Charlotte of Savoy

Charlotte of Savoy (c. 1441/3 – 1 December 1483) was Queen of France as the second spouse of Louis XI. She served as regent during the king's absence in 1465, and was a member of the royal regency council during her son's minority in 1483.

Charlotte of Savoy
Charlotte de Savoie.jpg
Portrait of Charlotte of Savoy, c. 1472
Queen consort of France
Tenure22 July 1461 – 30 August 1483
Bornc. 1441/3
Died1 December 1483(1483-12-01) (aged 42)
Amboise, France
Notre-Dame de Cléry Basilica, Cléry-Saint-André, France
(m. 1451; died 1483)
IssueAnne, Duchess of Bourbon
Joan, Queen of France
Charles VIII of France
HouseHouse of Savoy
FatherLouis, Duke of Savoy
MotherAnne of Cyprus
ReligionRoman Catholicism


She was a daughter of Louis, Duke of Savoy[1] and Anne of Cyprus.[2] Her maternal grandparents were Janus of Cyprus and Charlotte de Bourbon-La Marche. Her maternal grandmother, for whom she was probably named, was a daughter of John I, Count of La Marche, and Catherine de Vendôme. She was one of 19 children, 14 of whom survived infancy.


On 11 March 1443, when Charlotte was just over a year old, she was betrothed to Frederick of Saxony (28 August 1439- 23 December 1451), eldest son of Frederick II, Elector of Saxony.[1] For reasons unknown, the betrothal was annulled. Less than eight years later on 14 February 1451, Charlotte married Louis, Dauphin of France (future Louis XI), eldest son of Charles VII of France and Marie of Anjou.[3] The bride was nine years old and the groom twenty-seven. The marriage, which had taken place without the consent of the French king,[3] was Louis' second; his first spouse, Margaret of Scotland, had died childless in 1445. Upon her marriage, Charlotte became Dauphine of France.

Louis reportedly neglected her. When the news upon his succession to the throne of France reached the couple at the Burgundian court, he immediately abandoned her in Burgundy to secure his inheritance, leaving her dependent upon Isabella of Bourbon to borrow the carts and entourage necessary to travel to France to join him.


On 22 July 1461, Charlotte became Queen of France. The following year, she became seriously ill and was close to death by August 1462. Although she recovered, her health was weakened.

Louis XI did not keep much of a representational court life. He had Queen Charlotte and her household kept secluded at the Château of Amboise, where she spent her days with her sisters and courtiers, supervising the education of her daughters (her son was educated by the king), playing chess and marbles, listening to her lute player, doing needlework and fulfilling her religious duties. On rare occasions she was asked to fulfill ceremonial tasks as queen such as greeting foreign guests, for example in 1470, when the king took the powerful Earl of Warwick and the Duke of Clarence from England to Amboise to visit her. Charlotte was interested in literature and praised for the taste and excellence of her personal library.[2] She left a collection of about one hundred manuscripts, which would become the genesis of the Bibliothèque nationale of France.

Charlotte was regarded as virtuous. A contemporary noted that "while she was an excellent Princess in other respects, she was not a person in whom a man could take any great delight";[2] However, after the birth of her last child in 1472, Louis swore that he would no longer be unfaithful, and according to the chronicler Phillip de Commynes, he kept this vow.

Charlotte served as regent in September 1465.

Queen dowagerEdit

Charlotte was widowed on August 30, 1483, upon which Louis XI was succeeded by their son Charles VIII, who was still a minor.

Louis XI did not make Charlotte regent if his son should succeed him while still a minor; he did in fact not formally appoint a regent at all, but he did leave instructions for a royal council to govern during such a minority, in which Charlotte, alongside Duke Jean de Bourbon II and their two sons-in-law Louis d'Orleans (married to their daughter Jeanne) and Peter II, Duke of Bourbon (married to their daughter Anne), were made members. In practice, her daughter Anne took control over France as regent during the minority of Charles.

Charlotte died on 1 December 1483 in Amboise, just a few months after her spouse's death. She is buried with him in the Notre-Dame de Cléry Basilica[4] in Cléry-Saint-André (Loiret) in the arrondissement of Orléans.


Charlotte became the mother of eight children, but only three survived infancy. These were Charles VIII, who became king of France, Anne, who acted as regent of France for Charles, and Joan, who became queen of France as the spouse of Louis XII.

  • Louis (1458–1460)
  • Joachim (1459)
  • Louise (1460)
  • Anne (3 April 1461 – 14 November 1522), Duchess of Bourbon, Viscountess of Thouars (1468–1473), Regent of France (1483–1491); married Peter II, Duke of Bourbon, by whom she had one daughter, Suzanne, Duchess of Bourbon.
  • Joan (23 April 1464 – 4 February 1505), who was briefly Queen of France as the first spouse of Louis XII
  • Francis (1466)
  • Charles VIII (30 June 1470 – 7 April 1498), who married Anne of Brittany; he died childless.
  • Francis (1472–1473)

Upon the death of her daughter, Anne, Charlotte's line became extinct; her granddaughter, Suzanne having died in 1521 without surviving issue.



  1. ^ a b Joachim W. Stieber, Pope Eugenius IV, the Council of Basel and the Secular and Ecclesiastical Authorities in the Empire, (E.J. Brill, 1978), 254.
  2. ^ a b c Sharon L. Jansen, Anne of France: Lessons For My Daughter, ed. Jane Chance, (Boydell & Brewer, 2004), 2-3
  3. ^ a b Richard Vaughan, Philip the Good, (The Boydell Press, 2010), 353.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-07-20. Retrieved 2006-08-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  • Pauline Matarasso, “Queen’s Mate: Three women of power in France on the eve of the Renaissance”
  • John Seargeant Cyprian Bridge, “A History of France from the Death of Louis XI”
  • Paul Murray Kendall, “The Universal Spider: Louis XI”
Charlotte of Savoy
Born: 1441/3 Died: 1 December 1483
French royalty
Preceded by Queen consort of France
22 July 1461 – 30 August 1483
Title next held by
Anne of Brittany