Assassination of Louis I, Duke of Orléans

The assassination of Louis I, Duke of Orléans took place on November 23, 1407 in Paris, France.

Assassination of the Duke of Orleans, showing the Duke's mutilated hand and his dead esquire.
2014 photograph of the site of the assassination of the Duke of Orleans


During the reign of Charles V, French generals like Bertrand du Guesclin steadily regained territory previously lost to the English in the Hundred Years' War. At the same time England was suffering from serious political disturbances and border threats at home. These two factors led to a truce being declared in 1389 in the Hundred Years' War.

Beginning in 1392, the new king of France, Charles VI, experienced bouts of madness and often had to be confined. Whenever he was incapacitated, France was ruled by a regency council composed of the grandees of the kingdom presided over by Queen Isabeau.[1] With the death of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, political power shifted away from his son, John the Fearless, to the king's brother, Louis of Orléans, who was rumoured to have had a relationship with the queen.[1] Louis had the Burgundians expelled from the council and took the lion's share of the royal treasury, which he used to break up the Duke of Burgundy's territorial possessions of Flanders and the Duchy of Burgundy by purchasing the Duchy of Luxembourg.

His authority thus weakened, John the Fearless decided he had to kill his rival.


On November 23, 1407, the Duke of Orleans went to visit Queen Isabeau, who had given birth a little earlier, at the Hôtel Barbette on the Rue Vieille-du-Temple, in Paris.[1][2]

Thomas de Courteheuse informed him that King Charles VI awaited his urgent presence at the Hôtel Saint-Paul.

Upon his departure, he was stabbed by about fifteen masked thugs[1] led by Raoulet d'Anquetonville, who was a henchman of the Duke of Burgundy.[2] The valets and guards that escorted him were unable to protect him. An esquire was killed trying to protect the Duke. The Duke's hand was cut off and his skull split by an axe.[3] The Duke of Burgundy had the support of the Parisian and University populations, which he had known how to win over by promising the establishment of an ordinance like that of 1357.[4] Able to seize power, he could publicly confess to the assassination. Far from hiding it, John the Fearless had a eulogy of tyrannicide written by the theologian Jean Petit, an academic at the Sorbonne.[2]


In order to appease the combatants following the assassination, Charles VI, king of France, called the Duke of Burgundy and the children of the deceased to Chartres on February 28, 1409. He also charged Count William IV of Hainaut, the brother-in-law of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy to ensure, at the head of 400 men-at-arms and 100 archers, the protection of each of the delegations during their trip and to fight on the side of the attacked party if hostilities were to occur.[5]

On April 15, 1410, in Gien, during the nuptials of Charles, Duke of Orléans, the son of the assassinated duke, and Bonne of Armagnac, the powerful men of the kingdom present joined forces against the Duke of Burgundy. The Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War that ensued went on for thirty years, until the signing of the Treaty of Arras. John the Fearless was himself assassinated by the Armagnacs in 1419, on the bridge at Montereau.


  1. ^ a b c d Alban Dignat, 23 novembre 1407: Assassinat dans la rue Vieille du Temple, Archived 2006-12-11 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c Laurent Theis, Histoire du Moyen Âge Français, Perrin 1992, p. 326-327
  3. ^ The history of France, Volume 2 By Eyre Evans Crowe p,54
  4. ^ Noël Coulet, Le temps des malheurs (1348-1440) tiré de Histoire de la France des origines à nos jours sous la direction de Georges Duby, Larousse, 2007, p 418-419
  5. ^ - Geoffroy G. Sury, « Bayern Straubing – Hennegau : la Maison de Bavière en Hainaut, XIVe - XVe s. », Edit. Geoffroy G. Sury, 2e éd., dép. lég., Bruxelles, 2010, p. 157. - Missive dressée à Tours le 21 janvier 1409 (date nouv. st.) de Charles (VI) roi de France au comte Guillaume (IV) de Hainaut. In, G. Wymans, « Inventaire analytique du chartrier de la Trésorerie des comtes de Hainaut », aux A.E. Mons, n° d’ordre (cote) 1290, Editions A.G.R., Bruxelles, 1985, p. 271. (Or. sur pch.; sc. ébréché avec contre-sceau.)

Coordinates: 48°51′32″N 2°21′32″E / 48.859°N 2.359°E / 48.859; 2.359

Other Languages