The Second Succession Crisis
Even before Philip's death, France and Burgundy had begun considering the knotty problem of the succession. By the terms of his will, the duke had stated that he directed and appointed as heirs to his "county, and to our possessions whatever they may be, those, male and female, who by law or local custom ought or may inherit." Since his domains all practiced succession by primogeniture, there was no question of his dominions passing en bloc to any one man or woman – they had come to Philip of Rouvres by different paths of inheritance, and so by the customs of the territories, they were required to pass to the next in line to inherit in each respective territory.
The Counties of Auvergne and Boulogne – inherited by Philip upon his mother's death a year earlier – passed to the next heir, Jean de Boulogne, the brother of Philip's grandfather William XII of Auvergne. The Counties of Burgundy and Artois passed to the sister of Philip's grandmother Countess Joan, Margaret of France, herself the grandmother of Philip's young bride Margaret of Dampierre.
The Duchy of Burgundy, however, proved a greater challenge to jurists. In the duchy, as in much of Europe at this time, two principles of inheritance were held valid: that of primogeniture – as in the case of the English crown in 1377, which at the death of Edward III was inherited by his grandson Richard, the eldest son of his deceased eldest son Edward, rather than by his son John of Gaunt, the eldest of Edward III's sons still living - and that of proximity of blood – as in the case of Artois, which had on the death of Count Robert II in 1302 had been inherited by Mahaut, his eldest living daughter, rather than by his grandson Robert, the eldest son of the count's already deceased son. In some cases, the two principles were able to mesh together: in the case of Boulogne and Auvergne, for example, John was the second son of Robert of Auvergne, Philip's great-grandfather, and the nearest ancestor to Philip to have surviving lines of descent following Philip's death. John was therefore both the most senior heir to Robert following Philip's death and also the closest to Robert by descent. In the same manner, Margaret of France was the closest heir by both primogeniture and proximity to her mother, Joan of Châlons, Countess of Burgundy and Artois, Philip's great-grandmother and, again, the nearest ancestor of Philip to have lines of descent surviving the duke's death.
The situation for the Duchy of Burgundy, however, was not so simple. In terms of inheritance, the nearest ancestor to Philip of Rouvres to have lines of descent surviving Philip's death was his great-grandfather, Duke Robert II, the father of Odo IV. Unlike Joan of Châlons and Robert of Auvergne, however, both of whom had left only two lines of descent (allowing the cadet line to inherit without controversy following the termination of the main branch with Philip), Robert II had left three lines of descent: the main line, through Odo IV, which had ended with Philip, and two cadet lines through his daughters, Margaret and Joan. Both women were long dead. Margaret of Burgundy, the elder daughter, and the wife of Louis X of France, had died in 1315, leaving only a daughter, Joan II of Navarre. Joan of Burgundy, the younger daughter, and the wife of Philip VI of France, had died in 1348, leaving two sons, John II of France and Philip of Orléans. Out of these three, Joan of Burgundy's sons were still alive; Joan II, however, had died in 1349, leaving three sons, the eldest of whom was Charles II of Navarre.
To the jurists of the duchy, these facts presented something of a difficult legal problem, for the two claims stood more or less equally in terms of justification: Charles II, as the great-grandson of Robert II by his elder daughter, had a superior claim to John II in terms of primogeniture; John II, as the grandson of Robert II by his younger daughter, had a superior claim to Charles II in terms of proximity of blood.
Were it simply a legal issue, the King of Navarre would certainly have had as good a chance of inheritance as the King of France, and perhaps better: proximity of blood was beginning to lose force in Europe, and, as events would subsequently prove, Burgundy had no intention of being absorbed into the French royal domain. But there was more in play than a simple legal issue: the Hundred Years' War was in full flow, and the King of Navarre, as an ally of England and an enemy of France, was distasteful to the Burgundians, who in meetings of the Estates during John II's English captivity had been consistently loyal to John and his son the Dauphin, and opposed to the King of Navarre.
Furthermore, John II had the support of John of Boulogne and Margaret of France. The former was a staunch ally of the king, an alliance strengthened by the marriage between the king and Joan of Boulogne, John of Boulogne's niece. As the daughter of a former king of France and one of the last living members of the House of Capet, the latter was staunchly French in her sympathies; besides which, Charles II had offended her by laying claim to lands in Champagne that had formed part of her sister Joan of France's dowry in marrying Odo IV and which were deemed now to pass to Joan's sister. These lands had derived from Joan I of Navarre, Countess of Champagne, grandmother of Margaret and Joan, and as the senior heir by primogeniture of Joan I, Charles was now laying claim to them. With this triple compact between the three heirs, Charles II was shut out: the support of a co-heir carried weight in deciding inheritance, and John II had the support of both, while Charles II had the support of neither. The nobility of the duchy, in the face of this, decided in favour of John II, who took immediate possession. He had already mobilised soldiers in Nivernais to do so by force if it proved necessary, but in fact, the nobility willingly swore homage to him as their new duke, and the duchy saw only a few isolated and half-hearted acts of rebellion in favour of Charles II.
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