Duke of Normandy: Wikis


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Arms of the Duchy of Normandy

Duke of Normandy is a title held or claimed by various Norman, English and French rulers from the tenth century until the end of the French monarchy. The title refers to the region of Normandy in France and several associated islands in the English Channel.


Rollo the Viking

The fiefdom of Normandy was created in 911 for the Viking leader Rollo (also known as Rolf).

Rollo and his Viking allies conquered a large region of France and besieged Paris until entering vassalage to Charles the Simple, the king of the West Franks through the Treaty of St.-Claire-sur-Epte. In exchange for homage and fealty, Rollo legally gained the territory he and his Viking allies had previously conquered. The name "Normandy" reflects Rollo's Viking (i.e. Northman, Latin Normanorum) origins.

Rollo and his immediate successors were styled as "counts" of Normandy. Some later medieval sources refer to them by the title dux, a Latin term from which is derived the English word "duke"; however, Rollo's great-grandson Richard II was the first to assuredly be styled "Duke of Normandy". Although certain titles were used interchangeably during this period, the title of "duke" was typically reserved for the highest rank of feudal nobility — those who either owed homage and fealty directly to kings or who were independent sovereigns primarily distinguished from kings by not having dukes as vassals.[citation needed]

William the Conqueror

William I (William the Conqueror)

William the Conqueror added the Kingdom of England to his realm in the Norman Conquest of 1066. This created a problematic situation wherein William and his descendants were king in England but a vassal to the king in France. Much of the contention which later arose around the title Duke of Normandy (as well as other French ducal titles during the Angevin period) stems from this fundamentally irreconcilable situation.

After the death of William the Conqueror, his eldest son Robert Curthose became Duke of Normandy while a younger son, William Rufus, became the English king. A generation later, Henry, Duke of Normandy became king of England, again uniting the titles.[citation needed]

International contention

In 1204, King Philip II confiscated the Duchy of Normandy held by King John of England and subsumed it into the crown lands. Only the Channel Islands remained under John's control. In 1259, Henry III of England recognised the legality of French possession of mainland Normandy under the Treaty of Paris.

English monarchs made subsequent attempts to reclaim their former continental possessions, particularly during the Hundred Years' War, and even claimed the throne of France itself.

With the Treaty of Troyes in 1420, Henry V temporarily regained all territories formerly held by the Plantagenets, including Normandy, and was made regent and heir of France. His son, Henry VI inherited both Kingdoms in 1422 and afterwards English monarchs included King of France among their list of titles and included the Royal Arms of France in their own armorial achievements, even after they had lost their French positions after 1450.[citation needed]

British claims to the throne of France and other French claims were not abandoned until 1801 when George III and Parliament, in the Act of Union, joined the Kingdom of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland and used the opportunity to drop their French claims. By this time, the French monarchy itself had already been overthrown with the establishment of the French Republic in 1792. The French revolution also brought an end to the Duchy of Normandy as a political entity, as it was replaced by several départements.

Channel Islands

Although the British monarchy relinquished claims to continental Normandy and other French claims in 1801, the Channel Islands (except for Chausey under French sovereignty) remain Crown dependencies of the British Crown in the present era. Unlike the Isle of Man, these islands have no specific title pertaining to them. The Loyal Toast in the Channel Islands is La Reine, notre Duc or The Queen, our Duke (or when the monarch is male, The King, our Duke), as the islands were formerly part of the Duchy of Normandy, the rest of which was renounced in 1259.[citation needed]

According to the British monarchy's official website, "In the Channel Islands The Queen is known as The Duke of Normandy. At official functions, islanders raise the loyal toast to 'The Duke of Normandy, our Queen'." It goes on to say that "In 1106, William's youngest son Henry I seized the Duchy of Normandy from his brother Robert; since that time, the English Sovereign has always held the title Duke of Normandy... While the islands today retain autonomy in government, they owe allegiance to The Queen in her role as Duke of Normandy."

List of Dukes of Normandy

Family tree of the early Dukes of Normandy and Norman Kings of England

Early Dukes of Normandy (911-1204)

House of Plantagenet

Dukes of Normandy proper (1204-1792)

In 1204, the King of France confiscated the Duchy of Normandy (with only the Channel Islands remaining under English control) and subsumed it into the crown lands of France. Thereafter, the ducal title was held by several French princes.

In 1332, King Philip VI gave the Duchy in appanage to his son John, who became king as John II in 1350. He in turn gave the Duchy in appanage to his son Charles, who became king as Charles V in 1364. In 1465, Louis XI gave the Duchy to his brother Charles de Valois, Duke of Berry; when he died in 1466, the Duchy was again subsumed into the crown lands and remained a permament part of it.


  1. ^ Charles Cawley (2008-10-28). "England Kings". Medieval Lands. Foundation of Medieval Genealogy. http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ENGLAND,%20Kings%201066-1603.htm#HenryKingdied1183. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  • Onslow, Richard (Earl of Onslow). The Dukes of Normandy and Their Origin. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1945.

External links

Simple English

The title Duke of Normandy was held by the rulers of Normandy from Rollo in 911.

In 1066 Duke William II became King William I of England, and was held by the Kings of England until Henry III renounced (gave up) the title by treaty in 1259. King John had lost mainland Normandy in 1204, and kept only the Channel Islands. Today the Channel Islands still owe allegiance to the King or Queen of Britain.

In 1660 when King Charles II was restored to the throne, the King of France, Louis XIV, created Charles brother James Duke of Normandy, probably as a show of support for monarchy and to stop Charles claiming the title himself.


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