Treaty of Troyes
The 21st of May 1420 AD
The Treaty of Troyes provides ample evidence of the scale of Henry V’s victory over the French at Agincourt five years previously, and of the weakness of the French crown at that time.
Charles VI, King of France, suffered from mental instability through his life, often incapable of ruling. The French royal family was divided: the Dauphin – regularly rumoured not to be Charles’s, but the son of the Duke of Orleans – was disinherited by Charles VI “In consideration of the frightful and astounding crimes and misdeeds committed against the kingdom of France” by him, according to the wording of the treaty. The Dauphin’s own mother Isabeau was content to see some form of settlement that would bring peace to France. And to add yet more complexity and weakness to the French side, Philip the Good Duke of Burgundy for his own reasons sided with Henry V .
Thus it was agreed at a gathering in Troyes, a city some miles east of Paris, that Henry would be regent of France, and that on the death of Charles VI Henry or his heirs would become kings of both England and France. To seal the agreement Henry was to marry Catherine, Charles VI’s daughter.
But events intervened to spoil the carefully planned deal. Henry and Charles both died within two years. The infant Henry VI was never likely to be attractive as a ruler to France. And the Dauphin as was had never accepted his disinheritance. Conflict settled matters in favour of the victorious Charles VII.
The English, their efforts in the Hundred Years War coming to nothing, refused in turn to accept defeat, so until the start of the nineteenth century all English and then British kings were crowned here nominally as rulers of France too in accordance with the failed treaty.
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