Karl VI

Karl VI

King of France from 1380 to 1422, from the Valois dynasty
Date of Birth: 03.12.1368
Country: France

  1. Biography of Charles VI of France
  2. Early Reign and Influences
  3. Personal Qualities
  4. Assumption of Power
  5. Mental Illness

Biography of Charles VI of France

Charles VI of France, also known as Charles the Mad, was born in 1368 and reigned as King of France from 1380 to 1422. He belonged to the Valois dynasty and was the son of Charles V and Jeanne of Bourbon. In 1385, he married Isabella, the daughter of Duke Stephen III of Bavaria.

Early Reign and Influences

Charles ascended to the throne at the age of twelve, with power initially being held by his uncles, the Dukes of Anjou, Burgundy, and Berry. This period was marked by popular uprisings, rebellions, and wars with the Flemish. Despite reaching adulthood, Charles remained under the strong influence of the Duke of Burgundy for several years.

Personal Qualities

Charles was a handsome young man with chivalrous manners, passionate, and naturally possessed good qualities such as kindness and friendliness. However, he was raised in a frivolous society and enjoyed lavish and extravagant pleasures. For a long time, he neglected his responsibilities as he indulged in these pursuits.

Assumption of Power

Eventually, Charles noticed that the state was in disarray due to the actions of his uncles and decided to take matters into his own hands. In November 1389, after returning from a campaign in Gelderland, he gathered nobles, clergy, and other important figures to discuss the affairs of the kingdom. After carefully listening to their reports, he sought advice on how to improve the state of the country. Bishop Montagu of Langres suggested that if the king intended to rule in a new way, he should free himself from his previous advisors. Charles liked this advice and dismissed his uncles, replacing them with experienced administrators who had served under his father, such as Constable Clisson, Bishop Montagu, and La Merse.

Mental Illness

Charles, however, quickly lost interest in governance and returned to his unrestrained amusements. He was a highly impressionable young man prone to passionate impulses and interests. His mind was filled with numerous diverse projects, none of which he had the opportunity to implement. Over time, it became apparent that the king's sanity was deteriorating. In 1392, his illness worsened, and he started a war against the Duke of Brittany. During this campaign, his mental disorder escalated into a violent frenzy. Charles charged around, swinging his sword, injuring several of his escorts, and even killing some. Eventually, he was stopped and fell into a prolonged state of unconsciousness. After several months, his sanity returned, and he seemed completely cured of his madness. However, in 1393, during a masquerade, another episode occurred. From then on, his madness increasingly took hold of him. For the last 30 years of his reign, he was effectively unable to govern the country, resulting in immense suffering for the people.