St. Louis, was born Louis IX on 25 April 1214. Louis IX was the son of King Louis VIII (known as the Lion) and Blanche of Castile. He was baptised at La Collégiale Notre-Dame. He was crowned King of France in 1226 at the age of 12 years old, although his mother ruled France until he reached maturity (approximately 1234).
St. Louis faced numerous trials during his rule. However, he was a devote Catholic and many of his policies were influenced by his faith. He punished blasphemy, gambling, interest-bearing loans, and prostitution. He developed French royal justice, banning trials by ordeal and instituting the presumption of innocence in criminal procedure. It is said that St. Louis never spoke negatively about anyone. He advocated for the poor, even feeding the poor from his table. He founded many hospitals, and tended to lepers.
His mother famously stated to St. Louis:
“I love you, my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child; but I would rather see you dead at my feet than that you should ever commit a mortal sin.”
In 1234 St. Louis was married to Margaret of Provence, with whom he shared a deep religious devotion.
The rule of St. Louis is referred to as the “Golden Century of St. Louis”. During the period around St. Louis’s rule, France enjoyed a privileged place in power and prestige. They were the largest and richest country in Europe. They had the largest army. St. Louis was a patron of the arts, and culture in France flourished.
St. Louis built the Sainte-Chapelle within the royal complex, now the Paris Hall of Justice. The Sainte-Chapelle was built to house the Crown of Thorns and a fragment of the Cross. The fragment of the cross and the crown were purchased for approximately 10% of the France’s annual revenue)
In 1248 St. Louis’s devotion to the Church overcame his obligation to the throne, and he left France to participate in the 7th Crusade. St. Louis was captured, ransomed, and eventually returned to France in 1254.
In 1267 St. Louis decided to participate in the 8th Crusade. He landed at Carthage on July 17, 1270 but died on August 25, 1270 in a dysentery outbreak.