On March 6, 1429 Joan of Arc was received at Chinon Castle by Charles, the dauphin
Charles, a weak-willed, mistrustful, uncertain personality, had been discouraged from granting Joan an audience by his advisors. Perhaps due to their influence, he attempted to test her perceptive powers by choosing an imposter to sit on his throne. Entering the torch-lit “great hall” crowded with knights, noblemen, members of the clergy and ladies of the court, Joan, a country girl of seventeen was expected to lose her composure.
To the amazement of all who witnessed this event, she calmly searched for Charles who stood amidst the onlookers. Moving toward him, she knelt at his feet before addressing him. At first he denied being the dauphin, and pointed toward the man seated on the throne. Joan said to him,
By God gentle prince, it is you and none other. God give you life, gentle king. I bring you news from God, that our Lord will give you back your kingdom, bringing you to be crowned at Reims, and driving out your enemies. In this I am God’s messenger. Do you set me bravely to work, and I will raise the siege of Orleans. (Jeanne d’Arc)
Prior to her arrival, Robert de Boudricourt had sent a letter to Charles from Vaucouleurs that served as an endorsement of Joan. Her ability to recognize him as the dauphin provided Charles with yet another reason to grant her the benefit a private audience. As the crowd watched, they withdrew together, into a private chamber.
What took place during their time alone on this night of their first meeting would never become clearly known, but has been the source of great speculation and conjecture by historians who continue to develop and present their own theories. What is certain, according to witnesses, is that Charles appeared to be radiant when he emerged from that room. His demeanor had dramatically changed from doubt, to glowing certainty.
[i] Ibid. p.21