The Anglo-French negotiations which resulted in an alliance in March 1657 are often seen as a long process of compromise and coercion between two major protagonists, Oliver Cromwell and Cardinal Mazarin. Accounts of the negotiations often refer to the conciliation of both countries on the grounds of military assistance or mutual promises of religious toleration in both countries.
This talk will move beyond the motives of Mazarin and Cromwell and will examine the personal experiences of resident French diplomats’ in London during the 1650s. In doing so it will uncover a murky world of underhanded tactics, spying, intimidation and mind games, with diplomats caught between two seemingly immoveable objects; an intimidating and secretive English state and a determined and firm Cardinal. The diplomats also faced further pressures due to their own personal circumstances which by the later 1650s, often led to frantic and repeated requests to return to France. The diplomats’ experiences significantly contributed to the tense standoff between England and France leading to the creation of the Anglo-French treaties in 1655 and 1657.
Dr Kirsteen MacKenzie is a historian who specialises in early modern British and Irish history focusing on the Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1660 and the Jacobites. Dr MacKenzie also has interests in early modern France particularly Franco-British diplomatic relations under Mazarin and Louis XIV. Dr MacKenzie is a life member of the Franco-British society. You can follow Dr MacKenzie on Twitter @kirsteenmm