Kings naturally sought to stand above all other forms of public authority in their realm, and in doing so the monarchy succeeded in establishing itself as a focal point of loyalty and identity among its subjects. In earlier centuries, churchmen such as Abbot Suger of Saint Denis (1081–1151) had played a key role in promoting the king’s primacy by means of a ‘royal religion’ which claimed heavenly protection of the ruling line, and a special standing manifested, among other things, in the coronation ritual. Churchmen continued to have a close relationship with royal authority in the late Middle Ages as we shall see, despite the once-prevalent view that our period witnessed the birth of a ‘lay spirit’ and a declining role for the church in public life.
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- Ruling the French in the Late Middle Ages
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