Charles, Duke of Vendôme

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Duke of Vendôme
18th-century portrait
Born 2 June 1489
Château de Vendôme, France
Died 25 March 1537(1537-03-25) (aged 47)
Amiens, France
Spouse Françoise d'Alençon
Issue Antoine, King of Navarre
Francis, Count of Enghien
Charles, Archbishop of Rouen
John, Count of Soissons
Louis, Prince of Condé
Full name
French: Charles de Bourbon
House Bourbon
Father Francis, Count of Vendôme
Mother Marie de Luxembourg

Charles de Bourbon (2 June 1489 – 25 March 1537) was a French prince du sang and military commander at the court of Francis I of France. He is notable as the paternal grandfather of King Henry IV of France.


Charles was born at the Château de Vendôme, eldest son of Francis de Bourbon, Count of Vendôme and Marie of Luxembourg.[1]

Charles succeeded his father as Count of Vendôme in 1495. Charles's first military service was in Italy, under King Louis XII of France. In 1514, he was created Duke of Vendôme when the county of Vendôme was elevated into a duchy.[2] He fought at the battle of Marignan and participated in the Flemish campaign. Because of his loyalty to the King, he was appointed head of the council when King Francis I was captured at Pavia.

On 18 May 1513, Charles married Françoise d'Alençon, eldest daughter of René, Duke of Alençon and Margaret of Lorraine.[3] They had thirteen children:

  1. Louis de Bourbon (1514–1516), died in infancy.
  2. Marie de Bourbon (1515–1538), unmarried, prospective bride of King James V of Scotland in 1536.
  3. Marguerite de Bourbon (1516–1589), married in 1538, Francis I, Duke of Nevers (1516–1561).
  4. Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme (1518–1562)
  5. François de Bourbon, Count of Enghien (1519–1546), unmarried.
  6. Madeleine de Bourbon (1521–1561), Abbess of Sainte-Croix de Poitiers.
  7. Louis de Bourbon (1522–1525), died in infancy.
  8. Charles de Bourbon (1523–1590), Archbishop of Rouen.
  9. Catherine de Bourbon (1525–1594), Abbess of Soissons.
  10. Renée de Bourbon (1527–1583), Abbess of Chelles.
  11. Jean de Bourbon, Count of Soissons and Enghien (1528–1557), married in 1557, his first cousin, Marie, Duchess of Estouteville (1539–1601).
  12. Louis I de Bourbon, Prince of Condé (1530–1569), married Eléonore de Roye, daughter of Charles de Roye, Count of Royce.
  13. Léonore de Bourbon (1532–1611), Abbess of Fontevraud.

The successive deaths of his cousins Charles IV, Duke of Alençon (1525) and Charles III, Duke of Bourbon (1527) made him the fourth in the order of succession to the throne, just behind the king's sons. At the natural course of affairs his wife, a sister of the last duke of Alençon, would have been the heiress of her brother; but Francis I allowed his sister, Marguerite of Angoulême, the late duke's wife, to keep them, even though they did not have children. Charles would also have been heir to the duchy of Bourbon, but it was forfeited to the crown by the treason of the last holder. At the death of Constable de Bourbon in 1527, he became the Head of the House of Bourbon.

His son Antoine married Jeanne d'Albret, Queen of Navarre, daughter of Marguerite of Angoulême, settling the Alençon inheritance. Their son would succeed to the French throne as Henry IV. Antoine and Louis, Prince of Condé, became powerful military leaders on opposite sides in the French Wars of Religion. Charles died at Amiens in 1537 at the age of 47.


Patrilineal descent[edit]


  1. ^ Achaintre, Nicolas Louis, Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de Bourbon,Vol.1, (Rue de L'École de Médecine, 1825), 366.
  2. ^ The Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol.27, Ed. Hugh Chisholm, (1911), 982.
  3. ^ Bulletin de la commission historique et archéologique de la Mayenne, Jan. 1878, (Imprimerie De Leon Moreau, 1885), 300.


  • Bulletin de la commission historique et archéologique de la Mayenne, Jan. 1878, Imprimerie De Leon Moreau, 1885.
  • The Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol.27, Ed. Hugh Chisholm, 1911.
  • Achaintre, Nicolas Louis, Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de Bourbon,Vol.1, Rue de L'École de Médecine, 1825.
Preceded by
Francis I
Count of Vendôme
Succeeded by
title was elevated to peerage-duchy
Preceded by
title was elevated from countship
Duke of Vendôme
Succeeded by
Antoine de Bourbon