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Jean II le Bon
(1319 - 1364) France

Jean II le Bon

King

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Jean became king of France in 1350. Like many sodomites in the Middle Ages or ancien régime, he was more of a bisexual than a homosexual in the modern sense of the word; he took a wife, Bonne de Luxembourg, and fathered ten children in eleven years. Yet the great love of his life was Charles de La Cerda, a childhood friend. La Cerda was given various honors and appointed to the high position of connétable when Jean became king; he accompanied the king on all his official journeys to the provinces.

La Cerda's rise at court excited the jealousy of the French barons, several of whom stabbed him to death in 1354. La Cerda's fate paralleled that of Edward II's Pier Gaveston in England and Juan II's Alvaro de Luna in Spain: the position of a royal favourite was a dangerous one.

Jean's grief on La Cerda's death was overt and public, producing episodes of fury and despair - the king's feelings, as was often true in the case of similar liaisons in early modern Europe, were well known. Jean himself was captured by the Black Prince in 1356 and taken to England, where he died.

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Source: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History, from Antiquity to WWII, Routledge, London, 2001

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