|Co-King of France|
|Reign||1st June, 1145 - 19th May, 1147|
|Born||3rd November, 1136 |
|Died||19th May, 1147 |
|Father||Philip II of France|
|Mother||Matilda of Champagne|
Robert III was titular co-king of France during his father's absence from the kingdom however his age would make him vulnerable to plots from his cousins and France would be destabilised over the course of his short reign. Though he was only co-king he is usually entered into the list of Kings of France thanks to his father's absence.
The only son of Philip II, Robert was, at the age of eight, suddenly thrust into the murky world of French politics when he was crowned co-king in 1145, a necessary step to allow his ambitious father to go on crusade to assist with the relief of Edessa.
Unable to rule on his own he quickly fell under the guardianship of his uncle, Louis. Louis had been contemplating a life in the church however seemed to grasp at power when it was thrust at him. Indeed not long after gaining a foothold in the royal palace he was described as acting 'as a dictator with the young king dandied on his knee as some kind of charm'. The nobles quickly rebelled against Louis' naked display of power and, in the midst of a bad-tempered war against Champagne, Paris revolted. The nobles took their opportunity capturing Louis and, taking a note from Merovingian practice, tonsured him and placed him in a monastery (thereby effectively barring him from the crown).
With politics now marginally more stable Robert passed into the influence of his mother and her close associate Baron Themines. It seemed as though under their joint guidance the young king's position, and by extension that of his father, was secure. However Robert would die in the Spring of 1147 of dysentery. This left the nobility in an awkward position; Philip II was still king, that much was clear, but who should actually reign in his place back home in France?
Out of Louis VI's remaining children Louis had been sent into the church by force, Henry had given up a plum role in the clergy to join a monastery in 1146 (perhaps related to Louis' downfall), Robert and Philip had been carried to Brittany during the violence in Paris and would not return, and the youngest, Peter, was considered too young. There was another option: Robert had an elder sister, Adele married to Robert, Count of Dreux on the French-Norman borders. Surely, the nobles thought, King Philip, and God, would see the wisdom in keeping the crown and regency close to the king's family until his return?