|Hugh II, the Child|
|King of France|
|Reign||15th May, 1359 - 18th September, 1364|
|Born||7th August, 1356 |
|Died||18th September, 1364 |
|Mother||Catherine of Vienne|
Hugh II, Hugh the Child, was the eldest son of Louis XI and ruled France briefly in the 1360s. His entire reign would be as a minor under the guidance of his mother, her rumoured lover Nicole de Mézières and an exiled pope.
Following Louis' defeat and capture at Monthermé in April 1346 he was imprisoned in Norwich by the Anglians. To secure his release his nobles agreed to a vast ransom and the hand of Louis' eldest daughter Jeanne in marriage to Henry II. This, and the birth of their son Christopher of Ghent in 1350 raised the distinct possibility that France would be inherited by Anglia, or at least by an Estridsson. Louis would spend he rest of his reign desperately trying to sire a male heir who would trump Jeanne's claim to the throne. Finally in 1356 Hugh was born, followed a year later by his brother John.
Not even two yet, Hugh was crowned king under the regency of his mother Catherine of Vienne and Nicole de Mézières. France faced various problems during Hugh's short nominal reign. It was wracked by a stubbornly unquashable peasant revolt which drifted around much of Northern Francia fired by repressive reaction to the Black Death (around half of France's population had died) and unrealistic taxations (France owed Anglia a frankly unpayable sum for Louis XI's ransom). It was also targeted by the Empire whose Vikene Emperor Olaf who thought it only correct that France and indeed all of Francia should be re-included within the Empire. Whilst this did not result in direct war, both Olaf and his main ally Henry II were far too busy with their own internal problems, mercenary companies and freebooters mixed with the peasant revolt and caused untold misery along the eastern fringes in Champagne.
Some modicum of solace was found in the presence of the papal claimant Innocent VI. Innocent, a French cardinal, had officially succeeded the exiled Clement VI and stood against the anti-popes Anastasius V, proclaimed by the people of Rome in Clement's place, and John XXIII in Pisa who had been appointed by Olaf III. But trying to advance his claims only syphoned off more of France's taxes and gave the mercenaries and freebooters a high-profile target to try and capture for ransom and Olaf's diplomacy.
Nicole de Mézières was at least a competent commander who used France's reduced royal domain to good effect. But he was hated by many of his fellow nobility, possibly due to his relative low-birth, but probably mainly due to his closeness to the queen mother. Rumours of their romance were commonplace as was the rumour that John was their love-child. This would play disastrously into their enemies' and Anglia's hands when Hugh died suddenly in 1364 leaving John as the sole heir.