Louis of France (1244–1260)
|Louis of France|
|Prince Louis in prayer; drawing of 13th-century stained glass window in Chartres Cathedral|
|Regent of France|
|House||House of Capet|
|Father||Louis IX of France|
|Mother||Margaret of Provence|
|Born||21 or 24 February 1244|
|Died||11 January 1260
In 1248, his parents traveled to Egypt to participate in the Seventh Crusade. During their absence, his grandmother, Blanche of Castile, acted as regent. However, when she died in 1252, his parents were still crusading and the eight year old Louis was appointed regent. He did not actually rule the country; real power was in the hands of a royal council, led by his uncles Alphonse and Charles. Nevertheless, royal deeds were sealed in his name, and correspondence to the government was addressed to him personally. The basis of the arrangement was the unwritten (at the time) principle of primogeniture in French law: in the absence of written instructions to the contrary, the king's eldest son automatically became regent during the king's absence. This regency ended when Louis IX returned to Paris in 1254.
In subsequent years, Prince Louis was educated for his future rôle as king. The legal scholar Pierre de Fontaines dedicated his textbook Conseil à un ami to Prince Louis. On 20 August 1255, he was betrothed to Infanta Berengaria, a daughter of King Alfonso X of Castile and thus his paternal cousin. At the time, she was heir presumptive of Castile. However, shortly after the betrothal, Ferdinand de la Cerda was born, displacing his sister as heir.
Prince Louis and his younger brother Philip witnessed the sealing and oaths confirming the 1259 Treaty of Paris, which was intended to end the territorial conflict between England and France that had been raging since 1180. This treaty required that King Henry III of England pay homage to King Louis IX of France, which he did the following year.
Prince Louis fell ill after Christmas 1259 and died shortly after New Year, at the age of sixteen. The theologian Vincent of Beauvais wrote a consolatio for Louis IX, which is considered the traditional Christian consolation and a masterpiece in its genre. Louis' younger brother succeeded their father in 1270 as Philip III.
Prince Louis was buried in Royaumont Abbey. He was not buried in the royal crypt in Saint-Denis, because a decree of Louis IX reserves this crypt for crowned heads. Nevertheless, Louis' body was transferred there in 1817.
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- Peter von Moos: Die Trostschrift des Vinzenz von Beauvais für Ludwig IX. Vorstudie zur Motiv- und Gattungsgeschichte der consolatio, in: Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch, vol. 4, 1967
- Louis Carolus-Barré: Le prince héritier Louis (1244-1260) et l’intérim du pouvoir royal de la mort de Blanche (nov. 1252) au retour du roi (juillet 1254), in: Comptes rendus de l’Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres, 1970
- Jacques Le Goff: Ludwig der Heilige, Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-608-91834-5