The death of Philip the Good on 15th June 1467 came at a significant time for English diplomacy. As the Duke of Burgundy died, England were engaged in talks with the Duke’s son, Charles, about ending a trade war, renewing previous alliances, and cementing the friendship through a marriage union. Similar discussions were being held with France, led by the Earl of Warwick. His death, therefore, came at a time when any change in policy, or sign of Burgundian weakness, could have a major impact on Western European politics.
Philip the Good and the Hundred Years War
As Duke of Burgundy Philip had played a major role in England’s foreign affairs and interventions in France. His had played a pivotal role in the Hundred Years War. As Duke of Burgundy, he had initially forged an alliance with England, signing the Treaty of Troyes. This alliance helped the English to remain a continental power. Burgundian forces captured Joan of Arc and pro-Burgundian clerics who tried her for heresy on behalf of the English.
Burgundian Foreign Policy
Philip soon switched allegiances in the conflict, recognising Charles VII as the rightful King of France in the Treaty of Arras and then laying siege, unsuccessfully, to Calais.
Philip’s primary concern was the expansion of Burgundy geographically, economically, and culturally. This led to Burgundy becoming renowned for its festivals’ splendour; it became a source of trade to and from England and saw Burgundy become the preeminent force in the low countries.
Burgundy and the Wars of the Roses
Philip’s desire to expand also impacted on the Wars of the Roses. His conflicts with France limiting the French ability to intervene militarily in English affairs.
His death coincided with the early discussions about a marriage for his son to Margaret of York, which was formalised a year later.
Death of Philip the Good of Burgundy
The death of Philip, therefore, impacted heavily on English affairs. It brought Charles the Bold to the fore, as the new Duke. He soon became a supporter of the Yorkists and contributed to Edward IVs invasion of 1471. Charles’ marriage to Margaret of York later led to support for Pretenders to the English throne.
Portrait of Philip the Good (1396-1467), third Duke of Burgundy from the House of Valois. Half length, facing right. He is dressed in black, wearing a jewelled collar of firesteels in the shape of the letter B, for Burgundy, and flints, holding the Order of the Golden Fleece, which he instituted. The work is after Rogier van der Weyden i.e. a copy of a lost painting, although in this case it may also have existed as a drawing or sketch. There are several such copies (Lille, Antwerp and Paris), of which the Dijon version is thought to be the best. Public Domain. Via Wikipedia.