France was ruled by monarchs from the establishment of the Kingdom of West Francia in 843 until the end of the Second French Empire in 1870, with several interruptions.
Classical French historiography usually regards Clovis I, king of the Franks (r. 509–511), as the first king of France, however historians today consider that such a kingdom did not begin until the establishment of West Francia, during the dissolution of the Carolingian Empire.
The kings used the title "King of the Franks" (Latin : Rex Francorum) until the late twelfth century; the first to adopt the title of "King of France" (Latin: Rex Franciae; French: roi de France) was Philip II in 1190 (r. 1180–1223), after which the title "King of the Franks" gradually lost ground. However, Francorum Rex continued to be sometimes used, for example by Louis XII in 1499, by Francis I in 1515, and by Henry II in about 1550; it was also used on coins up to the eighteenth century.
During the brief period when the French Constitution of 1791 was in effect (1791–1792) and after the July Revolution in 1830, the style "King of the French" (roi des Français) was used instead of "King of France (and Navarre)". It was a constitutional innovation known as popular monarchy which linked the monarch's title to the French people rather than to the possession of the territory of France.
With the House of Bonaparte, the title "Emperor of the French" (Empereur des Français) was used in 19th-century France (during the first and second French Empires) between 1804 and 1814, again in 1815, and between 1852 and 1870.
From the 14th century down to 1801, the English (and later British) monarch claimed the throne of France, though such claim was purely nominal excepting a short period during the Hundred Years' War when Henry VI of England had control over most of Northern France, including Paris. By 1453, the English had been mostly expelled from France and Henry's claim has since been considered illegitimate; French historiography commonly does not recognize Henry VI of England among the kings of France.
In August 843 AD, the Treaty of Verdun divided Francia into three kingdoms, one of which (Middle Francia) was short-lived; the other two evolved into France (West Francia) and, eventually, Germany (East Francia). By this time, the eastern and western parts of the land had already developed different languages and cultures.
The Carolingians were a Frankish noble family with origins in the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD. The family consolidated its power in the 8th century, eventually making the offices of mayor of the palace and dux et princeps Francorum hereditary and becoming the real powers behind the Merovingian kings. The dynasty is named after one of these mayors of the palace, Charles Martel, whose son Pepin the Short dethroned the Merovingians in 751 and, with the consent of the Papacy and the aristocracy, was crowned King of the Franks.Under Charles the Great (r. 768–814), better known as "Charlemagne", the Frankish kingdom expanded deep into Central Europe, conquering Italy and most of modern Germany. He was succeeded by his son Louis the Pious (r. 814–840), who eventually divided the kingdom between his sons. His death, however, was followed by a 3-year-long civil war that ended with the Treaty of Verdun. Modern France developed from West Francia, while East Francia became the Holy Roman Empire and later Germany.
| Charles II|
|c. 10 August 843 – 6 October 877|
(34 years and 2 months)
|Son of Louis the Pious and grandson of Charlemagne; recognized as king after the Treaty of Verdun||13 June 823 – 6 October 877|
King of Aquitaine since 838. Crowned "Emperor of the Romans" on Christmas 875. Died of natural causes
| Louis II|
|6 October 877 – 10 April 879|
(1 year, 6 months and 4 days)
|Son of Charles the Bald||1 November 846 – 10 April 879|
King of Aquitaine since 867. Died of natural causes.
|Louis III||10 April 879 – 5 August 882|
(3 years, 3 months and 26 days)
|Son of Louis the Stammerer||863 – 5 August 882 |
Ruled the North; died after hitting his head with a lintel while riding his horse.
|Carloman II||10 April 879 – 6 December 884|
(5 years, 7 months and 26 days)
|Son of Louis the Stammerer||866 – 6 December 884 |
Ruled the South; died after being accidentally stabbed by his servant.
| Charles (III)|
|6 December 884 – 11 November 887 |
(2 years, 11 months and 5 days)
|Son of Louis II the German, king of East Francia, and grandson of Louis I||839 – 13 January 888 |
King of East Francia since 876; crowned Emperor in 881. Last ruler to control all Frankish territories. Deposed by the nobility, later dying of natural causes
|Odo / Eudes||29 February 888 – 3 January 898|
(9 years, 10 months and 15 days)
|Son of Robert the Strong; elected king following the deposition of Charles III. Initially rivaled by Guy III of Spoleto and Ranulf II of Aquitaine||c. 858 – 3 January 898 |
(aged approx. 40)
Defended Paris from the Vikings; died of natural causes
| Charles III|
|3 January 898 – 29 June 922|
(24 years, 5 months and 26 days)
|Posthumous son of Louis II the Stammerer; proclaimed king in opposition to Odo in January 893||17 September 879 – 7 October 929|
Deposed by Robert's followers; later captured by Herbert II, Count of Vermandois. Died in captivity
|Robert I||29 June 922 – 15 June 923|
(11 months and 17 days)
|Son of Robert the Strong and younger brother of Odo||865 – 15 June 923|
Killed at the Battle of Soissons against Charles III. Sole king to die in battle
|Rodolph / Raoul||15 June 923 – 14 January 936|
(12 years, 6 months and 30 days)
|Son of Richard, Duke of Burgundy and son-in-law of Robert I||Duke of Burgundy since 921. Died of illness after a reign of constant civil war and viking raids. Lose Lotharingia (Lorraine) to Henry I of Germany|
| Louis IV|
|19 June 936 – 10 September 954|
(18 years, 2 months and 22 days)
|Son of Charles the Simple, recalled to France after being exiled to England||921 – 10 September 954|
Died after falling off his horse
|Lothair||10 September 954 – 2 March 986|
(31 years, 5 months and 20 days)
|Son of Louis IV||941 – 2 March 986|
Died of natural causes
| Louis V|
|2 March 986 – 22 May 987|
(1 year, 2 months and 20 days)
|Son of Lothair||967 – 22 May 987 |
Died in a hunting accident
The Capetian dynasty is named for Hugh Capet, a Robertian who served as Duke of the Franks and was elected King in 987. Except for the Bonaparte-led Empires, every monarch of France was a male-line descendant of Hugh Capet. The kingship passed through patrilineally from father to son until the 14th century, a period known as Direct Capetian rule. Afterwards, it passed to the House of Valois, a cadet branch that descended from Philip III. The Valois claim was disputed by Edward III, the Plantagenet king of England who claimed himself as the rightful king of France through his french mother; the two houses fought the Hundred Years' War over the issue, and with Henry VI of England being for a time partially recognized as King of France. The Valois line died out in the late 16th century, during the French Wars of Religion, to be replaced by the distantly related House of Bourbon, which descended through the Direct Capetian Louis IX. The Bourbons would rule France until deposed in the French Revolution, though they would be restored to the throne after the fall of Napoleon. The last Capetian to rule would be Louis Philippe I, king of the July Monarchy, a member of the cadet House of Bourbon-Orléans.
The House of Capet are also commonly known as the "Direct Capetians".
| Hugh "Capet" |
|1 June 987 – 24 October 996|
(9 years, 4 months and 23 days)
|Son of Hugh the Great and grandson of Robert I||c. 940 – 24 October 996|
(aged approx. 55)
Duke of the Franks since 956. Died of natural causes.
|Robert II "the Pious"||24 October 996 – 20 July 1031|
(34 years, 8 months and 26 days)
|Only son of Hugh Capet||c. 970 – 20 July 1031|
(aged approx. 60)
Married thrice, getting excommunicated by the Catholic Church. Incorporated the Duchy of Burgundy
| Hughes |
|19 June 1017 – 17 September 1025|
(under Robert II)
|Son of Robert II||c. 1007 – 17 September 1025|
(aged approx. 18)
| Henry I |
|20 July 1031 – 4 August 1060|
(29 years and 15 days)
|Son of Robert II||c. 1005 – 4 August 1060|
(aged approx. 55)
His reign was marked with internal struggle against feudal lords
| Philip I "the Amorous" |
|4 August 1060 – 29 July 1108|
(47 years, 11 months and 25 days)
|Son of Henry I||1052 – 29 July 1108|
Ruled under the regency of Anne of Kiev and Count Baldwin V until 1066
|Louis VI "the Fat"||29 July 1108 – 1 August 1137|
(29 years and 3 days)
|Son of Philip I||1081 – 1 August 1137|
His reign contributed to the centralization of royal power. First king to wage war against the English
| Philippe |
|14 April 1129 – 13 October 1131|
(under Louis VI)
|Son of Louis VI||29 August 1116 – 13 October 1131 |
|Louis VII "the Young"||1 August 1137 – 18 September 1180|
(43 years, 1 month and 17 days)
|Son of Louis VI||1120 – 18 September 1180|
Known for his rivalry with Henry II of England and his military campaigns during the Second Crusade
| Philip II "Augustus" |
|18 September 1180 – 14 July 1223|
(42 years, 9 months and 26 days)
|Son of Louis VII||21 August 1165 – 14 July 1223|
Regarded as one of the greatest French rulers. First monarch to style himself as "King of France"
|Louis VIII "the Lion"||14 July 1223 – 8 November 1226|
(3 years, 3 months and 25 days)
|Son of Philip II||5 September 1187 – 8 November 1226|
Proclaimed king of England in 1216, after which he led an unsuccessful invasion
|Louis IX "the Saint"||8 November 1226 – 25 August 1270|
(43 years, 9 months and 17 days)
|Son of Louis VIII||25 April 1214 – 25 August 1270|
Ruled under the regency of Blanche of Castile until 1234. Died during the 8th Crusade; only king to be venerated by the Catholic Church
| Philip III "the Bold" |
|25 August 1270 – 5 October 1285|
(15 years, 1 month and 10 days)
|Son of Louis IX||3 April 1245 – 5 October 1285|
Greatly expanded French influence in Europe. Died of a fever
| Philip IV "the Fair" |
|5 October 1285 – 29 November 1314|
(29 years, 1 month and 24 days)
|Son of Philip III||1268 – 29 November 1314|
King of Navarre (as Philip I) since 16 August 1284, following his marriage with Joan I. Remembered for his struggle with the Roman papacy and his consolidation of royal power, which to helped reduce the influence of feudal lords
| Louis X|
|29 November 1314 – 5 June 1316|
(1 year, 6 months and 7 days)
|Son of Philip IV||3 October 1289 – 5 June 1316|
King of Navarre (as Louis I) since 2 April 1305. His short reign was marked by conflicts with the nobility
| John I|
|15–20 November 1316|
|Posthumous son of Louis X||King for the five days he lived; shortest undisputed monarch in French history|
| Philip V "the Tall" |
|20 November 1316 </ref>– 3 January 1322|
(5 years, 1 month and 14 days)
|Son of Philip IV and uncle of John I||1294 – 3 January 1322|
King of Navarre as Philip II.
Died without a male heir
|Charles IV "the Fair"||3 January 1322 – 1 February 1328|
(6 years and 29 days)
|Younger brother of Philip V||1294 – 1 February 1328|
King of Navarre as Charles I. Died without a male heir, ending the direct line of Capetians
The death of Charles IV started the Hundred Years' War between the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet (whose claim was taken up by the cadet branch known as the House of Lancaster) over control of the French throne. The Valois claimed the right to the succession by male-only primogeniture through the ancient Salic Law, having the closest all-male line of descent from a recent French king. They were descended from the third son of Philip III, Charles, Count of Valois. The Plantagenets based their claim on being closer to a more recent French king, Edward III of England being a grandson of Philip IV through his mother, Isabella. The two houses fought the Hundred Years War to enforce their claims; the Valois were ultimately successful, and French historiography counts their leaders as rightful kings. One Plantagenet, Henry VI of England, did enjoy de jure control of the French throne following the Treaty of Troyes, which formed the basis for continued English claims to the throne of France until 1801. The Valois line would rule France until the line became extinct in 1589, in the backdrop of the French Wars of Religion. As Navarre did not have a tradition of male-only primogeniture, the Navarrese monarchy became distinct from the French with Joan II, a daughter of Louis X.
| Philip VI|
|1 April 1328 – 22 August 1350|
(22 years, 4 months and 21 days)
|Son of Charles, Count of Valois, grandson of Philip III and cousin of Charles IV||1293 – 22 August 1350|
His reign was dominated by the consequences of a succession dispute, which led to the Hundred Years' War.
| John II "the Good" |
|22 August 1350 – 8 April 1364|
(13 years, 7 months and 17 days)
|Son of Philip VI||April 1319 – 8 April 1364|
Captured by the English at the Battle of Poitiers (1356); forced to sign a series of humiliating treaties
|Charles V "the Wise"||8 April 1364 – 16 September 1380|
(16 years, 5 months and 8 days)
|Son of John II; named Dauphin on 16 July 1349||21 January 1337 – 16 September 1380|
His reign was marked with internal struggle against feudal lords
| Charles VI "the Mad"|
|16 Sept 1380 – 21 October 1422|
(42 years, 1 month and 5 days)
|Son of Charles V||3 December 1368 – 21 October 1422|
Ruled under the regency of his uncles until 1388. Suffered a long period of mental illness before dying of natural causes
| Henry VI of England |
|21 October 1422 –|
19 October 1453
(disputed; 31 years)
|Maternal grandson of Charles VI; recognized as heir after the Treaty of Troyes of 21 May 1420||6 December 1421 – 21 May 1471|
King of England since 1 September 1422. Ruled under several regencies until 1437
| Charles VII|
|21 October 1422 – 22 July 1461|
(38 years, 9 months and 1 day)
|Son of Charles VI and uncle of Henry VI of England, named Dauphin in April 1417||22 February 1403 – 22 July 1461|
His reign saw the end of the Hundred Years' War
| Louis XI|
"the Universal Spider"
|22 July 1461 – 30 August 1483|
(22 years, 1 month and 8 days)
|Son of Charles VII||3 July 1423 – 30 August 1483|
His reign saw the strengthening and expansion of royal power. Nicknamed "the Universal Spider" for the numerous intrigues during his rule
| Charles VIII|
|30 August 1483 – 7 April 1498|
(14 years, 7 months and 8 days)
|Son of Louis XI||30 June 1470 – 7 April 1498|
Ruled under the regency of his sister Anne until 1491. Started the long and unsuccessful Italian Wars. Died after hitting his head with a lintel
| Louis XII|
"Father of the People"
|7 April 1498 – 1 January 1515|
(16 years, 8 months and 25 days)
|Great-grandson of Charles V. Second cousin, and by first marriage son-in-law, of Louis XI||27 June 1462 – 1 January 1515|
Briefly conquered the Kingdom of Naples and the Duchy of Milan
| Francis I|
"the Father of Letters"
|1 January 1515 – 31 March 1547|
(32 years, 2 months and 30 days)
|Great-great-grandson of Charles V. First cousin once removed, and by first marriage son-in-law, of Louis XII||12 September 1494 – 31 March 1547|
Remembered as a Renaissance patron of the arts and scholarship. Died of a fever
| Henry II |
|31 March 1547 – 10 July 1559|
(12 years, 3 months and 10 days)
|Son of Francis I, named Dauphin in August 1536||31 March 1519 – 10 July 1559|
His reign saw the end of the Italian Wars. Died after being accidentally stabbed in a Jousting tournament
| Francis II |
|10 July 1559 – 5 December 1560|
(1 year, 4 months and 25 days)
|Son of Henry II||20 January 1544 – 5 December 1560|
King consort of Scotland since 24 April 1558. A weak and sick boy, he remained under the regency of the House of Guise until his premature death
|Charles IX||5 December 1560 – 30 May 1574|
(13 years, 5 months and 25 days)
|Younger brother of Francis II||27 June 1550 – 30 May 1574|
Ruled under the regency of his mother Catherine until 1563, but remained under her influence until his death. The Wars of Religion began under his reign (1562). Best remembered for the Massacre of Vassy
| Henry III |
|30 May 1574 – 2 August 1589|
(15 years, 2 months and 3 days)
|Younger brother of Francis II and Charles IX||19 September 1551 – 2 August 1589|
Initially ruler of the Poland–Lithuania. He reigned through the devastating Wars of Religion, which eventually led to his own assassination
The Valois line looked strong on the death of Henry II, who left four male heirs. His first son, Francis II, died in his minority. His second son, Charles IX, had no legitimate sons to inherit. Following the premature death of his fourth son Hercule François and the assassination of his third son, the childless Henry III, France was plunged into a succession crisis over which distant cousin of the king would inherit the throne. The best claimant, King Henry III of Navarre, was a Protestant, and thus unacceptable to much of the French nobility. Ultimately, after winning numerous battles in defence of his claim, Henry converted to Catholicism and was crowned as King Henry IV, founding the House of Bourbon. This marked the second time the thrones of Navarre and France were united under one monarch; as different inheritance laws had caused them to become separated during the events of the Hundred Years Wars. The House of Bourbon would be overthrown during the French Revolution and replaced by a short-lived republic.
| Charles X |
|2 August 1589 – 9 May 1590|
(disputed; 9 months and 7 days)
|7x great-grandson of Louis IX. Proclaimed king by the Catholic League in opposition to Henry of Navarre||22 December 1523 – 9 May 1590|
Imprisoned by Henry III on 23 December 1588; remained his entire "reign" in captivity. Died of natural causes
| Henry IV "the Great"|
"the Good King"
|2 August 1589 – 14 May 1610|
(20 years, 9 months and 12 days)
|10th-generation descendant of Louis IX; also nephew of Charles (X) and by first marriage son-in-law of Henry II. Proclaimed king on Henry III's deathbed||13 December 1553 – 14 May 1610|
King of Lower Navarre (as Henry III) since 10 June 1572. Killed in Paris on 14 May 1610 by Catholic fanatic François Ravaillac .
|Louis XIII "the Just"||14 May 1610 – 14 May 1643|
|Son of Henry IV||27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643|
Last King of Lower Navarre (as Louis II). Died of natural causes.
| Louis XIV "the Great"|
"the Sun King"
|14 May 1643 – 1 September 1715|
(72 years, 3 months and 18 days)
|Son of Louis XIII||5 September 1638 – 1 September 1715|
Ruled under the regency of his mother Anne of Austria until 1651. Longest reigning sovereign monarch in history
| Louis XV|
|1 September 1715 – 10 May 1774|
(58 years, 8 months and 9 days)
|Great-grandson of Louis XIV||15 February 1710 – 10 May 1774|
Ruled under the regency of Philippe II, Duke of Bourbon-Orléans, until 1723
|Louis XVI||10 May 1774 – 21 September 1792 |
(18 years, 4 months and 11 days)
|Grandson of Louis XV||23 August 1754 – 21 January 1793|
Forced to install a constitutional monarchy after 1789. Formally deposed following the proclamation of the First Republic; executed in public
The period known as the "long nineteenth century" was a tumultuous time in French politics, the period is generally considered to have begun with the French Revolution, which deposed and then executed Louis XVI. Royalists continued to recognize his son, the putative king Louis XVII as ruler of France, however Louis was under arrest by the government of the Revolution, and died in captivity having never ruled. The republican government itself went through several changes in form and constitution until France was declared an empire following the ascension of the First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte as Emperor Napoleon I. Napoleon himself would be overthrown twice following military defeats during the Napoleonic Wars. After the Napoleonic period followed two different royal governments, the Bourbon Restoration, which was ruled successively by two younger brothers of Louis XVI, and the July Monarchy, ruled by Louis Philippe I, a distant cousin who claimed descent from Louis XIII. The French Revolution of 1848 brought an end to the monarchy again, instituting a brief Second Republic that lasted only four years before its President declared himself Emperor Napoleon III, who would himself be deposed and replaced by the Third Republic, and ending monarchic rule in France for good.
| Louis XVII |
|21 January 1793 – 8 June 1795|
(disputed; 2 years, 4 months and 18 days)
|Son of Louis XVI; named Dauphin on 4 June 1789||27 March 1785 – 8 June 1795|
Imprisoned by the revolutionary forces on 13 August 1792. Remained in captivity during the entirety of his "reign"
|Napoleon I||18 May 1804 – 6 April 1814|
(9 years, 10 months and 19 days)
|First Consul following the coup d'etat of 19 November 1799; self-proclaimed Emperor of the French||15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821|
Conquered most of Europe in a series of successful wars; remembered as one of the greatest military commanders in history. Forced to abdicate and exiled to the island of Elba
| Louis XVIII|
|3 May 1814 – 20 March 1815|
(1st time; 10 months and 17 days)
|Younger brother of Louis XVI; proclaimed king in June 1795||17 November 1755 – 16 September 1824|
Fled France on 21 June 1791, during the Flight to Varennes.
|Napoleon I||20 March – 22 June 1815|
|Restored as Emperor of the French following his escape from the island of Elba.||15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821|
Abdicated in favour of his son following his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. Exiled to the island of Saint Helena, where he later died of a stomach illness
| Napoleon II |
|22 June – 7 July 1815|
(15 days; disputed)
|Son of Napoleon I||20 March 1811 – 22 July 1832|
Remained his entire "reign" hidden in Austria, with his mother Marie Louise. Died of tuberculosis several years later
| Louis XVIII|
|8 July 1815 – 16 September 1824|
(9 years, 2 months and 8 days)
|Younger brother of Louis XVI; restored to the throne||17 November 1755 – 16 September 1824|
Attempted to rule under a constitutional monarchy. Last French monarch to die while still reigning
|Charles X||16 September 1824 – 2 August 1830|
(5 years, 10 months and 17 days)
|Younger brother of Louis XVI and Louis XVIII||9 October 1757 – 6 November 1836|
Leader of the Ultra-royalists; attempted to return to the Ancient Regime. Abdicated in favour of his grandson Henry.
| Louis XIX |
|2 August 1830|
(a few minutes; disputed)
|Son of Charles X||6 August 1775 – 3 June 1844|
Allegedly king for 20 minutes before his own abdication; later legitimist pretender to the throne.
| Henry V |
|2–9 August 1830|
(7 days; disputed)
|Grandson of Charles X||29 September 1820 – 24 August 1883|
Later legitimist pretender to the throne. Died in exile several years later
The Bourbon Restoration came to an end with the July Revolution of 1830 which deposed Charles X and replaced him with Louis Philippe I, a distant cousin with more liberal politics. Charles X's son Louis signed a document renouncing his own right to the throne only after a 20-minute argument with his father. Because he was never crowned he is disputed as a genuine king of France. Louis's nephew Henry was likewise considered by some to be Henry V but the new regime did not recognise his claim and he never ruled.
| Louis Philippe I|
"the Citizen King"
|9 August 1830 – 24 February 1848|
(17 years, 6 months and 15 days)
|Sixth-generation descendant of Louis XIII, also distant cousin of Charles X||6 October 1773 – 26 August 1850|
Styled as King of the French. Abdicated in favour of his grandson
| Louis Philippe II |
|24–26 February 1848|
(2 days; disputed)
|Grandson of Louis-Philippe||24 August 1838 – 8 September 1894|
Later Orléanist pretender to the throne.
The French Second Republic lasted from 1848 to 1852, when its president, Charles-Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, was declared Emperor of the French under the regnal name of Napoleon III. He would later be overthrown during the events of the Franco-Prussian War, becoming the last monarch to rule France.
|Napoleon III||2 December 1852 – 4 September 1870|
(17 years, 9 months and 2 days)
|Nephew of Napoleon I and former President of France; self-proclaimed Emperor||20 April 1808 – 9 January 1873|
Captured by the German army on 2 September 1870; deposed following the proclamation of the Third Republic.
Various pretenders descended from the preceding monarchs have claimed to be the legitimate monarch of France, rejecting the claims of the president of France and of one another. These groups are:
The Capetian dynasty, also known as the House of France, is a dynasty of Frankish origin, and a branch of the Robertians. It is among the largest and oldest royal houses in Europe and the world, and consists of Hugh Capet, the founder of the dynasty, and his male-line descendants, who ruled in France without interruption from 987 to 1792, and again from 1814 to 1848. The senior line ruled in France as the House of Capet from the election of Hugh Capet in 987 until the death of Charles IV in 1328. That line was succeeded by cadet branches, the Houses of Valois and then Bourbon, which ruled without interruption until the French Revolution abolished the monarchy in 1792. The Bourbons were restored in 1814 in the aftermath of Napoleon's defeat, but had to vacate the throne again in 1830 in favor of the last Capetian monarch of France, Louis Philippe I, who belonged to the House of Orléans. Cadet branches of the Capetian House of Bourbon house are still ruling over Spain and Luxembourg.
The House of Bourbon is a European dynasty of French origin, a branch of the Capetian dynasty, the royal House of France. Bourbon kings first ruled France and Navarre in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Spanish Bourbon dynasty held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma. Spain and Luxembourg have monarchs of the House of Bourbon.
The Capetian house of Valois was a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. They succeeded the House of Capet to the French throne, and were the royal house of France from 1328 to 1589. Junior members of the family founded cadet branches in Orléans, Anjou, Burgundy, and Alençon.
Charles IX was King of France from 1560 until his death in 1574. He ascended the French throne upon the death of his brother Francis II in 1560, and as such was the penultimate monarch of the House of Valois.
Henry II was King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559. The second son of Francis I and Duchess Claude of Brittany, he became Dauphin of France upon the death of his elder brother Francis in 1536.
An appanage, or apanage, is the grant of an estate, title, office or other thing of value to a younger child of a sovereign, who would otherwise have no inheritance under the system of primogeniture. It was common in much of Europe.
Charles of Lorraine, Duke of Mayenne, or Charles de Guise, was a French nobleman of the house of Guise and a military leader of the Catholic League, which he headed during the French Wars of Religion, following the assassination of his brothers at Blois in 1588. In 1596, when he made peace with Henry IV of France, the wars were essentially at an end.
Duke of Burgundy was a title used by the rulers of the Duchy of Burgundy, from its establishment in 843 to its annexation by France in 1477, and later by Holy Roman Emperors and Kings of Spain from the House of Habsburg who claimed Burgundy proper and ruled the Burgundian inheritance in the Low Countries.
Duke of Orléans was a French royal title usually granted by the King of France to one of his close relatives, or otherwise inherited through the male line. First created in 1344 by King Philip VI for his younger son Philip, the title was recreated by King Charles VI for his younger brother Louis, who passed the title on to his son and then to his grandson, the latter becoming King Louis XII. The title was created and recreated six times in total, until 1661, when Louis XIV bestowed it upon his younger brother Philippe, who passed it on to his male descendants, who became known as the "Orléans branch" of the Bourbons.
Joan II was Queen of Navarre from 1328 until her death. She was the only surviving child of Louis X of France, King of France and Navarre, and Margaret of Burgundy. Joan's paternity was dubious because her mother was involved in a scandal, but Louis X declared her his legitimate daughter before he died in 1316. However, the French lords were opposed to the idea of a female monarch and elected Louis X's brother, Philip V, king. The Navarrese noblemen also paid homage to Philip. Joan's maternal grandmother, Agnes of France, and uncle, Odo IV of Burgundy, made attempts to secure the counties of Champagne and Brie to Joan, but the French royal troops defeated her supporters. After Philip V married his daughter to Odo and granted him two counties as her dowry, Odo renounced Joan's claim to Champagne and Brie in exchange for a compensation in March 1318. Joan married Philip of Évreux, who was also a member of the French royal family.
Duke of Berry or Duchess of Berry was a title in the Peerage of France. The Duchy of Berry, centred on Bourges, was originally created as an appanage for junior members of the French royal family and was frequently granted to female royals. The style Duke of Berry was later granted by several Bourbon monarchs to their grandsons. The last official Duke of Berry was Charles Ferdinand of Artois, son of Charles X. The title Duke of Berry is currently used as a courtesy title by Prince Alphonse de Bourbon, son of the Legitimist Pretender to the French Throne Louis Alphonse de Bourbon.
From the 1340s to the 19th century, excluding two brief intervals in the 1360s and the 1420s, the kings and queens of England and Ireland also claimed the throne of France. The claim dates from Edward III, who claimed the French throne in 1340 as the sororal nephew of the last direct Capetian, Charles IV. Edward and his heirs fought the Hundred Years' War to enforce this claim, and were briefly successful in the 1420s under Henry V and Henry VI, but the House of Valois, a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty, was ultimately victorious and retained control of France, except for Calais and the Channel Islands. English and British monarchs continued to prominently call themselves kings of France, and the French fleur-de-lis was included in the royal arms. This continued until 1801, by which time France no longer had any monarch, having become a republic. The Jacobite claimants, however, did not explicitly relinquish the claim.
The House of Capet ruled the Kingdom of France from 987 to 1328. It was the most senior line of the Capetian dynasty – itself a derivative dynasty from the Robertians.
The Kingdom of France is the historiographical name or umbrella term given to various political entities of France in the medieval and early modern period. It was one of the most powerful states in Europe since the High Middle Ages. It was also an early colonial power, with possessions around the world.
Henry IV of France's succession to the throne in 1589 was followed by a four-year war of succession to establish his legitimacy, which was part of the French Wars of Religion (1562–1598). Henry IV inherited the throne after the assassination of Henry III, the last Valois king, who died without children. Henry was already King of Navarre, as the successor of his mother, Jeanne d'Albret, but he owed his succession to the throne of France to the line of his father, Antoine of Bourbon, an agnatic descendant of Louis IX. He was the first French king from the House of Bourbon.
Henry IV of France was the first Bourbon king of France. Formerly known as Henri of Navarre, he succeeded to the French throne with the extinction of House of Valois, at the death of Henry III of France.
Succession to the French throne covers the mechanism by which the French crown passed from the establishment of the Frankish Kingdom in 486 to the fall of the Second French Empire in 1870.