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 The Last Capets

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James

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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Wed May 20, 2009 10:58 pm

Re Salic Law, of course in 1589 when the main line of the Valois monarchs died out, they ended up awarding the throne to Henri IV, the first Bourbon King, and his claim came purely through his mother. So it seems that Salic Law was really just a bit of an excuse made by French noblemen who preferred Philippe de Valois to his cousin Edward III.

Possibly because Edward was still a minor in 1328. Maybe they were all a bit nervous about having Isabella as Queen Mother of France as well - the royal treasury might have gotten a bit empty ... Smile
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DenisC



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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:23 am

Love the site - I've been here often but hadn't looked at the forums nor registered until today.

Jumping in on a six-month old thread to clarify a 400 year old controversy in a digression from a 14th century forum: Smile

Henri IV's primary claim to the throne of France was not through his mother Jeanne d'Albret, Queen of Navarre and leader of the Huguenot party in the Wars of Religion (although she was of royal blood and would have had a strong claim of her own had the Salic Law not been in use).

Henri's father, Antoine de Bourbon, Duc de Vendome (and Duc de Bourbon-Comte de Montpensier) was the senior surviving male heir of the next-eldest male line of the Capetians to the Valois, the House of Bourbon, descended from Robert de Clermont, younger brother of Philippe III and son of Louis IX. Antoine had been favored by some as Regent when Charles IX succeeded in 1560, since he was the senior adult Prince of the Blood, but he cut a deal with Catherine de Medici and stepped aside in her favor. He died in 1562.

According to the Salic Law, Henri de Navarre was clearly the blood heir to the throne when Henri III became King and his brother Francois Duc d'Anjou died in 1584, but his claim was much more distant than earlier shifts within the Valois line (from Charles VIII to Louis XII and later to Francois I). He was only 12th cousin to the King (!), but his closest relative in the male line.

His status was also highly controversial because he was a Protestant; the Catholic League preferred his aged uncle Charles, Cardinal de Bourbon as heir. When Henri IV succeeded in 1589 and the Cardinal died soon afterwards, desperate Catholics sought a legal argument against him, going so far as to advance the claims of the Guise family as descendants of Charlemagne and therefore preferable to the Capets who, after all, had only been elected in 987 (illegally, in this argument). Henri ended the resistance and firmly established the Bourbon dynasty by adopting Catholicism in 1593 with the remark, "Paris is worth a Mass".

Sorry for the long post. I promise to stick more closely to the 14th c in future. king
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Alianore
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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:12 am

Wow, thanks for all that fascinating info, Denis! Great stuff!

Welcome to the forum, by the way! Smile

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James

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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:30 pm

Thanks for the info, Denis; I stand corrected! I guess it just never occurred to me that the French royal family in 1589 was so thinned out they'd have to go all the way back to Louis IX (!!) to find a successor.

Moral of the story: it always pays to study medieval genealogy.
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DenisC



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PostSubject: Re: The Last Capets   Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:06 am

I've already learned a great deal on my trips here - I'm happy to throw in my 2 cents when I can.

The first time I studied Henri IV I thought the same thing. When you consider how many collateral branches had to die out before the throne came to him - well the odds are astronomical, something like that awful comedy in the 80s where John Goodman became the King of England.

Henry VIII did a pretty good job wiping out his own extended family in the 16th c to avoid a replay of the Wars of the Roses. Between all the dead French princes in the Wars of Religion and all the semi-royal heads rolling on Tower green (plus the incredible string of Scottish kings dying young and leaving child heirs), it must have seemed like open season on royals.
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