Why Charles V and Claude of France never got married

In 1501 Charles V and Claude of France we’re betrothed. It seemed to make sense at the time. Louis XII and Philip the Handsome were good friends and with their children married France would no longer be a barrier between Charles V domains in Flanders and Spain.

But a lot changed in 1505. Ferdinand married the niece of Louis XII, Germaine of Foix. Philip of Handsome was not happy with this and it took a toll on their friendship. Louis XII got very sick and didn’t want to created problems for his cousin and only heir, Francis I; so he gave a secret promise to Francis I’s mother Louise of Savoy that Francis I could marry Claude of France instead of Charles V.



Francis I as a child presented to Louis XII  painted by Richard Fleury 18th century


Claude of France with her mother Anne of Brittany

When Anne of Brittany learned of this she was very angry, because this meant that Brittany and France would stay united in the future instead of having an independent ruler.

And it was of course a matter of time before the Habsburgers would find out. This would not only influence the relations between Louis XII and Philip the Handsome but also the relation between Charles V and Francis I.

Joyeux Noël mes amis, Hilde









4 thoughts on “Why Charles V and Claude of France never got married

  1. My dear, dear Hilde, first of all, Merry Christmas, okay. But imagine that. Charles the Fifth and Claude of France wedding. That would have been horrible. Charles the Fifth would hath had all of Europe practically. I am sure that Henry the Seventh would not have supported that marriage. Not by a long shot, even if he might be willing to let Catherine of Aragon wed with Prince Henry. Philip of Flanders had to die because if he did not, Europe would hath suffered horribly. Well, it suffered just the same especially in 1526 in Hungry when the Turk won and Charles the Fifth’s sister, Mary of Hungry lost her husband. But if Philip of Flanders had lived it would have been worse. He just did not see what Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile had been trying to do which is isolate France for France was a monster that had to be stopped but Philip of Flanders was not quite getting that but when he came to Castile, he saw how Castile did not like him and clung to Juana as they should. It was a great day in 1506 when Philip of Flanders died. I know he was your ruler and you may have a certain attachment. After all you are a woman, right. And Philip of Flanders was suppose to dazzle the women but not me for I know him for the pig he was. And Charles the Fifth was meant to wed with Mary Tudor. Now I know that the Princess Mary was not yet born in 1501. I always felt for Claude of France. First of all for being the daughter of Anne of Brittany and secondly for being the wife of Francois the First of France. My heart went out to Jeanne of France, the first wife of Louis of France and he should not hath divorced her to wed with Anne of Brittany but I do know that you are partial to Anne of Brittany. In fact I believe the best marriage made there in France at that time was the match made between Ercole the Second of Ferrara and Renee of France, the sister of Claude of France. I know that Renee of France was much younger than Claude of France. My heart also went out to Madeline of France the daughter of Francois the First of France and Claude of France who wed with James the Fifth of Scots. But Charles the Fifth with Claude of France. That would have been truly devastating.


  2. Pingback: A Bohemian wedding | hemmahoshilde (@Hilde's home)

  3. Dear Catalina happy holidays to you too! As usually you have MANY points to adress and you’re very passionate about them but I like that about you. I try to write about women that I feel we’re strong even though they got their strength came from different attributes/talents and we may not like all of them. It’s therefor only fitting that my female readers are equally strongminded :). Im not surprised you are happy with Philips death and you have a fair point that I seem to be ” on his side” but I can assure you it is not because his charm. It has to do with where I believe his loyalties are. As you often pointed out they were certainly not with Joanna and that was tragic for their marriage but I was better for the Dutch. The Dutch really really loaded the Spanish crown and Joanna was seen as part of them while Philip was maybe not completely Dutch but he grew up in Flanders and understood the people and so was more popular. In particular Charles V is still celebrated in Holland as being a very important figure in Dutch history. Therefor personally wished that Claude and Charles V would have married eachother so because it would probably sped up the revolution in Holland with a couple of decades. I agree with you that the divorce of Joan of France was particularly nasty and also unnecessary because he could have just said that he was strong-armed to marry her and that they were too close in blood. But I do think that Rozsa Gaston has a point that Louis XII seemed to get along fine. I’m just happy she got her daughter after all the losses she suffered. Once again we disagree about a person: Francis I. I must admit I have a bit of a soft spot for him because he seems to have been well-educated and a patron of art, man of letters and influenced by humanism. He was also just 5 years older than her so at least she wasn’t forced to share the bed with a creepy old guy like so many other princesses.


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