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 Charles of Albret

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Charles of Albret

  • Birth 1368
  • Death 25 Oct 1415
  • Burial Hesdin, Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
  • Plot Site destroyed in 1553
  • Memorial ID 37966685

French Nobility, Constable of France. Also known as Charles II d'Albret. One of the ablest opponents of the English during the Hundred Years' War. He was Commander-in-Chief of the French forces at the Battle of Agincourt (October 25, 1415), and died in action. He was born into an old Gascon family with a history of serving England's interests in the Aquitaine. In 1368 his father, Arnaud, Lord of Albret, was one of the four Gascony nobles who rejected the authority of Edward "The Black Prince" and swore loyalty to the French king. This reactivated the Hundred Years' War between France and England. Young Charles had his first taste of war in Flanders with Charles VI at the Battle of Roosebeke (1382), and over the next quarter century continued his father's quest to drive the English out of southern France. He captured many enemy garrisons and by 1405 had helped extend French control beyond the Aquitaine to the Dordogne region and to Saintonge on the Atlantic coast. Succeeding Arnaud as Lord of Albret in 1401, he was named Constable of France in 1403. With King Charles increasingly debilitated by mental illness, Albret became a key player in a power struggle between his political party, the Armagnacs, and the Burgundians, who removed him as Constable in 1411. He resumed the post in 1413 after the Burgundians lost their influence. Albret was preparing for an English invasion months before Henry V landed in France in August 1415. Due to bickering among the nobility he was unable to prevent the siege and capture of Harfleur in September, but afterwards he and Marshal Boucicaut pursued Henry's forces north towards Calais and finally intercepted them on the road near Agincourt on October 24. They faced each other in a nearly 24-hour standoff. The English were outnumbered by at least 3 to 1 and exhausted after a difficult march; the Constable apparently hoped they could be starved into submission, or at least put at a disadvantage by having to initiate the fight. This strategy proved too prudent: it gave Henry time to judge the terrain and advance his men to their second position, which offered good natural defenses against superior numbers. Albret and Boucicaut also could not control the undisciplined, higher-ranking noblemen whose retinues formed a significant part of the French Army, and their battle plans were essentially ignored. When a hailstorm of English arrows goaded the French cavalry into charging, Albret had no choice but to follow. He was killed along with most of the first wave of French soldiers, and the battle ended in an overwhelming English victory. Constable Albret and 13 fellow nobles were buried together at a monastery church in the nearby town of Hesdin. The Spanish completely destroyed Hesdin in 1553 and the graves have long since disappeared.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 5 Jun 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 37966685
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Charles of Albret (1368–25 Oct 1415), Find A Grave Memorial no. 37966685, citing Church of the Cordeliers (Defunct), Hesdin, Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .