King of Bohemia (1296-1346)
John the Blind was the son of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII and his wife Margaret of Brabant. He was born near Brussels and educated in France. His father made him Count of Luxembourg in 1309 (covering modern-day Belgium and Luxembourg) and he became King of Bohemia by marriage in 1310. He was a cultivated man, an able administrator, a soldier and crusader. He granted Durbuy its city charter in 1331 (it now claims to be the smallest city in the world) and lost his sight due to ophthalmia following an injury when crusading in Lithuania with the Teutonic knights. He was killed fighting with the French army against the English at the Battle of Crécy in 1346. He had insisted on being led to the front line on his horse so that he could draw his sword and lead an attack. After his death, Edward the Black Prince adopted John’s motto Ich Dien (“I Serve”) which remains the motto of the Prince of Wales. (John’s great-great-grandson, Count John II of Luxembourg, changed sides and fought with the English against the French in the Hundred Years’ War: he was instrumental in selling the captured Joan of Arc to the English, who tried and executed her).