Auld Alliance: France and Scotland join together to rekindle historic ties – Angus Robertson MSP

Relations between France and Scotland go back a long time. It was former President Charles de Gaulle who spoke of the “Franco-Scottish Alliance, the oldest alliance in the world” – better known in Scotland as the Auld Alliance.

Angus Robertson and French Veterans Minister Patricia Miralles unveil a plaque in memory of Scottish soldiers who fought for France from 1295 onwards
Angus Robertson and French Veterans Minister Patricia Miralles unveil a plaque in memory of Scottish soldiers who fought for France from 1295 onwards

It was a profound honour to unveil a memorial in Paris to commemorate that connection at Les Invalides, the home of the French Military Museum and the adjacent mausoleum to French heroes including Napoleon I.

Together with the French Veterans Minister, Patricia Miralles, I unveiled a plaque in French which says: “In memory of Scottish soldiers who have fought for France since the Auld Alliance of 1295.”

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In a moving ceremony attended by senior military from both countries and the British ambassador to Paris, the French military choir sang Flower of Scotland and La Marseillaise.

Excellent present-day relations were underscored in meetings with Europe Minister Laurence Boone, Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak, and the chairman of the French National Assembly Committee on Foreign Affairs, Jean-Louis Bourlanges, at the Paris headquarters of Unesco.

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The importance of Scotland’s trading relations was also a priority in discussions with the talented French teams from Scottish Development International and Scotch whisky firm Edrington.

Scotland’s relations with France really matter when it comes to jobs, investment, exports and our cultural co-operation.

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They will matter even more when we rejoin the European Union as an independent member state. Long live the Auld Alliance.

Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary