"So great must the King's stature be that when battle is joined it is always with the Lady's blessing."
- —Bretonnia's warrior-kings.
The royarch is chosen from either a successor to the original Royal Bloodline or chosen by one of the twelve Dukes of the twelve Duchies. The first royarch was the legendary warrior and uniter Gilles le Breton, who was crowned by the Fay Enchantress in 978 IC.
Over the years, the crown of Bretonnia has passed to many different families and dukedoms, but it has always been worn by one who has seen and communed with the Lady herself. The current royarch, Louen Leoncoeur, was crowned in 2500 IC.
The reigning king always lives in the most sumptuous luxury imaginable. Their stables are filled with the finest warhorses, their weapons are encrusted with jewels, and their silk banners glitter with gold.
The royarch or king of Bretonnia is sovereign, which means he is not bound by the law. He can make laws as he wishes, and anything he does is legal, purely because he does it. If the king were ever to be corrupt, Bretonnia would face serious problems. However, the king is always a Grail Knight, and is thus a shining example of chivalry and honour. The king's power serves as a check on abuses by the lesser Bretonnian nobility, even when those abuses technically abide by the letter of the law.
The king is also the only noble who has the power to declare an Errantry War, which summons most knights to fight and prove their virtue in a glorious campaign. A noble can be stripped of their land and title by order of the king, or the Fay Enchantress. This equally affects the hereditary rights of all of their descendants, so it is not done lightly. The king and Fay Enchantress can also raise a peasant to the nobility, but in this case, they must both agree.
It is common for the royarch to also hold the title and hereditary rights of a duke, especially if they held this rank prior to ascending to the throne. However, some Bretonnian kings have been known to grant this title to another noble, often a member of their own royal household. If such a duke perishes in battle or is somehow deposed, the king will re-inherit the title and its lands.
Known Kings of Bretonnia
|Gilles le Breton||1-19 (978-997 IC)||Bastonne||First King of Bretonnia.|
|Louis the Rash||c. 23 (1001 IC)||Bastonne||Son of Gilles, the first Questing Knight.|
|Guillaume||c. 164 (1142 IC)||Possibly
|Third King, his many deeds were made into the "Chanson of Guillaume"|
|Baudoin the Dragonslayer||c. 267 (1245 IC)||Bastonne||Slew the ferocious Dragon Mergaste.|
|Louis the Righteous||c. 470 (1448 IC)||Aquitaine||Brother of the infamous Red Duke, leader of the Crusades against Araby.|
|Jules||c. 600, 610 (1578, 1588 IC)||?||Took part in a great tourney against the Wood Elves of Athel Loren, defeating one of their lords in the joust.|
|Philippe the Strong||c. 657 (1635 IC)||Possibly||Defeated an army of raiders at the Battle of Castellet.|
|Louis the Brave||c. 1029 (2007 IC)||?||Slain in battle by the Chaos Lord Akrim, leader of the Skulltakers warband.|
|Louis the Young||c. 1029 (2007 IC)||?||Son of Louis the Brave, knighted Repanse de Lyonesse and made her Duchess of Lyonesse.|
|Louen Orc-Slayer||c. 1223 (2201 IC)||Bastonne||Declared an Errantry War against the Orcs.|
|Jules the Just||c. 1319 (2297 IC)||Gisoreux||Slain by a Chaos Champion, whom he also killed. His death led to the Affair of the False Grail.|
|Gaston de Beau Geste||c. 1319 (2297 IC)||Possibly Gisoreux||Presided during the Affair of the False Grail.|
|Charlen||c. 1440 (2418 IC)||Couronne||Fought during the Siege of Couronne.|
|Theobald II||c. 1492 (2470 IC)||?||Enemy of the Lichemaster, died destroying his dark fortress.|
|Phillippe V||c. 1501, 1510 (2479, 2488 IC)||?||Ended Charlen's Errantry War.|
|Feramand||c. 1517 (2495 IC)||?||Continued to suppress the Lichemaster.|
|Louen Leoncoeur||1522-1544 (2500-2522 IC)||Couronne||Ascended to godhood after his death during the End Times.|
|Gilles le Breton||1544 (2522 IC)||Couronne (unofficially)||Returned during the End Times.|
Unspecified Kings of Bretonnia
|Bellaume the Brave||Unknown||Unknown||Ejected for an unknown failure by order of the Fay Enchantress. The only King to have been dethroned.|
|Guillaume Barbenoire||Unknown||Unknown||First formulated Bretonnian claims on the Westerland as the kingdoms "natural frontier".|
|Charles VII||Unknown||Unknown||Ruler at the time of the Battle of Elfincourt.|
|Jean le Bon||Unknown||Unknown||Hosted the great Tournament of Couronne, where the Fay Enchantress duelled with a male magic user.|
|Louis the Bold||Unknown||Unknown||Known for his speech during the Battle of Death Pass.|
|Henri "L'unreadi"||Unknown||Unknown||Failed to invade the Wasteland|
|Louen Leoncoeur's Father||Unknown||Couronne||Oversaw the heavy fortification of Couronne. Never mentioned by name, though he may have been King Charlen.|
|The Sun King||Unknown||Unknown||Exiled necromancers into the Borderlands.|
Pretenders to the Throne
|Merovech||1813 IC||Mousillon||Vampire Duke of Mousillon. Convinced his citizens that he had been crowned as ruler of all Bretonnia.|
|Maldred||2297-2300 IC||Mousillon||Duke of Mousillon. Orchestrated the Affair of the False Grail in an attempt to seize the throne.|
- The term "Royarch" was coined within the Bretonnian section of the End Times: Nagash book.[6a]
- "Royarch" appears to be a compound of the French "Roi" and the Greek "Archon", which both translate as "Ruler".
- Prior to Bretonnia's full release in 1996, the King of Bretonnia was known as "Charles de la Tête d'Or III." A cruel, vain and despotic ruler, Charles (along with most of Bretonnia's older setting) would eventually be removed from the canon and replaced with King Louen Leoncoeur.
- Warhammer Armies: Bretonnia (5th Edition) -- p. 48, 78
- Warhammer: Knights of the Grail (FRP) -- p. 30 - 31
- 1: White Dwarf 233 (US)
- 1a: pg. 42
- 2: Total War: Warhammer
- 3: Warhammer Rulebook (7th Edition) -- Of Bretonnia
- 4: Warhammer: The Red Duke
- 5: Marienburg: Sold Down the River — WFRP (1st Edition)
- 5a: pg.22
- 6: End Times: Nagash
- 5a: pg. 37-39