15. Charles the Bad Lived Down to His Name
Charles II of Navarre, AKA Charles the Bad (1332 – 1387) was a powerful French magnate, with extensive holdings throughout France. From 1349, he was also the king of Navarre, a small kingdom on the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain. He earned the nickname “the Bad” because of his propensity for intrigues, bad faith dealings, betrayals, dishonesty, and double-crosses as he attempted to expand his kingdom at the expense of France and Spain.
During the Hundred Years’ War, he plotted with the English to betray France, and was arrested and imprisoned by the French king John II when his treachery came to light. Charles escaped from prison in 1357, and began a series of intrigues with a variety of French parties, betraying nearly all, one after the other. After John II’s death, his successor forced Charles to renounce most of his holdings in France.