This timeline details all Kings of France from 843 to 1848
The Kingdom of France began in 843 when Charles II, Carolingian King of the Franks took control of West Francia.
There were only Kings in France because the country was subject to Salic law meaning that women could have no place in the succession.
See also: Presidents of France
Married 1. Ermentrude of Orleans 2. Richilde of Provence
Charles became King by the terms of the Treaty of Verdun (843) which settled a number of disputes regarding the Carolingian Empire. Charles gained control of West Francia as King of the Franks.
Married 1. Ansgarde of Burgundy 2. Adelaide of Paris
Became king after the death of his father but he was in poor health and died after 2 years as king.
Married – did not marry
Louis ruled jointly with his brother Carloman II. Louis had control of the north while Carloman ruled the south. They formed an alliance with their cousin Charles (the Fat) who ruled the south west and Italy. Louis successfully defeated the Vikings who had been making raids on France. He died aged 18 years after falling and fracturing his skull.
Did not marry
Took control of all of Francia after the death of his brother, Louis III. He and his brother had formed an alliance with their cousin Charles (the Fat) who ruled the south west and Italy. He died aged about 17 years in a hunting accident.
Married Emma of Altdorf
Charles became king after the death of his cousin Carolman. He took control of West Francia as well as the south east and Italy. He was king at the time of the Viking Siege of Paris and was forced to buy the invaders off, a move that led to his downfall. He was deposed in late November 887 and died of natural causes six weeks later.
Married Theodrate of Troyes
Odo was formerly Count of Paris. He was elected King of Francia after Charles III (the Fat) was deposed. His reign saw continued Viking invasions. He also faced opposition from those that supported the claim of Charles (the Simple), youngest son of Louis II, to be king.
Married 1. Frederuna 2. Eadgifu of Wessex
Charles was the half brother of Louis III and Caroloman II but had been too young to succeed them. He succeeded his cousin to the throne. In 911 he gave land in Normandy to the Northmen led by Rollo. He was deposed in favour of Robert I.
Married 1. Aelis 2. Beatrice of Vermandois
Robert was the brother of King Odo and replaced Charles III after he was deposed. He died 12 months after becoming King at the Battle of Soissons.
Married Emma of France
Became King after the death of his father-in-law. He faced invasions by the Vikings, Normans and Magyars.
Married Louise Gerberga of Saxony
Louis had grown up in Wessex with his mother after his father had been deposed and gained the nickname Outremer (overseas). He became King at the age of 15 years and returned to France. Louis faced a struggle against the influence of Hugh the Great, Duke of the Franks. Louis was captured by the Normans in 945, possibly on the orders of Hugh the Great. He was later released but remained under the influence of Hugh. He eventually managed to overthrow Hugh the Great.
Married Emma of Italy
Succeeded his father as King at the age of 13 years. Hugh the Great was given rule of Aquitaine and Burgundy to stop him taking control. After Hugh died he spent much of his rule trying to gain control over the rest of France.
Married Adelaide-Blanche of Anjou
Became King after the death of his father. Had ruled with his father for seven years before his accession. He died at the age of 20 years after falling from his horse while hunting.
Hugh was the grandson of King Robert I and was elected King after the death of Louis V. Often recognised as the first true King of France, he succeeded in uniting much of the country under his rule. He had his son crowned during his reign to ensure the succession.
Married 1 Rozala of Italy 2. Bertha of Burgundy 3. Constance of Arles
Robert had been crowned during his father’s lifetime and succeeded without incident. Robert was very religious and persecuted heretics. Later, he became involved in conflict with his own sons over the distribution of property.
Married 1. Matilda of Frisia 2. Anne of Kiev
At the time of his accession he was in conflict with his mother and brother Robert. He supported the young Duke William of Normandy and helped him put down revolts in Normandy but after William married Matilda of Flanders he opposed him.
Married 1. Bertha of Holland 2. Bertrade de Montfort
Philip became King at the age of seven and his mother acted as regent. He gained his nickname after putting his first wife aside and marrying the woman he loved. Despite being excommunicated and promising to return to his first wife, Philip continually returned to Bertrade. He gained land in northern France from William II of England and Normandy.
Married 1. Lucienne de Rochefort 2. Adelaide de Maurienne
Louis spent most of his reign consolidating and enforcing rule over his barons. He also saw conflict with the Norman English kings. Towards the end of his reign he put on a lot of weight which gave him his nickname.
Married 1. Eleanor of Aquitaine 2. Constance of Castile 3. Adele of Champagne
Became King at the age of 17 years which gave him his nickname. He married Eleanor of Aquitaine which added Aquitaine to French lands. However, he had the marriage annulled when he didn’t get a son. Eleanor married King Henry II of England and Aquitaine was controlled by the English which led to constant conflict. The University of Paris and the Cathedral of Notre Dame were founded during his reign.
Married 1. Isabella of Hainault 2. Ingeborg of Denmark 3. Agnes of Merania
Philip II was the first monarch to use the title King of France. He supported the English barons against King John of England and succeeded in taking control of land from the English. His reign saw the wealth and power of France increase.
Married Blanche of Castile
Was known as the Lion due to his military prowess. He had briefly been declared King of England in 1216 when the barons rebelled against King John but this had been reversed after the death of the English King. Louis only ruled France for 3 years before he died.
Married Margaret of Provence
Became King aged 12 years and his mother acted as regent. He faced conflict with Hugh of Lusignan and King Henry III of England. Louis reformed the legal system in France. He gained his nickname for taking part in both the 7th and 8th Crusades. He died during the latter.
Married 1. Isabella of Aragon 2. Maria of Brabant
Philip earned his nickname for his military prowess. He succeeded in gaining territory for France. He later became involved in a rebellion against his uncle and died while on campaign.
Married Joan I, Queen of Navarre
Succeeded his father as King of France. He was also King of Navarre through his marriage. During his reign, France began to move from feudalism to a state.
Married 1. Margaret of Burgundy 2. Clementia of Hungary
Louis succeeded his father as King of France and his mother as King of Navarre. His reign two year reign was characterised by conflict with the nobles.
He was the posthumous son of Louis X and became King on his birth. However, he only lived for 5 days.
Married Joan II of Burgundy
He was the brother of Louis X and had acted as regent until his nephew John I was born and during his short life. He set a single currency for France and reformed finance. He did not have children.
Married 1. Blanche of Burgundy 2. Marie of Luxembourg 3. Jeanne d’Evreux
Became King after his elder brother died. His reign saw conflict with the peasants and also with King Edward II of England. He died without a male heir and was the last king of the Capetian Dynasty.
Married Joan of Burgundy
Philip became King after his cousin Charles IV died. His succession was disputed by King Edward III of England who claimed the right to the Kingdom of France through the female line and did not accept Salic Law. This led to the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War in 1337.
Married 1. Bonne of Bohemia 2. Joan I of Auvergne
John became King just after the Black Death that had seen around a half of France’s population killed. John was captured in 1356 by the English and was only released after territory in France was ceded to England.
Married Joanna of Bourbon
Charles had acted as regent while his father was in captivity and succeeded without incident after his death. He faced conflict with the nobility after having to raise taxes to pay for war with England but overcame this and consolidated his rule. He also managed to make gains in the Hundred Years’ War and took back land that was lost to England after his father’s capture.
Married Isabeau of Bavaria
Succeeded his father aged 11 years. His uncles (brothers of Charles V) acted as regents during his minority but did not manage finances well. This led to an increase in taxation which led to riots. After Charles assumed personal rule he dismissed his uncles. His daughter Isabella married King Richard II of England but returned to France after Richard died. Charles experienced bouts of insanity which gave him his nickname. During these periods his wife Isabeau, acted as regent.
Married Marie of Anjou
His succession was disputed by the English who believed that by the terms of the Treaty of Troyes that King Henry VI should be King of France. As Henry was a minor his uncles ruled in France. A young peasant girl, Joan of Arc, led French troops to victory at Orleans and crowned Charles at Reims before being caught and burned at the stake. Under Charles the French succeeded in taking all English possessions in France apart from Calais.
Married 1. Margaret of Scotland 2. Charlotte of Savoy
Louis made peace with England and the Treaty of Picquigny ended the Hundred Years’ War. He also dealt with rebellious nobles and strengthened the economy of France.
Married 1. Anne of Brittany
Charles succeeded as King of France at the age of 13 years. His sister Anne acted as regent with her husband. He gained control of Brittany through his marriage. Charles died prematurely after hitting his head on the lintel of a door.
Married 1. Joan of France 2. Anne of Brittany 3. Mary Tudor of England
Louis became King after the death of his cousin Charles VIII. After he became King he had his first marriage annulled and married his cousin’s widow, Anne of Brittany. He fought in the Italian Wars and gained control of Naples. He married Mary Tudor after Anne of Brittany died hoping to gain a male heir but died weeks after the wedding.
Married 1. Claude of Brittany (daughter of Louis XII) 2. Eleanor of Austria
Francis became King after the death of his cousin and father-in-law Louis XII. Francis was a forward thinking King who sought to keep France at the height of power in Europe. He variously allied France with either Spain or England to suit the interests of France. He was a patron of the arts and bought the Mona Lisa from Leonardo da Vinci.
Married Catherine de Medici
Succeeded his father as King and followed similar policies. He tried to maintain Catholicism in France by persecuting Protestant Huguenots. He died of an infected wound which was sustained at a jousting tournament to celebrate the end of the Italian Wars.
Married Mary Queen of Scots
Became King at the age of 15 after the death of his father. He had been married to Mary Queen of Scots in 1558 and became King Consort of Scotland on his accession. Francis II was heavily influenced by his mother Catherine de Medici and the rule was not popular. Francis died childless at the age of 16 years.
Married Elisabeth of Austria
Became King following the death of his brother Francis. Like his brother he was heavily influenced by his mother. His reign saw continued conflict between Catholics and Protestants that culminated in the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre which saw Huguenots slaughtered. Charles died of tuberculosis after just 14 years on the throne.
Married Louise of Lorraine
Became King following the death of his brother Charles. A year before his accession he had been elected as King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania but gave this up shortly after becoming King of France. The conflict between Catholics and Protestant Huguenots continued throughout his reign. Henry did not have children and towards the end of his reign a succession crisis developed.
Married 1. Margaret of Valois 2. Marie de Medici
Became King following the death of his brother-in-law and distant cousin, Henry III. Henry IV was a Protestant Huguenot but was told that he could not be crowned unless he renounced his faith. He initially held out but had to relent. Once King he set about granting liberties to Protestants which ended the Wars of Religion. He survived many attempts on his life but was assassinated in 1610 by a Catholic fanatic.
Married Anne of Austria
Became King after the assassination of his father. As he was only 9 years old his mother acted as regent. His mother appointed favourites and mismanaged the kingdom and when Louis was 16 years old he took control and exiled her. His chief minister, Cardinal Richelieu, was a strong ruler who suppressed revolts by the nobility and developed absolute monarchy in France.
Married 1. Maria Theresa of Spain 2. Francoise d’Aubigne
Became King at the age of 5 years after the death of his father. His mother was regent until her death after which the country was ruled by Cardinal Mazarin. Louis was a believer in the divine right of kings and ruled absolutely. He took the Sun as his emblem which gave him his nickname. Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes which removed freedom of worship for Protestants. He ruled for 72 years, longer than any other monarch in Europe to date and outlived his sons.
Married Marie Leszczynska of Poland
Succeeded his great-grandfather to the throne at the age of 5 years. His grandfather’s cousin Philippe of Orleans acted as regent. His rule was characterised by wars – the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War which drained the treasury and caused increasing unrest.
Married Marie Antoinette of Austria
Succeeded his grandfather to the throne. The wars of his grandfather’s reign had left the country with financial problems and many people lived in poverty. His wife, Marie Antoinette was continually accused of frivolity, infidelity and spending outrageous amounts of money. Louis’ refusal to allow the Third Estate to meet in 1789 led to the storming of the Bastille. Later that year the royal family were forcibly removed from the Palace at Versailles to Paris. Louis was executed by guillotine in 1793.
Married Marie Josephine of Savoy
Louis was the brother of King Louis XVI. During the French Revolution and Napoleonic era he had exiled himself variously to England, Prussia and Russia. After Napoleon was exiled to Elba he was restored to the monarchy. He was deposed after Napoleon escaped imprisonment.
Married Marie Josephine of Savoy
After Napoleon was exiled to St Helena, Louis returned as King. He ruled as a constitutional monarch and his power was reduced by the government.
Married Marie Therese of Savoy
Became king after the death of his brother. His attempts to reassert the power of the monarchy led to unpopularity and rioting. In July 1830 the unrest culminated in a three day revolution which forced Charles to abdicate.
Married Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily
Louis-Philippe was the great-great-grandson of Louis XIV. He exiled himself after the execution of his father following the French Revolution. He was chosen to be King due to his liberal views. However, the economy in France did not do well and after another revolution broke out in 1848 he fled to the United Kingdom where he remained until he died.
Published Oct 27, 2019 @ 8:45 pm – Updated –
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2019 – 2020). Kings of France 843 – 1870. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/kings-of-france-843-1870 Last accessed November 29th, 2020