One of the other things I learned as I studied the monarchies of various countries is that all of these monarchies evolved and those that survive were able to survive because they were flexible enough to adapt to the social and political changes of the times. Another interest I have in studying European royalty was the development and evolution of the specific titles and even the nation itself.

Right now I am reading a lot about the origins of the kingdom of France. The modern kingdom of France arose out of the old kingdom of the Franks which encompassed land that today includes modern France, Germany and the Low Countries of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. At its pinnacle the Frankish empire included a good portion of eastern Europe and northern Italy under Charlemagne. Therefore what later became the Kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire had its roots in the kingdom of the Franks. Both France and Germany count the Carolingian kings/emperors within their respective histories.

Historians debate the time when the kingdom of France evolved from the Frankish kingdom. The Frankish Empire created by Charlemagne did not last long. His successor, Louis I the Pious, ruled until 840 and he divided his lands amongst his three sons. The treaty of Verdun in 843 gave the western half of the kingdom, “West Francia,” to Charles the Bald and from this political entity evolved the modern kingdom of France. Despite this division of the territory historians still cannot conclusively pinpoint the beginning of the kingdom of France. Some historians point to the election of Hugh Capét in 987 as the transformation from the kingdom of West Francia to the Kingdom of France. By the time Hugh was elected king the cultures of the Western Kingdom and Eastern Kingdom (Germany) were clearly separate. One of the issues which makes it difficult to specify a starting or an ending point in the origins of the kingdom of France is the title these monarchs carried. From the start of the Frankish kingdom under the Merovingian Dynasty through the Carolingian Dynasty and the early Capetian Dynasty is the fact that all of these monarchs held the title “Rex Francorum” or “King of the Franks.” It wasn’t until the reign of Philippe II Augustus when the style “Franciae Rex” or “King of France” was adopted in the late 12th century.

This process of evolution can be seen in every European monarchy.

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