The geographical area now known as France was in 1355 divided between the Franks, and the English. The area in what is now North – West Spain was an independant nation—Navarre.
Ximene’s inheritance—Occitan— was under control of the Franks despite the fact that its inhabitants speak a different language and have a different Culture.
As she struggled to define her role and destiny Ximene could not avoid the conflict.
Because she was thrown into close contact with the Black Prince and ultimately John Stanley, her perfect knight, the most important background force was the strategy and objectives of the King and Queen of England.
The hundred years war started because the Franks rejected Edward III’s claim to the Frankish Throne. This was partly because there were doubts about Edwards parentage.
Edward was however prepared to wage war to claim what he saw as his rights.
Edward had married Philippa d’Avesnes of Hainhault. Philippa was a strong minded constructive partner. She took a number of personal initiatives to improve the English economy but is remembered mainly because she had a very dark skin. her dan was inherited by her son, hence the Black Prince.
There was dissension within Edward’s own family. Henry of Grosmont, Duke of Lancaster was incredibly, selfishly, wealthy. His failure to share his wealth with even his siblings caused considerable resentment. he also had doubts about King Edward’s parentage and actively plotted to depose him.
Lionel of Antwerp, John Of Gaunt and Edmund of Langley, The Younger Princes, are siblings to the Black Prince