John II of France

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JeanIIdFrance.jpg
Jean II, a portrait painted on wood panel ca 1350 (Louvre Museum), the oldest profile portrait in Europe

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John II the Good (French: Jean II le Bon) (April 16, 1319April 8, 1364), was King of France from 1350 to 1364. Jean, a member of the Valois Dynasty, was the son of Philippe VI and Jeanne of Burgundy.

On July 28, 1332, at the age of 13, he was married to Bonne of Luxembourg, daughter of John the Blind of Luxemburg, king of Bohemia.

Their children were:

  1. Charles V le Sage (January 21, 1338 – September 16, 1380)
  2. Louis, Duc d'Anjou (July 23, 1339 – September 20, 1384)
  3. Jean, Duc de Berry (November 30, 1340 – June 15, 1416)
  4. Philippe, Duke of Burgundy (January 17, 1342 – April 27, 1404)
  5. Jeanne (June 24, 1343 – November 3, 1373), married Charles II the Bad, King of Navarre
  6. Marie (September 12, 1344 – October, 1404), married Robert I, Duke of Bar
  7. Agns (1345 – 1349)
  8. Marguerite (1347 – 1352)
  9. Isabelle (October 1, 1348 – September 11, 1372), married Gian Galeazzo I, Duke of Milan

He was crowned King of France in 1350 in the cathedral at Reims. As king, Jean surrounded himself with poor administrators, preferring to enjoy the good life his wealth as king brought. The men he relied on to administer his kingdom were brutal thieves but eventually King Jean changed.

In the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 against Edward, the Black Prince (son of King Edward III of England), Jean suffered a humiliating defeat and was taken as captive back to England. While negotiating a peace accord, he was at first held in the Savoy Palace, then at Windsor, Hertford, Somerton Castle in Lincolnshire and finally in the Tower of London. As a prisoner of the English, the King of France was granted royal privileges, permitted to travel about, and to enjoy a regal lifestyle. A local tradition in St Albans is that he was also held in a house in that town, at the site of the 15th century Fleur de Lys inn, before he was taken to Hertford Castle. There is a sign on the inn to that effect, but apparently no evidence to confirm the tradition [1] (http://www.salbani.co.uk/Med%20Web/market_place.htm).

The treaty of Brtigny signed in 1360 set his ransom at 3,000,000 crowns. In keeping with the honor between himself and the English King Edward III, and leaving his son Louis of Anjou in English-held Calais as a replacement hostage, Jean was allowed to return to France to raise his ransom funds.

While King Jean tried to raise the money, his son Louis, accorded the same royal dignity, easily escaped from the English. An angry King Jean, believing his son had broken royal honor, and unable to raise his ransom, surrendered himself again to the English. He arrived in England in early 1364, looked upon by ordinary citizens and English royalty alike with great admiration. Accordingly, he was held as an honored prisoner in the Savoy Palace but died a few months later.

King Jean died in London in 1364 and his body was returned to France, where he was interred in the royal chambers at Saint Denis Basilica.

He was succeeded by his son, Charles V.


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