Charles II, Duke of Bourbon

Charles II, Duke of Bourbon
Portrait of Charles II by Jean Hey
Coat of arms as cardinal

Charles II, Duke of Bourbon (Château de Moulins, 1434–September 13, 1488, Lyon), the son of Charles I, Duke of Bourbon and Agnes of Burgundy, was a member of the House of Bourbon. Elected Archbishop of Lyon at the age of 10 through his family connections, and later made a Cardinal, he was also Duke of Bourbon and Auvergne for a short period of time in April 1488, succeeding his elder brother, John II.

A younger son, Charles had been placed in the church by his family at an early age; he himself had no vocation for the high honours to which he rose, and was noted more for his improprieties (he had an illegitimate daughter) than his piety. He was, however, a noted patron of the arts, lavishing money on Lyons cathedral - the Bourbon chapel there, which he sponsored from 1486 (it was continued after his death by his brother, Peter II of Bourbon) was described as "one of the marvels of decorative art in the 15th century"[1]). As for his aforementioned improprieties, Charles not only sired an illegitimate daughter, but also several sons whom he had attempted to have quietly put away for fear of further public embarrassment. One of the sons, Luke, survived without knowledge of his father's identity and did not learn it until his mid twenties, when they met and crossed swords at Besançon. Luke survived, though, he lost a hand in the fight.[2][3]

When Charles' elder brother, John II, Duke of Bourbon, died on 1 April 1488, Charles - as John's nearest heir - made a claim for the family inheritance in the Bourbonnais and Auvergne. This claim was not tolerated by his younger brother, Peter, and Peter's wife, Anne of France, the latter immediately taking possession of the Bourbon lands by force on 10 April. On 15 April, members of the King's Council sent by Anne to "console the Cardinal on the occasion of his brother's death", forced him to sign a renunciation of any claims to the Bourbon lands, in exchange for a financial settlement. Charles then died later in the same year in mysterious circumstances, following a sudden collapse in a private house in Lyons. His brief tenure of the title during the period 1 April-15 April would, however, be posthumously confirmed in 1505, when Charles de Montpensier acceded to the Duchy as Charles III.


  1. ^ J Wadsworth, The Beginnings of Cosmopolitanism
  2. ^ J Wadsworth, The Beginnings of Cosmopolitanism
  3. ^ Wells et al. 1956. "Literature of the Renaissance in 1956". Studies in Philology Vol. 54, No. 2 (Apr., 1957), pp. 185-189+191-386

Preceded by
John II
Duke of Auvergne and Bourbon
Count of Forez and l'Isle-Jourdain

April 1488
Succeeded by
Peter II

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