From Agincourt to Bosworth

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From Agincourt to Bosworth

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:10 pm

Dan Jones argues that Nigel Saul’s article on Henry V and the union of the crowns of England and France does not take into account the long-term consequences of the king’s achievements.

When Henry V died in August 1422 he had ruled for fewer than ten years, the shortest reign of any English king since Harold Godwinson in 1066. Nevertheless, Henry had achieved something unique: he unified the crowns of England and France.

The Treaty of Troyes, sealed on May 21st, 1420 following the battle of Agincourt (1415) and a ferocious military assault on northern France, recognised Henry as legal successor to the ‘mad king’ Charles VI of France. It disinherited Charles’ son, the dauphin, and was sealed with the marriage of Henry to Charles’ daughter Catherine de Valois. When, 19 months later, Catherine gave birth to a son, the union between Christendom’s two greatest royal families appeared complete. Two realms, two crowns, one king. Astonishing. But what next?


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Re: From Agincourt to Bosworth

Post by Original Quill on Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:00 pm

The Earl of March?  Bad genes passed from Charles the Mad, through Catherine de Valois, to Henry VI, who similarly went mad.  Somerset lost the crown for the Lancastrians.

Edward IV took over.

The real problem is that England never accepted Salic law, and the French followed it assiduously.  When Henry I, son of William the Conquerer, died, he obtained the word of all of the nobles that his daughter, Matilda, would have succession rights.  This created precedent for the first (English) amendment to Salic Law...the monarchy would pass through a woman, if not reside in her.  (It took until Mary Tudor for a female monarch to be actually crowned.)  Eventually, Matilda's son Henry II did succeed, but not before the first War of the Sexes took place.  Stephen of Blois usurped the throne in 1135, but the matter was settled when it was agreed that Henry II would follow on Stephen's death.  Thus the crown passed through a woman, contrary to Salic Law.

That laid the groundwork for Henry V.  Everyone who has ever watched the film Braveheart knows the story of Isabel, daughter of Phillip IV of France, who married the notoriously gay Prince Edward II.  Phillip IV and his male heirs died off, leaving only Isabel for the French crown...if you followed English rules of succession.  The curtain closes on that act with England claiming the French crown, and France denying it to them.

Isabel's son, Edward III, died leaving too many sons, and so turmoil ruled.  Eventually the Earl of Bolingbroke, grandson of Edward III, usurped the throne and started the Lancastrian line (his father was the Duke of Lancaster) as Henry IV.  His son was Henry V, who married Cathrine de Voilois, merging the two nations briefly.

But the French never bought into that tricky legal maneuver that amended the Salic Law, to allow women to rule.  So, for the French no dynastic rights could pass through a woman, and Isabel's claim was naught.  In a huge note of irony, it took a woman to establish that women could not rule in France: Joan of Arc.

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