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The Auld Alliance/
La Vieille Alliance       

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The 'Auld Alliance' treaty was signed between John Balliol, King of Scots, and Philippe IV of France. It provided for mutual military help against the English and was renewed by Robert The Bruce in 1326.  It was a military and diplomatic alliance but for most it brought benefits such as pay as mercenaries in France's forces and trade which brought French wine to Scotland.  Scots served with the French Army up to and after the Union of Parliaments in 1707.  Scots soldiers served with Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc) and her banner was given to her by a Scots merchant.  They constituted part of the King's bodyguard, as the "Compagnie √©cossaise de la Garde du Corps du Roi".   The tragedy of Flodden was as a result of the Alliance, requiring Scotland to make a token invasion of England in response to Henry VIII's invasion of France. Ironically at Culloden in 1746 the Royal Scots (St Clair's Regiment) were opposed by their regular French Army counterpart, the "Ecossais Royaux" (Royal Scots), with whom they shared a common tradition.  When the Scots Regiments were required to take up arms against the French in the continental wars of the 18th and 19th Centuries, there was a degree of reluctance to take up arms with the old enemy against the old ally.  The Auld Alliance is still much respected in France, and it though it may have surprised some to see Scots Saltires amongst the French Tricolours at the Euro 2000 Final, it was simply part of a long tradition.


Alliance France - Ecosse Societ dedicated to preserving the memory of Scots' achievements in France, including an interactive Map.

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