following a fall from her horse, just five months after she became queen of France on the death of her father-in-law Louis IX.  The poor woman must have been perpetually pregnant: Philip in 1268, Robert in 1269, Charles in March 1270, and pregnant again in January 1271.  Queen Isabel's widower Philip III married his second wife Marie of Brabant in 1274, and she was the mother of Philip IV's half-siblings Louis, count of Evreux (b. 1276); Edward II's stepmother Marguerite, queen of England (b. 1278/79); and Blanche, duchess of Austria (b. early 1280s?).

Philip IV had an older brother Louis, born in about 1264.  This was something Philip had in common with his father Philip III, who was the second son of Louis IX and Marguerite of Provence and became the king's heir when his elder brother Louis died in early 1260 when he was fifteen or sixteen.  Louis the younger, eldest son of Philip III and Isabel of Aragon, died in 1276, aged about twelve; suspicions were raised that he was poisoned by his stepmother Marie of Brabant, whose son Louis (yet another Louis!) of Evreux was born that year.*  This seems highly unlikely given that there were two other surviving brothers of Philip III's first marriage, Philip IV and Charles of Valois.

* I know this is really confusing, so just to clarify: both Philip III and Philip IV had elder brothers called Louis, heirs to the throne of their fathers, who both died before they became king.  Philip III had two sons called Louis, one who died in 1276 and one who was born that year (and died in 1319).

The future Philip IV, aged sixteen or almost, married Queen Joan I of Navarre on 16 August 1284, three days before the death of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile's third son Alfonso of Bayonne, and they became king and queen of France the following year.  They had seven children together, though only four survived childhood and only the date of birth of the eldest son is known: Louis X, born on 4 October 1289.  Their other sons who survived childhood were Philip V, born in the early 1290s, and Charles IV, born in about 1293/94.  Their only surviving daughter was Isabella, Edward II's queen, probably born in 1295.  Philip IV and Joan I's three sons fathered at least eight daughters between them, but all their sons died young, and so the French throne passed in 1328 to Philip of Valois, son of Philip IV's brother Charles of Valois.  Philip IV's only surviving grandson, Edward III (not counting Edward's younger brother John of Eltham, who died in 1336), claimed the throne of France.  Not quite what Philip had had in mind when he arranged the marriage of his daughter to Edward II.

Philip updated his will at Fontainebleau on 28 November 1314, the day before he died (Seymour Phillips, Edward II, p. 223).  He left Isabella, carissime filie nostre regine Angliae, 'our beloved daughter the queen of England', two rings, one set with a ruby called 'the cherry' which she had previously given to him; she had not been bequeathed anything in his previous will of May 1311.  Isabella was elsewhere named in the will as carissima Ysabella regina Angliae carissima filia nostra, 'beloved Isabella, queen of England, our beloved daughter'.  Edward II had heard of his father-in-law's death by 15 December, on which day he ordered the archbishops of Canterbury and York, all the bishops and twenty-eight abbots to "celebrate exequies" for him.  (Close Rolls 1313-18, p. 204.)  Philip was only forty-six, and had three sons aged between twenty and twenty-five; neither he nor anyone else could have predicted that in less than fourteen years, all his sons would be dead with no male heirs and that the great Capetian dynasty would come to an end.


Anonymous said...

Great post. Wasn't Philip IV the king who suppressed the Templars, and supposedly was cursed by their Grand Master?


Katarzyna Ogrodnik-Fujcik said...

One may feel tempted to believe that Jacques de Molay's alleged words were a prophecy indeed: Philip and all his three sons dead and the Capetian line distinguished shortly after the Templars' process (which I find one of the most appaling crimes of the MA). Anyway, fascinating post, as always!

Kathryn Warner said...

Esther, yes, that's him! I've never written about the Templars here, but I really should sometime.

Thanks, Kasia! Absolutely!

Caroline said...

Lovely post. It is one of my high spots of the week, seeing what you're writing about. Do you ever wonder how many of these wills were actually dictatd by others as the dying man or woman was too far gone to do more than grip a finger or just blink or not even that? It's quite easy to imagine a group of avaricious men hovering over the poor person on their deathbed making sure that they or their preferred candidate got the best of the loot and hoping he or she didn't recover and discover what they'd done.

Anerje said...

I didn't realise he was only 46. With 3 sons, I'm sure he thought his dynasty was secure.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Thanks on the post! It is Wonderful to see his ancestry and connection to Edward. ;)
His will show us his other, kinder side - I believe his mention of Ysabella was a sign of
paternal love.
But just imagine if his son Robert survived!
It seems someone would argue Jacques' words were prophetic.
Although his deeds were evil and vile, I still remember Philip, and even today, people call him The Fair.