Philip the Good

Philip the Good
Philip the good.jpg
Philip the Good, wearing the collar of firesteels of the Order of the Golden Fleece he instituted, copy of a Rogier van der Weyden of c.1450
Duke of Burgundy
Reign10 September 1419 – 15 June 1467
PredecessorJohn the Fearless
SuccessorCharles the Bold
Born31 July 1396
Dijon, Duchy of Burgundy
Died15 June 1467(1467-06-15) (aged 70)
Bruges, Flanders, Burgundian Netherlands
Burial
SpouseMichelle of Valois
Bonne of Artois
Isabella of Portugal
IssueCharles the Bold
David of Burgundy
Anthony, bastard of Burgundy
Anne of Burgundy
HouseValois-Burgundy
FatherJohn the Fearless
MotherMargaret of Bavaria
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Engraving of Philip the Good
Portrait of Philip the Good's son and heir Charles the Bold, by Rogier van der Weyden.

Philip the Good (French: Philippe le Bon; Dutch: Filips de Goede; 31 July 1396 – 15 June 1467) was Duke of Burgundy as Philip III from 1419 until his death. He was a member of a cadet line of the Valois dynasty, to which all the 15th-century kings of France belonged. During his reign, Burgundy reached the apex of its prosperity and prestige and became a leading center of the arts. Philip is known in history for his administrative reforms, his patronage of Flemish artists such as Jan van Eyck and Franco-Flemish composers such as Gilles Binchois, and the capture of Joan of Arc. In political affairs, he alternated between alliances with the English and the French in an attempt to improve his dynasty's position. As ruler of Flanders, Brabant, Limburg, Artois, Hainaut, Holland, Zeeland, Friesland and Namur, he played an important role in the history of the Low Countries.

Family and early life

Coat of arms of Philip the Good (after 1430)

Born in 1396 in Dijon, Philip was the son of John the Fearless and Margaret of Bavaria.[1] His father succeeded Philip's grandfather Philip the Bold as Duke of Burgundy in 1404.[2] On 28 January 1405, Philip was named Count of Charolais in appanage of the duke and probably became engaged on the same day, at the age of 8, to Michelle of Valois, a daughter of King Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria. They were married in June 1409.[3]

After Michelle's death in 1422, Philip married Bonne of Artois,[3] a daughter of Philip of Artois, Count of Eu, and also the widow of his uncle, Philip II, Count of Nevers, in Moulins-les-Engelbert on 30 November 1424. Bonne of Artois is sometimes confused with Philip's biological aunt, also named Bonne (a sister of John the Fearless who lived from 1379 to 1399), in part due to the papal dispensation required for the marriage, which made no distinction between a marital aunt and a biological aunt. Bonne of Artois lived only a year after Philip married her.

Philip was married for a third time to Isabella of Portugal, a daughter of John I of Portugal and Philippa of Lancaster, in Bruges on 7 January 1430,[4] after a proxy marriage the year before. This marriage produced three sons:[5]

  • Anthony (September 30, 1430, Brussels – February 5, 1432, Brussels), Count of Charolais;
  • Josse (April 24, 1432 – aft. May 6, 1432), Count of Charolais;
  • Charles (10 November 1433 – 5 January 1477), Count of Charolais and Philip's successor as Duke of Burgundy, known as "Charles the Bold" or "Charles the Rash"[4]

Philip also had at least eighteen illegitimate children by various of his 24 documented mistresses, of whom these are the best known:

Corneille and Anthony were his favorite bastard sons and successively bore the title Grand bâtard de Bourgogne (first Corneille and after his death, Anthony).