Try imagining France and the U.K. merge to form a single political unit with the British Queen as the head of state.
Okay, you may get up from the floor and stop laughing now. According to the BBC, the French government actually made advances back in 1956 with the intention of discussing the prospect of either a political union with the Queen as the head of state or France joining the British Commonwealth.
Just as fascinating the prospect of Great Fritain is, are the motives behind the French government’s advances: France was stuck in Algiers where a certain Mr. Nasser was supporting insurgents and faced problems as Israel and Jordan were on the verge of war. France was an ally of Israel while the U.K supported Jordan. (Mr. Nasser played a role here as well)
British media are all over the place with the story: The Guardian – France and UK considered 1950s ‘merger’, Daily Telegraph – The Queen, La Reine, The Times – Were we nearly les franglais? (A typically Europhobic English take on the subject as the French were clearly the weaker partner – Fritons speaking Frenglish would have been the more likely outcome)In the end, the idea came to nothing and while it is fascinating to entertain a “what if” discussion, the true significance of the events is that they show how desperately weakened the French government was by the mid-1950s due to the Algerian crisis and a host of other problems and add to our understanding of the British reluctance to enter the EEC. After all, the British impression at this time was that the Commonwealth was not only a viable but also an attractive alternative to engaging with France and Germany.