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The Fundamental Laws of the Kingdom of France[edit]

The Fundamental Laws of the Kingdom of France
Fundamental law Dispute Capetian heir Contender Detail Resolution Relevance
Heredity Capetian tradition Robert II of France The other great lords of France Hugh Capet arranges the coronation of his son in his own lifetime When Hugh died, his son Robert, having already been crowned king, succeeded him to the full power of kingship. Thus, the Capetian monarchy succeeded in turning its originally elective position into a hereditary one The Kingdom of France was bonded with the House of Capet
Primogeniture Death of Hugh Henry I of France Robert I, Duke of Burgundy At the death of Robert II's first son Hugh, he had his next elder son Henry crowned, despite the protests of his wife, who wanted their younger son Robert to be crowned instead. At their father's death, Robert rebelled against his brother. Henry appeased him by giving him the Duchy of Burgundy. Primogeniture is established as the primary basis in determining the heir
Masculinity Death of John I Philip V of France Joan II of Navarre At the death of the infant-king John I, his uncle Philip, Count of Poitiers (then the regent), pushed for his candidacy to the throne of France With support from the nobility, Philip becomes King of France, setting the precedent that females would be excluded from the succession Ensured that only males could be recognized as King of France
Male collaterality Death of Charles IV Philip VI of France Edward III of England At the death of Charles IV, his first cousin Philip, Count of Valois, succeeds him as king, even though he had nephews still living, one of them being Edward III of England. The nomination of Edward III is rejected. Since females cannot succeed to the throne, then their descendants could not derive their right to succeed from them. Established a permanent bond between the Capetian dynasty and the Kingdom of France
Unavailability Treaty of Troyes Charles VII of France Henry V of England Following a great English victory over the French in Agincourt, King Charles VI disinherits his own son and adopts Henry V of England as his heir The English were eventually expelled from France, ending the Hundred Years War. The kings of England and Great Britain continued to use the title "King of France", until 1800. Assured that the right of succession of princes of the blood could not be compromised, even by an international treaty
Continuity Death of Charles VI Charles VII of France Henry VI of England Even though the English were in control of much of northern France, including the capital, Paris, and the coronation site, Rheims, the Dauphin is recognized as the king as Charles VII. Since there was no break in the succession between the death of Charles VI and the succession of his son as Charles VII, Henry VI of England was not counted among the legitimate kings of France. Assured that there would never be an interregnum
Catholicity Death of Henry III Henry IV of France Charles, Cardinal de Bourbon Catholic France refused to recognize the Protestant Henry of Navarre as King of France, proclaiming his uncle Charles, Cardinal de Bourbon as Charles X instead. Henry of Navarre converted to Catholicism. Recognized the bond between the King of France, the Kingdom of France, and the Catholic Church

The Order of the Fundamental Laws[edit]

Determining the king[edit]

At the death of the king, his heir is determined by the following:

Heredity: he is related to the king by kinship
Legitimate birth: bastard children are considered strangers-in-blood from their natural parent, making them ineligible for the succession
Primogeniture: he is the king's most senior descendant or collateral relative
Masculinity: he is male
Male collaterality: he is related to the king in the male line

Protecting the rights[edit]

Unavailability: no power could remove a prince of the blood from the line of succession to the throne
Continuity: at the death of the king, no person may be recognized other than the rightful heir. Anyone else proclaimed as king will be not be deemed legitimate in the face of history.


Catholicity: since the rightful heir is already determined from the very start, this requirement is merely a formality, so that the ties between France and its special place in the Catholic Church would not be broken

Other applications[edit]


  • Louis VI was the first Capetian to succeeded to the throne without being crowned in his father's lifetime
  • Philip II Augustus was the last king to be crowned in his father's lifetime
  • François Hotman had argued in his Francogallia that France was once a free country, whose liberties had been eroded over time, including the right to elect kings. Hotman had asserted the right of the Estates-General to perform this function. Though Hotman was Protestant, the Catholic League advocated for this during the Wars of Religion against Henry of Navarre.

Legitimate birth[edit]

  • Charles VI attempted to disinherit his son Charles by declaring him illegitimate
  • Louis XI refused to recognize the marriage of Louis, prince-bishop of Liege. His descendants, the House of Bourbon-Busset, were deemed illegitimate


  • ?


  • Isabella Clara Eugenia

Male collaterality[edit]

  • Philip II, Count of Auvergne
  • Charles, Duke of Guise
  • Jean Boucher argued that Henry of Navarre, being a cousin in the male line only to the twenty-first degree of Henry III, should no longer be considered as king, since consanguinity was acknowledged only to the tenth degree in law.


  • ?


  • Louis XVII


  • ?

Emerson 07 (talk)