Elizabethan Foreign Policy: Scotland and France

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Chateau-Cambresis

1559

Elizabeth came to power at a bad time for English prestige. Mary had lost Calais, weakened crown finances and brought England into conflict with France.

Elizabeth knew she had to end the war. 

Financial state of France and Spain meant Henry II and Phillip II both wanted the war to end.

A peace treaty reached in April 1559.

Mainly settled issues between France and Spain but France and England also managed to solve the Calais issue.

France let Elizabeth keep face. Decided France would retain Calais for 8 years and then return it back to England. If they didn't return Calais, then they would pay 500,000 crowns (£125,000) to England

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Intervention in Scotland: John Knox and Mary Queen

Treaty might have worked if Henry II hadn't died in June 1559 and been succeeded by MQS' husband Francis II.

Francis' accession brought the Catholic Guise faction, who wanted to turn Scotland into and French instrument, into power in France. 

French troops sent to Scotland, alarming John Knox and the Lords of the Congregation. The sought aid from Elizabeth.

Elizabeth unsure as she hated Knox and supporting rebels. Cecil knew England would be more secure if the French weren't in Scotland and if MQS was removed from the throne.

Intervention was limited to money and arms until December 1559 when the navy was sent to the Firth of Forth.

An army was sent north after the Treaty of Berwick in March 1560. The siege of French troops at Leith failed but circumstances meant the French had to withdraw.

The death of Francis II in December 1560 meant the Guise's fell from power and MQS was forced to return to Scotland. Elizabeth knew success was down to luck, was more cautious after

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Intervention in France: Huguenot-Guise War

Conflict had broken out between Catholics and Protestants in March 1562 after the Duke of Guise massacred a congregation at Vassy.

Driving force of intervention was Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester rather than Cecil. Elizabeth and Leicester wanted to ensure return of Calais by pressuring France while it was weak.

Elizabeth promise the Huguenot Prince of Conde 6000 men and £30,000 with the port of Le Havre under English control as security.

Huguenot army was defeated, Conde was captured and the Duke of Guise was assassinated. With both sides leaderless, peace terms were accepted and the English driven out of Le Havre.

English were forced to accept an unfavourable settlemt at the Treaty of Troyes in 1564. England lost Calais permanently. While this was a long term advantage as Calais was expensive to run, Elizabeth's reputation took a blow.

After Troyes, Elizabeth became more cautious about supporting European Protestants. She may have become too cautious, especially towards the Netherlands. 

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From Troyes to Blois: France after 1664

Relations with France were determined by France's instability. Elizabeth was much less likely to aid the Huguenots after the action of Conde.

Elizabeth believed that the power of the Queen Mother, Catherine de Medici was important to prevent the Guise's (MQS' family) from rising to power.

Deteriorating relations with Spain meant that a healthy relationship with France was vital. After seizing Spanish treasure ships in 1568, Elizabeth began marriage negotations with Henri, Duke of Anjou (pressumed heir to the French throne)

The fact that some took these negotiations seriously demonstrates just how poor relations had become.

The improvement in relations, suffering a setback in 1572, culminated in the Treaty of Blois in 1572 as a "defensive league" (JOHN GUY) against Spain.

France then abandoned its support for MQS' claim to the English throne. 

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Mary Queen of Scots after 1564

Anglo-Scottish relations inextricably linked to MQS' claim to the English throne.

Immediate threat Mary posed ended after the death of Francis II and her forced return to Scotland in 1561. It was politically essential that she accept Protestantism and became reliant on Protestant politicians like William Maitland of Lethington and the Earl of Moray.

MQS' marriage to Lord Darnley took place against Elizabeth's wishes, reasserted Mary's threat. Moray, Maitland and Scottish Protestant nobility found their position undermined and English influence over the Scottish court reduced.

Privy Council alarmed MQS' had married a Catholic and someone with a claim to the English throne.

English position was rescued by Mary and Darnley's failed marriage, leading to a coup against Mary and her flight to England, leaving her in house arrest.

Mary's captivity raised more questions about the succession and became linked to Catholic loyalty. The Northern Rebellion in 1569 and Elizabeth's excommunication in 1570 made MQS a greater threat.

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Rebellion in Scotland

With pro-English Moray in charge, it appeared Anglo-Scottish relations would be saved. His assassination in January 1570 plunged Scotland into civil war. 

Mary's supporters (with Guise support) fought against the Protestant King James VI (looking to Elizabeth).

Elizabeth didn't want to support James because she didn't want to offend the French and was considering putting MQS back on the Scottish throne.

However, fugutive Northern English Rebels (from 1569) began supporting MQS' supporters. Elizabeth reluctantly sent Sussex to pacify the region.

Sussex appeared succesful but failed to stop the rebels raiding the border. Sussex was forced into stronger action and sent his forces to Edinburgh. Charles IX of France was infuriated and threatened war so Elizabeth withdrew.

Rebellion flared up in July 1570, when MQS had French and northern rebel support.

Elizabeth sent more troops to Scotland and the rebels were abandoned. However, she had to reinforce the reagent Earl of Morton's authority in November 1572.

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France in the 1570's

Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre spoilt Anglo-French relations. A good relationship was, however, a necessity due to failing relations with Spain.

Elizabeth became the godmother to Charles IX's daughter and begun marriage negotiations with Henri Duke of Anjou (the Vlois) while sending secret arms to the Huguenot Comte de Montgommery and allowed him to buy English ships.

The Treaty of Blois was renewed after the accession of Henri III of France (former Duke of Anjou) in 1574. Elizabeth then begun marriage negotiations with Duke of Alencon & Anjou (younger brother of Henri III).

September 1574, John Stubbs published a pamphlet against marriaging Anjou. Subbs was charged but it showed the bad public opinion of a French marriage.

Spain annexed Portugal in 1580, a formal Anglo-French alliance necessary.

Walsingham sent to Henri III in 1581 with offer of an Anjou-led expedition to the Netherlands. Elizabeth let her affection for Anjou cloud her judgement, Anjou has sovereignty over provinces of the Estates-General of the United Provinces. Anjou failed, tried to take Antwerp by force. 

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War in France 1580

King Henri III assassinated and replaced with Huguenot Henry IV of France in 1586. In a difficult position: France mostly under FCL control (Phillip II sends troops in Sept 1589) and Henry IV counted on Elizabeth's support.

Elizabeth begrudingly gives Henry IV 3600 troops but Henry IV achieves victory against FCL. Elizabeth wants out of her promise but Lord Willoughby leaves for Dieppe anyway.

Henry IV found every excuse to keep English troops in France. By 1589, Henry IV in a better position. Strength recognised by Duke of Parma and pro-Spanish Duke of Savoy.

Elizabeth send two forces to France to secure Henry IV's position. One to Brittany under Sir John Norris and one to Normand under Sir Rodger Williams. Williams achieved little but Norris destroyed Catholic force and Crozon and the possibility of a Spanish incursion at Brittany.

Anglo-French relations sour after withdrawal of English troops 1595 but sent back in 1596 after battles with Spain and FCL go bad.

Alliance with French and Dutch in 1596. By 1598, Henry IV makes peace with Spain and Chateau-Cambresis agreement accepted again. 

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