With his focus on Edward The Confessor, underscored by naming a his son Edward, did Henry III represent some sort of a political transition from from France to England?

It also seems like there was no domestic political appetite for conquest in Normandy.

Edit, based on comment:

I know I am asking a vague question, for sure. It seems to me that the Normans were a foreign invading force in England. They spoke a different language (I think) than the local populace and the Plantagenet kings spent much of their time on the continent (at least until John). So when Henry III focused on Edward the Confessor it seems like he was trying to stitch the Royal line deeper into the history/mythology of England.

Also, the Barons seemed to have little appetite for conquest in France. It makes me wonder if the entire aristocracy was becoming more culturally aligned with the populace at large.

  • 2
    What does "transition from a political shift from France to England" mean and how is it supposed to be evaluated? How do you define "fully English"?
    – Semaphore
    Mar 4 '15 at 8:05
  • I tried to clarify by editing the question. Mar 4 '15 at 12:18
  • 1
    I cannot parse the following phrase ->"by naming a his some Edward". By "Barrons" do you mean "Barons"? Finally and most importantly, is this question opinion based, or is there some kind of objective answer to your question?
    – MCW
    Mar 4 '15 at 12:19
  • The Normans actually Anglicised quite quickly. For example, by the 1100s, Orderic Vitalis, a second generation Norman, was already lamenting the Conquest: "And so the English groaned aloud for their lost liberty and plotted ceaselessly to find some way of shaking off a yoke that was so intolerable".
    – Semaphore
    Mar 4 '15 at 12:35

Henry III would certainly not be my pick. His mother was French, he married a fully French wife and he spoke French and the normal language of his court was French.

The first glimmerings of an English king was Edward IV who (horror of horrors) married an English woman (Elizabeth Woodville). Up to this time virtually every single queen was born and raised French. Marrying an "ordinary" English woman was a huge scandal and it alienated him from the court which was mostly composed of French-speaking nobles many with French wives. Edward IV was born in France, but having an English wife who turned out to be a very successful woman, having 10 children, introduced an English component to the court for the first time.

The first kings to be more English than French were the Tudors starting with Henry VII. The Tudors married real English women, not French-bred women imported from the continent. They also started passing laws requiring people to speak English. One of the wierd side effects of the court speaking French was that non-English languages like Scottish, Welsh, Irish and Cornish flourished. After all, you can hardly require people to speak English when the whole court is speaking French! The Tudors changed all this. They made English the language of court and they also began requiring everyone in the kingdom to speak English. The law courts and universities also switched to English under the Tudors. There was still a lot of lingering French among the nobles, but the tide had turned and English became the standard.

This is what one scholar wrote:

Although early Tudor policy affirmed English as the land's primary language when Henry VII in the early 1490s unexpectedly replaced statutes published in parallel French and English with statutes published only in English, this signaled to the nation that the arcane Anglo-French terminology of law would henceforth be transferred wholesale into English.

"Studies in the History of the English Language" by Christoper Cain.

Thus you can see 1490 was really the watershed year when Henry VII basically made it clear: ok, everybody, we are all going English.

  • 7
    " who turned out to be a very successful woman, having 10 children, " Very interesting definition of success.
    – MCW
    Mar 4 '15 at 14:14
  • 1
    I believe there actually were many English kings, prior to 1066.
    – jamesqf
    Mar 4 '15 at 21:11
  • 1
    @jamesqf The question concerns kings after the Norman invasion. Mar 4 '15 at 21:25

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