Born on 10 November 1433 , Charles the Bold of Burgundy played a key role in the Wars of the Roses. Charles’ influence over English affairs was significant. In 1468 he married Margaret of York, sister of King Edward IV. This led to Edward, the Duke of Gloucester and many of their supporters seeking refuge in Burgundy as Warwick forced the Readeption of Henry VI.
Charles the Bold
Though Charles the Bold was initially reluctant to become involved in English wars, the French’s actions made it beneficial for him to have a strong Yorkist government in England. In 1471 he supported the invasion of England by Edward IV with finances, a fleet and soldiers.
This led to a close relationship between England and Burgundy for much of the reign of Edward IV. English archers fought alongside Burgundian forces on the continent during the quieter periods of the 1470s. Charles agreed to join England and Brittany in an invasion of France. In the event, Burgundy did not participate in that expedition as they were engaged in conflict with the Holy Roman Empire. However, the alliance was a crucial part in securing a deal that was beneficial to England.
Charles also oversaw Burgundy’s economic policies, and these saw the trade in wool and cloth between England and Calais prosper. Via the port of Calais, merchants from both states enjoyed increasingly peaceful travel across the channel and customs arrangements were introduced to boost Burgundian trade.
Charles the Bold died in January of 1477. His wife Margaret continued to be influential, and Burgundy financed Yorkist pretenders and rebellions against the Tudors long after Charles’ death.
Charles the Bold links
Project Gutenburg. Free online book about Charles the Bold.
British Museum – 180 objects related to Charles the Bold.
JSTOR – Charles the Bold and the Siege of Neuss. Article.
Getty Collection – Prayer Book of Charles the Bold.