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The English Claim to the French throne

The claim dates back to 1340 during Edward III’s reign. His Royal Highness claimed the French Plantagenet dynasty NIL the French throne as the Sororal nephew of the last direct Capetian, Charles IV. Since the election of Hugh Capet in 987, the French crown had always passed based on male-line relations. To enforce the claim to the French throne, Edward III, and his heirs fought the Hundred years war. The war proved successful under Henry V and Henry VI but the House of Valois, a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty proved victorious and so retained the French throne.

The French Fleur-de-lys were included in the royal arms as a result of the English claim.

The English Jacobite claimants did not relinquish the allegation it continued even after France had no monarch but it happened for some time before they stopped.

It’s known to history that 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 female inheritance finally had to be introduced. It had to be decided whether Joan or her brother Philip would succeed the French throne on the death of Louis X in 1316, but Philip succeeded the throne even though Joan’s supporters challenged his succession to the French throne.

Philip did not let her sister’s supporters challenge slip away he convened an assembly of prelates, barons, and burgesses at Paris, who recognized his succession to the throne declared him as the lawful king.

The Assembly said: “Women do not succeed to the throne of France.” Backing their statement with the 5th century Salic Law.

In 1328, Edward III the nephew of the deceased king, King Charles, based his claim on the theory that a woman could transmit a right of inheritance to her son if she cannot become queen. This was rejected by the French jurist, and so the throne was given to King Charles first cousin, Philip, Count of Valois.

But in 1337, willEdward III refused to pay homage to Philip as The Duke of Aquitaine after paying for nine years. The French response to his action was to confiscate Gascony. This precipitated the war mentioned earlier.

Edward III rise to the throne was backed by the Flemish Allies who claimed that would no longer attack the French King if Edward III took the French throne. They referred to His Royal Highness as the “True King of France”

On May 8, 1360, a treaty was signed and as a result, Edward stopped propelling his claims in return for substantial lands in France. Hostility between the English and the French revived the claims Edward III had earlier on. Edward III had successors who prolonged his claims during their reigns but until a second treaty was signed. The treaty was called the Treaty of Troyes which was signed on May 21, 1420. The treaty highlighted that the English recognized Charles VI as King of France but with his new son –in-law King Henry V of England as his heir disinheriting Charles VI so, Dauphin Charles.

Henry VI son of Henry V succeeded the throne to become King of France after the death of his father and Charles VI. It should be noted that he was the only English King who was de facto King of France.

In 1429 Charles VII was crowned at Reims and this happened with the support of Joan of Arc. He began to push the English out of Northern France. The only territory left to the English was Calais which they held until 1558.

English Monarchs continue to claim the French throne centuries on. It should be noted by royal enthusiasts that the words “of France” were always included among the English realms.

This was prolonged until 1801. At that time, France had no Monarch because it was eventually made a republic.

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