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Jean, Bastard of Orléans was born in November of 1402 as the illegitimate son of Louis, Duke of Orléans by his mistress, Mariette d'Enghien. He was a first cousin to the king and acting head of a cadet branch of the royal family during his half-brother's captivity.

The Duke, his father, died in 1407. His legitimate half-brother became an English prisoner at the Battle of Agincourt and remained so for several decades. This left him the only adult male of the house of Orléans.

He joined the civil war in France in the time of Charles VI on the side of the Armagnacs, and was captured by the Burgundians in 1418. Released in 1420, he entered the service of the Dauphin Charles, fighting in the Hundred Years' War against English forces.

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