Applications are invited for the position of King of France. This is a senior management role, with direct responsibility for the Kingdom of France, including the Île de France, Reims, Bourges and Orléans. Direct reports include the Duchies of Normandy, Burgundy and Bourbon, and the Counties of Tourain, Anjou, Maine, Auvergne, Toulouse, Flanders and Champagne. As such, the successful candidate will require excellent leadership skills, and should have demonstrated ability to work without supervision in a high-pressure environment.

The successful candidate will be of French birth and blood, and will be able to provide proof of royal lineage. The ability to sire an heir is essential, and married candidates with legitimate heirs will be preferred. Documented descent from a Trojan or Greek hero, or alternatively from a saint, is also desirable. The successful candidate will have extensive experience in mediating between rival factions, and should also have some familiarity with administrative and financial matters. Given the current state of international affairs, military experience and the ability to make strategic alliances are also desirable. Proven ability to keep the English under control would be an advantage.

France is not an equal opportunity employer, and applicants are advised that women cannot inherit in Salic lands. Please send your application, along with your pedigree, to marianne@hr.france.


Candidate Name: Philippe Valois
Preferred Name: Philippe VI ‘the fortunate’
Current Appointment: Count of Valois
Date of Application: 1 April 1328

Response to selection criteria: Mr Valois is the grandson of Philippe III of France, the nephew of Philippe IV, the first cousin of Louis X, Philippe V and Charles IV, and the first cousin once removed of John I (the posthumous). He is married to Joan of Burgundy, and currently has two sons, securing the succession.

Decision to appoint (Y/N): Yes. Mr Valois’ father was the third son of Philippe III, both of his elder uncles are deceased and neither have any surviving sons or grandsons through the male line. Mr Valois is clearly the heir to the throne.


Edward3Candidate Name: Edward Plantagenet
Preferred Name: Edward III
Current Appointment: King of England
Date of Application: October, 1337

Response to selection criteria:
Mr Plantagenet is the grandson of Philippe IV of France, through his mother, Isabelle of France. As Philippe IV was succeeded, in turn, by each of his sons and their children, Mr Plantagenet argues that his line of descent is more direct than that of Philippe Valois, who is descended only from Philippe IV’s father, Philippe III. Mr Plantagenet is married to Isabella of Hainault, and has one living son and two daughters.

Mr Plantagenet has responded with some enthusiasm to the panel’s preference for a candidate with a military background and diplomatic skills, and has taken it upon himself to demonstrate these abilities with a series of alliances with Portugal and the Holy Roman Empire. He has also begun military exercises in the Channel. When it was gently pointed out to Mr Plantagenet that he had his troops pointed in the wrong direction, he simply smiled and said ‘Evil to him who evil thinks.’ It is the opinion of this panel that he is missing the point.

Decision to appoint (Y/N): No. For all his many excellent qualities, Mr Plantagenet appears to have overlooked the fact that no woman can inherit in Salic lands. His maternal lineage, while interesting, is not of any relevance in assessing his claim to the throne.  Also, he is English.

Note added on 3 August, 1347: While Mr Plantagenet continues to offer proof of his military abilities, he has not, as far as we can see, become any less English since we last checked. Nor can women inherit in Salic lands.

Note added on 24 October, 1360: Mr Plantagenet has withdrawn his candidacy for the present time. We are pleased to offer him the position of Lord of Aquitaine, which he will rule independently from the French throne.


crownHenry5Candidate Name: Henry ‘Hal’ Plantagenet
Preferred Name: Henry V
Current Appointment: King of England.
Date of Application: 9 April, 1413

Response to selection criteria:
Mr Plantagenet is a strong candidate, who claims descent from Philip IV through his ancestress Isabella, mother of Edward III of England.  He is unmarried and has no children as yet, however he is of marriageable age.

Mr Plantagenet recognises that no woman can inherit in Salic lands, however he contends that despite all laws and precedents, France is not part of the Salic lands and that he is thus the rightful King of France.

Further to Mr Plantagenet’s lineage, while he does not show descent from a saint, he does claim descent from the Demon Countess of Anjou. When the panel enquired further, Mr Plantaganet informed us that the aforementioned Countess was half woman, half snake. The panel feels that Mr Plantagenet is not taking this particular selection criterion seriously.

Mr Plantagenet has shown some skill in military leadership, and certainly has demonstrated a good ability to keep the English under control. However, this is largely because Mr Plantagenet is himself English, or possibly Welsh, rendering him ineligible for this role.

Other notes: Mr Plantagenet has informed us that he intends to hold this role jointly with his current appointment as King of England. The panel expressed concern about his ability to manage this workload.

Decision to appoint (Y/N): No. The candidate has been informed that we are not accepting applications for the position of King of France at this time. The current incumbent, while admittedly not entirely himself at present, is nonetheless in good physical health. Moreover, despite Mr Plantagenet’s views on the matter, France is indeed part of the Salic lands, and thus Mr Plantagenet’s descent from Isabella of France is irrelevant.

As Mr Plantagenet is still quite young for this position, we recommend that he consider a more junior role, such as the sports portfolio.  A case of tennis balls has been sent to the candidate to encourage him in his future endeavours.

Note added on October 26, 1415: Since our initial interview, Mr Plantagenet has provided us with the names of approximately 4000 referees who are also Welsh longbowmen. Furthermore, Mr Plantagenet has recently become engaged to the daughter of the current incumbent.

This office does not condone nepotism, nor does it make appointments under duress. Moreover, the position is still not vacant. Mr Plantagenet is advised to re-apply when this position is next advertised.


crown Henry6Candidate Name: Henry Plantagenet Junior
Preferred Name: Henry VI
Current Appointment: King of England
Date of Application: 22 October, 1422

Response to selection criteria:
Master Plantagenet is the son of Henry V of England. Like his father, he claims descent through Isabella of France. Or, to be more precise, his uncle, John of Bedford, makes this claim on Master Plantagenet’s behalf as Master Plantagenet is less than a year old and does not yet speak or read French.

We can only conclude that the Duke of Bedford is also incapable of reading French, as we have stated very clearly in the position description that women cannot inherit in Salic lands, which include France.

(Honestly, we went through this all seven years ago with his father and fifty-odd years ago with his great-great-great-great-grandfather. Don’t these Plantagenets have their own country to run?)

Let us state this once again, very clearly, and hope that they understand this time: Women cannot succeed in Salic lands. In other words, no, the fact that Master Plantagenet is descended from Isabella of France does not entitle him to the French throne, any more than the fact that his mother is Katherine of France.

Women. Do. Not. Inherit. Thrones. In. France.

It cannot be denied that Master Plantagenet is quite adorable. However, since his chief personal accomplishment to date is the ability to put both of his feet in his mouth, we feel that he is ill-equipped for this role.

Decision to appoint (Y/N): No. Babies, however cute, make terrible Kings. Also, while his mother is French, Master Plantagenet is English. We have stated very clearly that candidates for this role must be French. We strongly urge all our candidates to read the selection criteria closely, and refrain from applying for positions for which they are in no way qualified.

crownDucD'OrleansCandidate Name: Charles d’Orléans
Duke of Orléans, Duke of Valois, Count of Beaumont-sur-Oise, Count of Blois, Lord of Coucy
Date of Application: 22 October, 1422

Response to selection criteria:
Mr d’Orléans is the grandson of Charles V of France, and the nephew of Charles VI of France. As Charles VI disinherited his only son in 1420 on the grounds of possible illegitimacy, Mr d’Orléans has provided a pedigree showing that he is Charles VI’s heir. Mr d’Orléans is a widower with one daughter. He is a valiant fighter who has shown himself to be resilient under pressure.

Unfortunately, Mr d’Orléans has spent the past seven years as a captive on English soil, and our enquiries suggest that there are no immediate plans for his release. He has drawn up a detailed arrangement whereby he would telecommute, using homing pigeons to carry his laws and statutes into France, and points to the large body of poetry that he has created while in captivity as evidence of his productivity under adverse circumstances.

Decision to appoint (Y/N): No. While this candidate is extremely promising in many respects, and has great romantic appeal that could be useful in uniting the country at this time, we are unable to make the accommodations required for Mr d’Orléans to take up this role. The position of King of France is a hands-on role, requiring regular attendance at court and on the battlefield, and these duties cannot be carried out from an English prison, no matter how diligent the prisoner may be.

We are further advised that Mr d’Orléans now speaks better English than he does French, and that his poetry contains puns. While this panel feels great sympathy for Mr d’Orléans’ evidently precarious mental state, we must decline to appoint him at this time.


Charles7Candidate Name: Charles Valois
Preferred Name: Charles VI ‘the victorious’, ‘the well served’
Current Appointment: Dauphin of France
Date of Application: 22 October 1422

Response to selection criteria:
Mr Valois is a promising young man, who is already married with an heir on the way. He is the youngest son of the former King of France, Charles VI, however there is some uncertainty over his legitimacy (see candidacy of Duke of Orléans). This will need to be investigated.

Mr Valois has shown a good ability to work independently, however his abilities under pressure are in doubt. It should be noted that he may not have the support of the Church, as he is yet to do penance for his alleged involvement in the murder of the Duke of Burgundy. Nonetheless, on the basis of lineage, ability to sire an heir, and presence in the country, Mr Valois is currently the most promising candidate. God help us all.

Note added on July 17, 1429: God helped us all. While Mr Valois is still experiencing some difficulties in securing the throne, he has been able to supply references from a young woman from Domrémy in Lorraine who assures us that the Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret and Saint Catherine all support the appointment of Mr Valois to the throne of France. Given Ms D’Arc’s recent success in lifting the siege of Orléans and in facilitating a coronation at Reims, it is the opinion of this committee that Mr Valois does in fact have divine favour, despite previous misunderstandings relating to the Duke of Burgundy.

Decision to appoint (Y/N): Yes. Maybe Mr Valois will be able to rid us of the English once and for all.


An exciting opportunity has become available for qualified Catholic candidates interested in ruling France. The successful candidate will be of French birth and blood, and will be able to provide proof of royal lineage. The role of King of France is a senior management position, answerable only to the Pope, with direct responsibility for the Kingdom of France, including the Ile de France, Reims, Bourges, Orléans, Champagne, Blois. Direct reports will include the Duchies of Normandy, Burgundy, Gascogne and Bretagne, the Counties of Touraine, Anjou, Poitou, Maine, Auvergne, Toulouse, Angoulême, La Marche, Périgord, and the Pale of Calais. As such, the successful candidate will have excellent leadership skills, and should have demonstrated ability to work without supervision in a high-pressure environment, a strong military and/or diplomatic background, and the ability to sire an heir.

Please send your application, along with your pedigree and proof of baptism into the Holy Catholic Church, to marianne@hr.france. NB: Huguenot candidates need not apply.

crownHenry3Candidate Name: Alexandre Édouard de France
Preferred Name: Henry III
Current Job Title: King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania
Date of Application: 10 June, 1574

Response to selection criteria:
Mr Valois is the only surviving son of King Henry II, and the younger brother of Kings Francis II and Charles IX, both deceased. As the only remaining male member of this family, he has an unimpeachable blood right to the French throne.

Mr Valois is Catholic, however he has long been an advocate for religious tolerance. He also currently has no heir, other than his younger brother, Francis, Duke of Anjou. Nevertheless, he is young, and there is no reason why he should not marry and produce an heir of the body in time.

Mr Valois has a remarkable amount of relevant experience for this role, particularly given his youth and status as a youngest son. He was elected King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1573, and signed into law the Henrican Articles, establishing Poland as an elective monarchy. This demonstrates both administrative and diplomatic skill on the part of Mr Valois.

Decision to appoint (Y/N): Yes. Mr Valois has both the bloodlines and the skill for this job.

Note added to file June 10, 1584: Concerns have been raised with regard to succession planning. The Duke of Anjou has died without heirs, and Henry III still has no children from his marriage, leaving the King of Navarre next in line for the throne. This is of grave concern, as Henri de Navarre has renounced his renunciation of Protestantism, and is decidedly a Huguenot. A new heir must be found post-haste.

Note added to file August 2, 1589: Due to Henri III’s most unfortunate assassination, we are once again seeking applicants for this senior management role.

crownGuiseCandidate Name: Henri de Lorraine
Current Job Title: Duke of Guise
Date of Application: 10 June, 1584

Response to selection criteria:
Mr de Guise claims descent from Charlemagne, however he is unable to provide documentation proving this. His more recent blood claims to the throne are tenuous, deriving from Louis XII of France via his daughter Renée and her daughter, Anna d’Este, Mr de Guise’s paternal grandmother. He is, however, a descendant of Pope Alexander VI. Mr de Guise is married with eleven children, and thus clearly has the capacity to ensure the succession.

Mr de Guise’s Catholic credentials are impeccable. In addition to his relationship with the Pope, Mr de Guise is a practicing Catholic and founder of the Catholic League. He is an architect of the Treaty of Nemours (currently under review), which will require all monarchs of France to be Catholic.

Mr de Guise has a strong military background, and is popular with the French people, though there is concern regarding his role in the Saint Bartholemew massacre. If his bloodline can be confirmed, he would be an excellent candidate for this role.

Note: Does Mr de Guise’s co-authorship of the Treaty of Nemours constitute a conflict of interest? This must be addressed.

Note from December 31, 1584: Mr de Guise has withdrawn his application in favour of the Cardinal de Bourbon. However, given the promising nature of this candidate, this office will keep his application on file, pending future vacancies.

Note from December 23, 1588: Due to Mr de Guise’s very distressing assassination, his application for the role of King of France has been permanently withdrawn.

crownCharlesBourbonCandidate Name: Charles de Bourbon
Preferred Name: His Eminence, Charles Cardinal Bourbon, Archbishop of Rouen
Current Appointment: Cardinal, Archbishop of Rouen, Papal legate in Avignon, First Commander in the Order of the Holy Spirit
Date of Application: December 31, 1584

Response to selection criteria:
Monseigneur de Bourbon is a Prince of the Blood, and son of Charles IV de Bourbon, duke of Vendôme. He is descended from Louis IX (Saint Louis), making him a very distant cousin of the previous King, Henry III. However, with the Valois line now at an end, any candidate for this role must, by necessity, trace his ancestry to the Bourbon line.

Monseigneur de Bourbon is an able administrator, and a man of great intelligence. He is, manifestly, a Catholic, however as a priest, he is both unmarried and ineligible to marry. The question of heirs is therefore a significant one, particularly given Monseigneur de Bourbon’s advanced age.

Decision to appoint (Y/N): Decision pending. While we have no doubts of Monseigneur de Bourbon’s ability to do the job of a King, there are others with a more convincing royal pedigree, and a better chance of securing the succession.

Note from December 23, 1588: Due to Monseigneur de Bourbon’s extremely regrettable incarceration by another candidate, his application for King of France is currently suspended.

Note from May 9, 1590: Due to Monseigneur de Bourbon’s entirely unforeseeable death in custody, his application for the role of King of France has been permanently withdrawn.

crownHenri4Louis16Candidate Name: Henri Bourbon
Preferred Name: Henri IV, Good King Henry, The Green Gallant
Current Appointment: King of Navarre
Date of Application: 21 November 1589

Response to selection criteria:
Mr Bourbon claims descent from Louis IX (Saint Louis). He was also married to Marguerite de France, daughter of Henry II, and is thus brother in law to the previous three kings. (This does not, of course, constitute a blood claim to the throne). He was named by Henri III as his successor.

Mr Bourbon was baptised as a Catholic but raised as a Huguenot. He renounced Protestantism shortly after his marriage to Mlle de France, however he abjured Catholicism four years later, and returned to his Huguenot heresies. While it is evident that Mr Bourbon is a rather bad Protestant, this does not by any means make him a good Catholic.

It should be noted that Mr Bourbon has not yet succeeded in convincing the Parisians to let him enter their city. This does not bode well for his future as King.

Notes: Is a tenth-generation Protestant descendant of a 13th century King really the best we can do? I suppose there is no way now to change our position on inheritance through the female line without inviting even more English interference? Please advise.

Notes: It’s not my imagination, is it? He really does smell a bit like a goat…?  Or is that garlic?

Decision to appoint (Y/N): Decision pending. We are running very low on viable candidates, but nonetheless, a Huguenot King is not acceptable to this panel or to the French people. Perhaps we should consider re-advertising for this role?

Note from July 25, 1593: Mr Bourbon has converted to Catholicism. Again. While this panel has its doubts about his religious sincerity (when questioned, he shrugged and commented that Paris was well worth a mass), we have none whatsoever about his sincerity about wanting to rule France.

Decision to appoint (Y/N): Yes. This is probably the best we can do.

Note from May 14, 1610: Due to Mr Bourbon’s unexpected and extremely inconvenient assassination, the position of King of France and Navarre is once again vacant. As his son is still quite young, we will need to advertise both for the position of King and for that of Regent. Please advise on the appropriate cost centre for this request…


crownHenri4Louis16Candidate Name: Louis-Auguste Capet
Preferred Name: Louis XVI
Current Appointment: Duc de Berry, Dauphin of France
Date of Application: 10 May 1774

Response to selection criteria:
Mr Capet is the grandson of the former monarch, Louis XV of France. He has been married for several years, but has no children as yet. However, he has several younger brothers, thus securing the succession. He is Catholic, though rather tolerant of protestants, and seems to have been infected by Enlightenment ideas.

Mr Capet has many ideas regarding how to rule France, however he seems indecisive, and the panel was not convinced of his ability to carry them through. He also seems rather anxious to be loved, which unfortunately tends to have the opposite effect on the populace.  Mr Capet has an interest in locks and locksmithing, suggesting a keen mind, but we wonder at this rather peculiar application for it.

Other notes: Mr Capet brought cupcakes to for the interview panel. He tells us that his wife had them baked especially. Must be a Viennese thing? Concerns about professionalism.

Decision to appoint (Y/N): Yes. While we have reservations about his long-term abilities in the role, he is undoubtedly the present heir to the throne.



The Department of People and Culture regrets to inform all staff that due to the economic crisis and ongoing unresolved budgetary issues, we have been forced into receivership. The receivership is being handled by Robespierre and Partners, who are known for their incorruptibility. We believe the country is in excellent hands, and expect the price of bread to fall very shortly.

In the short term, a number of senior positions have been axed, including that of the King of the French. We would like to thank Citoyen Capet for his exemplary service in this role, and wish him well in his future endeavours.

Across the country, we are expecting approximately 36,000 positions to be cut. Obviously, this is a very large number, and we are hoping that in many cases, we will be able to offer voluntary redundancies. If you are interested in taking such a redundancy, please contact Marianne to discuss your severance package.

We thank you for your support of France in this difficult time.

Vive la République!


crownnapNow hiring!

We are excited to offer, for the first time, the position of Emperor of the French. This exciting new role would suit an energetic ruler with extensive military experience. The successful candidate will be a man of revolutionary ideas and strong administrative skills, with absolutely no connection to the Bourbon, Capet or Valois families.

Must be prepared to lead France to greater glory. The ability to act as a Dictator while maintaining the appearance of a democratic republic is essential!  Aristos need not apply.

Contact Marianne@hr.france for a position description and details.

crownnapNapoleonCandidate Name: Napoleone di Buonaparte
Preferred Name: Napoléon Bonaparte
Current Appointment: First Consul for Life
Date of Application: November 1804

Response to selection criteria:
Mr Buonaparte is a military commander and war hero who has served with the French army since 1785. He has shown great initiative in his campaigns in Italy, southern Germany, and Austria.  He is clearly a man of great ability and energy, as well as some strength of mind.

Mr Buonaparte presented us with an ambitious plan for reforming the French legal, taxation and education systems, and for instituting the metric system across all French territories. He intends to expand the French Empire further east into territories currently held by Austria, Prussia and even Russia, and also to the west to include the Iberian Peninsula. In addition, he will seek alliances with the Ottoman and Persian Empires. While we applaud Mr Buonaparte’s vision for France, there was some concern on the panel that he may have over-reached himself. When questioned on the practicality of his plans, Mr Buonaparte informed us that imagination rules the world, and that impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.

Other notes: Napoleone di Buonaparte sounds very Italian. Are we OK with that?

Decision to appoint (Y/N): Yes. With the exception of his expedition into Egypt, all Mr Buonaparte’s endeavours to date have been met with success. This committee is eager to see what he does next.

Note from April 6, 1814: It turns out that imagination does not rule the world. Mr Buonaparte has been seconded to Elba pending further review.

Note from February 26, 1815: Mr Buonaparte has re-applied for the role, on the grounds that the current incumbent (who holds the title ‘King of France’) is terrible.   We are inclined to agree. However, given his previous track record, the panel has some concerns regarding Mr Buonaparte’s ability to sustain this role in the long term. We are therefore offering Mr Buonaparte a 4-month contract, on a provisional basis, with the title ‘Emperor of the French’. During this time, Mr Buonaparte will be considered to be on probation, and his contract may be terminated at any time without notice. We will review his performance in July, with a view to offering him permanency if his work is satisfactory.

Note from 9 July, 1815: A position has become available on the island of St Helena, which we view as being a better match for Mr Buonaparte’s skills.



…We thank you for your support of France in this difficult time.

Vive la République!



The Department of People and Culture advises all staff that we are no longer accepting applicants for the positions of ‘King of France and Navarre’, ‘King of the French’ and ‘Emperor of the French’. Due to ongoing difficulties in maintaining a consistent dynasty, these positions have been permanently abolished.

Applications will open shortly for the position of President of France.

We thank you for your support of France in this difficult time.

Vive la République!



Crowns, Kings and Pretenders

Couronnes is located on the border of the 11th and 20th arondissements, and opened on 31 January 1903.  It is named for the Rue des Couronnes, which was named for either a tavern (Les Trois Couronnes) or a local village (Les Couronnes-sous-Savies).  The station is sadly notable for being the site of a disastrous train fire on August 10, 1903, which killed 84 people.

I didn’t want to use a real, and relatively recent, tragedy as a basis for a story, so I went with some older (though in many ways equally tragic) history instead. The word couronnes means crowns, and there have been quite a number of periods in French history when the question of who should wear the crown appeared to have more than one answer.  Indeed, as I discovered to my delight a few years ago, there are still a number of claimants to the French crown, even though France has been King-free (and Emperor-free) since 1871.  These include Bourbon, Orléanist and Bonapartist  claimants, and descendants of Louis XIV.  The English appear to have finally given up on their claim via Isabella of France, though it took them until 1800 to do so (for the Hanoverians – it was another seven years before the Jacobites renounced their claim).  This is what we call a long attention span…

The three eras I chose were the Hundred Years War between France and England, the War of the Three Henries, and everything from the French Revolution onward.

The Hundred Years War started in 1337 with the death of Charles IV.  Charles had no sons and no younger brothers, so the throne went to his first cousin, who was the son of his father’s younger brother.  Charles IV did, however, have a sister, the mother of Edward III of England, who promptly made his own claim on the French throne, and everything degenerated from there.  The war did not run constantly for 116 years, but was rather episodic – England had its own civil wars and usurpations to deal with during this time, which muted its enthusiasm for invading France – and really happened in three phases.

In the first, Edward III won a number of victories and land, but not the crown; in the second, Charles V of France fought back successfully and regained most of the lands that had been lost; and in the third, we have all the events that might be familiar to readers of Shakespeare – Henry V’s victory at Agincourt, Joan of Arc’s astonishing effect on French confidence, and the eventual French victory which pushed England out of France for good (the English kept Calais for a little longer, but this was essentially the end of England’s ownership of any parts of continental Europe). I might add that Shakespeare, while entertaining, was definitely not too concerned about historical accuracy and liked to be rude about the French, so this is definitely not a good source of historical fact!  Another person who appeared in this story was Charles of Orléans, who really did spend years locked up in British castles after Agincourt, and wrote somewhat racy poetry in English during this time.  He is a major character in Hella Haasse’s novel ‘In a Dark Wood Wandering’, so if you like the sound of him, you might give that a shot.

The War of the Three Henries was the final stage of the Wars of Religion, which ran pretty continuously from 1562 to 1598, and its protagonists include a few characters that may be familiar to those who have read or seen La Reine Margot (Queen Margot), by Alexandre Dumas.  The dynastic crisis phase of this war began when all four of Henry II’s sons died without issue, bringing the Valois line to an end.  It was then necessary to trace lineages back to the 13th century to find an heir, Henri de Navarre, who was married to Henry II’s daughter, Margot.  But Henri was a Protestant, and thus unacceptable politically, particularly after the Catholic League convinced Henri III to outlaw Protestantism and require all Kings of France to be Catholic.  In the meantime, Henri de Guise, who headed the Catholic league and whose bloodlines were not that much less convincing than those of Henri de Navarre, was proposed as an alternate candidate, though he later relinquished his claims to the throne in favour of the Cardinal de Bourbon.

The war was essentially three-sided, depending on whether Henri III was favouring Henri de Navarre as an heir at any given moment, or whether he was in a more Catholic frame of mind and annoyed that Henri de Guise was getting more than his fair share of military glory.  Henri IV himself converted from Protestantism to Catholicism, then back to Protestantism again, before his final conversion to Catholicism, which seems to have been largely so that he could break the siege of Paris.  He did eventually become King, having managed to irritate extreme Catholic and extreme Huguenots alike, and was known for his religious tolerance, right up to the point where he was assassinated.

I’ve read in several different locations that Henri IV smelled, variously, like a goat, like unwashed feet, like garlic, or like some combination of the above.  Nobody is citing primary sources for this, at least that I’ve found so far, but I thought it was amusing enough to include.

The final era I looked at was the one which started with the end of Louis XVI’s reign, and the French Revolution.  There were so very many kings and emperors in the subsequent 90 years that I passed over this quite lightly – I felt as though this story could go on forever if I let it – but I did want to end with the founding of the third republic and the final acknowledgment that there would be no more Kings of France.

The coats of arms and crowns I have used throughout are the excellent work of Sodacan on Wikimedia Commons.  The cockade is by Angelus, also on Wikimedia Commons.


fleurdelis-left Couronnes
fleurdelis-right Ménilmontant

4 thoughts on “Couronnes

    1. Catherine Post author

      I’m so glad you liked this! And that it worked from an HR perspective… I’ve never worked in HR myself, but I’ve certainly sat on a few interview panels…

  1. Christine

    Great fun. I can see influences from your non-literary work here! 🙂

    (Note, typo? in second paragraph, surely the word “no” should be removed: “…even though no France has been King-free…”)


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