A Britain of Panthers and Lions: House of Oldenburg Britain

Chapter 268: Tsarevich
Chapter 268: Tsarevich



November, 1741


There was a knock on the door, and Peter groaned. “Go away.” He mumbled. The knocking got louder. “Go away!” He mumbled again, the knocking didn’t stop. Peter groaned, swore and then got up. He moved to the door and opened it. “What?!” He barked.

The guard remarkably didn’t flinch or even blink. “His Imperial Majesty wishes to see you, Your Imperial and Royal Highness.”

“Tell him I’m busy.” Peter said, he went to turn around and go back to bed, when the guard spoke again.

“His Imperial Majesty has commanded you to attend him.” The guard said.

Peter stared at the guard, he knew then that there would be no point protesting, his father would no doubt send the Imperial Guard to get him if he didn’t come now. This guy was just some palace guard who’d been sent. Peter sighed. “Very well, I am coming.” He turned around, put on a shirt and washed his mouth before walking out with the guard. He would need something to drink, his head hurt. Maybe he’d gone a bit too hard last night, though Varvara had assured him it would be okay, but then his wife was a bit of an idiot.

It didn’t take them long to get to the Tsar’s quarters, where the guards bowed their heads. The guard who had accompanied him, knocked on the door and announced him, then Peter walked through. The Tsar was sat before the fire reading something or the other. “Sit down.” The man commanded.

Peter did as he was bid, the chair was uncomfortable, but faced the Tsar, so he’d get to see how disappointed his father was in him. “You did not attend the council meeting this morning.” It was not a question but a statement.

“I didn’t see the point of doing so.” Peter said.

“Did you read the papers?” The Tsar asked.

“I did.” Peter said.

“And?” The Tsar demanded.

“I think the foreign minister is wrong about Sweden. The King is more content to play with his toys and his wife than with any desire for war. Poland has no desire to break up Prussia either. Therefore, I think he is severly overestimating the threat of war. If anything we should be talking with the Poles about an alliance against the Turks.” Peter said.

“You still consider the Turks a threat?” The Tsar asked.

“Yes. Their new Sultan is trying to bring about reforms on the model that we ourselves have used. We need to act now before they succeed.” Peter said.

The Tsar said nothing for a moment, but he did put down his papers and looked at Peter. “And the financial discussions.”

“I think we need raise taxes higher than the finance minister proposed. We can’t develop the roads we need if we keep them at only 5-10% of the current rate.” Peter said.

Something that looked like a smile crossed the Tsar’s face, though his next words were serious. “You are smart, Peter, you shouldn’t do yourself a disservice by not attending council meetings.”

Peter snorted. “With due respect Your Imperial Majesty, if I wanted to listen to a bunch of old men waffle on about things with no end in sight, I’d listen to Boris the Bear talk about how things were done during Grandfather’s reign.”

The Tsar actually grinned then and Peter counted it as a victory. “Very well, but you are not spending your days properly. Who is your latest conquest? The Danish ambassador’s wife? That is not appropriate for a Prince.”

Peter suppressed a grin, he knew his father disliked the Danish ambassador. “I think it is highly appropriate. I’ve learned more from her than I have from the ambassador.”

“Such as?” The Tsar asked.

“Like the fact that Danish women are insanely good in bed, and the fact that her husband is a buffoon who listens to her more than he does his own King.” Peter said.

The Tsar truly looked as if he were going to laugh then, but instead he simply said. “Your wife would not be impressed with your carryings on, if she knew the full extent of them. Which is why we are sending you both on a mission.”

“Where?” Peter asked, with a hint of nervousness.

“To Moldavia.” The Tsar said.

“Why?” Peter asked, his uncle was the Prince there and had managed to bring the unruly provinces under his control for now, surely?

“We wish for you to explore our allies realms and to understand their strengths and weaknesses.” The Tsar said simply.

Peter wanted to protest, but instead he asked. “When do you want me to leave?”

“By week’s end.” The Tsar commanded. All Peter could do was bow and then wait to be dismissed.
 
Chapter 269: Cobham
Chapter 269: Cobham

February, 1742


Brigadier General Richard Cobham, 1st Viscount Cobham scratched his chin. The new world was a damned sight worse than London, there were all types of people here, especially in New York the capital of the colony. Filled with all the low lifes who would never make an honest living in London and yet had somehow managed to find a way to do well here. He envied them. He was ashamed to admit it, but he did. His career had been going so well as a young man, he’d gotten the favour of Walpole and Marlborough during the reign of Queen Anne, fought well during the Eight Years War and the Spanish War, and risen to the rank of colonel, then he’d been raised to the rank of Brigadier in 1720, and then something had happened. He’d spoken out in Parliament against Walpole’s financial reforms and the promotions had stopped coming. For the last twenty-two years, he’d been stuck as a Brigadier whilst those like the current Duke of Marlborough had been made Field Marshal. It frustrated him.

Eventually, he had come to terms with the fact that his influence was over, militarily at least. He’d settled into his political career and through his contacts at court had been able to provide patronage to various newcomers. William Pitt was now a junior minister in the Northern Ministry and the boy had a flair for it, he’d soon be a senior minister, Richard could tell. George Grenville was also another one, he was in the Treasury and he’d make a great first minister when the time came. So, it had not been for naught. Richard knew he could get the final promotions he needed and then retire into comfort. That was what he hoped for anyway.

He cleared his throat and spoke. “I’ve had a look at the garrison force that you asked me to, Lord Governor and I have to say I am not impressed.”

“Brigadier?” Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, Governor of New York and cousin to the King asked.

“The state of equipment is four years out of date, the state of the men is futile and their morale is lacking. How have they been trained? Who has been instructing them in how to fight and how not to?” Richard demanded.

“Major General Lewisham, Brigadier.” Hyde said.

“Lewisham is an idiot then.” Cobham said. “He is using materials which were last used in Europe five years ago. A change is needed.”

“So, what would you recommend?” Hyde asked.

“I would recommend using the weapons that have been brought from London, and beginning training of the garrison and any and all willing men of age.” Cobham said. “The French might have stopped their raids but they will not hold to peace for long. Not if they knew just how weak we were.”

“And how would you recommend we pay for this?” Hyde asked. “Weapons are there, but training and outfitting the men will cost money. Money that we do not have.”

Cobham looked at Hyde in surprise and said. “By getting the assembly to fund it.”

Hyde laughed. “Sir, this is not London.”

“What do you mean?” Cobham demanded.

“The assembly is a lot less willing to just vote for things that they see no need for. The French have stopped harrying us for now, and therefore they will argue that the need for an expanded military force is not there anymore. As such they will want to focus on other issues, such as which paper has printed something that is true but they consider a half truth.” Hyde said.

Cobham looked at the man and asked. “You cannot be serious. They cannot be so half hearted as to think that the French will just stop?”

“They are, Brigadier. The French have been doing this for many years now. Lulling us into a false sense of security. Raiding for a few months, maybe a year, and then stopping for three, allowing people to forget before starting up again.” Hyde said.

“So, why has nobody said or done anything about it?” Richard demanded.

Hyde sighed, as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders. “Because people are foolish. They would rather argue over petty grievances than fix something that would become a problem in the long term. Unless the French invade with a large force, nothing will get done.”

Richard thought quickly then. He knew that the King had given him orders and he knew he needed to fix this situation as quickly as possible. And then the solution presented itself to him. “Summon the assembly, Governor. Give me an hour to speak with them. I will convince them of the worthiness of what I am proposing.”

“And how will you do that?” Edward Hyde asked.

Richard smiled. “By giving them a demonstration.”
 
Chapter 270: Cyrus
Chapter 270: Cyrus

May, 1742


Tahmasp, Shah of Iran scratched his chin and then said. “For years now we have trained and prepared our people for any outcome. They have undergone some severe conditions, we wish to know if it has all been worth it.”

Rajab Ali Khan, the Grand Vizier spoke. “Sire, I have two documents here which prove that the sacrifices made by the people have been worthwhile. One document speaks of the increase in value of our coinage which ensures that it has more purchasing power, and the other speaks of good harvests.”

“Excellent, now the question is how do we ensure that the people can see this as a tangible benefit.” Tahmasp mused. He remembered how his father had been overthrown and killed due to not being able to present anything as a stringent benefit to the people. He wanted to avoid that fate.

“Well, the way I view it Sire, there are two ways we can approach this.” Rajab said.

“And those are?” Tahmasp asked.

“The first way is through demonstrating the changes that have come from the improvements to the military. Military might will show the people that we are a Kingdom to be taken seriously, and it will also ensure the tribes do not forget where their authority comes from.” Rajab said.

“And the second?” Tahmasp asked.

“The second way is to invest in roads and other systems that will bring long term benefits to the people, it will be costly, but it will be worthwhile.” Rajab said.

Tahmasp thought for a moment and then said. “We do not want to display our army as if it is some sort of play thing, therefore we wish for the reforms of the roads and the sewage systems to begin, and for the drainage systems to be improved.”

“Sire.” Rajab said.

Tahmasp then turned to Nader Afshar, the one concession he’d had to make upon his ascension to the throne over his father’s corpse. The appointment of this man as his chief of military. The man was a bit of a brute, but he got things done. “Well Nader, how are things progressing with the military?”

Afshar didn’t speak for a moment, he was not one given to speaking in large bursts, but in small sharp sentences. Therefore, Tahmasp knew he’d be carefully considering every word he was to say before he spoke. Eventually, the man said. “Good, Sire. The instructions we have received from the Russian ambassador has been most useful and the financing from the Austrians has been put to good use. I am confident that should a war break out between us and the Ottomans we would win.”

“And do you think such a thing is likely? War, that is.” Tahmasp asked.

“I think that given what we know about the Sultan it would be foolish not to think such a thing might happen.” Nader replied.

Tahmasp nodded, he had heard whispers that the Sultan had himself instituted reforms of his army and as such was looking to regain some lost prestige, whether that would mean going into Europe, or coming back to Arabia, Tahmasp did not know. “And what about Afghanistan? Could we reclaim those lands we lost to the Indians?”

Here Nader’s face contorted slightly as if he was considering something unpleasant. “I think that we could. And unlike with the Ottomans we would not need to look for an excuse to mobilise. We have it already in the persecution they are putting our fellow Muslims under in Kabul.”

Tahmasp considered this and then said. “Mobilise a small force. And move it to the border. Let us see how the Indians respond.”

“Sire.” Nader said.
 
I think I like Brigadier General Richard Cobham, it will be interesting to read what he cooks up here.

Isn’t Iran Persia at this point?

Drunken Russians getting into trouble? Well let’s hope Peter gets his considerable brains in order to do something more worthy.
 
I think I like Brigadier General Richard Cobham, it will be interesting to read what he cooks up here.

Isn’t Iran Persia at this point?

Drunken Russians getting into trouble? Well let’s hope Peter gets his considerable brains in order to do something more worthy.
Cobham's going to be cooking up quite the storm, he's got a lot to prove.

Iran's always been known as Iran to the natives, from what I've read, Persia was what the West called it.
 
Drunken Russians getting into trouble? Well let’s hope Peter gets his considerable brains in order to do something more worthy.
Well, he DOES HAVE (superficially) some of negative stereotypes associated with his OTL "half-self" and his OTL cousin (Peters II & III) being hunts loving wife-despising womanizer ("I'm sleeping with a subject anyway so it does not matter who"), but he IS smart enough.
 
Chapter 271: The Cambridges
Chapter 271: The Cambridges

August, 1742



“And then Wyndham tells George about what Brigadier Cobham did to the New York Assembly, and everyone else’s jaw has dropped to the floor, but George just sits there quietly for a minute before then asking ‘And did he get the result he wanted?’ And Wyndham has to hurriedly say that yes he did, but that the representatives now want him gone.” James, Duke of Cambridge said to his wife Philippine.

Philippine laughed with her husband and then asked. “And then what happened?”

“And then, George looks at Wyndham and says ‘I don’t want him gone, I want him promoted. Promoted to the rank of full General.’ So, of course Marlborough has to rush to draft the papers and send them off, all the while he’s muttering about the irregularity of this and how Cobham would’ve been done for insubordination under Father. But he gets it done.” James said.

Philippine smiled. “You seem happy about that.”

Her husband grinned. “I am. Marlborough’s a stiff-necked idiot, he needed something to shake him out of his comfort zone, and what Cobham did was smart and quick thinking. It showed the colonies that we won’t take their inaction lying down.”

Philippine nodded, she knew her husband had briefly considered being asked to be sent to the Colonies with the army, but had decided against it after learning that was where George Beauclerk was to be stationed in his commission with the army. She was happy her family had decided to take her concerns about Beauclerk seriously, and it seemed her husband had as well. She blinked when she felt her husband take her hand in his. “What are you thinking about?” He asked her.

“Just how wonderful it is to be here, with you.” Philippine answered honestly. Their relationship had changed quite a bit over the decade they’d been married. At first they’d been uncertain about one another, and then when the children had been born something had changed, and James had stopped trying to stay with Beauclerk.

“It is, isn’t it? Away from everything else at court, this is nice. And the children seem to be enjoying it.” James said.

Philippine smiled and replied. “Caroline came up to me today, and told me that she didn’t approve of something one of her ladies had said. And when I asked her what they’d said,” here Philippine did her best to mimic the Britannic accent, which drew a laugh from her husband. “It is highly unseemly for two girls of your age to be frolicking about as if they are mere girls, Princess, you are almost a maiden flowered, you must behave like it.”

When he was done laughing, her husband asked. “Did she say who the lady was?”

Philippine shook her head. “Only that she’d given the woman a right telling off.”

“Good.” James replied. “Talking like that to a girl, let alone a Princess is unacceptable. She’s a child still, not a brood mare.”

Philippine hummed her agreement. She knew that here as in France, girls were seen as little more than bodies for future heirs, but at least her husband had some sense. That he wanted more for their daughter than to just be another brood mare was always going to be a good thing in her eyes. “Though there is a point here. Caroline is eleven, soon enough people are going to want to discuss a marriage for her.”

James waved a hand dismissively. “No they’re not. George has daughters of a similar age; they’re going to be the main focus. Which means we get to decide who are our daughter marries.”

Philippine hadn’t considered that, she’d always assumed that the King would make the choice, as he did in France. But, she much preferred this system, at least this way she could ensure her daughter actually knew the person she was to marry. “So, have you considered anyone?” She asked of her husband.

James shook his head. “No, I was going to wait until Caroline was older, and then we could sit down and discuss it properly.”

Philippine smiled. “I think that is a great idea.”
 
Chapter 272: The Sun Sets


Chapter 272: The Sun Sets

December, 1742


Shahu coughed, the end was approaching, the Pundit was nearby waiting and yet he still clung on. The stubbornness which had seen him consolidate the gains his father had made ensured that he stayed on now. Right until the end. He looked at the people before him and saw his wife, he smiled at her and felt her take his hand. He looked at his daughter and her children, and at his son’s children and even his son’s grandchildren and smiled. The dynasty was completely secure.

“Baji Rao.” He said in a whisper.

“I am here, Sire.” His chief servant said.

“Where is our son?” He asked.

“His Imperial Highness is coming, Sire. He should be here soon.” Baji Rao replied.

Shahu nodded, the moment he’d felt the pangs of death clawing their way toward him he had sent letters and riders to his son in Kabul. “What is the situation of the Empire?” He asked.

“Surely this is not the time for that?!” His wife asked.

“An Emperor can never rest.” Shahu retorted. “Baji Rao, we asked you a question.”

His Peshwa replied. “Sire, the Empire is secure. In the south the Princes do their homage, in the north the Sikhs have kept the peace, and in the east the Bengalis continue to push the Ahoms.”

“And in Kabul?” He asked.

“The Afghans keep the peace also, Sire. Though they continue to report that the Persians refuse to acknowledge the peace.” Baji Rao said.

“So Shiva shall have another problem to handle when he ascends the throne.” Shahu said more to himself than anything, but still, his son was capable, of that was sure. His son had fought in wars and had handled the Afghans with great strength and pleasantness, furthermore, his son Shah was a good man with a solid head on his shoulders.

Shahu looked at his Peshwa and said. “You will be there to advise him of course.”

“Of course, Sire.” Baji Rao replied bowing his head.

“And your wife? How is she?” Shahu asked. He remembered the controversy that had ensued when his Peshwa had married a Muslim woman, his family had tried to throw him out or some such. It had taken Shahu’s own intervention to prevent such nonsense from happening.

“She is well, Sire. She is resting.” Baji Rao replied.

“Good.” Shahu said.

There was a commotion outside his room, and he heard someone shout, he recognised the voice but wasn’t sure who it was. “Krishna go and see who it is.” He commanded his daughter, she got up and hurried to the door, just as she got there, it flew open, and a voice he recognised as his son’s said.

“I am here, Father. I am here.”

His son came and knelt next to him. “What took you so long?” Shahu asked chidingly.

“I am sorry Father, I had some business to attend to.” His son replied.

Shahu snorted and coughed as a result. “Good, now that you are here we can end this all.”

He cleared his throat, coughed and then spoke. “I inherited an Empire that was strong but on shaky ground. Now I believe that the empire has strengthened and solidified. It would take immense stupidity for it to fall now. However, we cannot predict the future, therefore I trust that all of you gathered here before me will do what needs to be done to protect the Empire. to assist the new Emperor in his duties and to protect the family from foreign threats. You all know what needs to be done, now swear that you will.”

“We will!” Was the response.

“Good.” Shahu replied, he closed his eyes, and dreamed of paradise. Slowly but surely he felt peace envelop him, whatever would be would be, it was not his problem now.
 
Going out on your own terms with a decent goodbye speech? Many leaders would dream of that!

Let’s hope Shiva does not mess it up!
 
Going out on your own terms with a decent goodbye speech? Many leaders would dream of that!

Let’s hope Shiva does not mess it up!
Oh aye, though the new Emperor's already in his forties, so he's going to have to see whether the old bones are still active :p
 
Chapter 273: Calabria
Chapter 273: Calabria

March, 1743


Ferdinand looked at the papers spread out before him and sighed. “I hate doing this.” He complained. “It’s so tedious and everyone knows that nothing will get done unless the Queen agrees to it. So, I don’t understand why we have to do this.” Ferdinand knew he sounded like a child but it was true.

“Because the King wants to know if you are capable or not.” His wife Barbara said.

“Capable of what? Nodding my head?” Ferdinand demanded.

“No, of forming your own opinions.” Barbara said.

Ferdinand rubbed a hand over his face and groaned. “And yet he never fucking listens to any of them.”

“And you know why that is.” Barbara said.

“Because of my whore of a step-mother?” Ferdinand asked.

“No,” Barbara replied hitting his arm. “Because you’re never forceful enough. You’re the Duke of Calabria, the heir apparent to the throne, have some backbone, and stand your ground.”

“And then what? We both know he will just listen to her, and not to me.” Ferdinand said. “I’m not Louis, I can’t force him to listen to me.” His older brother had always known how to deal with their father and with their step-mother, indeed Ferdinand was half convinced that was why Louis was dead and he wasn’t.

“Then you go to his ministers and you put forward your proposals to them. You go to the Count and to the Archbishop, and they will put the idea forward to the King. The King will not go against a man of God.” Barbara said.

Ferdinand wanted to protest, but he knew his wife was right, and therefore he simply sighed and mumbled. “Why do you always have to be right?”

His wife grinned and kissed his cheek. “What are wives for if not that?”

Ferdinand laughed and then turned sombre again. “They’re talking about marrying Felipe off to some Spanish woman to secure the backing of the Spanish King for when Felipe becomes Duke of Parma.” There was no point denying it, Barbara could have no children, not after the last miscarriage and so Carlo was his heir, and thus Felipe was Carlo’s heir.

“That’s not good.” Barbara said. “He should be wed to a French Princess to secure that alliance.”

Ferdinand nodded. “I know, but the Queen is convinced that a Spanish Princess is the right person for him. I’ll have to wait and then make my own plans. Father doesn’t want Felipe married just yet.” Well that wasn’t quite true, Father didn’t think Felipe was ready for marriage, and if he were being honest, Ferdinand agreed with him. His brother spent most of his time whoring and drinking, he could barely stand most of the time, let alone do anything with a bride.

“Well, perhaps that can be another thing you speak about with the Archbishop.” Barbara said.

Ferdinand didn’t say anything immediately, he merely thought on it. His wife made sense. The Archbishop had a lot of influence over his father, almost as much as the Queen did, perhaps that might be enough to sway things toward his line of thinking, perhaps not. Ferdinand took a deep breath and wished that the indecision that had plagued him his whole life would just fuck off for once, but instead it nestled within him and stuck a finger up at him. It forced him to sigh and say. “Perhaps.”
 
A moment ofthanks
Just wanted to say as it's been two years since I started this timeline, thank you to all of you, old readers and new readers, the ones who turn up and comment and the ones who turn up and leave a like and to the silent readers. Thank you very much, I hope you continue to enjoy this journey we're all on.
 
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