English Claim to French Crown Ends
The 1st of January 1801 AD
Although the last English possession in France, Calais, fell to the French on January 7 1558 in the reign of Mary I, claims by our monarchs to be kings or queens of France continued until 1801. It was Edward III who had first claimed the title, with some justification in terms of direct lineage, Philip VI who in fact took the throne relying on Salic law where titles could not pass through the female side. This dispute sparked the conflict we now call The Hundred Years War .
George III dropped the title in 1801, the Act of Union making Great Britain and Ireland a single state the vehicle for the change. With France under effective dictatorship, the monarchy there brutally ended in 1789, and Britain at war with that country, the long meaningless pretence of a claim to the French throne was perhaps to be looked upon as a future barrier to peaceful relations with our neighbour, a situation that would come about (albeit briefly) the following year with the Treaty of Amiens .
As part of the ending of George’s claim the Fleur de Lys, until then part of the British royal coat of arms, was likewise dropped.
It is interesting to note that, while the Hanoverian kings had thus ended our claims to France, the last of the Stuart line, the putative Henry IX (Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart) maintained the claim to the end of his life which came about on July 13th 1807.
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