Louis II of Anjou
Portrait of Louis II by unknown artist, c. 1456–1465
|King of Naples|
|Coronation||1 November 1389|
|Duke of Anjou|
|Reign||20 September 1384 – 29 April 1417|
|Born||5 October 1377|
|Died||29 April 1417 (aged 39)|
Château d'Angers, Anjou
|Spouse||Yolande of Aragon (m. 1400)|
|Issue||Louis III, Duke of Anjou|
René, King of Naples
Charles, Count of Maine
Marie, Queen of France
Yolande, Duchess of Brabant
|House||House of Valois-Anjou|
|Father||Louis I of Anjou|
|Mother||Marie of Blois|
Louis was the elder of the two sons of Louis I of Anjou and Marie of Blois. Louis I was a younger son of King John II of France who granted Anjou and Maine to him as hereditary appanage in 1360. The childless Queen Joanna I of Naples adopted Louis I as her son and heir in 1380, because she needed French support against her rival, Charles of Durazzo. The rulers of Naples had acknowledged the popes' suzerainty since 1130, but two rival popes were competing for the supreme authority after the Western Schism of 1378. Joanna's subjects regarded Urban VI as the lawful pope, but she preferred Urban's opponent, Clement VII. In retaliation, Pope Urban confirmed Charles' claim to her realms and crowned him king of Naples (formally, king of Sicily) in Rome in June 1381. Charles of Durazzo invaded southern Italy, but Louis I could not leave France to protect his adoptive mother, because his brother, King Charles V of France had recently died. Charles of Durazzo captured Queen Joanna and occupied Naples in September.
Louis I was determined to seize her inheritance, which included the counties of Provence and Forcalquier and a claim to the Kingdom of Jerusalem in addition to Naples. The earliest plans about Louis' marriage were related to his father's search for allies against Charles of Durazzo. In November 1381, Louis I was planning to forge an alliance with Aragon through the marriage of Louis and Louis' younger brother, Charles, with King Peter IV of Aragon's granddaughters, Joanna and Yolande. The plan was soon set aside, because Louis I realized that an alliance with a powerful Italian ruler could serve his purposes. After in early 1382 he decided to launch a military campaign against Charles of Durazzo, he started negotiations with Bernabò Visconti, Lord of Milan. Bernabò agreed to hire troops to fight against Charles of Durazzo and engaged his daughter, Lucia, to Louis on 13 March 1382.
Louis I had meanwhile come to Avignon where (Anti)pope Clement VII crowned him king. He took possession of Provence and Forcalquier, allowing his mercenaries to freely loot the two counties. His military campaign decided Queen Joanna's fate, because Charles of Durazzo ordered her jailers to smother her in July. Louis I crossed the borders of the Kingdom of Naples in September, but Charles of Durazzo avoid to give a pitched battle. Louis I's most mercenaries deserted by the end of 1382, forcing him to offer to abandon his claim to Naples in return for Provence, but Charles of Durazzo rejected his offer. The seven-year-old Louis, who was staying in Anjou, sent a ring to Lucia Visconti to Milan in token of their engagement on 6 May 1384. He was styled as Duke of Calabria in the letter.
Louis I died in Bari on 20 September 1384. In his last will, he asked Clement VII to support his son to seize the Kingdom of Naples. He appointed Enguerrand VII of Coucy to administer the occupied parts of the kingdom as viceroy, stipulating that his widow could only remove Coucy with the consent of his brothers, John, Duke of Berry and Philip II, Duke of Burgundy, and their nephew, King Charles VI of France.
Louis was only seven when his father died. The widowed Marie of Blois tried to persuade Louis' two uncles, Philip II of Burgundy and John of Berry, to continue the military campaign against Naples. Bernabò Visconti supported her efforts, but both dukes refused to spend more money on the unsuccesful enterprise. The Duke of Burgundy clearly stated that "all these little ventures" should be forgotten. Bernabò Visconti was killed on 6 May 1385, which put an end to negotations about the marriage of his daughter and Louis.
Most towns and noblemen supported Charles of Durazzo in Provence and Forcelquier. They entered into a formal alliance against Louis and his mother in Aix-en-Provence. Marie of Blois who was determined to restore their rule in the two wealthy counties hurried to Marseille. Louis accompanied his mother and they jointly received the swear of fealty of the three highest-ranking magistrates of the town on 24 August 1385. In return, they ceremoniusly pledged that they would always observe the burghers' liberties. Marie of Blois entered into negotiations with the members of the League of Aix and persuaded them one by one to accept Louis' rule during the following two years.
Charles of Durazzo fell victim to a plot while staying in Hungary in February 1386. His ten-year-old son, Ladislaus, succeeded him under the guardianship of his mother, Margaret of Durazzo. Marie of Blois started negotiations about Louis' marriage with Ladislaus' sister, Joanna, but Louis flatly refused to marry the daughter of his father's principal enemy in May 1387.
Charles VI of France who had recently reached the age of majority knighted Louis and his brother, Charles, at Saint-Denis Abbey in Paris in May 1389. The celebrations which lasted for a week were "carefully stage-managed propaganda for the royal house, deliberately contrived to show its fortunes in the hands of a younger generation".
In 1386, Charles of Durazzo's son, the underage Ladislaus, was expelled from Naples soon after his father died. Louis II was crowned King of Naples by the Avignonese antipope Clement VII on 1 November 1389 and took possession of Naples the following year. He was ousted in turn by his rival in 1399.
In 1409, Louis liberated Rome from Ladislaus' occupation; in 1410, as an ally of the antipope John XXIII he attacked Ladislaus and defeated him at Roccasecca (1411). Eventually Louis lost his Neapolitan support and had to retire. His claim to Naples passed to his son, Louis III.
He married his first cousin once removed Yolande of Aragon (1384–1443) in Arles in 1400, giving him a possibility of inheriting the throne of Aragon through her right. Her father, King John I of Aragon had died in 1396, and her uncle king Martin I of Aragon died in 1410.
His son, Louis, was initially betrothed to Catherine of Burgundy, a daughter of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. However, after the Duke of Burgundy instigated a mob attack on the Dauphin of France, Louis and his wife joined the Armagnac Faction. The betrothal to Catherine was repudiated, which caused the enmity of the Duke of Burgundy.
Louis II died at his chateau of Angers, the county town of Anjou; he is buried there.
Louis and Yolande had five surviving children:
- Louis III of Anjou, titular King of Naples and Duke of Anjou.
- René of Anjou, King of Naples and Duke of Anjou.
- Charles of Anjou (1414–1472), Count of Maine.
- Marie of Anjou (1404–1463), married 1422 at Bourges, King Charles VII of France.
- Yolande of Anjou (1412, Arles – 1440), married firstly Philip I, Duke of Brabant, and secondly in 1431, Francis I, Duke of Brittany.
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Louis II of Anjou
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
| King of Naples
1389 – 1399
| Duke of Anjou
Count of Maine,
Piedmont and Provence
1384 – 1417
|— TITULAR —|
King of Naples
1384 – 1417