Born at Reims in the summer of 953, Charles was the son of Louis IV of France and Gerberga of Saxony and the younger brother of King Lothair. He was a sixth generation descendant of Charlemagne. When his father was captured by the Normans and held, both his sons were demanded as ransom for his release.
Queen Gerberga would only send Charles, who was then handed over and his father was released into the custody of Hugh Capet.
In or before 976, he accused Lothair"s wife, Emma, daughter of Lothair II of Italy, of infidelity with Adalberon, Bishop of Laon.