Charles was born on 24 November 1394, the first surviving son of Louis d'Orléans and Valentina Visconti of Milan. The Duchess Valentina was banished from court in 1396 and as a result, Charles and his siblings were brought up in their father's multiple châteaux along the Loire. From an early age he was tutored by Nicolas Garbet, his father learned secretary; the young Charles proved himself to be an excellent Latinist as well as a serious reader and writer. After his father's assassination by the Duke of Burgundy in 1407 and his mother's death soon afterward in 1408, Charles came into inheritance and became the Duke of Orléans. Seeking justice for his father's death, Charles allied himself with Bernard (VII), count of Armagnac. The ensuing movements from the Orleanist/Armagnac and Burgundian factions, as well as their variable alliances with the English monarchs are part of the history of the Hundred Years' War. On 25 October, 1415, Charles was captured at the battle of Agincourt and taken to England as a prisoner; as a prince of the French royal bloodline, he was seen as both a financial and a diplomatic asset. Charles would spend the next twenty-five years as a captive under the care of various noble wards. During the course of his captivity he frequently traveled to London with his keepers, many of whom owned houses in the city. These trips allowed Charles to acquire and commission books, and to eventually collect a large library during his time in England. This time also saw the duke composing a body of lyric poetry in both English and French; the former was influenced by the writings of Chaucer and his contemporaries. While his French poetry survives in many texts, his English works, which consist of many ballades and roundels, survive in a single manuscript. After his release from captivity in 1440, Charles settles down in Blois, France, where he was active as a diplomat and a renowned patron of the arts.
- Arn, Mary-Jo. "Charles [Charles d' Orléans], duke of Orléans (1394–1465)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004.
- d' Orléans, Charles. The English Poems of Charles of Orleans. Ed. Robert Steele and Mabel Day. London: Published for the Early Text Society by the Oxford University Press, 1970. PR1849 .C6 A17 1970 Robarts Library
- --. Fortunes Stabilnes: Charles of Orleans's English Book of love: a critical edition. Ed. Mary-Jo Arn. Binghamton, N.Y.: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1994. PR1849 .C6 F67 1994X Robarts Library