Charles VI

Charles VI’s reign was marked by the continuing war with the English known as the Hundred Years' War. An early attempt at peace occurred in 1396 when Charles' daughter, the not quite seven-year-old Isabella of Valois, married the 29-year-old Richard II of England.

The feud between the Royal family and the house of Burgundy led to chaos and anarchy. Taking advantage, Henry V of England led an invasion which culminated in October 1415 when the French army was defeated at the Battle of Agincourt.

With the English taking over the country, John the Fearless sought to end the feud with the Royal family by negotiating with the Dauphin, the King's heir. They met at the bridge at Montereau on the 10th of September 1419 but in the course of the meeting the Duke was killed by Tanneguy du Châtel, a follower of the Dauphin. John's successor, [[[Burgundy| Philip the Good], threw in his lot with the English.

(Philip the Good would later make peace with the Dauphin, now Charles VII, with the Treaty of Arras when, under the inspiration of Joan of Arc, the tide of the war turned in favour of the French side. Joan was burned at the stake when Burgundy handed her over to the English.)

In 1420, King Charles signed the Treaty of Troyes which recognized Henry of England as his successor, disinherited his son the Dauphin Charles, and betrothed his daughter, Catherine of Valois, to Henry.
Many historians have misinterpreted this treaty and the disinheriting of the Dauphin Charles. The Dauphin sealed his fate, in the eyes of the king, by committing treason: he declared himself regent, usurping royal authority, and refused to obey the king's order to return to Paris. It is important to remember that when the Treaty of Troyes was finalized in May 1420, the Dauphin Charles was only 17 years old. He was a weak figure who was easily manipulated by his advisors and even his own mother despised him.

Charles VI died in 1422 at Paris and is interred with his wife Isabeau de Bavière in Saint Denis Basilica. Both their grandson, the one-year-old Henry VI of England, and their son, Charles VII, were proclaimed King of France, but it was the latter who finally became the actual ruler with the support of Joan of Arc.

Charles VI appeared to have passed on his mental illness to his grandson Henry, whose inability to govern England led to the Wars of the Roses.

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