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1217: If Louis the Lion had become King of England


Well-known member
Published by SLP
The time: 1210s England, during the reign of John the Lackland, Richard the Lionheart’s unpopular brother.

The characters:

  • King John Lackland Plantagenet; a fuck-up
  • His son, Henry III, another fuckup
  • King Louis “The Lion” Capet, a French usurper/rightful king
  • His son, the future Louis IX, “The Saint”
  • Robert FitzWalter, rebel leader
  • Pope Innocent III, not a fan of any of this.
  • King Philip Augustus of France, also not a fan.

The background: lots of foreigns and semi-foreign wars have eroded the power and legitimacy of the Angevine rulers of England, leading to the First Barons’ War, in which Robert FitzWalter and England’s landowner class rose against King John. You may remember this as the setup for the whole Carta Magna dealio. It was kind of a big deal. Anyhow, Scotland and France were on the Barons’ side, who took the extra-step of inviting Dauphin Louis the Lion, future Louis VIII of France, to take the English throne. Now, despite similarities with 1066 and 1688, Louis didn’t have the support of his father(or the Pope), which admittedly didn’t stop him from marching on London, being proclaimed (but not crowned) King and seizing half the country.

So far so good, until the part in which King John died of dysentery (a fitting ending, admittedly) and suddenly everyone felt like an asshole trying to take the throne from his kid, who would eventually have his own foreign policy disasters, unpopular domestic policies and Baronial insurrection to deal with.

The Divergence: let’s imagine King John doesn’t die, so instead he lives to either be deposed or die in battle. His son can be lost and become an urban legend/source of fake usurping frauds or end up in a tower/exile, or whatever.

Point is, for the second time in 150 years, a Frenchman came at the head of an army to take the throne, except this one had both an invitation and a throne of his own. What now? Will the Pope and King Phil suddenly have to accept a Fait Accomplii? What happens with the Carta Magna and Baronial rights? What about the French Throne?

An interesting possibility could be Louis the Lion and later Louis the Saint as Kings of England wanting to reclaim their French titles, much like actual English kings did IOTL, but would Philip Augustus have disinherited his son rather than accept such a feat?


I want rustlers,
Without knowing that much about the personalities involved, does Philip Augustus have the means or motive to disinherit his Large Adult Son that just won the English throne? His other son isn't clearly legitimate and he doesn't even have younger brothers - I'm not seeing how this ends other than Louis returning to Reims in 1223 to be crowned King of France (and England, where there is probably a significant baronial revolt at this point).

Don't think the barons are any more keen on being ruled by a powerful French king than a powerful English king, so my guess is it either ends in Louis eventually giving England to a younger son (he has several, conveniently) or a different claimant overthrowing him, a bit later - if Henry is missing that leaves Richard of Cornwall as the last male-line Plantagenet, after him, Eleanor of Brittany, after her, all of her Saxon cousins, after them, both the Castilian and Portuguese royal families, and only after them, Louis' wife - some of these people can be killed off but probably not all of them.


Well-known member
Published by SLP
Yeah, considering his marital and succession issues, that’d just be inviting a civil war to country he had spent decades fortifying and expanding, but it did seem a cool idea.

A more likely result would be having to contend with two courts filled with byzantine intrigue and two nations filled with restless, ambitious overmighty vassals. I’d expect a renewed anti-French coalition, like the one defeated in 1214.


Champagne Socialist
Published by SLP
Philippe isn't disinheriting anyone. It was hard enough getting a son and he had too many interdicts to deal with, he's keeping this one. You can read him not associating Louis to the throne as had been Capetian practice until then as a mark of disfavour, but the opinion seems to be rather than he thought the principle of hereditary succession was well enough entrenched to dispense with the process. Louis VIII and I is keeping both thrones, unless he is thrown out of one by a revolt.