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Charles II of Naples

Charles II
King Charles II from the Bible of Naples
King of Naples
Reign 7 January 1285 – 5 May 1309
Predecessor Charles I
Successor Robert
Born 1254
Died 5 May 1309 (aged 55)
Naples, Kingdom of Naples
Spouse Mary of Hungary
Issue
More
Charles Martel of Anjou
Saint Louis of Toulouse
Robert of Naples
Philip I of Taranto
Raymond Berengar
Peter Tempesta
John of Gravina
Margaret, Countess of Anjou
Blanche of Anjou
Eleanor of Anjou
Maria of Anjou
House House of Anjou-Sicily
Father Charles I of Naples
Mother Beatrice of Provence
Coat of arms of Charles II of Naples.
Charles II, called the Lame (French le Boiteux, Italian lo Zoppo; 1254 – 5 May 1309), was King of Naples, King of Albania, Prince of Salerno, Prince of Achaea, Count of Provence and Forcalquier and Count of Anjou.

Biography

He was the son of Charles I of Anjou, who had conquered the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily in the 1260s. His mother was Beatrice of Provence.

During the Sicilian Vespers, he was captured by Roger of Lauria in the naval battle at Naples in 1284. When his father died in 1285, he was still a prisoner of Peter III of Aragon.

In 1288, King Edward I of England mediated to make peace, and Charles was freed on condition that he retain Naples alone. Sicily was left to the Aragonese. Charles was also to induce his cousin Charles of Valois to renounce, for twenty thousand pounds of silver, the kingdom of Aragon, which had been given to him by Pope Martin IV to punish Peter for having invaded Sicily, but which the Valois had never effectively occupied.

Charles was then released, leaving three of his sons and sixty Provençal nobles as hostages. He promised to pay 30,000 marks and to return as a prisoner if the conditions were not fulfilled within three years. He then went to Rieti, where the new pope, Nicholas IV, absolved him from all the conditions he had sworn to observe, crowned him King of Sicily in 1289, and excommunicated King Alfonso III of Aragon. Charles of Valois, in alliance with Castile, prepared to take possession of Aragon, reopening the Aragonese Crusade. Alfonso, being hard pressed, agreed to the conditions of the Treaty of Tarascon: he had to promise to withdraw the troops he had sent to help his brother James in Sicily, renounce all rights over the island, and pay a tribute to the Holy See.

Alfonso died childless in 1291 before the treaty could be carried out, and James took possession of Aragon, leaving the government of Sicily to the third brother, Frederick.

Pope Boniface VIII, elected in 1294 at Naples under the auspices of King Charles, mediated between the latter and James, and the dishonourable Treaty of Anagni was signed: James was to marry Charles’s daughter Bianca and was promised the investiture by the Pope of Sardinia and Corsica, while he was to leave the Angevin a free hand in Sicily and even to assist him if the Sicilians resisted.

An attempt was made to bribe Frederick into consenting to this arrangement, but being backed up by his people he refused, and was afterwards crowned King of Sicily. The ensuing war was fought on land and sea, but Charles, though aided by the Pope, his cousin Charles of Valois and James, was unable to conquer the island, and his son the prince of Taranto was taken prisoner at the Battle of La Falconara in 1299. Peace was at last made in 1302 at Caltabellotta. Charles gave up all rights to Sicily and agreed to the marriage of his daughter Eleanor and King Frederick; the treaty was ratified by the Pope in 1303. Charles spent his last years quietly in Naples, which city he improved and embellished.

He died in Naples in May 1309, and was succeeded by his son Robert the Wise.

Family

Charles, his wife Mary and their children in Bible of Naples

In 1270, he married Maria of Hungary (c. 1257 – 25 March 1323), the daughter of Stephen V of Hungary and Elizabeth the Cuman. They had fourteen children:

  1. Charles Martel of Anjou, titular King of Hungary
  2. Margaret (1273– 31 December 1299), Countess of Anjou and Maine, married at Corbeil 16 August 1290 to Charles of Valois
  3. [[Saint Louis
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