Tuesday 9 June 2020

Louis XI and Charles Le Temeraire (France, 1969)

A journey back to 15th century France leads us to the relationship turned rivalry of King Louis XI and Charles, Duke of Burgundy. As boys, they were on good terms: Charles was married to Louis’ sister, though he was only seven at the time and probably didn’t have too much say in the matter. Charles’ youth and early adulthood seems to have been dominated by marriages to assorted European princesses, and it was his decision to marry an English rather than a French princess which contributed to the acrimonay between him and Louis. Charles would have seen it differently: it was Louis’ policy of trying to regain towns from Burgundian territory that was the act of provocation. Burgundy and France spent much of the 1460s at war, finally settling into a more peaceful co-existence in the 1470s when the Burgundian empire had become too big to break up and when Charles’ ambitions started to turn to other pockets of land…

Charles’ nickname on Wikipedia is Charles the Bold, but he was also known as The Warrior, The Terrible and – as in the stamp – Le Temeraire, or The Reckless.


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