Philibert de Chalon-Arlay, Prince d'Orange


Lons-le-Saunier, 18 March 1502


Gavinana (San Marcello Piteglio), 3 August 1530

Philibert de Chalon-Arlay, Prince d'Orange

Philibert de Chalon was the ruler of a small princedom in the Franche Comté: the Burgundy lands disputed between Charles of Habsburg and Francis I. Caught between a rock and a high place, aged fifteen he joined the Imperial army. During the war he was captured by Andrea Doria in the siege of Marseille (1524), remaining a prisoer of the King o France until the Treaty of Madrid (1526) was signed. After returning at the service of Charles V, the Prince d’Orange was appointed commander of the Imperial army after the death of the Constable de Borbone under the walls of Rome, during the Sack (1527) – he was wounded on that occasion, and a deep scar was left on his face; soon after that he also became Governor of Naples (1528). After the Peace of Barcelona (1529) he was ordered to lead the besieging forces in Perugia and Florence (then also in Ferrara, after the victory, and even beyond, until he finally defeated France), according to the wishes of Pope Clement VII. The young Prince d’Orange felt skeptic with regard to the economic feasibility of the enterprise, therefore he insistend that the Pontiff would advance as much money as possible; the latter promised him substantial compensation in exchange, which among other things including the investiture as Lord of Avignon and - it was said, though withiout evidence -the hand of Caterina de’ Medici in marriage. The Prince d’Orange, sadly, did not live long enough to see the victory of his troops in the Siege of Florence: on 3 August 1530, during the battle of Gavinana, during a charge against enemy forces which was as heroic as it was reckless, for a commander, he was reached and killed on the spot by arquebuse fire.

Bibliography and sources:

Jean-Pierre Soisson, Philibert de Chalon, prince d’Orange, Parigi, Grasset, 2005

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