Queen Blanche of France shapes the young Saint Louis IX for the trials of kingship

April 21, 2011

Young St. Louis

When young Louis inherited the French crown at the age of twelve upon Louis VIII’s premature death, he also inherited a royal domain that was greatly expanded by his grandfather, Philip Augustus….

St. Isabel of France by Louis Desprez

The virtue of any young man is strengthened by grace achieved through prayer and obedience to his duties, but Saint Louis had the additional advantage of a strong-willed, pious mother who created the proper ambiance for spiritual and intellectual improvement. This influence was such that his sister Isabella also devoted her life to God and has been beatified.

Blanche of Castile

Blanche of Castile in an often-repeated remark told her son that she would rather see him die than commit one mortal sin. Although Louis from an early age practiced many devotions including the recitation of the Divine Office and assisting at least two Masses a day, he never neglected the affairs of state to which he applied himself vigorously, for he regarded his kingly duties as part of his Christian vocation.

Blanche took over the reins of government as regent during his teen years and valiantly opposed several rebellious barons who attempted to regain lost power. Although the inspiring youth rode at the head of the army, he profited much from the determination and wisdom of the Queen mother. The sight of the young king leading the vanguard nevertheless deterred most of the rebels from any large-scale insurrection, for there was still a sufficient amount of chivalric spirit alive in France.

 

Jeremias Wells, History of Western Civilization (n.p., n.d), pp. 263-264.

 

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 68

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