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Information about reign: Philippe IV le Bel (King Philip IV the Fair)

CountryKingdom of France
From5 October 1285
To29 November 1314
Personal InformationKing Philip IV the Fair of France (1268 - 1314)
Description

Philip IV, called the Fair (French: Philippe le Bel, Basque: Filipe Ederra) or the Iron King (French: le Roi de fer), was King of France from 1285 until his death. By virtue of his marriage with Joan I of Navarre, he was also Philip I, King of Navarre from 1284 to 1305. He also briefly ruled the County of Champagne in right of his wife, although after his accession as king in 1285 the county remained under the sole governance of his wife until 1305, and then his son, Louis until 1314.

Philip relied on skillful civil servants, such as Guillaume de Nogaret and Enguerrand de Marigny, to govern the kingdom rather than on his barons. Philip and his advisors were instrumental in the transformation of France from a feudal country to a centralized state. Philip, who sought an uncontested monarchy, compelled his vassals by wars and restricted feudal usages. His ambitions made him highly influential in European affairs. His goal was to place his relatives on foreign thrones. Princes from his house ruled in Naples and Hungary. He tried and failed to make another relative the Holy Roman Emperor. He began the long advance of France eastward by taking control of scattered fiefs.

The most notable conflicts of Philip's reign include a dispute with Edward I of England, who was also his vassal as the Duke of Aquitaine, and a war with the County of Flanders, which gained temporary autonomy following Philip’s defeat at the Battle of the Golden Spurs (1302). To further strengthen the monarchy, he tried to control the French clergy and entered in conflict with Pope Boniface VIII. This conflict led to the transfer of the papal court to the enclave of Avignon in 1309.

In 1306, Philip the Fair expelled the Jews from France and, in 1307, he annihilated the order of the Knights Templar. Philip was in debt to both groups and saw them as a "state within the state".

His final year saw a scandal amongst the royal family, known as the Tour de Nesle Affair, during which the three daughters-in-law of Philip were accused of adultery. His three sons were successively kings of France, Louis X, Philip V, and Charles IV.

The English translation of the royal style of Philip IV was "By the Grace of God, King of France and Navarre, Count of Champagne" (1285 - 1305), then "By the Grace of God, King of France" (1305 - 1314).

Philippe IV le Bel (King Philip IV the Fair): Some useful external links
Wikipedia: Philip IV of France