The Creation of France

Chapter 6 : Brittany

Brittany also escaped Plantagenet clutches. Duchess Constance’s son, Arthur, duke of Brittany, who many thought the true heir to Richard I of England, disappeared (probably murdered by his uncle, John). Constance’s daughter by her second husband, Alix (1200 -1221), inherited the duchy and married the great-nephew of Louis VII of France, Peter of Dreux (1187 – 1250). This brought Brittany closer within the French kings’ orbit, but it remained independent. There were numerous internal disputes as to the Breton succession, and it was eventually subsumed on the death of its last ruling duchess, Anne (1477 – 1514), who had been obliged to marry successive French kings.

Anne’s daughter, Claude (1499 – 1524), nominally duchess, was married to François I of France (1491 – 1547), whose second son, and eventual heir, became Henri II of France (1519 – 1559). Strictly, on the death of her grandson, Henri III (1551 – 1599), Brittany should have passed to the descendants of Claude’s grand-daughter, Margaret, duchess of Berry and duchess of Savoy (1523 – 1574), but that did not happen.