Being the nephew of the French king Charles IV on his mother's side, Edward III saw himself as his legitimate heir. When his claimed was denied, it led to renewed struggles between the English and French and when Philip VI seized Guienne, Edward declared himself King of France and went to war. Winning the famous Battle of Sluys and Battle of Crécy, Edward proved himself to be a capable military leader, adding large territories in France to the English Crown.
Isabella of France, Edward's mother, had been sent on a diplomatic mission to France where she met and became the mistress of Roger Mortimer, an exiled opponent of Edward. When they invaded England, there was virtually no resistance and Edward II was deposed in favour of his and Isabella's son, who was crowned Edward III in January 1327. Coming of age, Edward overthrew Mortimer, who had ruled the country in his stead and his following reign of fifty years would be the longest in the Middle English period.
Superficially, the immediate pretext for the 100 Years' War was Edward III's claim to the French throne. Edward's mother was the sister of the French king Charles IV, so Edward saw himself as the legitimate heir of the French king, as he considered his lineage to be more direct than that of Philip, who was a cousin to the deceased king - but his claim was denied.
What followed was not constant warfare, but rather a series of campaigns and battles with long interruptions of diplomatic negotiations and truces and Edward III was able to prove himself a capable military leader, winning famous battles like the Battle of Sluys (1340) and the Battle of Crécy (1346).
When Edward III got weaker due to his age, Charles V harried the English territories in South Western France, so that military failures, and above all economic problems at home due to the consequences of the plague and the expensive war, found the English on the losing side. Edward III died in 1377, a year after his only son, Edward the Black Prince.
|History, 100 Years War, Kings + Rulers, Middle English Period, Political|