The Bastard of Orléans
The Bastard's Coat of Arms
The Bastard's Coat of Arms

Character Information

The Bastard of Orléans is Joan’s first supporter. He brings her to Charles for inspection. Charles welcomes Joan into his ranks. After this act, the Bastard is much like the other nobles, a comic reflection of Talbot and his fellow English nobles in battle.

Historical Information

John of Orléans, Count of Dunois (French Jean d'Orléans, comte de Dunois, also known as John of Orléans and Bastard of Orléans) (November 23, 1402 – November 24, 1468) was the illegitimate son of Louis d'Orléans (Duc d'Orléans 1372-1407) by Mariette d'Enghien.

Life

TContemporary image of the Bastard of Orléans
TContemporary image of the Bastard of Orléans

Born at Paris (1403) John was the natural son of Louis I duc d'Orléans and Mariette d'Enghien, dame de Cany. John was adopted and raised faithfully by Louis' wife, Valentina Vosconti. As such John was close to Charles, the legitimate heir and subsequent duc d'Orléans. Charles was captured at the battle of Agincourt and held prisoner for many years by the English. The Orléanist cause (as well as that of the dauphin's) was briefly defended by Charles d'Orléans younger brother, Philippe, comte de Vertus, who died suddenly in 1420. Before his death Philippe arranged to ransom the release of John, who had been held captive by the Burgundians since 1418.

John, who by his own insistence, went proudly by the title "The Bastard of Orléans" continued to fight for the French Valois king and for the protection of the dukedom against the English. John took up with La Hire (Etienne de Vignolles) and Poton de Xaintrailles in confronting the English when the opportunities arose. This small force managed to make the English occupation uncomfortable, even re-captured Le Mans for a short time. John was present at dauphanist's victory at Baugé (22 March 1421) and defeats at Cravant (1423) and Verneuil (August 1424). John and La Hire reinforced Montargis (1427) with 1,600 troops, forcing Warwick to break off his siege.

He became one of the most active leaders in the defense of Orléans when the city was besieged by the English in 1428. John was one of the first military commanders to value Jeanne d'Arc's participation. His tactful dealing with her contributed significantly in the success of her mission to relieve the town of Orléans. John was an active commander in the post-Orléans campaign of 1429, where he directed forces in the capture of Jargeau and was one of the French commanders at the victory of Patay.

Made comte de Dunois, John (still preferring to go by the expression 'the Bastard') led the army that captured Le Mans the last time (1448), and Rouen (1449). He was made lieutenant-general of Charles VII's army, a position just below that of Constable. Dunois was the dauphin Louis' forces that relieved Dieppe (August 1443). Dunois was one of the commanders in the successful 1450 reconquest of Normandy. For Dunois' heroic defense of the Orléanists lands, duc Charles d'Orléans, upon being released from captivity in England, presented his half-brother the castle of Châteaudun.

After Charles VII's victory over the English, John joined in an uprising against the king. However, he realigned himself back with Charles VII. Later, under the monarchy of Louis XI, John participated in an uprising of nobles against the king, the League of the Public Weal (1464-65). Louis XI managed to settle with the nobles, and accepted John back into royal favor. John became head of Louis XI's Council of Thirty-Six (a kind of supreme court of inquiry and public policy in Paris).

Titles

• Lord of Valbonais (1421–1468)
• Count of Mortain (1424–1425)
• Viscount of Saint-Sauveur
• Count of Périgord (1430–1439)
• Count of Dunois (1439–1468)
• Count of Longueville (1443–1468)

Marriages and progeny

He married Marie Louvet (d. 1426) in April 1422 at Bourges, by whom he had no children.

He married a second time to Marie of Harcourt (d. 1464), Lady of Parthenay October 26, 1439 and had two children:
• François d'Orléans-Longueville (1447–1491), Count of Dunois, Tancarville, Longueville, and Montgomery, Baron of Varenguebec, Viscount of Melun, Chamberlain of France, Governor of Normandy and the Dauphiné, Constable and Chamberlain of Normandy, married July 2, 1466 to Agnès de Savoie (1445–1508)
• Catherine d'Orléans (1449–1501), married May 14, 1468 to John VII of Saarbrucken (1430–1492), Count of Roucy

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