people included here were either born in Britain, died in Britain,
became British citizens, became Prime Minister of Britain or ascended
the British throne.
connected geographically and - for many centuries after the Norman
Conquest of 1066 - also politically,
six of England's monarchs
have been born in France and four are buried there. A number of royal
consorts from several of the English monarchy's ruling houses
have also been French-born and many of these are buried in the country
of their birth.
a million people speak Breton
in Brittany, but only half of them on a daily basis. It is one of
only four Celtic languages that are still spoken today; Irish and
Scottish Gaelic and Welsh being the other three. The language was
brought across by immigrants from Britain in the 5th century and is
closely related to Cornish (now extinct) and Welsh.
was born as Jean Francois Gravelet in Hesdin near Calais in 1824.
An acrobat and tightrope walker his fame rests mainly on a feat he
achieved in 1859 when he walked across a tightrope stretched across
the Niagara Falls. He repeated his exploit in various ways, including
cooking an omelette midway, carrying a man on his back and on one
occasion with the use of stilts. He died in London in 1897 and is
buried there in Kensal
Princess of Wales
died in a road accident in Paris in 1997. She is
buried at Althorp Park in Northamptonshire,
one of her childhood homes.
Princess of Wales
1875 Matthew Webb became the first
person to swim the English Channel when he swam from Dover to Calais.
1909 the Frenchman Louis Blériot
became the first person to fly across the English Channel when he
landed near Dover after taking off from Baraques on the French side.
House of Normandy
The first Norman King of England William
the Conqueror was born at Falaise
Castle in Normandy in 1027/28. In 1066 - believing he had
been assured the English crown by the childless Edward the Confessor
and angered by Harold
had become King on Edward's death - he invaded England. Landing
he met and defeated Harold's army at the Battle
Harold died on the battlefield and the defeat changed the course
of the island's history. The
Anglo-Saxon rule of England was over. William
ruled England until his death in 1087 at the Priory
of St Gervais near Rouen where he
died from a wound received during the siege of Mantes. He was
buried at St Stephen's Abbey
in Caen, Normandy. Two of his sons would succeed him: William
II and Henry
Battle of Hastings
youngest son Henry
died at a feast at St-Denis-le-Fermont
near Rouen in 1135. He had ruled England since 1100 and was
buried at Reading Abbey in Berkshire.
Henry's death lead to an unclear succession as William, Henry's
only legitimate son and heir, had drowned in the White
Ship which sank in the English Channel
in 1120. Henry had only one other legitimate child, a daughter,
Matilda. But England was not yet ready for a female monarch
and so it was Henry's nephew Stephen who became King, a development
which would eventually lead to civil war.
House of Plantagenet
House of Plantagenet
in 1133 in Le Mans, Henry
II died in 1189 at Chinon
Castle, Anjou. The first monarch from
the House of Plantagenet and one of three Angevin Kings, he
had ruled England since 1154. He was buried at Fontevrault
In 1199 his son Richard
died from a wound received during the siege of Chalus
Castle, Aquitaine. One of three Angevin
Kings from the House of Plantagenet, he ruled England from 1189.
He was buried with his father at Fontevrault
Abbey but his heart was buried at
II was born in Bordeaux, Aquitaine in 1367.
He was to become the last Plantagenet King of England when he
acceded to the throne in 1377. He was deposed by Henry IV in
House of York
at Rouen in 1442, Edward
IV was to become the first monarch of the House of York.
He ruled from 1461-70 and again from 1471 until his death in
House of Windsor
VIII died in Paris. He had lived there since 1945 with his
the American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
He acceded to the throne in January 1936 but in December of
the same year became the only British monarch to voluntarily
and was never crowned.
He is buried at the Royal
Cemetery in Windsor Home Park.
buried at Windsor
Butler Yeats, the first Irish winner of the Nobel
Prize for Literature in 1923, died in 1939 in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin,
Provence and was buried there until 1948 when his body was exhumed
and taken back to be buried in County Sligo in Ireland.
Now that my ladder's gone
I must lie down where all ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.
The Circus Animals' Desertion (1939)
He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
And snow disfigured the public statues;
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.
W.H. Auden: In
Memory of W.B. Yeats (1940)
Irish winner of the Nobel
Prize for Literature in 1969 Samuel
Beckett, died in 1989 in Paris.
Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it's awful!
Waiting for Godot (1955)
It is suicide to be abroad. But what
is it to be at home, Mr Tyler, what is it to be at home? A lingering
All That Fall (1957)
Irish statesman Sean
Macbride was born in Paris in 1904. He was active in the
cause of Irish independence, was involved in international human
rights and chairman of Amnesty International. In 1974 he shared
Prize for Peace with Sato Eisaku.
Physiology or Medicine
London-born immunologist Niels
K. Jerne died in Castillon-du-Gard in 1994. In 1984 he had
shared the Nobel
Prize for Physiology or Medicine with the German Georges
J.F. Koehler and the Argentinian Cesar Milstein for their work
on the immune system.
Consorts and Heirs
House of Normandy
Matilda of Flanders,
the wife of the first Norman King of England William the Conqueror,
died in 1083 at Caen in Normandy and had been Queen since 1066.
She was also buried in the town. The future King's of England,
William II and Henry
were her sons.
House of Plantagenet
of Aquitaine, married the future
Henry II in 1152 and became Queen on his accession in 1154.
She was mother to both Richard I and John. She died in 1204
at Fontevrault Abbey
where she was buried with her husband.
the second eldest son and (after his elder brother William's
death in 1156) heir to the throne of Henry II, died of dysentry
in Martel, Quercy in 1183. He became known as Henry the Young
King as - uniquely in the history of the monarchy - he was crowned
king at Westminster Abbey in 1170 while his father was still
alive. He is buried at Rouen
Cathedral. It would be his younger
brothers Richard (the Lionheart) and John (Lackland) who would
become king (in 1189 and 1199 respectively) on their father's
In 1230 Berengaria of Navarre,
Queen to Richard the Lionheart, died near Le Mans and was buried
in the town. She had married Richard in 1191 and was Queen until
his death in 1199. They had no children.
Eleanor of Provence,
future Queen to Henry III, was born in Aix-en-Provence in 1223.
She married Henry in 1236 and was Queen until his death in 1272.
She was the mother of Edward
Isabella of Angouleme,
the second wife of King John died in 1246 at Fontevrault
Abbey where she was also buried. They
had married in Bordeaux in 1200 and she had been Queen until
his death in 1216. She was the mother of Henry III.
Isabella of Valois,
the second wife of Richard II was born in Paris in 1389. The
daughter of King Charles VI of France married Richard at Calais
in 1396. She was Queen until his death in 1400 after which she
returned to France later marrying Charles, Duke of Orleans.
She died in 1409 in childbirth. Her younger sister Catherine
would later marry Henry V and her husband, the Duke of Orleans,
would be captured by Henry at the Battle of Agincourt and spend
a quarter of a century imprisoned in the Tower
House of Lancaster
of Valois was born in Paris in
1401. She married Henry
V at Troyes in 1420 and in 1421 gave birth to the future
Henry VI. When her husband died in 1422 she secretly married
Owen Tudor and their grandson was the future Henry VII, the
first Tudor King of England. Her elder sister Isabella had been
married to Richard II.
of Anjou was born in 1429 at Pont-a-Mousson,
Lorraine. She became Queen to Henry VI on their wedding in 1445.
In 1476, after five years in the Tower
of London following the murder of her husband there, she
was ransomed and released to return to France. In 1482 she died
at Dampiere, Anjou and is buried at Angers
people imprisoned at the Tower of London
House of Windsor
1986 Wallis Simpson,
wife of Edward VIII, died in Paris in the same house where her
husband had died in 1972. She is buried with her husband at
Cemetery in Windsor Home Park. Her husband had abdicated
in 1936 and they had married in France the following year.
Samuel Beckett and William Butler Yeats
see Nobel Prize Winners
Irish playwright Oscar
Wilde died in 1900 in Paris and is buried in the Père
Lachaise Cemetery. He settled in the city in 1897 on his release
from jail in England after he had been found guilty of homosexuality.
It is through Art, and through Art only, that
we can realise our perfection; through Art, and through Art only,
that we can shield ourselves from the sordid perils of actual existence.
Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.
Lady Windermere's Fan (1892)
English poet Wilfred
Owen was killed in action near Ors in 1918 one week before the
end of the First
World War, he was also buried in the town. His anti-war poetry
brought him posthumous fame, giving a generation disgusted at the
waste and cruelty of the war a powerful voice.
First World War
Wilfred Owen Association
All a poet can do today is warn.
Preface - Poems (1918)
New Zealand born short story writer Katherine
Mansfield died in 1923 at a clinic near Fontainebleau where
she had gone to cure her tuberculosis.
Lawrence died in 1930 at Vence, Provence.
I want to go south, where there is no autumn,
where the cold doesn't crouch over one like a snow-leopard waiting
to pounce. The heart of the North is dead, and the fingers of cold
are corpse fingers.
Durrell died in 1990 in Sommières in the south of
the country. He wrote poetry and nonfiction but became best known
for his tetralogy The Alexandria Quartet set in the Egyptian