Edward I and the Crown of France

King Edward as a historical figure looms large over my books, both the After Cilmeri series and my new book, Crouchback. Because in the middle ages, the King of England was also the Duke of Aquitaine, not to mention Norman, Edward had ties to France even before he became king. “France”, however, didn’t exist as we know it today, in that Aquitaine was a separate kingdom and the people there were not “French.” Aquitaine had come under the auspices of the kings of England after the marriage of King Henry II to Eleanor of Aquitaine in the late 12th century, as an addition to Henry’s already extensive “French” estates, which included Brittany and Normandy. Over the next century, the Kingdom of France wrested all but Aquitaine away from the Kings of England. Thus, when Edward left for Crusade from Aigues Read more…

The Reign of Kings Louis and Philippe of France

King Louis of France and his grandson, Philippe, between them ruled France for most of the 13th century. Both sought to centralize power within themselves while expanding the borders of their kingdom. In the process, they built extensive fortresses throughout the country, started wars, and in the case of Philippe, expelled the Jewish community from France, destroyed the Templars, and assassinated a pope. During our recent visit to France, we visited numerous monuments to their respective rule, including Aigues Mortes, Carcasonne, and Sainte-Chapelle on the Ile de La Cite in Paris. Although Charlemagne built a tower at Aigues Mortes, the founding of the city dates to 1240 during the rule of King Louis. At the time, Louis had no port on the Mediterranean, so to gain access, he did a land exchange with the Church and immediately began construction of Read more…