English claims to the French throne

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English stained glass window from c. 1350-77, showing the coat of arms of Edward III, which featured the three lions of England quartered with the fleurs-de-lys of France. Artist, maker unknown, English - Heraldic panel with the Coat of Arms of Edward III, King of England (reigned 1327-77) - Google Art Project.jpg
English stained glass window from c. 1350–77, showing the coat of arms of Edward III, which featured the three lions of England quartered with the fleurs-de-lys of France.

From the 1340s to the 19th century, excluding two brief intervals in the 1360s and the 1420s, the kings and queens of England (and, later, of Great Britain) also claimed the throne of France. The claim dates from Edward III, who claimed the French throne in 1340 as the sororal nephew of the last direct Capetian, Charles IV. Edward and his heirs fought the Hundred Years' War to enforce this claim, and were briefly successful in the 1420s under Henry V and Henry VI, but the House of Valois, a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty, was ultimately victorious and retained control of France. Despite this, English and British monarchs continued to prominently call themselves kings of France, and the French fleur-de-lis was included in the royal arms. This continued until 1801, by which time France no longer had any monarch, having become a republic. The Jacobite claimants, however, did not explicitly relinquish the claim.

Kingdom of England Historic sovereign kingdom on the British Isles (927–1649; 1660–1707)

The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Kingdom of Great Britain Constitutional monarchy in Western Europe between 1707 and 1801

The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 1 January 1801. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". Since its inception the kingdom was in legislative and personal union with Ireland and after the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.

Edward III of England King of England

Edward III was King of England and Lord of Ireland from January 1327 until his death; he is noted for his military success and for restoring royal authority after the disastrous and unorthodox reign of his father, Edward II. Edward III transformed the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe. His long reign of 50 years was the second longest in medieval England and saw vital developments in legislation and government, in particular the evolution of the English parliament, as well as the ravages of the Black Death.

Contents

Overview

The title was first assumed in 1340 by Edward III of England, the Kingdom of England being ruled by the French Plantagenet dynasty at the time. Edward III claimed the throne of France after the death of his uncle Charles IV of France. At the time of Charles IV's death in 1328, Edward was his nearest male relative through Edward's mother Isabella of France. Since the election of Hugh Capet in 987, the French crown had always passed based on male-line relations (father to son until 1316). There was no precedent for someone succeeding to the French throne based on his maternal ancestry, nor had there been a need to. There had been no shortage of sons for more than three centuries from the inception of the House of Capet until the early 14th century, when new precedents concerning female inheritance finally had to be introduced. On the death of Philip IV the Fair's son Louis X in 1316, immediately followed by that of his son John I the Posthumous, it had to be decided whether his young daughter Joan or his brother Philip would succeed to the throne. Philip arranged for his coronation, and became Philip V of France. He was challenged by the supporters of the Princess Joan, daughter of Louis X, on the basis of his right to the throne. In response, he convened an assembly of prelates, barons, and burgesses at Paris, who acknowledged him as their lawful king, and declared that "Women do not succeed to the throne of France." This was later said to have been based on the 5th century Salic law, but it is now known that the Salic Law was only rediscovered later and used by the lawyers of the Valois kings to fortify their masters' title with an additional aura of authenticity. [2]

Charles IV of France King of France

Charles IV, called the Fair in France and the Bald in Navarre, was last king of the direct line of the House of Capet, King of France and King of Navarre from 1322 to 1328. Charles was the third son of Philip IV; like his father, he was known as "the fair" or "the handsome".

Isabella of France Queen consort of England

Isabella of France, sometimes described as the She-Wolf of France, was Queen of England as the wife of Edward II, and regent of England from 1327 until 1330. She was the youngest surviving child and only surviving daughter of Philip IV of France and Joan I of Navarre. Isabella was notable in her lifetime for her diplomatic skills, intelligence, and beauty. She became a "femme fatale" figure in plays and literature over the years, usually portrayed as a beautiful but cruel and manipulative figure.

Hugh Capet King of the Franks

Hugh Capet was the King of the Franks from 987 to 996. He is the founder and first king from the House of Capet. The son of the powerful duke Hugh the Great and his wife Hedwige of Saxony, he was elected as the successor of the last Carolingian king, Louis V. Hugh was descended from Charlemagne's sons Louis the Pious and Pepin of Italy through his mother and paternal grandmother, respectively, and was also a nephew of Otto the Great.

At the time of Charles's death in 1328, there was once again a dispute over the succession. Although it had come to be accepted that a woman could not possess the French throne in her own right, Edward III, the nephew of the deceased king and thus the nearest adult male relative, based his claim on the theory that a woman could transmit a right of inheritance to her son. This claim was rejected by French jurists under the principle Nemo plus juris ad alium transfere potest quam ipse habet (no one can transfer a greater right to another than he himself has), and the throne was given to the male line heir, Philip, Count of Valois, a first cousin of the deceased king. At the time, Edward paid homage to Philip VI for his Duchy of Aquitaine. In 1337, however, Edward, in his capacity as Duke of Aquitaine, refused to pay homage to Philip. The French king's response was to confiscate what was left of lands in English-held Aquitaine, namely Gascony, thus precipitating the Hundred Years' War and Edward's revival of his claim to the throne and title of King of France in 1340.

Philip VI of France King of France

Philip VI, called the Fortunate and of Valois, was the first King of France from the House of Valois. He reigned from 1328 until his death.

Duchy of Aquitaine Medieval duchy in southern France

The Duchy of Aquitaine was a historical fiefdom in western, central and southern areas of present-day France to the south of the Loire River, although its extent, as well as its name, fluctuated greatly over the centuries, at times comprising much of what is now southwestern France (Gascony) and central France.

Gascony former France territory

Gascony is a province of southwestern France that was part of the "Province of Guyenne and Gascony" prior to the French Revolution. The region is vaguely defined, and the distinction between Guyenne and Gascony is unclear; by some they are seen to overlap, while others consider Gascony a part of Guyenne. Most definitions put Gascony east and south of Bordeaux.

The decision to assume the title of "King of France" was made at the solicitation of his Flemish allies, who had signed a treaty that they would no longer attack the French king. They said that if Edward took the French royal title, then the Flemish would be able to keep their honor, since they would not be attacking the "true King of France" (Edward III).

Edward continued to use this title until the Treaty of Brétigny on 8 May 1360, when he abandoned his claims in return for substantial lands in France. After the resumption of hostilities between the English and the French in 1369, Edward resumed his claim and the title of King of France. His successors also used the title until the Treaty of Troyes on 21 May 1420, in which the English recognised Charles VI as King of France, but with his new son-in-law King Henry V of England as his heir (disinheriting Charles VI's son, the Dauphin Charles). Henry V then adopted the title Heir of France instead.

Treaty of Brétigny treaty

The Treaty of Brétigny was a treaty, drafted on 8 May 1360 and ratified on 24 October 1360, between King Edward III of England and King John II of France. In retrospect it is seen as having marked the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years' War (1337–1453)—as well as the height of English power on the Continent.

The Treaty of Troyes was an agreement that King Henry V of England and his heirs would inherit the French crown upon the death of King Charles VI of France. It was signed in the French city of Troyes on 21 May 1420 in the aftermath of Henry's successful military campaign in France. It forms a part of the backdrop of the latter phase of the Hundred Years' War finally won by the French at the Battle of Castillon in 1453, and in which various English kings tried to establish their claims to the French throne.

Charles VI of France 14th/15th-century French king

Charles VI, called the Beloved and the Mad, was King of France for 42 years from 1380, until his death.

Henry V and Charles VI died within two months of each other in 1422, and Henry V's infant son (Charles VI's grandson) Henry VI became King of France. He was the only English king who was de facto King of France, rather than using the style as a mere title of pretense. By 1429 Charles VII, with the support of Joan of Arc, had been crowned at Reims and begun to push the English out of northern France. In 1435, an end to the French civil war between Burgundians and Armagnacs allowed Charles to return to Paris the following year, and by 1453 the English had been driven out of their last strongholds in Normandy and Guyenne. The only French territory left to the English was Calais which they held until 1558.

Henry VI of England King of England

Henry VI was King of England from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, and disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. The only child of Henry V, he succeeded to the English throne at the age of nine months upon his father's death, and succeeded to the French throne on the death of his maternal grandfather Charles VI shortly afterwards.

Charles VII of France King of France

Charles VII, called the Victorious or the Well-Served, was King of France from 1422 to his death in 1461.

Joan of Arc 15th-century French folk heroine and Roman Catholic saint

Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans", is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years' War, and was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint. She was born to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romée, a peasant family, at Domrémy in northeast France. Joan claimed to have received visions of the archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War. The unanointed King Charles VII sent Joan to the Siege of Orléans as part of a relief army. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII's consecration at Reims. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory.

Nonetheless the kings and queens of England (and, later, of Great Britain) continued to claim the French throne for centuries, through the early modern period. The words "of France" was prominently included among their realms as listed in their titles and styles, and the French fleur-de-lys was included in the royal arms. This continued until 1801, by which time France had no monarch, having become a republic.

French First Republic Republic governing France, 1792–1804

In the history of France, the First Republic, officially the French Republic, was founded on 22 September 1792 during the French Revolution. The First Republic lasted until the declaration of the First Empire in 1804 under Napoleon, although the form of the government changed several times. This period was characterized by the fall of the monarchy, the establishment of the National Convention and the Reign of Terror, the Thermidorian Reaction and the founding of the Directory, and, finally, the creation of the Consulate and Napoleon's rise to power.

Original claimants

"Kings of France" (1340)

Arms of Edward III, with the English lions and the French fleur-de-lys. The arms of France are in the 1st and 4th quarter as France was considered the senior kingdom. Royal Arms of England (1340-1367).svg
Arms of Edward III, with the English lions and the French fleur-de-lys. The arms of France are in the 1st and 4th quarter as France was considered the senior kingdom.

"Kings of France" (title resumed 1369)

Coat of arms of the kings of England after 1405, with the French quarterings updated to the modern French arms, three fleurs-de-lis on a blue field. Royal Arms of England (1399-1603).svg
Coat of arms of the kings of England after 1405, with the French quarterings updated to the modern French arms, three fleurs-de-lis on a blue field.

Heir of France de jure (1420)

The Royal Arms of England during Henry VI's reign Royal Arms of England (1470-1471).svg
The Royal Arms of England during Henry VI's reign

Kings of France (1422)

Rulers of Calais

Following a year-long episode of catatonia on the part of Henry VI of England in 1453 and the subsequent outbreak of the Wars of the Roses (1455–87), the English were no longer in any position to pursue their claim to the French throne and lost all their land on the continent, except for Calais.

Calais was ruled by eight more English Kings and Queens of France until 1558:

Tudor claimants

Ill feeling between the two nations continued well into the 16th century. Calais was captured by French troops under Francis, Duke of Guise on 7 January 1558. Mary and Philip continued, however, to be styled Queen and King of France for the rest of her reign, as did Mary I's half-sister and successor Elizabeth I, despite her abandonment of her claims to Calais in the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis of 1559. Elizabeth I revived England's claims to Calais and took the French port of Le Havre in 1561. French forces ejected the English in 1563, and the Treaty of Troyes (1564), recognised French ownership of Calais, in return for payment to England of 120,000 crowns. [3]

Stuart dynasty claimants

Elizabeth died childless. Her successor was her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots’ son James VI of Scotland. The thrones of England and Scotland were joined in a dynastic union until 1707. The seven monarchs of this period continued to use the style King/Queen of France, though their claim was merely nominal. None of them was willing to engage in military campaigns for France against the actual Kings of France Henry IV, Louis XIII and Louis XIV of France. Indeed, Charles I married a sister of Louis XIII, and his son Charles II spent much of his exile during the Interregnum in France (at which time, even if not formally abandoning his claim for its throne, he certainly did not emphasise it).

Claimants of Great Britain

The Act of Union 1707 declared the joining of the Kingdom of England with the Kingdom of Scotland to a new Kingdom of Great Britain. The Kingdom had four Monarchs until 1801. They also styled themselves Queen/King of France; however, none of them made any official move to depose Louis XIV and his successors, Louis XV and Louis XVI:

Ending the claim

The French Revolution overthrew and abolished the monarchy on 21 September 1792 and replaced it with the French Republic. During the peace negotiations at the Conference of Lille, lasting from July to November 1797, the French delegates demanded that the King of Great Britain must abandon the title of King of France as a condition of peace.[ citation needed ]

In 1800, the Act of Union joined the Kingdom of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland to a new United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. George III chose this opportunity to drop his claim to the now defunct French throne, whereupon the fleurs de lis, part of the coat of arms of all claimant Kings of France since the time of Edward III, was also removed from the British royal arms. Britain recognised the French Republic by the Treaty of Amiens of 1802.

The change was not acknowledged by Jacobite claimant Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart. He continued to formally style himself King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland until his death on 13 July 1807.

Although the fleurs-de-lys were completely removed from the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, they were later included in the arms of Canada, the British dominion, where they symbolise the heritage of the French Canadians, rather than the former British claim to the French throne. [4]

While the position of King of France was restored in 1814 (and later abolished for the final time in 1848) subsequent British monarchs did not pursue the claim to the French throne.

Jacobite pretenders

The Jacobite pretenders were James II of England and his successors, continuing to be styled "Kings of England, Scotland, France and Ireland" past their deposition in 1689. All four pretenders continued to actively claim the title King of France as well as that of King of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1689 till 1807:

James II for the last twelve years of his life and his son, the Old Pretender, until the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, were actually pensioners of Louis XIV at the very time they were claiming his title.[ citation needed ]

Jacobite successors

The Jacobite succession has continued since 1807 but none of the eight subsequent holders of the claims has actively pursued them. They continue to be customarily known as "King (or Queen) of France" by the Jacobites.

The heir presumptive of the Jacobite claim is Franz's younger brother

Failed claimants

In addition two failed claimants to the throne of England were also styled King of France. They are usually omitted from regnal lists.

See also

Related Research Articles

Jacobitism political ideology

Jacobitism is the name of the political movement in Great Britain and Ireland that aims to restore the House of Stuart to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The movement is named after Jacobus, the Latin form of James.

Charles Edward Stuart "Charles III"

Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart was the elder son of James Francis Edward Stuart, grandson of James II and VII, and the Stuart claimant to the throne of Great Britain after 1766. During his lifetime, he was also known as "the Young Pretender" and "the Young Chevalier"; in popular memory, he is "Bonnie Prince Charlie". He is best remembered for his role in the 1745 rising; his defeat at Culloden in April 1746 effectively ended the Stuart cause, and subsequent attempts failed to materialise, such as a planned French invasion in 1759. His escape from Scotland after the uprising led to his portrayal as a romantic figure of heroic failure.

James Francis Edward Stuart Prince of Wales

James Francis Edward Stuart, nicknamed The Old Pretender, was the son of King James II and VII of England, Scotland and Ireland, and his second wife, Mary of Modena. He was Prince of Wales from July 1688 until, just months after his birth, his Catholic father was deposed and exiled in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. James II's Protestant elder daughter, Mary II, and her husband, William III, became co-monarchs and the Bill of Rights 1689 and Act of Settlement 1701 excluded Catholics from the English then, subsequently, British throne.

House of Valois cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty

The House of Valois was a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. They succeeded the House of Capet to the French throne, and were the royal house of France from 1328 to 1589. Junior members of the family founded cadet branches in Orléans, Anjou, Burgundy, and Alençon.

Henry Benedict Stuart Catholic cardinal

Henry Benedict Thomas Edward Maria Clement Francis Xavier Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York was a Roman Catholic cardinal, as well as the fourth and final Jacobite heir to claim the thrones of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland publicly. Unlike his father, James Francis Edward Stuart, and brother, Charles Edward Stuart, Henry made no effort to seize the throne. After Charles's death in January 1788 the Papacy did not recognise Henry as the lawful ruler of England, Scotland, and Ireland, but referred to him as the Cardinal Duke of York.

Duke of Aquitaine Wikimedia list article

The Duke of Aquitaine was the ruler of the ancient region of Aquitaine under the supremacy of Frankish, English, and later French kings.

Pretender someone who claims a relation to a throne

A pretender is one who maintains or is able to maintain a claim that they are entitled to a position of honour or rank, which may be occupied by an incumbent, or whose powers may currently be exercised by another person or authority. Most often, it refers to a former monarch, or descendant thereof, whose throne is occupied, claimed by a rival or has been abolished.

The precise style of British sovereigns has varied over the years. The present style is officially proclaimed in two languages:

Jacobite succession Wikimedia list article

The Jacobite succession is the line through which Jacobites believed the crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland should have descended, applying primogeniture, since the deposition of James II and VII in 1688 and his death in 1701. It is in opposition to the actual line of succession to the British throne since that time.

This is a timeline of the Hundred Years' War between England and France from 1337 to 1453 as well as some of the events leading up to the war.

Hundred Years War (1415–1453) third part of the Hundred Years War

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Hundred Years War Series of conflicts and wars between England and France during the 14th and 15th-century

The Hundred Years' War was a series of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Plantagenet, rulers of the Kingdom of England, against the French House of Valois, over the right to rule the Kingdom of France. Each side drew many allies into the war. It was one of the most notable conflicts of the Middle Ages, in which five generations of kings from two rival dynasties fought for the throne of the largest kingdom in Western Europe. The war marked both the height of chivalry and its subsequent decline, and the development of strong national identities in both countries.

The dual monarchy of England and France existed during the latter phase of the Hundred Years' War when Charles VII of France and Henry VI of England disputed the succession to the throne of France. It commenced on 21 October 1422 upon the death of King Charles VI of France, who had signed the Treaty of Troyes which gave the French crown to his son-in-law Henry V of England and Henry's heirs. It excluded King Charles's son, the Dauphin Charles, who by right of primogeniture was the heir to the Kingdom of France. Although the Treaty was ratified by the Estates-General of France, the act was a contravention of the French law of succession which decreed that the French crown could not be alienated. Henry VI, son of Henry V, became king of both England and France and was recognized only by the English and Burgundians until 1435 as King Henry II of France. He was crowned King of France on 16 December 1431.

The Second War of Scottish Independence, also known as the Anglo-Scottish War of Succession (1332–1357) was the second cluster of a series of military campaigns fought between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries.

The term Invasion of England may refer to the following planned or actual invasions of what is now modern England, successful or otherwise:

<i>Chivalry and Betrayal: The Hundred Years War</i> 2013 documentary series

Chivalry and Betrayal: The Hundred Years' War is a 2013 documentary television series written and presented by cultural historian Dr. Janina Ramirez looking at a time when the ruling classes of England and France were bound together by shared sets of values, codes of behaviour and language for three hundred years that ended with the Hundred Years' War when chivalry ended with the devastating warfare of cannon and betrayal between rulers when England lost her French possessions. It was originally broadcast by the BBC in February 2013.

References

  1. Maclagan, Michael; Louda, Jiří (1981). Line of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe. London: Macdonald & Co. p. 17. ISBN   0-85613-276-4.
  2. Taylor, Craig (2001), "The Salic Law and the Valois succession to the French crown", French History, 15 (4): 358–77, doi:10.1093/fh/15.4.358 .
  3. Frieda, Leone (2003). Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France(first Harper Perennial edition 2006). Harper Perennial. p. 171.
  4. "The Royal Arms of Canada – A Short History". Royal Heraldry Society of Canada. 7 July 2012. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2013.