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Richard of Brittany

Richard of Montfort
Count of Vertus and Étampes

Spouse Marguerite d'Orléans
Francis II, Duke of Brittany
Catherine, Princess of Orange
House House of Dreux-Montfort
Father John V, Duke of Brittany
Mother Joan of Navarre
Born c. 1396
Died 2 June 1438 (aged 41–42)
Château de Clisson
Burial Nantes Cathedral
Religion Roman Catholicism

Richard, Count of Montfort, Vertus and Étampes (c. 1396 – 2 June 1438) was the 8th child and youngest son of John V, Duke of Brittany, and his third wife, Joan of Navarre. Not much is known of his life, except that he was the father of Francis II, Duke of Brittany. In his lifetime he held many titles and positions; he was appointed captain-general of Guyenne and Poitou in 1419, became comte d'Etampes and seigneur de Palluau et de Châteaumur de Thouarcé, de Bourgomeaux-l'Evêque et de Ligron on 8 May 1423, and Count of Mantes in October 1425.

Life and Family

Pedigree and Descent

His father was a great-great-great grandson of Peter I, Duke of Brittany, who in turn was a great-grandson of Louis VI of France. This made Richard a member of the House of Capet. He was also a great-great-great grandson of Henry III of England, through his great-great-grandmother, Beatrice of England, signifying the political and matrimonial alliances between the Kings of England and the Ducal House of Brittany.

Marriage and Issue

In 1423 he married Marguerite d'Orléans, daughter of Louis, duc d'Orléans, brother of Charles VI of France and Valentina Visconti, a daughter of Giangaleazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan and his first wife, Isabella of Valois

Margaret was his second cousin, as they shared the same great-grandfather, King John the Good. The bride received the county of Vertus as dowry, thus Richard became count in the right of his wife. She and Richard had seven children, of whom two, Francis and Catherine, would have progeny. Richard also had a natural daughter by a mistress.

Other Relations

Richard had many varying and complex relationships with French and English Royalty.

His mother Joan would later remarry Henry IV of England, and become Queen of England. Richard's stepbrother and Henry IV's son and successor, Henry V of England, would later claim the throne of France and re-initiate the Hundred Years' War and marry Richard's wife's paternal cousin, Catherine of Valois. His step-nephew, King Henry VI of England, succeeded his grandfather and Richard's wife's uncle, Charles VI to the French throne, as a rival to Dauphin Charles. Coincidently, Henry's wife, Margaret of Anjou, was the step-daughter of Jeanne de Laval, who was a granddaughter of Richard's brother, John VI, Duke of Brittany. Richard was also distantly related to the Courtenays, who were also descended from Louis VI, through his youngest son, Peter of Courtenay.

Count of Étampes

On his marriage in 1423, Richard became comte de Vertus-en-Champagne et de Bénon. He also became baron de Clisson, seigneur de Courtenay, de Piffonds, de Houdan et de l'Epine-Gaudin in 1423, and châtelain de Renac et de Bois-Raoul near Redon in 1424.

Richard became Count of Étampes in the right of his wife. She inherited the rights to the county from her father and was formally granted them by King Charles VII of France. However, their claim was disputed by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. Presumably, Philip sought to avenge his father's death by disrupting Charles's reign; Charles was most probably responsible for the late duke's assassination in 1419. Philip occupied the duchy and held it personally until 1434, after which he gave it to his cousin, John II, Count of Nevers. Nevertheless, the County was returned to Richard in September, 1435.


Richard died on 2 June 1438.

Two of Richard's older brothers had succeeded their father, John VI, as Duke of Brittany. By the time of Richard's death, he had predeceased the remaining claimants to his father's title, save his only legitimate son, Francis II. As a result, Francis II succeeded Richard, his father, as Count of Étampes and Arthur III, his uncle, as Duke of Brittany.

His daughter Catherine married Prince William II of Orange in 1438.


External links

  • Medieval Lands: A prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families by Charles Cawley
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