1902 Encyclopedia > Charles II of Navarre (Charles the Bad)

Charles II of Navarre
(also known as: Charles the Bad)
(1332-87)




CHARLES II. (1332-1387), king of Navarre and count of Evreux, was a grandson of Louis Hutin, and possessed a title to the French throne inferior to that of John II. only on account of the Salic law, and superior to that of Edward III. of England. Handsome, clever, eloquent, and bold, he yet thoroughly deserved the title of "the Bad" with which he mounted the throne in 1349, at the age of six-teen. The commencement of his notorious career was the assassination of Le Cerda, the favourite of John, who had been appointed to the duchy of Angouleme, which the king had bought from Charles's mother, but of which the price, was not yet paid. For this deed,—which Charles openly avowed, declaring it to be a punishment richly deserved,— John was at first unable to retaliate, being indeed obliged to make good his debts ; but not long after (1356) Charles was seized and thrown into prison. During the king's exile in England, Charles, aided by the States-General, obtained his release, and by his eloquence and the suavity of his man-ners gained the hearts of the Parisians, who made him their captain-general. Suspecting him, however, of too great favour for the aristocracy, they deprived him of the office ; but he maintained his alliance with Stephen Marcel, and, at the head of companies of banditti he con-tinued to lay waste the country till 1360, when he made peace with the king. This peace was not final, for Charles V. was resolved to crush him. He was accused of various unscrupulous plots, and extravagant stories were circulated against him, as, for example, that the king's weakness was due to poison administered by his contrivance. On the charge of being concerned in these intrigues, two of his ministers were executed, and his two sons were seized as hostages. The duke of Anjou was persuaded to attack Montpellier, the king of Castile to invade Navarre, and Duguesclin was sent to seize his fiefs in Normandy, and. Charles was obliged to yield twenty places as security before he regained his territory. According to the popular story, he expired by a divine judgment, through the burning of the clothes steeped in sulphur and spirits in which he had been wrapped as a cure for a loathsome disease caused, by his debauchery; but the bishop who attended him affirms that he died placidly and in the odour of sanctity (1387). See Secousse, Histoire de Charles le Mauvais.








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