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.
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
écossaise 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.
SITE WEB DE L'ASSOCIATION FRANCO-ECOSSAISE, CONSACRE A
L'ECOSSE ET A LA VIEILLE ALLIANCE.
Alliance France - Ecosse Societ dedicated to
preserving the memory of Scots' achievements in France,
including an interactive Map.