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Re: William Douglas/Egidia Stuart
One facet of the "auld alliance" between France and Scotland (founded on
antagonism for England, the neighbour of my neighbour is my friend) was the
French titles held by Scots nobles.
1415 was not a good year for France: the army of Henry V of England defeated
the French at
Agincourt (Azincourt in French) and the flower of French nobility was fell
dead at the hand of the
English. English troops occupied Northern France, and the treaty of Troyes
imposed on the mad king Charles VI and his bisected court. The treaty
provided for the
marriage of Henry V with Charles VI's daughter, and the accession of Henry V
to the French
throne upon the death of Charles VI. The English (later British) sovereign
kept the title of King of France
until the mid 19th century.
The Dauphin, heir apparent to the French throne, fled Paris in June 1415
and took shelter in Bourges. The Dauphin called on the Scots for help.
Scotland dispatched the duke of Albany, the earl of Douglas and Sir John
Stuart, lord of Darnley. and a complement of soldiers. For five years,
Scottish soldiers provided crucial assistance to the Dauphin, who took the
name of Charles VII on the death of his father in 1422. Scottish soldiers
allowed Charles VII to resist the English, until fortune changed sides when
voices spoke to the maid of Orléans Joan d’Arc (Joan of Arc in English) in
1429-31. The stunning victory achieved at Baugé in 1421, during which the
duke of Clarence, brother of the English king, was killed. The Scottish
troops were badly defeated at Verneuil in 1424, and again trying to relieve
the besieged town of Orléans in 1429. Orléans was relieved by Joan d’Arc,
and Paris and Normandy were retaken in 1436. The remnants of this Scottish
force remained in the service of the king of France, were reorganized as the
Gardes Écossaises when a permanent French army was formed in 1475, and
remained the premier corps of the King's Household Troops until the
Revolution. The leadership of these troops remained hereditary in the Stuart
of Darnley family until the 17th century.
One of the leaders of the Scottish expeditionary force was Archibald
Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas (called Archambault Douglas in French). Charles
VII had little money with which to reward his supporters, although his
supporters were but a handful. He expressed his gratitude and paid debts by
bestowing honours. Giving fiefs was a way to help his supporters bear the
costs of war.
The earl of Douglas was made Constable of France in 1421. By Letters Patent
of 19 April 1424, Douglas was made duc of Touraine and given the duchy to
hold in peerage by him and his heirs male of the body. Douglas gave homage
the same April day. The earl was killed at the battle of Verneuil on 27 May
1424. His only son Archibald, who had been made count of Longueville,
succeeded as 5th earl of Douglas; he had left France for Scotland in 1423,
and at the time of his father's death a rumour reached France that he had
died without children; the king assumed the title extinct and gave the duchy
to Louis d'Anjou on Nov. 21, 1424. When
the news were disproved, the 5th earl was allowed to retain the title of
duke of Touraine. He died in 1439. His only two sons, and we are now back to
the original question, William and David, were executed for treason in 1440
in Edinburgh, without issue, and the descent of the 4th earl was extinct.
The titles of duke of Touraine, earl of Douglas and earl (count) of
Longueville (France) appear in the catalogue of the British Museum (16055)
dated 1421. This however is incorrect. The title of count (Earl in Britain)
of Longueville was given to the 4th earl's son. The 4th earl used arms with
a French quarter, since a seal of his widow Margaret, daughter of Robert III
king of Scots, shows Quarterly France, Douglas, Annandale, Galloway impaling
Scotland, and the title of duchess of Touraine.
The 5th and 6th earls used the same shield with a quarter of France and the
title of duke of Touraine. No other earl of Douglas is recorded to have
done so. This was the first time that a French king conferred a peerage on
someone who was not of royal blood.
Dictionary of National Biography. s.v. Douglas,, Hamilton, Kennedy,
Montgomerie. Evelyn, John: Diary. Oxford, 1854.
Paul, James Balfour, Sir: The Scots Peerage. Edinburgh, 1904-14; D. Douglas.
Père Anselme: Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de
Stevenson, John Horne and Marguerite Wood: Scottish Heraldic Seals. Glasgow,
Stodart, Robert Riddle: the Dukes of Châtellerault, in Herald and
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