King Philip IV succeeded his father at the age of 17, ruling from 1285 until his death in 1314.
The nickname "Le Bel" (the fair) referred to his looks rather than anything else about him as he was in truth an evil and greedy man who wished France to become head of the empire for which he woud require a great deal of money and a weak Papal throne.
He had attempted to raise monies and destroy people by attacking the Jews, apparently by seizing them and then forcing them to give up their treasures by removing one of their eyes, and threatening to also remove the other one. Having done this he then expelled them from France.
Another target of Philip's were the Italian bankers (Lombards).
It was Philip's plan to recall all the coinage and melted it down for his usage, only to replace it with coins minted of lesser value which resulted in him seeking refuge from his people in a Templar Shelter and it is reported that it was in the Paris temple that, becoming aware of the Templars great wealth, that he began to formulate a plan by which he could acquire the riches of those that protected him.
Due to the power of the Knight Templars he was unable to seize the assets legally without charges of magic and heresey being raised against them. He didn't do this directly however but used his Chancellor, Guillaume de Nogart.
Every Templar in France was arrested, on Friday 13th October 1307, on a variety of charges and accusations and the trials lasted until 19th March 1314 when the last known Grand Master Jacques de Molay was burned the at the stake.
It has been said that as the Grand Master burned he invited both Philip and Pope Clement to join him within the year…