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2. Charles VI of France

2.1 Introduction

Charles VI was King of France from 1374 to 1422 during the 100 years war. He became King at the age of 6. Until 1488, his uncles governed France. As Georges III, he was loved by his people as most of the power was with his uncles. His first madness attact occured in 1392 when he killed four of his bodyguards. A year later, he had another attack after been saved from a fire. He oscillated between periods of madness and recoveries. During the recovery periods, he had as normal as possible relationship with his wife. He had a total of 11 children but only survived to the adult age.
His life has always been under stress due to his position. His life has well documented by several authors although most of them in French. However, most of them were more orientated in the civil war due to his illness than on his health.
At the end of his life, his dementia was quite severe to the point that he believed that he was made in glass. To protect the queen, Charles VI had a mistress. Further, details of his life can be found in his biography but it is not the purpose of this page.

2.2 Illness definition

Some believed that Charles VI suffered from Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness. Scientists do nott really know what causes bipolar disorder. They do believe that genetics plays a role. For instance, more than two thirds of people with bipolar disorder also have a relative with the same condition or some other mood disorder. But genetics alone does not cause someone to develop bipolar disorder. We do not yet know what those other things are. In the case of Charles VI, his mother was the carrier as she was also believed to suffer from this illness.
In any case, a certain percentage of this illness is due to marriage between cousins. For Charles VI and a lot of time during Medieval times, mariage between cousins was not seen as such as an issue than nowdays.
The above figure showed the Bourbon and Valois families were heavily inter-connected. This could explain that Charles VI illness. Alternatively, it is possible that he suffered from a similar illness such as porphyria.