Odette de Champdivers called La Petite Reine and Charles VI.

Odette de Champdivers, Charles VI, medieval, woman, dress, costume, history
In the days of the Capetian Kings. Odette de Champdivers and Charles VI.

Odette de Champdivers and Charles VI.

After the painting by Albrecht de Vriendt.

Odette de Champdivers (* about 1385 in Burgundy; † 1424 in Paris), called La Petite Reine, was mistress of the French king Charles VI and previously of his brother, Louis de Valois, duc d’Orléans.

In the days of the Capetian Kings.

The king, now often idiotic when he was not raving, . . .
To amuse and distract him, and also to strengthen the Burgundian influence, the Duke of Burgundy provided him with a fair child as playmate and mistress. To the sway once held by Valentine over Charles there now succeeded Odette. She was little more than a child, but she became mistress as well as playfellow of the mad king. Of humble origin (daughter of a horse dealer), she wears in court history a name better than that she was born to, Odette de Champdivers; and the people, -indulgent of the sin of the mad king, called her “la petite reine.” She was happy, it seems, and kind to the king, amused him; was loved by him, and, more true to him than was quite pleasing to the Burgundians, did not play false to France in later years when Burgundy and England were leagued together.

Source: Woman. In all ages and in all countries. By Mitchell Carroll, Alfred Brittain, Edward Bagby Pollard, Pierce Butler, John Robert Effinger, Hugo Paul Thieme, Hermann Schoenfeld, Bartlett Burleigh James, John Ruse Larus.Volume 5. Woman of Medieval France by Pierce Butler. Philadelphia 1907. Publishers: George Barrie & Sons.

Odette de Champdivers, daughter of Odin de Champdivers, Maitre de comptes, was called La Petite Reine by her contemporaries. Queen Isabeau de Bavière took her to the bed of the French king to relieve her of the violence of her mad husband (he suffered from schizophrenia). According to contemporary reports, she represented the queen in her clothes every night for years, without the insane Charles VI ever noticing this swindle.

Two illegitimate daughters emerged from Odette’s union with the king. After the death of her mother, Marguerite was brought to the French court and legitimised by her half-brother, King Charles VII, in 1427. Odette’s brother Henri de Champdivers married Jeanne de Toulongeon (1382-1419), the widowed sister of André and Antoine de Toulongeon since the Battle of Azincourt (1415). Antoine de Toulongeon (also Thoulongeon) (* 1385; † 29. September 1432) was one of the great military men of the Hundred Years’ War. He was ambassador of Burgundy in England and France, chamberlain and marshal of Burgundy as well as governor general of Burgundy and Charolais for the frequently absent duke. He was one of the first knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece. His sister was Jeanne de Toulongeon (1382-1419), the second wife of Henri de Champdivers and thus sister-in-law of Odette de Champdivers, the mistress of King Charles VI.

Related: Medieval fashion history. Reign of Charles VI and Charles VII