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Kings of France
I do not know why there should be so much surprise about the Kings
of England also calling themselves Kings of France since many of
them held more land in France than they did in England.
Richard I 'Couer de Lion' (1157-1199) who was the third son of
Henry II may have been born in Oxford but it is doubtful if he
spent more than a year in England in his entire life. He and
his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine left for the Continent shortly
after his birth.
He was the Duke of Normandy and Acquitaine and Count of Anjou.
It is questionable if he could even speak English.
He spent most of his life on Crusades. He married but it is
that the marriage was never consummated.
As has already been mentioned in these columns by the Earl
of Caithness (who is a member of the House of Lords) and myself,
the communication between the House of Commons and the House of
Lords is still conducted in Norman French.
We, Sinclairs (whether we like it or not) are essentially Norman
French in descent and, up to the time of Prince Henry Sinclair, it
is very likely that French was used in daily conversation by the
The Queen Mother's family at Glamis Castle in Scotland
French on Fridays. It was this fluency which allowed Her Majesty
address the French in French (on radio) during the World War II .
The number of French words which have been incorporated into the
Scottish language (if there can be said to be such a thing) are
numerous. This arose through the influence of Mary Queen of
Scots about whom there has already been some considerable
She, too, would have spoken French as her 'mother' tongue.
mother was, of course, Mary of Guise whose letter to Sir William
Sinclair of Rosslyn is one of the most amazing documents we have
because it is couched in the manner of a "mistress to a
rather than that of a "Queen to her subject".