Valois, Counts And Dukes Of
VALOIS, COUNTS AND DUKES OF. The French countship of Valois (pagus Vadensis) takes its name from Vez (Latin Vadum), its early capital, a town in the department of the Oise. From the loth to the 12th century it was owned by the counts of Vermandois and of Vexin; but on the death of Eleanor, sister and heiress of Count Raoul V. (d. 1167), it was united to the crown by King Philip Augustus. Soon detached from the royal domain, Valois was the property of Blanche of Castile, widow of Louis VIII., from 1240 to 1252, and of Jean Tristan, a younger son of Louis IX., from 1268 to 1270. In 1285 Philip III. gave the county to his son Charles (d. 1325), whose son and successor, Philip, count of Valois, became king of France as Philip VI. in 1328. Sixteen years later Valois was granted to Philip's son, Philip, duke of Orleans; then passing with the duchy of Orleans in 1392 to Louis (d. 1407), a son of Charles V., it was erected into a duchy in 1406, and remained the property of the dukes of Orleans until Duke Louis became king of France as Louis XII. in 1498, when it was again united with the royal domain.
After this event the duchy of Valois was granted to several ladies of the royal house. Held by Jeanne, countess of Taillebourg (d. 1520), from 1516 to 1517, and by Marie, countess of Vend6me, from 1530 until her death in 1546, it was given to Catherine de Medici, the widow of Henry II., in 1562, and in 1582 to her daughter, Margaret of Valois, the wife of Henry of Navarre. In 1630 Louis XIII. granted Valois to his brother Gaston, duke of Orleans, and the duchy formed part of the lands and titles of the dukes of Orleans from this time until the Revolution.
The house of Valois, a branch of the great Capetian family, is thus descended from Charles, a son of Philip III., and has been divided into several lines, three of which have reigned in France. These are: (i) the direct line, beginning with Philip VI., which reigned from 1328 to 1498; (2) the Orleans branch, descended from Louis, duke of Orleans, a son of Charles V., from 1498 to 1515; (3) the Angouleme branch, descendants of John, another son of the same duke, from 1515 to 1589. Excluding the royal house, the most illustrious of the Valois branches are: the dukes of Alengon, descendants of Charles, a younger son of Charles I., count of Valois; the dukes of Anjou, descendants of Louis, the second son of King John II.; and the dukes of Burgundy, descendants of Philip, the fourth son of the same king.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)