m. ABT 869
Facts and Events
Charles III (17 September 879 – 7 October 929), called the Simple or the Straightforward (from the Latin Carolus Simplex), was the undisputed King of France from 898 until 922 and the King of Lotharingia from 911 until 919/23. He was a member of the Carolingian dynasty, the third and posthumous son of Louis the Stammerer by his second wife, Adelaide of Paris.
As a child, Charles was prevented from succeeding to the throne at the time of the death in 884 of his half-brother Carloman. The nobles of the realm instead asked his cousin, Charles the Fat, to rule them. He was also prevented from succeeding the unpopular Charles, who was deposed in November 887 and died in January 888, although it is unknown if his deposition was accepted or even made known in West Francia before his death. The nobility elected Odo, the hero of the Siege of Paris, king, though there was a faction that supported Guy III of Spoleto. Charles was put under the protection of Ranulf II, the Duke of Aquitaine, who may have tried to claim the throne for him and in the end used the royal title himself until making peace with Odo. Finally, in 893 Charles was crowned by a faction opposed to Odo at Reims Cathedral. He only became the effectual monarch with the death of Odo in 898.
In 911, a group of Vikings lead by Rollo besieged Paris and Chartres. After a victory near Chartres on 26 August, Charles decided to negotiate with Rollo. The talks, led by Hervé, the Archbishop of Reims, resulted in the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte. The treaty granted Rollo and his soldiers all land between the river Epte and the sea "in freehold and good money." In addition, it also granted him Brittany "for his livelihood". At the time, Brittany was an independent country which France unsuccessfully had tried to conquer. In exchange, Rollo ensured the king his loyalty, which involved military assistance for the protection of the kingdom. As a token of his good will, Rollo also agreed to be baptised and marry Gisela, a presumed illegitimate daughter of Charles. The territory covered by the treaty corresponds to the northern part of today’s Upper Normandy down to the Seine, but would eventually extend west beyond the Seine to form the Duchy of Normandy, named so because of the Norsemen which ruled it.
In the same year as the treaty with the Vikings, Louis the Child, the King of Germany, died and the nobles of Lotharingia, who had been loyal to him, under the leadership of Reginar Longneck, declared Charles their new king, breaking from Germans who had elected Conrad of Franconia king. Charles tried to win their support since years ago by marrying between 1-18 April 907 with a Lotharingian woman named Frederuna, sister of Bovo, Bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne and probably related to Queen Matilda of Germany, wife of Henry the Fowler. He also defended the country against two attacks by Conrad, King of the Germans.
Queen Frederuna died on 10 February 917; she had six daughters—Ermentrude, Frederuna, Adelaide, Gisela (the aforementioned wife of Rollo), Rotrude and Hildegarde—but no sons, so the succession was uncertain. On 7 October 919 Charles re-married to Eadgifu, the daughter of Edward the Elder, King of England, who bore him his only son, the future King Louis IV of France on 10 September 921 (or 920 according to sources). By this time Charles' excessive favouritism towards a certain Hagano had turned the aristocracy against him. He endowed Hagano with monasteries which were already the benefices of other barons, alienating these barons. In Lotharingia he earned the enmity of the new duke, Gilbert, who declared for the German king Henry the Fowler in 919. Opposition to Charles in Lotharingia was not universal, however, and he retained the support of Wigeric. In 922 some of the West Frankish barons, led by Robert of Neustria and Rudolph of Burgundy, revolted. Robert, who was Odo's brother, was elected by the rebels and crowned in opposition to Charles, who had to flee to Lotharingia. On 2 July 922, Charles lost his most faithful supporter, Herve, Archbishop of Rheims, who had succeeded Fulk in 900.
He returned the next year (923) with a Norman army but was defeated on 15 June near Soissons by Robert, who died in the battle. Charles was captured and imprisoned in a castle at Péronne under the guard of Herbert II of Vermandois. Rudolph was elected to succeed him. In 925 the Lotharingians accepted Rudolph as their king. Charles died in prison on 7 October 929 and was buried at the nearby abbey of Saint-Fursy. His only son by Eadgifu would eventually be crowned in 936 as Louis IV of France. In the initial aftermath of Charles's defeat, Eadgifu and Louis fled to England.