In 1328, King Charles IV of France died without a direct descendant. Philippe was one of the two chief claimants to the throne along with King Edward III of England whose mother, Isabella of France, was the late King Charles' sister. Philippe ascended to the crown based on Salic law which forbid females and those descended in the female line to succeed to the throne. He was crowned on May 29, 1328 at the Cathedral in Reims.
In July, 1313, Philippe VI married Jeanne of Burgundy. In an ironic twist to his ascendancy to the throne, the intelligent, strong-willed Jeanne is said to be the brains behind the throne and the real ruler of France.
The reign of Philippe VI was punctuated with crises, many of which were the result of defeats on the battlefield, in particular at the Battle of l'Ecluse in 1340 and again at Crécy in 1346. In 1348 the bubonic plague struck, killing one-third of the entire population. The labor shortage caused inflation to soar and the king attempted to fix prices, further de-stabilizing the country. On his death, France was still very much a divided country filled with social unrest.
King Philippe VI died at Nogent-le-roi, Eure-et-Loir on August 22, 1350 and is interred with his wife, Blanche de Navarre (1330 - 1398) in Saint Denis Basilica. He was succeeded by the son of Jeanne of Burgundy, Jean II.
See also: Hundred Years' War
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