Marie of Valois, Prioress of Poissy

Marie of France/of Valois (24 August 1393 – 19 August 1438) was a medieval nun and prioress, born a princess of France from the House of Valois as the daughter of Charles VI, King of France.

Marie of France
Marie Prioress of Poissy.jpg
Born24 August 1393
Bois de Vincennes, Paris
Died19 August 1438(1438-08-19) (aged 44)
Palais Royal, Paris
FatherCharles VI of France
MotherIsabeau of Bavaria
ReligionRoman Catholic


Early lifeEdit

Marie of France was born at the royal residence of the Château de Vincennes as the sixth child and fourth daughter of Charles VI, King of France (1368–1422) and his wife, born Isabeau of Bavaria (c. 1370–1435). Only three of her five older siblings were still alive at the time of her birth: Isabella, aged 3, Joan, aged 2, and Charles, Dauphin of France, aged 1, but six more children were born to her parents after Marie, five of whom survived to adulthood.

Marie's father seems to have suffered from a hereditary mental disorder. Isabeau decided to dedicate Marie to the service of God, possibly because she saw her husband's apparent madness as divine punishment.[1] She was sent the convent of Poissy [fr] at the age of 4 on 8 September 1397. The prioress there was her grandaunt, Marie of Bourbon (1347-1401), sister of her paternal grandmother, Joanna of Bourbon, Queen consort of France.[2]

With Marie, a companion was also sent to Poissy: Marie du Castel, daughter of poet and author Christine de Pizan. Pizan described a visit to the convent from 1400 in her work "Le Livre du dit de Poissy" ("The Book of Poissy").[3] She was greeted "joyously and tenderly" by the seven-year-old princess, whose lodgings were befitting for her rank.[4]

Adult lifeEdit

In 1405, when she was twelve years old, her mother Queen Isabeau and her paternal uncle Louis I, Duke of Orléans visited her to try and convince her to abandon religious life and marry twenty-eight-years-old Edward, Marquis of Pont-à-Mousson (1377–1415), oldest living son and heir of Robert, Duke of Bar, who was an ally of the duke. She refused to do this, saying that only the king, who was at the time mentally unstable, had the power to force her to marry.[5] Remaining at the convent, she took her final vows on 26 May 1408 and spent her life there. Later, she became the prioress of the convent. Marie died of bubonic plague during the pandemic known as the Black Death on 19 August 1438, a few days short of her forty-fifth birthday and was buried at the convent.[6]



  1. ^ Kerrebrouck (Valois), p. 125 footnote 40, referring to Françoise Autrand "Charles VI le roi fou" in L'Histoire no 27 Oct 1980 pp 61-62.
  2. ^ Joni M. Hand, Women, Manuscripts and Identity in Northern Europe, 1350-1550, (Ashgate Publishing, 2013), 217.
  3. ^ "Springtime, Solitude and Society in the Dit de Poissy".[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Power, Eileen Edna. Medieval English Nunneries.
  5. ^ Jean Juvénal des Ursins (1851). Michaud and Poujoulat (ed.). Histoire de Charles VI, roy de France. Paris: Guyot Frères. p. 431.
  6. ^ ‹The template Medieval Lands by Charles Cawley is being considered for deletion.› Cawley, Charles, Capet, Medieval Lands, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy,[self-published source][better source needed]