Why did the Plantagenets want to rule France? When they already had Ireland and England to rule?


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
Philip Augustus father was a drip , his wife shagged Henry and was glad of the change of pace ,
she brought Henry the great and good duchy of Aquitaine
the Angevin were already duke of Normandy

Philip was sowing distension in the Angevin family , not a very difficult task as they were at each other throat usually
never has the Devil Brood nickname be so fitting

After Henri death in despair , Richard went gallivanting in the holy land with Philip who quickly returned back home to plan more mischief
after some fighting with Philip getting the best of it , Richard died a stupid death to be succeeded by John lack-land
by which time Normandy Anjou and Aquitaine had fallen to the French
a coalition of England , Germany and Flanders was defeated on the field of Bouvines in a grand finale of the century
john was just King of England , broke and with revolts everywhere against him
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Apr 2017
It might sound logical for the English (Normans at this point technically; Richard the Lionheart did not speak any "Middle English"; if this was the local language of England at the time) to take over the fragmented "France" before Phillipe Augustus.
Why was Phillipe Augustus much more powerful and effective than previous French kings?
Phillip II was more or less of a warrior king. He had significant military experience and was rather pragmatic. He joined the crusade just long enough to gain prestige but returned quickly to France to manage his affairs. He was militarily very active and when England, the HRE and Flanders formed an alliance against him, he wasted no time and acted against them, defeating them at Bouvines despite great odds. This not only broke the alliance but restored his prestige. The dukes and Counts in France promptly rallied behind him. In other words he took decisive military action to counter the Plantagenets successful diplomatic warfare (marriages and alliances). The French kings preceding him were rather passive. They were constantly losing power to the dukes and even to the pope. They only controlled an area around Paris directly and had no control over the duchies.


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
the kings at the time were more like chairman of the board of a medieval coalition of rogues
they did pretty much what they wanted and paid lip service to their oath of allegiance
they had their own armies and fought against the kings when it was in their interest
before Philip Augustus the title was king of the Franks , he was the first to take the tittle of king of France
May 2017
It is very complicated because it is a problem of woman.Alienor d Aquitaine (1122-1204) was the daughter of the duke Guillaume d Aquitaine and of the earless Aliénor de Châtellerault de Poitou.The two territories corresponded to 19 departments of the actual France…...The king of France Louis VII was destined to the clergy but was obliged to enter in politics after the accidental death of his brother Philippe in 1131;his horse was percuted by a wild boar.In 1137, Aliénor married in Bordeaux with Louis VII, who was under the influence of the priest of Saint Denis Suger,obsessed by the expansion of the kingdom.But in conformity with the feudal law,it was precised that Aquitaine-Poitou would stay independent until the new generation.It is clear,Aquitaine-Poitou could be swallowed by the kingdom of France,but after the death of Aliénor and not before.Woman very intelligent (arts,litterature etc...) Aliénor realized during the second crusade that his husband was a looser unable to liberate Palestine.So she decided to divorce in 1152 for a reason of consanguinity and to marry with Henri II Plantagenet,the man in full ascension.They married in Poitiers with no restriction of feudal law.How could her sons Richard heart of Lion and John without lands forget that ?
Sep 2014
Queens, NYC
No king of England claimed to be ruler of France (as distinct from ruler in large parts of France) before Edward III. I have read that he claimed France's throne as sop to his ally the Count or Duke of Flanders, so that the latter, when fighting the French Valois kings, could deny he was rebelling. Edward was willing enough after the Battle of Poitiers, (1356), in which he had captured the French king, to forego his claim to the French throne in return for money, and freedom in Aquitaine.
Henry V was the English king who really wanted to rule France.
Jul 2019
United States Of America
There are many reasons the Plantagenets would want to be the Kings of France as well.

They Had Many Things That Made Them Want France.
  • Having legitimate claims to the French throne.
  • France had a lot of people and influence (England had 3 million when France had 17 million).
  • France had a lot of money and power.
  • French Ancestry.
  • French Speaking.
May 2017
The Angevins were french and could not forget their "doulce France":
-the performances of the fench agriculture
-the french wine,even in the province of Angers
-the strategic possibility to be present in the mediterranean sea.


Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
Las Vegas, NV USA
"Plantagenet" is a French name. Henry II was the first Plantagenet king of England. He inherited the English throne though his mother, the Empress Matilda who claimed the throne of England herself but lost to Stephen of Blois during the "anarchy". Henry was not king of France but inherited many French fiefs and was de facto the most powerful noble in France. French kings mostly just controlled the region around Paris until the 16th century.


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
the name Plantagenet is a very late invention , most contemporary would have called rather them Angevins
for purpose of the OP , the question arise only for Edward III , he was the direct and only living grand-son of Phillip the fair by his mother Isabella
being overlooked for the succession was not a national insult it was a personal one
Edward could have felt slighted and would have to redeem his honor on the field
even if he didn't his feudal lords might have felt that way
there had been plenty of baronial revolts to prove than prestige was a tool of statecraft
if one loose some , it could be a problem
Jun 2017
Why did House Plantagenet want to rule France?
As Futurist alluded to, France had far more people and was a more prestigious throne. Today the two are both great powers(even if for legacy reasons) with almost the same population. In the 19th and 20th century's the UK even had more power and a larger population than France! However the industrial revolution is what put the UK in that group, before that the two country's(England not the UK then) population and power were more reflective of their physical size. France is considerably larger(I think like 4 to 5x?) than England.

Before the 1700s England in terms of population and power had more in common with say a Netherlands or Portugal than a France or Spain. We are giving the English/British crown importance it has earned in the previous few centuries that didn't exist. France also was for most of European history the largest and most powerful Kingdom in Europe. It had a larger population than Russia as early as 200 years or so back. For example the Scottish royal family inherited the English royal throne. England is larger and has considerably more people than Scotland so the Scottish royal family became the English royal family. If England had conquered France(which they almost did in the 1420s if Henry V had lived a little longer) England likely becomes a secondary realm of a new French Empire(though aristocracy might speak English) even though the conquerors were the English. Back then countries weren't countries in the modern sense ethnicity wasn't tied to it, though the English happened to be descendants of people from France. The Hapsburgs who are seen as Germans/Austrians took over Austria as invaders from Switzerland and became Dukes of Austria.

Anyhow if we take the "why would someone want it" part out and look at what they are arguing about. The Normans(who the Plantagenets inherited the throne from through the Holy Roman's wife Empress Matilda) were a French fief. Now you know how a duke works, the duke is loyal to the King. Now what happens if one of your dukes takes over a random place and becomes King not Duke of said place? Back then France wasn't a centrally controlled Kingdom and while not as badly fragmented as the HRE was a less complicated version of that concept. The King superiority to the Dukes comes from their loyalty, in practice the King of France like the HRE's only physically controlled the land they personally owned as Dukes. This meant that another Duke acquiring more land gave that duke the capacity to overthrow them.

While England had a much smaller population than France the Plantagenets had control of much of France through land they'd acquired through marriage in addition to England and Normandy(and at the time a better relationship with the Holy Roman Empire because of their less threatening status). This is why the English usually held their own in those early Plantagenet era wars.

But if we get to the purely legal argument for why Edward III claimed to be King of France in the Hundred Years War it's much simpler. France and England's kings inherit in two different systems. The English use one where a Kings daughter inherits if there are no surviving older brothers or descendants of older brothers. Now the daughter was prevented in practice from exercising this right by force every time until Mary in the 1500s but it was always there in theory and the male descendants of all said women inherited through conflict based on the claim(as opposed to their younger brothers nephews or even cousins who would in the French system). The French followed Sallic Law where women are almost always skipped in succession(it's why I don't believe a woman has ever inherited the throne of France in it's 1000 year history). Under the English set of rules Edwards was the rightful heir to the throne through his dead mother. Under the French set of rules he wasn't. So they went to war over it and both sides were technically right.

With the end of the Hundreds Year War it was more the English using the French Civil War as a front to take the throne with the support of part of the royal family from Burgundy. The future Charles VII had a superior claim to Henry V but if they'd killed him(he didn't have kids until 1823)all of Henry V's descendants would be rightful heir to the throne under the English system because he'd married the King's oldest daughter. This is similar to how Henry VII who in no way shape or form was the rightful King of England took the throne but he married the rightful Queen making it irrelevant for their offspring. Henry V actually did win the throne of France, the Hundred Years War was all but over if Henry V hadn't died immediately after becoming King of France when his son was a still an infant and the rival claimant to the throne was still alive.
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