Anne of Brittany’s son – Charles Orlando

The marriage between Charles VIII did not start very well. Rumor has it that when Anne moved into the palace she brought 2 beds and she often lived apart from her husband. She did get pregnant soon though and she gave birth to a healthy baby boy 10 October 1492.

His name was a compromise between his godfathers that wanted to name him after his ancestors and  his parents and godmother that wanted to call him Orlando after Roland the Carolingian hero of The song of Roland. 

The child was described as “beautiful child and daring in word, not fearing the things that the other children are accustomed to fear”, Charles Orlando was a healthy and vigorous child, who grew well and strong, a fluent speaker by age 3. He had a fair complexion, black eyes and was chubby. When he reached the age of 18 months, he was installed in Amboise, monitored by two governors, the lords de Boisy and That-Guénant, a governess, Madam de Bussière, and surrounded by a multitude of servants. He was the pride and joy of his parents. His mother doted on him, buying him presents; his father described him as the “most beautiful of gems”. Both insisted on being kept informed of his health and his progress, by means of letters and messages.

Le dauphin Charles Orlando by Jean Hey, the

Le dauphin Charles Orlando by Jean Hey, the “Master of Moulins”, 1494.

Charles Orland 4Charles Orland 2

Charles Orland at prayer.

Charles Orland at prayer.

In the autumn of 1495, when an epidemic of measles struck Touraine, Charles VIII (who after returning from Italy remained in Lyon, where he was joined by the Queen), ordered the child to be even more closely cloistered in Amboise. But to no avail: Charles Orlando contracted measles, and in spite of the efforts of the doctors and the prayers of the monks, he expired on 16 December 1495. Charles VIII, deeply affected, but advised by his physicians to remain staunch and cheerful, succeeded in hiding his sorrow; Anne gave herself up to her grief so violently that for a time her life, and her sanity, were feared for. Bear in mind that Anne was a young teenage mom. She got Charles Orlando when she was only 15 years old and lost him when she was 18.

Charles VIII and Charles Orland.

Charles VIII and Charles Orland.

Charles Orland 5

Charles Orland 6Charles Orland 7Charles Orland 9

Bonsoir, mes amis, Hilde


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