05 July, 2015

5 July 1324: Wedding of Charles IV of France and Joan of Evreux

A post about the wedding of Edward II's brother-in-law Charles IV of France and Navarre and his third wife Joan of Evreux.  (5 July is also the anniversary of the birth of Edward II's and Isabella of France's youngest child Joan of the Tower, later the queen of Robert Bruce and Elizabeth de Burgh's son David II of Scotland, in 1321.)

Charles was born on 18 June 1294 as the third son of Philip IV, king of France, and Joan I, queen of Navarre and countess of Champagne, Bigorre and Brie, and was about eighteen months or so older than his sister Isabella, queen of England.  He succeeded his brother Philip V as king of France and Navarre when Philip died on 2 January 1322 at the age of about thirty.  Later that year, Charles' marriage to his first wife Blanche of Burgundy, who had been in prison for adultery since 1314, was finally annulled.  On 21 September 1322, Charles married Marie of Luxembourg, daughter of Henry of Luxembourg, Holy Roman Emperor, and Margaret, sister of Edward II's brother-in-law Duke John II of Brabant.  Queen Marie died on 26 March 1324, shortly after miscarrying the baby boy who would have been king of France if he had lived.  Charles IV's two older brothers Louis X and Philip V had died without surviving male issue; Louis's posthumous son John I of France died when he was five days old in November 1316, and Philip left four daughters, Joan, Marguerite, Isabella and Blanche, his and Joan of Burgundy's two sons having died in childhood.  Charles had a son with Blanche of Burgundy, who died as a child, as well as his stillborn son with Marie of Luxembourg.

Charles IV turned thirty in June 1324, and was desperate for a son to succeed him.  He therefore married his first cousin Jeanne d'Evreux or Joan of Evreux; she was one of the daughters of his father Philip IV's half-brother Louis, count of Evreux (d. 1319).  Joan, born c. 1310, was only about fourteen at the time of her marriage.  Her eldest sister Marie was married to Edward II's nephew Duke John III of Brabant, and her brother Philip was married to their cousin, Louis X's daughter, who became Queen Joan II of Navarre on the death of her uncle Charles IV in 1328.  (Yes, Philip of Evreux married his brother-in-law's niece.)

For some reason there is considerable confusion among historians as to the date of Charles IV and Joan of Evreux's wedding, and many of them wrongly place it in July 1325, even Elizabeth A. R. Brown, an expert on Philip IV and his sons.  It is most unlikely, however, that Charles would have waited for as long as sixteen months to marry again after the death of Marie of Luxembourg in March 1324, and in fact, the exact date of the wedding is known from a letter sent to Edward II by his envoys to France on 10 July 1324: "we found him [Charles IV] at Annet [-sur-Marne] on the Thursday next before the feast of the Translation of St Thomas, where he had married on the same day the sister of the present count of Dreux [sic]." (lui trovasmes a Annet' le joedy prochein devant la feste de la Translacion de Seint Thomas, ou il avoit espouses mesmes le jour le soer le conte de Drews qore est.)  The Translation of St Thomas Becket is 7 July, which fell on a Saturday in 1324.  The letter to Edward is printed in The War of Saint-Sardos (1323-1325): Gascon Correspondence and Diplomatic Documents, ed. Pierre Chaplais, pp. 189-190, and cannot date to July 1325, as its contents - relating to Edward's failure to travel to Amiens to pay homage for his French possessions and Charles's confiscation of them - would make no sense if they'd been written a year later, by which time Charles and Edward had signed a peace treaty.

Queen Joan seems to have given birth to their first child in around late 1325, a girl who died about a year later and whose name is uncertain, either Joan or Isabella.  Their second daughter, Marie, was born around late 1326, and outlived her father but died unmarried in 1341.  The third daughter, Blanche, was born posthumously on 1 April 1328, exactly two months after Charles IV died at the age of thirty-five.  Blanche of France, Charles IV's only child who lived into adulthood, married Philip, duke of Orleans, the second son of Charles IV's first cousin and successor Philip VI of France and the brother of John II.  He was eight years younger than she, and the couple had no children.  Philip VI had endured an anxious two-month wait after the death of Charles IV; had Queen Joan given birth to a boy, he would have become king of France immediately on birth.

Joan of Evreux, dowager queen of France, lived as a widow for forty-three years, and died on 4 March 1371 in her early sixties.  Her daughter Blanche, duchess of Orleans, died on 8 February 1382 and was the second last survivor of the Capetian dynasty; her cousin Marguerite, countess of Flanders and the second daughter of Philip V, outlived her by three months.


Sami Parkkonen said...

It is all in the family :-/

Anerje said...

With all his sons, you would have thought Philip had secured his dynasty, and even with 3 wives, Charles IV couldn't secure it. A very unfortunate family.