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Where the Queen is 'duke' Yousay IN YOUR OPINION...

STEVE WEST raises an interesting question about both the Falkland Islands and the Channel Islands (You Say, March 6).

I think the answer to this is that the Falklands were only discovered in the 16th century, some time after the Spanish had settled in the land we now know as Argentina earlier that century.

The French had later made claims on the islands, as did the Spanish and, as we know, they were then acquired by Great Britain.

The position with regard to the Channel Islands is rather different. William I (The Conqueror) - Duke of Normandy - was ruler both of England and Normandy following the Norman Conquest in 1066.

It was in 1204 that King John (great-great-grandson of William) lost Normandy to the French king, bringing about a change in status for the Channel Islands, which remained loyal to the English Crown from then on.

Hence the nearby coast of Normandy became enemy territory and in the following centuries there were many major attacks on Jersey by the French.

The castle at Mont Orgueil was used to defend Jersey from these attacks, although for a brief period in the 15th century the French did hold it.

Mr West may be interested to know that whenever the Queen visits the Channel Islands she is also their "duke".

It may come as a surprise to many but France does have its own Channel Islands not far from our own, namely the Chausey Islands - a small group of islands about halfway between Jersey and the Bay of Mont St Michel.

These can be reached from the small port of Granville on the coast of Normandy. The Chausey Islands are visible from the castle in Jersey in clear conditions and also from the ferry between Jersey and St Malo. Very few maps show Chausey.

Perhaps now the French are content with their ownership of their own islands and just being visitors to ours! There was of course a much more recent "visitor" who held our islands for five years - Hitler. Older readers may remember Winston Churchill's announcement that "Our dear Channel Islands shall be free today" which is often heard in repeats of newsreel items from May 1945.

However, I think it unlikely that Hitler ever had his eye on the Falkland Islands.

* Mrs Margaret Smith Roath, Cardiff


* The Windsor Colliery monument needs repairs
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 15, 2012
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