I.A maid dies and the Dauphin falls

France is, in the first quarter of the 15th century, in a serious situation where its fate seems to be at stake; after the victory of Agincourt and the formation of the Anglo-Burgundian alliance, King Henry V of England succeeds to impose a treaty in Troyes on the mad French monarch Charles VI, according to which Henry and his descendants are recognized the legal heirs to the throne of France, bypassing the son of Charles VI, the Dauphin Charles of Viennese. However, on 31 August 1422, Henry V died suddenly, and Charles VI followed him 2 months later. The throne of England and France passed to Henry VI, aged 10 months, who was placed under two regents — John, Duke of Bedford in France and Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester in England.

The conclusion of the Treaty of Troyes did not mean the complete submission of the French to England; south of the Loire, power was held by the lords who supported the Dauphin, who proclaimed him king of France under the name of Charles VII. In July 1428, the army of Thomas, 4th Earl of Salisbury landed on the continent, heading for Orleans — the largest city and the most important defense center for the troops of the "King of Bourges" on the Loire. On 12 October, the siege of the city begins, which lasts almost 7 months. From February 1429, the scales began to tilt in the English side, but the arrival of a peasant woman from Lorraine, Joan of Arc, in the city changed everything — she managed to boost the morale of the Orleans garrison, and on 7 May under his leadership, the fortress Les Tourelles was taken, which opened the siege ring on the left bank of the Loire, after which the English were forced to retreat.

Imagine, however, that Joan died in the assault on Les Tourelles? Imagine that Orleans fell and that the English pushed south, taking the last strength of Charles VII? What if the English managed to conquer France? What would be the consequences for the two kingdoms, Europe and the world?

- A maid dies and the Dauphin falls -


Plan of the siege of Orleans (blue: French forces; red: English forces)
On 4 May 1429, Saint-Loup fort, the further east building, was taken after several hours of combat by the troops commanded by Joan of Arc. Emboldened by this victory, the French believe that the siege can be lifted. On 6 May, the previous success was consolidated by the successful assault on St-Augustin fort, the building which covered the outskirts of Les Tourelles. On the morning of 7 May, the capture of Les Tourelles began, where the best English troops were commanded by Captain William Glasdale. Most of the day passed, marked by the failure of the French to undermine the building. The clashes turned into a butchery in both camps and the attackers weakened. At noon, Joan launched an assault. Grabbing a ladder, pinning it against the wall and shouting to the soldiers: "Everything is yours, and come in!" Began to climb to the crest of the fortification. She climbed several steps, staggered, and fell into the ditch. An arrow from the crossbow pierced his right collarbone.

The renewed assault yielded no results and the morale of the troops collapses. The French commanders were more and more inclined to postpone the battle until the next day, and Jean of Valbonais[1], the commander of the defense, gave the order to retreat. Meanwhile, Joan, evacuated to the rear, saw her wound getting worse the tip of the arrow had sunk deep with her fall, it could not be removed, blood poisoning and severe fever reached it. On the morning of 8 May, Joan of Arc died.


Joan of Arc hit by an arrow

The bastard of Orleans tries to hide the death from the soldiers, especially the militiamen of the city, but soon rumors about it circulated and plunged the French in shock that which had inspired the hope to drive out the English; is no longer there and the morale of the troops, which had been strengthened, collapsed. The second assault on Les Tourelles, on 8 May, ended in failure the French were forced to retreat again. They no longer had the necessary forces for new assaults, since in the battles of forts Saint-Loup, St-Augustin and Tourelles, with Joan, consumed all the reinforcements that Charles VII had. The English, while retaining control of the Tourelle, soon succeeded in reestablishing the ring of blockade around the city from the left bank of the Loire. On 12 May, Valbonais, seeing no other way out, left Orleans at the mercy of the enemy and left for Chinon with the remains of the garrison, leaving the city defended by the militia. On 15 May, the English entered Orléans after the notables had signed their surrender.

Siege_orleans (1).jpg

Siege of Orleans
After the capture of Orleans, William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk, and John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, at the head of the Anglo-Burgundian army, headed south in pursuit of Valbonais' forces in retreat. The army of Charles VII, meanwhile, collapsed the Dauphin was betrayed by his constable, Arthur of Richmond, who moved to the Suffolk side on the news of the fall of Orleans, and on 18 June, at the Battle of Berry-Bouy, near of Bourges, Jean Poton de Xaintrailles and Étienne de Vignolles, know as La Hire, were defeated by the English. The two commanders, despite their personal bravery, were captured and their soldiers fled.

On 17 July, the Burgundians, led by John II of Luxembourg occupy Bourges, whose garrison does not oppose any resistance, but Charles VII is not part of it the "king", who quickly loses the last vestiges of his kingdom, takes refuge in Chinon. Meanwhile, at the court of the “King of Bourges”, after a series of defeats which struck the French in June-July, the party which defended the compromise and the immediate negotiations won. Its leaders were the Grand Chamberlain Georges de La Trémoille and Chancellor Regnault de Chartres, Archbishop of Reims. They hoped to negotiate with the Duke of Burgundy favorable conditions for the Dauphin their positions were supported by a lot of evidence, since Duke Philip III the Good himself, although he was eager to avenge himself on the Dauphin for the murder of his father John the Fearless, at the same time, being a calculating politician, feared an excessive strengthening of the English on the continent. However, all attempts at negotiations failed when the English entered Chinon on 26 August by that time Charles VII had managed to escape to Poitiers, but the fall of the capital of the "Kingdom of Bourges"[2] brought about resulted in the final loss of the French will to resist.


Battle of Berry-Bouy

On 13 September, the embassy of La Tremoille and Raignault de Chartres met in Chauvigny the representatives of Suffolk and Talbot. On behalf of the Dauphin, the ambassadors expressed Charles VII's willingness to renounce the royal title and all rights to the crown of France in exchange for the conservation of his possessions south of the Loire Languedoc, Poitou, Touraine, etc..., but their interlocutor reminds them that all these lands are the legal possession of the English kings, forming part of the inheritance of Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Negotiations are broken off and the English soon resume their offensive on Poitiers. On 15 September, a detachment from Suffolk intercepted Charles VII's retinue, as well as the king himself, who attempted to flee to Limoges, after which the resistance ceased. Suffolk transported the prisoner to Poitiers, where a treaty bear was imposed on the Dauphin. Fortunately for him, the Duke of Bedford, who also came to the city after learning of Charles' capture, advocates moderation with Armagnac's party and decides not to deprive their prince of all his fortune. Charles VII signs the treaty in Poitiers and renounces the rights to the throne of France for himself and his descendants, in accordance with the Treaty of Troyes. At the same time, Bedford, on behalf of Henry VI, "returned" to Charles his family estates Chartres, Valois, Dauphiné, Diois and Valentinois[3]. In order to ensure the loyalty of the henceforth "Dauphin Charles V of Viennois", Bedford required as a condition, sent his eldest son, Louis, to the court of Burgundy as an honorary hostage. Following the former king, the power of the English was recognized by other French feudal lords the Counts of Foix, Armagnac, Clermont and others. The war, which had lasted since 1337, was officially over.


Dauphin Charles of Viennois
[1] Better known under the name of Jean, (count) of Dunois, bastard of Duke Louis I, Duke of Orleans. At the time of the siege he was only lord of Valbonais and Claix.
[2] Disdainful name given by the English to lands under the control of Dauphin Charles, also nicknamed King of Bourges.
[3] The county of Ponthieu, land that Charles received at his birth in 1403, was attached to the English royal domain.


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II.Sons of England & Fils de France

- Sons of England & Fils de France -


The Kingdoms of England and France in the early 1430s

On 6 November 1429, Henry VI, 7 years old, was crowned at Westminster Abbey as King of England, but his coronation in France on the Duke of Bedford's proposal was postponed for 7 years. Such a delay was necessary for the regent to settle all the disputes between the new vassals of Lancaster on the continent. Bedford's first task was the restoration of all the possessions of the former Angevin Empire in addition to the royal domain itself, it included the lands of Anjou, Alençon, Tourraine, Poitou and Auvegrne, which had previously belonged to various representatives of the Valois family. As their owners were mostly in English captivity, these lands became a sort of "ransom" in 1430 the Dukes of Orleans and Bourbon returned to France, regaining their place in the French high nobility. Other lands will not be returned to their former owners for example King René is dispossessed of his Duchy of Anjou, and John of Orléans loses his counties of Angoulême and Périgord.

Bedford tries to rally the French lords around the King-Child. The civil war between Armagnacs and Burgundy continues to rage despite English domination and threatens to degenerate. Between 1430 and 1434, les écorcheurs (French: écorcheurs), an armed troop, plundered the lands of Burgundy. These mercenaries who had fought for the Dauphin against the English found themselves with peace without war to wage. Refusing to dissolve, they escape the control of the Dauphin. These attacks intensify the feeling of injustice of the Duke of Burgundy the latter demanded since the peace the convocation of a bed of justice to condemn the authors of the assassination of his father and to seek reparation. Such action compels the king to come to France, which Lord Protector Gloucester refused despite Regent Beford's demands.


Sack of a City by Flayers
The looting of 15 September 1434, against the Mâconnais and the ensuing confrontation between Burgundians and flayers gave Philip the Good the pretext to mobilize his troops to march on the Dauphiné. This escalation eventually convinced the Duke of Bedford to intervene to avoid open war.

In February 1435, the lords of France and England were summoned to appear in Arras. Also present are foreign rulers - Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg, Amadao VII of Savoy, James of Rothesay [1] and representatives of the kings of Poland, Castile, Aragon and the Pope. The assembly officially convened to rule on a Franco-English crusade against the Hussites at the time of the convocation the radical Hussites had been defeated in May 1434 in Lipany the main subjects dealt with were internal to the Anglo-French kingdom. It's a truly European congress, where Bedford is at the head of discussions and negotiations maneuvering between the factions. His primary mission is to put an end to the clashes between Armagnacs and Burgundians — throughout the congress, he strives to appease the two parties by the celebration of feasts and sumptuous banquets. He thus obtains a reconciliation of the leaders monetizing the advantages, privileges and compromises granted and agreed to each:
  • the Dauphiné is elevated to the rank of duchy and retains its "delphinal status"[2] ;
  • the Dauphin Charles takes back his possessions of the county of Bourges and is appointed governor for life of Languedoc but he must cede the county of Valois to his son Louis who pays homage to Philip II the Good;
  • Philip receives a public apology from Charles for John the Good's assassination and heavy financial compensation for 10 years. The duke obtains for his son, Charles, count of Charolais, the hand of Catherine of Valois, daughter of the Dauphin;
  • the count of Armagnac obtains an “autonomy”, in particular in its foreign policy and on the fiscal questions;
The apparent generosity of Bedford with the Armagnacs is not to be found in the magnanimity of the regent. His hidden goal is to gain the support of yesterday's enemies against the overly ambitious and powerful Duke of Burgundy. But by seeking to maintain them at the southern borders of France the Dauphin in the Alps and Armagnac in the Pyrenees, with a view to having bridgeheads in Italy and Iberia. Also, since the death, in 1432, of Anne of Burgundy, wife of Bedford and sister of Philip one of the bases of the Anglo-Burgundian alliance the two men have been rivals in the domination of French political life. In 1433, John of Lancaster remarried with Jacquetta of Luxembourg, which added to the tension. The heritage of the Duchy of Luxembourg, interests Jean, like Philippe of Burgundy who is officially the suzerain of the duke. Bedford will have a sentence to describe this policy: "Contain the Duke, Maintain the Dauphin, Serve the King".


John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford and Duke of Anjou Regent of France

The second objective of Bedford, as well as of the English, was to strengthen the loyalty of the French feudal lords to the house of Lancaster. Each meeting, during the congress, between lords begins and ends with a tribute to Henry VI. Bedford gave speeches in which he praised the "universal" character of the double monarchy, of "the deep and eternal friendship" between French and English. The date of the coronation in France of Henri VI is even fixed in 1436, and even minutely prepared to satisfy all parties.

A third subject, as the congress unfolds, arises; that of the future wife of King Henry. The important presence of the great lords and sovereigns of Western Europe leaves the choice to Bedford and to the parties present to advance their candidates the Armagnac party advances the daughters of the Count of Armagnac or of the Dauphin; the Burgundian party proposes the Infanta Philippa of Portugal, niece of the Duchess of Burgundy; finally the English party leans towards a foreign princess, inclined to the Burgundian proposal, ends up focusing on Anne of Austria, granddaughter of the Emperor. Other proposals were made by princes "outside the factions" —for example, Jacques I of Scotland offered the hand of his daughter Margaret, who was already "married" [3] to Louis de Valois; Helena Palaiologina was proposed by the papal representatives to support the fight against the Turks.

Bedford ends up taking an interest in the daughters of King René, considering them as a compromise between Armagnacs and Burgundians but negotiations are slow the Duke of Bar demands the exemption of dowry and the return of Anjou. A solution seems to emerge after negotiations conditioned return of Anjou to René's descendants, England's support for the duke over his Neapolitan kingdom, etc... But on 14 September 1435, in Rouen, after meeting with the Norman nobility, John of Bedford died.


René, King of Naples and Duke of Bar in 1435

The sudden disappearance of the regent raises fears of the collapse of the agreements obtained during the congress. The regency is claimed by John's brother, Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, the king's uncle and already Lord-Protector a man of power, greedy, ambitious and leader of the "English party" in the Council of Regency. He is hated on the continent, in particular by the Duke of Burgundy, because both claim the lands of Hainaut Humphrey by marriage and Philippe by conquest [4] and in England he is fought by his half-cousin, Henry Beaufort, cardinal of Winchester. Opposition quickly formed in Congress against Gloucester, stopping most of these attempts to annul the agreements except for the marriage to King René's daughters. The desire to finally seal peace and concord prevails over past and present divisions.

The last rebound of the congress, and which concluded it, on the direction of the regency. The French nobles, in reaction to Gloucester's demands, demanded that the remaining regency be led by a French lord (Philip of Burgundy is proposed as a candidate). Winchester found a compromise by setting up a council of regency in France, similar to that of England, made up of the great French lords and notables Richard, Duke of York was appointed lieutenant of the kingdom[5]. The congress officially ended on 29 September, the eve of All Saints' Day.


Meeting during the Arras Congress

On 6 May 1436, Henry VI, 14 year old, was consecrated in Reims under the name of Henry II, King of France. However, the ceremony was overshadowed by conflicts between the English and the French the latter, notably the Duke of Burgundy, requested that the coronation be carried out by a French bishop (Pierre Cauchon, archbishop of Rouen, was proposed as a candidate), contrary to what had been decided in Arras. However, Cardinal Winchester colored himself well and chose to take the whole process into his own hands and personally placed the crown on Henry's head. Nevertheless, the ceremony respected the procedure for the coronation of the King of France and the priests present were equally English and French. This event was doubled by the banquet which followed, as well as the amnesty, thanks to which, in particular, Xaintrailles and La Hire returned from captivity.


Coronation of Henri VI and II in Reims

After his coronation, in the eyes of many French people, Henry became their rightful monarch. He was declared of full age and lived for several months in France, his first and only actions were to confirm the arrangements decided in Arras and to the distribution of titles for example, Richard of York obtains the counties of Poitier and Angoulême; Humphrey of Gloucester obtains Anjou from his late brother. However, due to the discontent of the English barons, who demanded that the king live in England, after Christmas 1436 Henry returned to the island, handing French affairs over to Richard of York.
[1] Title of the Crown Prince of Scotland, future James II.
[2] The statute has prevailed since the Treaty of Romans of 1349 guaranteeing tax exemptions for the Dauphiné within the Kingdom of France.
[3] Margaret Stewart and Louis de Valois had been married by proxy since 1428 but had not yet met. James I tried to call off their union but Bedford confirmed the marriage to Congress.
[4] The Duke of Gloucester was married to Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut until 1428, the union was annulled after the conquest of land by the Duke of Burgundy.
[5] Richard, Duke of York was a member of the Gloucester party, but married to Cardinal Winchester's niece, which put both parties at ease.
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Interesting start and topic.
If I may, you should probably refrain from using things like "Angevin Empire" and "British" which are names (and concepts) that arose much later.
Interesting start and topic.
If I may, you should probably refrain from using things like "Angevin Empire" and "British" which are names (and concepts) that arose much later.
Thank you for your interest.
Agree with you for the attention paid to the use of these words, but they are mostly typos. In any case for "British", I wrote it immediately without paying attention but it is corrected. Thank you.
Great stuff so far. I’m glad I found this since I haven’t been able to find many Plantagenet victory timelines on here, surprisingly enough. Excited to see where this goes!
III.Henry VI and II: The French Liberties

- Henry VI and II: The French Liberties -


City of Rouen in the 15th century
The Arras congress allowed the interior pacification of a large part of France, but its government, despite the efforts of Winchester and York, remained fragile the state apparatus being divided between the English and Burgundians: for example, John Talbot was appointed Constable of France[1] and Cardinal Louis of Luxembourg was appointed Chancellor. Based in Rouen, the power of the lieutenant of France rested on about 1,500 English knights, who were given estates over the vast occupied lands, most to the detriment of the French who already owned these lands mainly in Poitou, Auvergne, Quercy and Agenais. Their first actions were to assist the Dauphin in the disassembly of the Flayers who, despite the decisions of Arras, were still not dispersed at the end of the year 1438.

In October 1439, at the request of the government, King Henry convoked the States-General. Gathered in Rouen in the presence of Richard of York, deputies representing the three orders also attend the debates as well as in particular the Cardinal of Winchester, William de la Pole, John Talbot, Edmond Beaufort. Thus, Philip III of Burgundy, is represented by Louis de Valois, that of John V of Brittany, by his son Peter, that of John IV of Armagnac by Guillaume d'Estaing and Charles V of Viennois by Jean of Valbonais. Only Charles I of Orleans was personally present.


The three feudal orders meeting at the Estates General

Two subjects are discussed: participation in an anti-Turkish crusade and the creation of a tax in view of a standing army against the Flayers. If the first served as a pretext for the reunification of States, the question of the tax was the crucial element for Lieutenant Richard. Indeed, the levying of a centralized tax by the lieutenant would make it possible, in addition to reducing the power of the lords, to maintain a royal army. On 2 November, an ordinance is published, it describes the organization of the army and the tax; the taille. The taille is instituted without limitation in time and its revenue is allocated to a precise object, in this case, the financing of an army. It's seen as vital in order to reduce the disorder and looting of the territory. Concluding on this ordinance, the Estates General were to meet again at the beginning of the following year but without Richard's presence to deal with smaller questions.

The lords, and especially Bourbon, stand in the way of the lieutenant's ordinance. Indeed, these often resort to companies of Flayers and do not believe that the "king" is the only one at the base of recruiting for the army. After the failure of a complaint from the lords opposed to the permanent size, sent to King Henry but intercepted by York who softened the content and ended up remaining a dead letter. Thereby, in February 1440, a major uprising began; the Praguerie named after the capital of the Bohemian Kingdom, Prague, which after the Hussite wars was firmly associated with constant uprisings.


Rebel troops

The driving force behind Praguerie were the great feudal lords led by Charles I of Bourbon. Among the rebels, many are those who, because of the conquerors, lose their lands: the former Duke of Alençon and Count of Vendôme, as well as Georges de La Trémoille, formerly associated with the Dauphin. Charles himself retained his loyalty to the English crown, like the Duke of Orléans and even assigned troops to fight the rebels however this is largely explained by the "delphinal status" which lightens the size for the Viennese. A bad surprise for the British was the participation in the rebellion of Louis II, Count of Valois, son of the Charles. In addition, the count, present at the court of Burgundy since he was 9 years old, is there an important actor and vassal of the duke, which suggested that Philip the Good secretly supported the rebels. The Duke of Brittany also seemed to support the rebellion but ended up quickly siding with Rouen.

Main chiefs of the Praguerie

from left to right: Louis II, Count of Valois; John of Alençon, Lord of La Guerche; Charles I, Duke of Bourbon; Louis of Vendôme, Count of Castres[2]

The reaction of Richard of York is without appeal, thanks to his efforts and his support the rebellion is put down in a few months his soldiers beat the rebel forces dispersed in Valois, Poitou, Auvergne and Mayenne and the English artillery destroys the strongholds. This brutal campaign had, however, a paradoxical repercussion York lost the confidence of Henry VI who wanted a peaceful solution to the conflict. In July 1440, the refusal of thirteen towns of Auvergne to rally the rebels forced them to negotiate peace.

Henry VI and II, who had come to France to settle the problem, gathered the rebel lords in Amboise to sign a lenient peace on 24 July. It testifies more to the character of the king; gentle, devout and taking to heart are the role of supreme arbiter. Influenced by Winchester, the king decides to dismiss York one of the rebels' demands and to replace him with John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, the cardinal's docile nephew. No sanctions were brought to the rebel leaders and were even compensated: John of Alençon became count of La Guerche, Louis of Vendôme obtained him Clermont [3]. Only, Louis of Valois was sanctioned he had partially contested Henry's legitimacy on the throne of France. Condemned to exile, his lands were confiscated, nevertheless, the sequestration is made by Philip of Burgundy ensuring that these lands will not be incorporated into the royal domain.


Henry VI and II, King of England and France

The form and substance of the peace triggered contradictory reactions in France and in England the English saw it as a manifestation of the weakness of the monarch and a real surrender to the rebels; the French see it as an act of magnanimity, of balancing royal power and respect for their liberties although they felt that concessions with the English could only be obtained by armed means. The treaty concludes with an important charter on 15 August the day of the Assumption. Where, in the form of a proclamation, Henry guarantees to the lords the respect and the maintenance of their privileges, the French monarchy is there described as having to be "moderate and controlled" and the king endeavors to play the role of arbiter and protector of the kingdom.

Henry thus introduced a conception of royalty, its prerogatives and its counterweights, close to those existing in England. Some contemporaries even see in the Amboise Charter a French version of the Magna Carta. Winchester's influence is certain, especially since Henry was educated and raised in a controlled monarchy by a Parliament, a Regency Council, a Royal Council. However, he acts with the powers that are at his disposal, considering himself to be a supreme actor in royal policy but not alone. Between October and November 1440, he summons and presides over new Estates General which come to confirm the Amboise agreements. In addition, the taille is maintained but lowered and its permanence is withdrawn. At Christmas 1440, Henry returned to England.

[1] In addition to this charge, he received land in Touraine.
[2] To the right of Louis of Vendôme is his first wife, Blanche de Roucy
[3] However, they renounced their claims on the old possessions.
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Long have I waited for someone to do this TL. Watched.

Influenced by Winchester, the king decides to dismiss York one of the rebels' demands and to replace him with John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, the cardinal's docile nephew.
I'm not sure those two will ever get along in any TL.
IV.Henry VI and II: The little Armagnac

- Henry VI and II: The little Armagnac -

The situation in France was now appeased with the departure of King Henry. After the meeting of the States General, the king stayed in Paris, whose city since Bedford's death had been neglected. He brings together a bed of justice in the Parliament of the city, first for several decades and meets notable, bourgeois and ordinary townspeople. Henry is noticed by his daily visit to the University of Paris, meets its rector Jean Beaupère and gives interviews to students and professors. It covers the institution, already loyal to the English, with funds and subsidies, in return it supports the king with its work in philosophy and theology. This generosity is explained by the interest that Henry VI has for education. He founded in 1438, All Souls College at the University of Oxford, in 1440 Eton College, and a year later King's College at the University of Cambridge and at the same time the University of Bordeaux and Rouen are created.


Theology course at the Sorbonne
Henry's return to London was the occasion of great celebrations, but within the royal council the opposition was acting with a view to attacking the "Winchester clan". Humphrey of Lancaster, by his popularity with the citizens of London and the Commons, had launched a vast operation of discredit. Through its patronage, it allows the dissemination of wording against the Amboise agreements which the Duke of Gloucester speaks of as "our Agincourt" and hopes to push the Cardinal to disgrace. If the campaign seemed to take in the popular layers there was no repercussion within the royal council. The very opposite happened during the year 1441, when a major scandal struck the opposition and the "Gloucester clan".

Gloucester as he styled himself: "son, brother and uncle of kings" was the heir of Henry VI, who was still celibate. At the age of 51, he had been married since 1428 to Eleanor Cobham his former mistress a woman of the English gentry, beautiful, intelligent and ambitious. However, no legitimate children[1] had yet been born of their union.


Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester and her husband

The Duchess of Gloucester consulted astrologers to try to guess the future. Two of them; Thomas Southwell and Roger Bolingbroke predicted that Henry VI would suffer from a fatal illness in July or August 1441. Rumors of this prediction quickly spread and eventually reached the royal guardians who briefed Henry VI. After the king's astrologers invalidated the proffesia an investigation was launched to find the origin of this rumor. Southwell and Bolingbroke were quickly found, arrested, questioned, and charged with practicing necromancy. They then denounced the Duchess as instigator but she took refuge in the monastery of Westminster Abbey and could not therefore be tried by the courts. If the charges seemed low to reach her husband, her enemies took advantage of the affair to discredit him.

Eleanor ends up being questioned and confesses to hiring the services of the witch, Margery Jourdemayne, in order to help her conceive. Finally tried, she and her accomplices are found guilty Southwell died in the Tower of London, Bolingbroke was hanged, drawn and quartered, and Jourdemayne was burnt at the stake. Eleanor was sentenced to public penance, divorce and life imprisonment. The case had enormous repercussions on Duke Humphrey, who was totally discredited by the people of London. So much so that he withdrew from public life being deprived of a wife and heir. The opposition to Cardinal Winchester was severely weakened, now deprived of its leader.


The public penance of Eleanor Cobham

On 6 December 1441, the king celebrated his 20th birthday surrounded by his court but still without a wife or children. The question of the king's marriage after Bedford's death had remained unanswered, even taboo. So much so that Henry VI had demanded that it not be discussed as it was causing unrest within the royal council. The fall of Gloucester allowed Winchester to act on this issue in order to give a queen and thus an heir to the dual monarchy.

Despite the silence on the subject, Winchester had already acted in previous years, tracting with different parties interested in union with its monarch. The Cardinal in order to calm relations with the French lords had taken up Bedford's idea of marriage with one of the daughters of René, Duke of Bar Margaret of Anjou. But frustrated with a decade of waiting and in search of allies, René had betrothed his last daughter to Frederick, King of the Romans[2] despite the maintenance of negotiations. He thinking of finding an alternative with the Dauphin of Viennois but which fails given the strong consainguinity that a union would imply. The Cardinal ended up stopping at John IV, Count of Armagnac who had two unmarried daughters: Eleanor and Isabella. John since 1425, and with the agreement of England, had paid homage to to Castile and was involved in the civil war that has shaken the kingdom since 1437 alongside John II of Castille so that a project was carried out to marry Isabella of Armagnac with Henry, Princes of Asturias.

Reduced to the sole choice of Eleanor, Winchester decided to make the project a reality and asked to Edmund Beaufort, Count of Mortain to negotiate with Armagnac. The union stood out in the court of London by the lack of prestige it represented the bride bringing a small dowry from a count little interested in Franco-English affairs. Gloucester thought he was using the "humiliation" of such a union to re-emerge and opposed the project, but its total discredit made him inaudible especially since it was thought that the marriage would be abandoned. But Winchester, with the support of Suffolk, persisted and they convinced Henry VI of the beneficial effect of marriage which would strengthen the links between French and English.


Coat of arms of the House of Armagnac

The engagement was pronounced In 1442 and on 22 May 1444 Henry VI was married, by proxy, to Eleanor of Armagnac and on 16 June the ceremony and coronation took place in Westminster on 30 May 1445, at Notre-Dame de Paris , she is crowned queen of France. The wedding was the occasion of sumptuous celebrations on both sides of the Channel, notably in France where Henry decided to forgive Louis of Valois his participation in the Praguerie and returning his land to him.

The queen was a young woman of about 20 years old[3], having received a rather poor education considering the position she occupied in her father's course that she was compensating with a a very southern character festive, joyful, interested in poetry and the musical arts. She was given the image of a "peasant" because of her French strongly marked by its Occitan heightened by a contempt present among noble women of the court. In reaction she put herself under the protection of her husband, whom she succeeded in seducing, but above all of the Cardinal the main architect of her royal elevation. Through the intermediary of the queen, the control of the "Winchester clan" increases even more over the person of the king when, on the contrary, the opposition becomes more and more non-existent.


Wedding of Henry VI and Eleanor of Armagnac

On 14 December 1446 Parliament was summoned to meet at Cambridge on 10 February 1447 but on 20 January the location was suddenly changed from Cambridge, where Humphrey was popular, to Bury St Edmunds in the heart of Suffolk’s power base number 2 of government. This maneuver reflects the still existing fear of power against the Duke of Gloucester who seemed to be definitely out of the box. This follows the transfer of the Duchess Eleanor to the Isle of Man in July 1446 after rumors of preparations for escapes were spread. It seemed clear that Gloucester was still too great a danger for Cardinal Winchester and at the opening of Parliament an investigation was ordered against the King's uncle, who concluded on a charge of high treason. On 18 February 1447, he was placed under arrest by a large delegation led by Viscount Beaumont and while he was due to be transferred to the Tower of London, three days after his arrest, Humphrey suffered a devastating stroke which killing him on following day. His disappearance leaves Winchester a full freedom to rule the monarchy, nevertheless the Cardinal briefly outlived his foe on 11 April of the same year he also died.


from left to right:
Humphrey of Lancaster, Duke of Gloucester; Cardinal Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester

The death of the two main political figures of the double monarchy who participated in its creation leaves room for new actors. If the conduct of the government fails William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk[4] known as "Jacknapes", he relies on the same supporters of the "Winchester clan" of which he was part, the Beaufort house. Led by Edmund Beaufort, succeeding his brother John at the Lieutenancy of France in May 1444, in 1448 he became Duke of Somerset. In front of them, it's Richard, Duke of York who takes at the head of the opposition, already being officially since the withdrawal of Gloucester. Confronted for a long time against the Beaufort from the Praguerie he failed to return to France after the death of John of Somerset. He quickly suffered disgrace and was appointed Lieutenant of Ireland, on 30 July 1447, officially by his capacity as Earl of Ulster but in reality because of his political opposition his position was all the more reinforced by the marriage in 1446 of his eldest daughter Anne of York, to Charles, Count of Charolais, only son of Duke Philip III of Burgundy.

All the more so as his dynastic position had changed. The death of Humphrey of Gloucester signifies the disappearance of the last legitimate member of the house of Lancaster, coming from John of Ghent, second son of Edward III Henry VI and II is now the last living Lancaster. The succession to the throne passes to Richard of York as the grandson of Edmond of Langley, third son of King Edward and unlike Gloucester, York had the advantage of being younger, married and above all a father who in makes a serious contender for the throne.

William de la Pole portrait.jpg

from left to right:
Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset; William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk; Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York

[1] Duke Humphrey had two illegitimate children at this time; Arthur and Antigone. Their filiations with Eleanor Cobham, however, are uncertain.
[2] Margaret of Anjou and Frederick of Habsburg married in 1443.
[3] The precise birthdate of Eleanor of Armagnac is unknown. If the chroniclers of the time give the year 1425, historians today hesitate between 1420 and 1423.
[4] 4th Earl of Suffolk, the peerage was elevated to the rank of duchy on 2 June 1448.
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Really good job getting a picture that actually (I think) says "How the daughter of Ceass[???] was married to the King of England"
It is marked I believe: "Comment la fille de realle fut marié au roi d'angleterre" (in English: How realle's daughter got married to the king of england). "Real" is an old form of the word "royal", in this case it either refers to the rank of René or that of the king of France. Because the image represents Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou
It is marked I believe: "Comment la fille de realle fut marié au roi d'angleterre" (in English: How realle's daughter got married to the king of england). "Real" is an old form of the word "royal", in this case it either refers to the rank of René or that of the king of France. Because the image represents Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou
Real(Reial) is still used by Occitan and Catalan.