Charles VIII, called the Affable (French: l'Affable), was a monarch of the House of Valois who ruled as King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. He succeeded his father Louis XI at the age of 13. His elder sister Anne of France acted as regent jointly with her husband Peter II, Duke of Bourbon until 1491 when the young king turned 21 years of age. During Anne's regency, the great lords rebelled against royal centralisation efforts in a conflict known as the Mad War (1485-1488), which resulted in a victory for the royal government.
In a remarkable stroke of audacity, Charles married Anne of Brittany in 1491 after she had already been married by proxy to the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I in a ceremony of questionable validity. Preoccupied by the problematic succession in the Kingdom of Hungary, Maximilian failed to press his claim. Upon his marriage, Charles became administrator of Brittany and established a personal union that enabled France to avoid total encirclement by Habsburg territories.
To secure his rights to the Neapolitan throne that René of Naples had left to his father, Charles made a series of concessions to neighbouring monarchs and conquered the Italian peninsula without much opposition. The coalition formed against the French invasion of 1494-98 finally drove out Charles' army, but Italian Wars would dominate Western European politics for over 50 years.
Charles died in 1498 after accidentally striking his head on the lintel of a door. Since he had no male heir, he was succeeded by his cousin Louis XII of France from the Orléans cadet branch of the House of Valois.
|Reigned as||In Country||From||To||Coins Issued|
|Charles VIII l'Affable (King Charles VIII the Affable)||France, Kingdom of||30 August 1483||7 April 1498|