Campaign of the Month: August 2011
Le Ballet de l'Acier
United by their shared enmity of England, France and Scotland were joined in alliance by Philippe IV, ‘le Bel’ (the Fair), of France and John Balliol of Scotland in 1295. Primarily a military and diplomatic alliance, the relationship between the two states often manifested itself commerically and culturally as well.
Scottish soldiers travelled to France in great numbers during the Hundred Years War and assisted the French in eventually driving the English from the Continent. Many Scots received honors, titles and estates in France as a result of their service. King Charles VII employed Scottish soldiers as his personal bodyguard, a practice continued by the French kings to the present day, and Scottish mercenaries are often found in the employ of the crown.
The alliance resulted in a cultural exchange as well, as Scottish students visited France to study in her universities. French wines and architecture remain popular in France.
Marie de Guise married King James V of Scotland and ruled Scotland as regent for six years; her daughter, Mary, would reign briefly as Queen of France and Scotland following her marriage to King François II.
Following the Scottish Protestant Reformation, however, the alliance was officially terminated by the Treaty of Edinburgh in 1560; Scottish Protestant mercenaries would even serve with the Huguenots in Normandy against the French crown in the latter half of the sixteenth century. For Scottish Catholics, however, France remains a haven as it has for centuries.