“Dieu et Mon Droit” –Motto of King Richard the Lionhearted, meaning “God and my right”

Today, Britain and France are countries with clearly defined territories, a strong sense of identity, particularised language, and disparate customs but it has not always been so. In Medieval times, such notions were vague. Europe was dominated by three realms; the Kingdom of England, Holy Roman Empire, and the Kingdom of France. In its geopolitical power play, Kings persistently sought to impose their authority through alliances and marriages. Eleanor, the wife of King of Francs, was the Duchess of Aquitaine, an opulent woman in the West. However, her marriage was annulled but as a cultivated and eligible bride, she found other suitors. She became engaged to the Duke of Normandy, heir to England’s throne. As England was invaded by William the Conqueror, it was ruled by Norman kings who spoke archaic French. Even in battle, allies communicated in French to fight the French. Through this union, Eleanor offered a quarter of French territory to England, making the Duke powerful, thus an equal to the King of France, Phillip Augustus. Previously his vassal, he nevertheless, now owed him obedience. War followed between Eleanor’s son, Richard who had legitimate claims on the territory and King Phillip, who had a political vision of amalgamating the mosaic region into a unified kingdom, a modern vision of the state. Phillip stood gloriously after a tremendous victory, proving his valour, nonetheless, the rivalry between these two countries did not end, leading to the Hundred Years War.