On Genealogy: MY ROYAL CONNECTION to King Louis VIII of France

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I always thought I was special, a Princess you might say, and now I have a little weight behind me to back it up, my 24th great grand-father was King Louis VIII of France. And this discovery, has just set my whole genealogical dig in a whole new wild direction; an astronomical connection all the way back the the Plantagenets (The House of the Plantagenets), the royal dynasty that ruled England for over 300 years.

I came across this discovery as I followed a line on my father’s, paternal side down the Rancourts (see below for exact linage), I was following back my great gramma Angelina Mullen’s line – I don’t even recall how I ended up at Louis VIII, bypassing all of the previous royals.

In all honesty, I knew very little about my 24x GGF. From what I’ve researched Louis VIII the Lion (aka Louis VIII le Lion) (5 September 1187 – 8 November 1226) was King of France from 1223 to 1226 (only a short 3 years). Louis VIII was born in Paris, the son of King Philip II of France and Isabelle of Hainaut, from whom he inherited the County of Artois at Palais Royal, Paris, France.

As I mentioned above, Louis VIII was the son and heir to the great King Philip II, a man who was able to, with the help of his frail yet competent son, to substantially extend royal influence within France.  

In summer 1195, a marriage between Louis and Eleanor of Brittany, niece of Richard I of England, was suggested for an alliance between Philip II and Richard, but it failed. It is said that the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI opposed the marriage, and that its failure was a sign that Richard would name his brother John as heir to the English throne instead of Eleanor’s younger brother Arthur of Brittany, whom Richard had designated earlier as heir presumptive.

On 23 May 1200, at the age of 12, Louis was married to Blanche of Castile, daughter of King Alfonso VIII of Castile and Eleanor of England, the sister of King Richard I and King John I of England. The marriage could only be concluded after prolonged negotiations between King Philip II of France and Blanche’s uncle John.

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Born to wealth, Blanche of Castile (1188-1252) took the reins of leadership early in life as the wife of Louis VIII and later as co-regent during her son, Louis IX’s, minority — Blanche proved to be a good, strong willed leader, keenly adept at dealing with her male counterparts.

Blanche was born on March 4, 1188 in Palencia, Castile, an area that is now part of central and northern Spain. She was the daughter of King Alphonso VIII of Castile and Princess Eleanor Plantagenet of England. Her grandfather was Henry II of England, her grandmother was Eleanor of Aquitaine and her uncle was John I of England. This rich lineage prepared her well for a place on the throne of France.

Louis VIII succeeded his father on 14 July 1223; his coronation took place on 6 August of the same year in the cathedral at Reims.

Meanwhile in 1215, King John of England was forced to sign the Magna Carta stating that the King was not above the law of the land and protecting the rights of the people. Today, the Magna Carta is considered one of the most important documents in the history of democracy. After King John had been forced to sign the Magna Carta, the nobility was still mistrustful of their King, thinking he would appeal to Pope Innocent III for aid in regaining what he had lost. Having failed to control John, the barons took an unprecedented step and decided to overthrow him. The English barons rebelled against the unpopular King John in the First Barons’ War. England needed a King, but who?

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The barons needed a strong, experienced man and of royal blood; they looked across the English channel and found one in Louis VIII.  He was after all the son of the French King Philip Augustus (II), AND he was also a direct descendant of William the Conqueror (OMG, another exciting find and one that I need to research!) and married to King John’s niece, both of which gave him a passable blood claim to the English throne. But more than this, he had the resources to mount a campaign, the men to run it and the skills to win it. He was renowned as a brilliant warrior and was known to be honest, just, moral and a man of his word – all the things that John wasn’t.

On 14 June 1216, Louis captured Winchester and soon controlled over half of the English kingdom. But just when it seemed that England was his, King John’s death in October 1216 of dysentery, caused many of the rebellious barons to desert Louis in favour of John’s nine-year-old son, Henry III.

With the Earl of Pembroke acting as regent, a call for the English “to defend our land” against the French led to a reversal of fortunes on the battlefield. After his army was beaten at the Battle of Lincoln on 20 May 1217 and his naval forces were defeated at the Battle of Sandwich on 24 August 1217, Louis was forced to make peace on English terms. In 1216 and 1217, Prince Louis also tried to conquer Dover Castle, but without success. The principal provisions of the Treaty of Lambeth were an amnesty for English rebels, a pledge from Louis not to attack England again, and 10,000 marks to be given to Louis. In return for this payment, Louis agreed he had never been the legitimate king of England.

He returned to France, where he dedicated a majority of the rest of his life to crusading for the Catholic cause. Teaming with the Englishman Simon de Montfort, Louis battled against Count Raymond VI of Toulouse, and then his son, Raymond VII, and their religious sect, the Cathars. After nearly ten years of sporadic battles, and huge victories and losses on both sides, Louis arose victorious and extended royal power further into southern France. His biggest accomplishment during his short reign was the conquest of the county of Poitou, which had long been under English control. One could not have expected more as a general and leader than what was received by Prince, and then King, Louis. 

While returning to Paris, King Louis VIII became ill with dysentry and died on 8 November 1226 at Château de Montpensier in Auvergne.

The Saint Denis Basilica, just to the north of Paris, houses the tomb of Louis VIII. His son, Louis IX (1226–70), succeeded him on the throne. Queen Blanche concluded the crusade in the south in 1229.

My Lineage:

LOUIS VIII – KING OF FRANCE 1187-1226

24th great-grandfather

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Robert I (Count of Artois)

Son of LOUIS VIII – KING OF FRANCE

(Robert I 25 September 1216 – 8 February 1250, called the Good, was the first Count of Artois, a Prince of France, and the fifth (and second surviving) son of Louis VIII, King of France and Blanche of Castile. On 14 June 1237 Robert married Matilda, daughter of Henry II of Brabant and Marie of Hohenstaufen. They had two children: Blanche (1248–1302)[ Robert II (1250–1302), who succeeded to Artois).

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Robert II (Count of Artois)

Son of Robert I de France (Count of Artois)

(Robert II September 1250 – 11 July 1302, was the Count of Artois, the posthumous son and heir of Robert I and Matilda of Brabant. He was a nephew of Louis IX of France. He died at the Battle of the Golden Spurs.

In 1262 in Paris Robert married Amicie de Courtenay (1250–1275), daughter of Pierre de Courtenay, Seigneur de Conches, a great-grandson of Louis VI, and Perronelle de Joigny. They had three children:Mahaut (1268–1329), Philip (1269–1298), Robert (born 1271, died young).

After Amicie’s death, Robert married twice more: first, in 1277, to Agnes of Dampierre (1237–1288), heiress of Bourbon, and then, on 18 October 1298 to Margaret (died 1342),daughter of John II, Count of Hainaut. After Robert’s death, his daughter Mahaut inherited Artois, but his grandson Robert III unsuccessfully tried to claim it.

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Pilippe I, (Count of Artois)

Son of Robert II (Count of Artois)

(Philip of Artois 1269 – 11 September 1298 was the son of Robert II of ArtoisCount of Artois, and Amicie de Courtenay.  He was the Lord of ConchesNonancourt, and Domfront. He married Blanche of Brittany, daughter of John II, Duke of Brittany, and had the following children:Margaret (1285–1311), who married in 1301 Louis, Count of Évreux, Robert III of Artois (1287–1342), Isabelle (1288–1344), a nun at Poissy, Joan of Artois (1289 – aft. 1350), married Gaston ICount of Foix, in Senlis in 1301, Othon (died 2 November 1291), Marie of Artois (1291 – 22 January 1365, Wijnendaele), Lady of Merode, married in 1309 in Paris to John I, Marquis of Namur, Catherine (1296–1368, Normandy), married John II of Ponthieu, Count of Aumale.

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Marie of Artois

Daughter of Pilippe I, Count of Artois

(Marie of Artois – born in 1291, was the fourth daughter of Philip of Artois and Blanche of Brittany. John’s second wife was Marie of Artois (later to become Lady of Merode). They were married in Paris on 6 March 1310, confirmed Poissy, January 1313. John granted her as dower the castle of Wijnendale in Flanders, ratified by the Count of Flanders (his half-brother, Robert III) in 1313.

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Marie of Namur
Gräfin von Vianden
Dame de Pierrepont
1322 –
before 29 October 1357
Married firstly, in 1335/36, to Henry II, Graf of Vianden, son of Philip II, Graf of Vianden and his first wife Lucia von der Neuerburg. Her first husband was murdered at Famagusta in September 1337.

Married secondly (1340, dispensation 9 September 1342) to her father’s second cousin, Theobald of Bar, Seigneur de Pierrepont, son of Erard of Bar, Seigneur de Pierrepont et d’Ancerville (himself son of Theobald II of Bar), and his wife Isabelle of Lorraine (daughter of Theobald II, Duke of Lorraine).

Marie gave birth to two daughters, Yolande and Elisabeth. When Theobald, died (between 2 August 1353 and 6 July 1354) he had no legitimate male heir, thus his daughter Elisabeth became the heiress of Bar-Pierrepont.

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Yolande de Bar

Daughter of Marie of Namur

(Yolande de Bar (b. c. 1343 – d. c. 1410)  married before 1360 with Eudes VII, Sire de Grancey, Louvois, Pierrepont. Yolande de Bar, dame de Pierrepont, and Eudes VII de Grancey, chevalier, councilor and chamberlain of the king of France, probably married between 1350 and 1355

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Jeanne de Grancey -1422

Daughter of Yolande de Bar

(Jeanne de Grancey, dame of Louvois and of Pierrepont, and Jean II de Châteauvillain,
seigneur of Thil, Châteauvillain, and Marigny, married about 1372

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Marie (Dame de Louvais) de Chateauvillain 1380-1423

Daughter of Jeanne de Grancey

( Marie de Châteauvillain, dame of Louvois, and Amé de Sarrebruche, seigneur of Commercy and of Venisy, married 27 September 1396)

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Robert I de Sarrebruche

Son of Marie (Dame de Louvais) de Chateauvillain

(Robert I de Sarrebruche, lord of Commercy, and Jeanne, countess of Roucy and of Braine. Jeanne de Saarbrücken (born de PIERREPONT) (she is a descendant of Henry III, king of England), married around 1414-1417 at Braine)

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Jeanne de Sarrebruche 1436-1492

(Jeanne de Sarrebruche and Christophe de Barbançon, seigneur of Canny-sur-Matz,
married about 1463)

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Francois Seigneur De Barbancon De La Ferte

Son of Jeanne de Sarrebruche

(François de Barbançon, seigneur of La Ferté, and Françoise de Villers, dame of Montgobert, probably married between 1490 and before 26 May 1507 (and not on 20 October 1511 as reported in several publications)

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Maguerite (Dame de Montgobert) de Barbancon 1490-

Daughter of Francois Seigneur De Barbancon De La Ferte

(Marguerite de Barbançon, dame of Montgobert, and Robert de Joyeuse, count of Grandpré, married 15 July 1519)

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Francois De Joyeuse 1507-1597

Son of Maguerite (Dame de Montgobert) de Barbancon

(François de Joyeuse, seigneur of Champigneulle, and Nicole Françoise de Beauvais,
probably married between 1530 and 1540)

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Jean (seigneur de Champigneulle) De Joyeuse 1540-

Son of Francois De Joyeuse

(Jean de Joyeuse, seigneur of Champigneulle, and Nicole des Ancherins, dame of Cierges and Bantheville in part, heiress of Sivry, marriage contract 31 December 1561, married January 1563)

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Louise De Joyeuse 1562-1616

Daughter of Jean (seigneur de Champigneulle) De Joyeuse

(Louise de Joyeuse, dame of Sivry, and Charles de Longeuval, sieur of Ormes, seigneur of part of Sivry and of Walicourt, married about 1581)

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Antoinette De Longuevale 1581-1639

Daughter of Louise De Joyeuse

(Antoinette de Longueval and Guillaume Couvent, married before 1601, probably at or near Épieds). The Couvent’s were non-armigerous (i.e. did not bear heraldic arms, did not have a coat of arms)

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Anne Couvent 1601-1675

Daughter of Antoinette De Longuevale

(Anne Couvent and Philippe Amiot, married about 1625, probably at or near Épieds (Aisne) Picardy). The Amiot’s were non-armigerous (i.e. did not bear heraldic arms, did not have a coat of arms)

Anne Couvent came to New France from Picardy with her husband Philippe Amiot / Hameau and two sons, Jean and Mathieu, in 1636. A third child, Charles, was born in New France. In addition, her nephew, Toussaint Ledran, the son of Louis Ledran and Charlotte Couvent, also settled in New France. Many Canadians and Americans descend from one of the Couvent sisters and thus from royalty.

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Mathieu Amiot 1628-1688

Son of Anne Couvent

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Catherine Ursule Amiot 1664-1715

Daughter of Mathieu Amiot

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Marie-Françoise Duquet dit Desrochers 1699-1743

Daughter of Catherine Ursule Amiot

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Charles Alexandre Rancourt 1729-1774

Son of Marie-Françoise Duquet dit Desrochers

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Louis Rancourt 1807-1847

Son of Charles Alexandre Rancourt

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Olive Rancourt 1847-1895

Daughter of Louis Rancourt

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Bridget Angelina Mullen 1887-1976

Daughter of Olive Rancourt

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Benjamin George Richards 1916-1977

Son of Bridget Angelina Mullen

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Patrick James Richards 1954-2014

Son of Benjamin George Richards

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Tina Rose Richards

You are the daughter of Patrick James Richards

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So it seems my royal lineage stopped with the marriage of Antoinette de Longueval and Guillaume Couvent. She came from the family of Louise de Joyeuse, dame of Sivry, and Charles de Longeuval, sieur of Ormes, seigneur of part of Sivry and of Walicourt. Guillaume had no coat of arms. Why would have Antoinette marry outside of royalty, was it for love? The end of her familial dynasty? More research to be done …. I will be writing a whole different blog on Anne Couvent and her famous lineage – stay tuned!

Also interesting that I am related to Louis VIII in another way via my dad’s line via Olive Moore’s line as follows:

Louis VIII le Lion, roi de France is Patrick James Richards’ 25th great grandfather, therefore my 26x GGF through this line.

Patrick James Richards
 

Benjamin George Richards
his father

Ambrose Richards
his father

George Howard Richards
his father

Olive Moore
his mother

Roger Moore
her father

Dudley Moore, Sr.
his father

Jedediah Moore
his father

Jonathan Moore
his father

Sarah Moore
his mother

Sarah Pinney
her mother

Edward Griswold, of Killingworth
her father

George Griswold, of Kenilworth
his father

Roger Griswold
his father

William Griswold
his father

Roger Griswold
his father

Joan Griswold (Stockley)
his mother

Joane Stockley
her mother

Thomas Wells
her father

John Welles
his father

Thomas Welles
his father

Eleanor Alianore de Mowbray, Baroness Welles
his mother

John de Mowbray, 4th Baron of Mowbray
her father

Joan of Lancaster, Baroness de Mowbray
his mother

Henry of Lancaster
her father

Blanche of Artois
his mother

Robert I the Good, count of Artois
her father

Louis VIII le Lion, roi de France
his father

I also find it insanely interesting that my family lineage forms part of the world’s most renowned plays! To think that William Shakespeare’s play The Life and Death of King John, has my actual 24x and 25x great grand fathers.

I think it may be safe to say that The Life and Death of King John which dramatizes the reign of John, King of England, his son of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine and father of Henry III of England

My Family Tree of Characters in King John are Blanche of Castile – John’s niece, King Philip II  King of France and Louis who is called Louis the Dauphin — ironically, I lived in Dauphin, Manitoba for 2 years.

Synopsis:

King John receives an ambassador from France who demands with a threat of war that he renounce his throne in favour of his nephew, Arthur, whom the French King Philip believes to be the rightful heir to the throne.

John adjudicates an inheritance dispute between Robert Faulconbridge and his older brother Philip the Bastard, during which it becomes apparent that Philip is the illegitimate son of King Richard I. Queen Eleanor, mother to both Richard and John, recognizes the family resemblance and suggests that he renounce his claim to the Faulconbridge land in exchange for a knighthood. John knights Philip the Bastard under the name Richard.

In France, King Philip and his forces besiege the English-ruled town of Angers, threatening attack unless its citizens support Arthur. Philip is supported by Austria, who many characters believe to have killed King Richard. The English contingent arrives; and then Eleanor trades insults with Constance, Arthur’s mother. Kings Philip and John stake their claims in front of Angers’ citizens, but to no avail: their representative says that they will support the rightful king, whoever that turns out to be.

The French and English armies clash, but no clear victor emerges. Each army dispatches a herald claiming victory, but Angers’ citizens continue to refuse to recognize either claimant because neither army has proven victorious.

The Bastard proposes that England and France unite to punish the rebellious citizens of Angers, at which point the citizens propose an alternative: Philip’s son, Louis the Dauphin, should marry John’s niece Blanche (a scheme that gives John a stronger claim to the throne) while Louis gains territory for France. Though a furious Constance accuses Philip of abandoning Arthur, Louis and Blanche are married.

Cardinal Pandolf arrives from Rome bearing a formal accusation that John has disobeyed the Pope and appointed an archbishop contrary to his desires. John refuses to recant, whereupon he is excommunicated. Pandolf pledges his support for Louis, though Philip is hesitant, having just established family ties with John. Pandolf brings him round by pointing out that his links to the church are older and firmer.

War breaks out; Austria is beheaded by the Bastard in revenge for his father’s death; and both Angers and Arthur are captured by the English. Eleanor is left in charge of English possessions in France, while the Bastard is sent to collect funds from English monasteries. John orders Hubert to kill Arthur. Pandolf suggests to Louis that he now has as strong a claim to the English throne as Arthur (and indeed John), and Louis agrees to invade England.

Hubert finds himself unable to kill Arthur. John’s nobles urge Arthur’s release. John agrees, but is wrong-footed[ by Hubert’s announcement that Arthur is dead. The nobles, believing he was murdered, defect to Louis’ side. Equally upsetting, and more heartbreaking to John, is the news of his mother’s death, along with that of Lady Constance. The Bastard reports that the monasteries are unhappy about John’s attempt to seize their gold. Hubert has a furious argument with John, during which he reveals that Arthur is still alive. John, delighted, sends him to report the news to the nobles.

Arthur dies jumping from a castle wall. (It is open to interpretation whether he deliberately kills himself or just makes a risky escape attempt.) The nobles believe he was murdered by John, and refuse to believe Hubert’s entreaties. John attempts to make a deal with Pandolf, swearing allegiance to the Pope in exchange for Pandolf’s negotiating with the French on his behalf. John orders the Bastard, one of his few remaining loyal subjects, to lead the English army against France.

While John’s former noblemen swear allegiance to Louis, Pandolf explains John’s scheme, but Louis refuses to be taken in by it. The Bastard arrives with the English army and threatens Louis, but to no avail. War breaks out with substantial losses on each side, including Louis’ reinforcements, who are drowned during the sea crossing. Many English nobles return to John’s side after a dying French nobleman, Melun, warns them that Louis plans to kill them after his victory.

John is poisoned by a disgruntled monk. His nobles gather around him as he dies. The Bastard plans the final assault on Louis’ forces, until he is told that Pandolf has arrived with a peace treaty. The English nobles swear allegiance to John’s son Prince Henry, and the Bastard reflects that this episode has taught that internal bickering could be as perilous to England’s fortunes as foreign invasion.

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My mind is blown!  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to trace my heritage back to a King, more less a whole line of significantly historic Royals on both sides of the channel – the French and the English – my family is steeped in so much rich history. 

I cannot wait to get exploring more — King Phillip, King Louis XI and Blanche’s family, King Alphonso VIII of Castile and Princess Eleanor Plantagenet of England. Her grandfather was Henry II of England, her grandmother was Eleanor of Aquitaine and her uncle was John I of England.

(photo header: King John of England in battle with the Francs (left), Prince Louis VIII of France on the march (right). (British Library, Royal 16 G VI f. 385)

One thought on “On Genealogy: MY ROYAL CONNECTION to King Louis VIII of France

  1. Nice post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful info specifically the final section 🙂 I handle such info much. I used to be looking for this particular info for a very lengthy time. Thank you and best of luck.

    Like

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