A Britain of Panthers and Lions: House of Oldenburg Britain

Even found a cousin Peter II would recommend for a Princess of Moldavia (if she does not become a Royal mistress of Peter himself, given how beautiful she was). The catch - her male children OTL were born with what can be high-functioning version of Down syndrome or some other moderately impairing mental disability combined with some really ugly looks, so there was persistent rumor (discredited only like 15 years ago with DNA testing proving that the descendant of Princess in question was indeed Rurikid) that husband of Catherine Kurakina was impotent and she had all her children with her manservant of Central Asian origin.
Oh now that is both interesting and quite sad, did she have her children quite late, or did she or her husband have some sort of genetic defect?
Her husband was only 4 years older than her (born in 1731, she was born in 1735) - https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Лобанова-Ростовская,_Екатерина_Александровна
All the children seem to be born early in marriage. Though she persistently complained of poor health, so that can be pregnancy complications affecting her two elder sons (the youngest one, Yakov, was actually rather good-looking and smart https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakov_Lobanov-Rostovsky_(1760–1831) )
Her husband was only 4 years older than her (born in 1731, she was born in 1735) - https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Лобанова-Ростовская,_Екатерина_Александровна
All the children seem to be born early in marriage. Though she persistently complained of poor health, so that can be pregnancy complications affecting her two elder sons (the youngest one, Yakov, was actually rather good-looking and smart https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakov_Lobanov-Rostovsky_(1760–1831) )
Oh interesting, perhaps she gets luckier with another husband?
Chapter 203: Winds of Change
Chapter 203: Winds of Change

October, 1723

It was howling outside. It always bloody rained here, but Edmund Fitzgerald, brother to the Earl of Kildare, and an army captain in his own right knew that the rain was good cover for this meeting. His brother did not know about any of this, and if he had done, he likely would not have cared. The Earl of Kildare was a man indifferent to most things that weren’t his own political advancement.

Edmund cleared his throat and the meeting began. “We’ve got news from Dublin. The Lord Lieutenant is going to be visiting the castle in two weeks’ time. He’s been sent here by the King after an argument over something to do with the equipment of the army.”

McShane, the leader of their little group snorted. “Let me guess, the Lieutenant wanted to keep the equipment the same and didn’t want to fork out the money to pay for improvements?”

“Exactly right.” Edmund said nodding in agreement. “He claimed there was no threat to the Lieutenancy and that there wasn’t likely to be a war, therefore, he saw no reason to pay more money.”

“And do you know what the King did?” McShane asked.

“Told him to remember who was King and sent him here.” Edmund said barely containing a laugh.

“That means we have a few weeks to prepare and take as much of the weaponry as we can from the surrounding garrisons.” McShane said. “It also means we’re going to need to have a mole inside the Lieutenant’s camp when he arrives.”

“My grandson is already serving as the cupbearer for the Deputy Lieutenant, and will be appointed to being the Lieutenant’s cupbearer. The man knows how to talk, and my grandson knows how to listen. You need not worry about that.” Edmund said.

“Will your grandson know how to listen out for key words?” Seamus O’Neil asked. O’Neil a descendant of the former Kings of Tyrone was the man they were going to use should their little plan go accordingly, and he was an intimidating one. Tall, muscular, with a mop of auburn hair and a strong beard as well. He was a proven warrior and had most of the Catholic clans under his sway.

“Yes, he knows what to look out for. My youngest son is also in Dublin and will be attending the Lieutenant also, so will be there to funnel information through as well.” Edmund said.

“And what of your brother?” O’Neil asked. “He serves as Deputy, does he know anything about this? What is there to prevent him from acting on any information he himself might be given?”

“He wants a promotion; he knows that he has it in his sights. But I have a friend at court who will whisper that he has tried to impede the Lieutenant’s progress. Once he is denied that promotion he will be on our side.” Edmund said.

“You are sure of this?” O’Neil asked.

“Most definitely.” Edmund said, he knew his brother and he knew just how ambitious the man was. His ambition would be his downfall.

“How very conniving of you.” O’Neil said.

Edmund smiled. “Anything for the cause.”
Chapter 204: Swedish House Rules
Chapter 204: Swedish House Rules

January, 1724

Charles, heir to the throne of Sweden looked around the room. There were servants standing against the wall, their faces expressionless. He grinned as his eyes passed over a young lady who was his mother’s favourite servant, he’d had his way with her a few days ago and was looking forward to doing the same after this meal. This had always been something that Mother had championed, family meals where they shut the court out and it was just the four of them. Three of them now really, what with Anne having married that idiot in Denmark. They would sit and talk about their day, usually it was Mother grilling either him or Anne on their lessons.

Charles decided he would start first. “I had an interesting day today. I read ‘The Two Theories of Government’ by Locke.”

Both father and mother looked up then. “How did you get that book?” Father demanded.

“And how did you find it?” Mother asked.

“Count Frederick gave me a copy.” Charles answered looking at his father, he turned his attention to his mother and said. “I found it confusing. Locke states that the sovereign can only have as much power as he is granted by God, but also argues that an elected body of representatives must serve to limit the power of the sovereign. How can elected representatives limit the power of God’s chosen?”

Mother who had met Locke herself once or twice laughed. “Locke was always someone who contradicted himself. He believed that rights were God Given and they could not be taken away at whim.”

Father snorted. “Then he was a fool. Whatever rights the people have, they were either won through war, or they were granted by their rulers.”

Charles nodded he’d heard this discussion before. He was not interested in it, what he wanted to discuss was the theories. “But if Locke believes that the sovereign gets their power from God, why then must there be an elected legislature? Surely that legislature would do everything it could take the power of the sovereign away? Like the Parliament in Britannia does to Uncle James?”

“Yes, but there are ways you can control the legislature. Just like here the Riksdag does nothing without the King’s approval, in Britannia, the legislature’s members are controlled by the King and other patrons.” Mother replied.

“What do you mean?” Charles asked. He had never quite understood how his mother’s home country’s system worked.

“Essentially, in the lower chamber which is elected, members are backed by a patron. That patron usually controls the entire area where they are elected to, and can dictate how the electors in that area vote. And if the King wants someone particular in, then that person will usually get voted in. It is why my brother has never had a Parliament that has stood against him, unlike my mother or grandfather did.” Mother replied.

Charles thought on that and then asked. “But then does that system not rely completely on the sovereign being active and having an understanding of politics? Otherwise then there would be little more to it than the Lords sending their cronies into Parliament.”

“Indeed it does.” Mother replied.

“So, such a system would not work here.” Charles surmised.

“Why, are you not politically smart?” Father quipped.

Charles laughed at his father’s joke. “That’s not what I meant. What I meant was that the system here is completely different. There are no patrons controlling seats, it’s simply people chosen by their citizens to stand and vote as their conscious and their loyalty to the King dictates. They could never be controlled by anyone other than their King.”

“At least you have learned something.” Father said.

“Indeed.” Charles replied smiling.

“Remember to show that side of yourself when you meet your intended.” Mother said.

Charles nodded, though he swallowed nervously at the thought of meeting his cousin Anne, she was said to be quite smart, and that in itself both excited him and terrified him.
Chapter 205: Newly Weds
Chapter 205: Newly Weds

April, 1724

Sweden, she had not known she would be wed to Sweden until perhaps a year and a half a go. And she had done all she could to make sure that she was prepared for it. Anne had met her husband for the first time, the day of their wedding. Crowds had lined the streets to see her arrive, and then marry their prince. She had met her aunt for the first time as well, Mary Stuart, whom her father spoke so highly of. And then there had been King Charles, or King Karl as he was known, who had such an aura about him.

Her husband had smiled at her and said all the right words, but on that day Anne had sensed he was guarded and reluctant to share. Since then she had tried to break down the walls he had put up, and it seemed she had succeeded if only slightly, for he had invited her to afternoon tea. They were drinking it, something from the Portuguese colony in Goa, she believed, or somewhere else. She picked up a paper on the table and read it. “You read Locke?” She asked in French, she was learning Swedish but was not confident in it just yet, but both she and her husband as well as her parents by marriage were fluent in French so that was the language they tended to speak in.

“I have done.” Charles said. “Do you?”

“I read it many years ago.” Anne said. She’d read it mainly to prove to herself that she was just as smart as George was. “What did you make of it?”

“It, or him?” Her husband asked in return.

“Both.” Anne replied.

“I found his theory of two governments to be nonsensical in that he tried to have it applied to all nations and Kingdoms. Something that is simply not possible. I found Locke to be an arrogant man, confident in everything he said with no sense.” Charles said honestly. “What about you?”

Anne thought for a moment, she had never met Locke for he had died before she had been born, but her father had been tutored by the man, and had despised him. Mother had read some of his work and found it negligible. She had read it then and well. “I think that Locke assumes too much in his work, and forgets that humanity is driven by emotions as much as it is logic and reason. I also think he greatly over estimates the desire of the British people to be ruled by elected representatives.”

“What do you mean?” Charles asked.

“What I mean is that from my understanding many of the common folk simply assume that the King has all the power, by virtue of being King and crowned by God. They assume the representatives that get sent to Parliament are simply there to advise the King. And to some extent they are right, and here being where Locke falls down. He thinks that the representatives as they are now being enough for a separation of powers. But they are not. The King is the only thing standing between Parliament and tyranny.” Anne replied.

She could tell from her husband’s expression that he was surprised that she had said what she had. And that surprised her. Surely he did not take her for a fool, especially given who his mother was? Eventually her husband replied. “An understandable view point and one I agree with.” There was a pause as the man seemed to consider his words. “What do you make of Hobbes?”

Anne bit her lip, her husband truly did not seem to be the fool she had first thought him to be. Perhaps there was hope in this marriage yet. “I believe Hobbes has the right idea, but that he too is wrong on the perspective of humanity. I believe that humanity needs order and structure, but that logic also is a reason for this not just emotion.”

“How so?” Her husband asked.

“Logic dictates structure, we cannot have people simply co-existing without someone being in charge, that is not how humanity has ever worked. Logic as much as the risk of humanity’s emotions dictates the structure we have today.” Anne surmised.

“I see.” Her husband responded.

“What do you think?” Anne asked.

Her husband said nothing for a moment and then. “I think I agree with Hobbes. Sweden is not England, but it is a Kingdom that requires a firm hand in the form of the sovereign. Otherwise there will be nothing but anarchy.” There was a long pause and then Charles said. “I feel that I should apologise.”

“Whatever for?” Anne asked.

“For acting as I have done these past few months. You did not ask for this marriage more than I did. Therefore, I feel I owe you an apology for that.” Charles said.

That was surprisingly manly for her husband or for any young man she had ever known including her brothers. George would never have apologised and James would’ve laughed and gone on about his business. Not Charles though, and in that moment she felt the first stirrings of interest in her husband. “You are forgiven.” She replied smiling, she felt the stirring grow when her husband smiled in response, he had a very nice smile.
Chapter 206: Viscount Shannon
Chapter 206: Viscount Shannon

July, 1724

Richard looked at the men in the room with him, and in the back of his mind felt the old nagging sensation. It was a sense that had developed during his time as a soldier, and it had not gone away. Perhaps that was why he had not died during the attempt on his life a few months earlier. He had suspected something and gone the different way. Still, someone had spoken to the traitors, and they were in this room. Kildare was too full of himself and ambitious to side with rebels, who would likely just have him hung if they succeeded. Arran was loyal to the King beyond doubt. Wyndham owed his position as chief judge in Ireland to the Protestant ascendancy nothing else mattered to him. And then there was St John Broderick who varied from place to place. Richard didn’t know what to make of him.

He looked at them all and then spoke. “We’ve received word on what these foolish idiots were planning.” All the men in the room straightened at that. “It seems their plans were to bring about revolution through killing me and some of the other men in this room. They intended to then seize Dublin Castle and declare an independent Kingdom of Ireland. It seems they had a candidate in mind to be King of Ireland also, a man named O’Neil.”

Kildare spoke then. “That’s not possible, the O’Neil clan died out during the reign of King James I.”

“Well either way the men we have spoken to claim that they were planning on doing this. Of course since their plan has failed, their leaders have since sunk back into the shadows and are now waiting for us to make a mistake.” Richard said.

“I still think we send the army in and have them destroy the rebel strongholds.” Kildare responded.

“That would be illegal.” Wyndham said. “We do not have a legal cause to send in the army, and we certainly don’t have a legal cause to send the army into people’s homes. Especially when who exactly the leaders of this little uprising are still unknown to us.”

“We have a legal cause.” Kildare fired back. “They tried to assassinate the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, a crime that is treason in every single way. As for not knowing who their leaders are, well that’s why we send in the army. Send them in, and the leaders will have to come out or they will lose face.”

“It is illegal. And the attempt failed, and the Lord Lieutenant himself has issued a general amnesty. To break that now would discredit His Majesty.” Wyndham replied.

Before Kildare spoke, Richard spoke. “I agree with Wyndham. Sending the troops in will not work. Even if I were of a mind to allow it, I do not think the troops would be willing to fire on their own countrymen.”

“Then bring in soldiers from England and Scotland. People who have nothing invested in this fight.” Kildare insisted.

“No. And that is final.” Richard said. He gestured to one of the servants for a cup of wine. The boy moved forward and poured a full glass. Richard thanked him and then looked back at Kildare. “I intend to settle this politically.”

“How?” Kildare asked.

Richard took a sip of the wine, it was surprisingly bitter, but he liked it. He took another sip, there, that was better. “I intend to look at the validity of introducing voting rights to the non-conforming Protestants within Ireland.”

Kildare seemed outraged. “You cannot be serious.”

Richard coughed. “I am.”

“That would violate everything. Parliament would never stand for it.” Kildare fumed.

Richard coughed again, he felt a bit of spittle come out that time and hurriedly wiped it away. He picked up a piece of paper. “This document from the King says that Parliament is irrelevant here.”

Kildare looked as if he might have a fit. Before he could speak, Wyndham said. “You can try to do that, my lord, but someone will try and overturn the decision.”

Before Richard could reply he started coughing. And then his coughing got worse. He tried to take a drink of the wine, but knocked the cup over. His vision began blurring. “Someone get the doctor!” someone shouted. A door opened somewhere, but Richard couldn’t see what was happening all he knew was it felt as if his throat was being crushed under something.
Chapter 207: Russian Dancers
Chapter 207: Russian Dancers

October, 1724

Summer was giving way to autumn, it was still tolerable enough to allow the children to play outside, and Alexei kept an eye on them from where he stood next to the window. Maria had been right to suggest designing the palace in this manner. It made things easier to do and move around through. And it enabled him to keep an eye on his son and daughters. He cleared his throat and turned around.

“You met with Lizette during your visit to the Hague?” He asked his old friend Alexander.

“I did yes.” His friend replied, there was an air of uncertainty in the response, Alexei turned away from the window and looked at his friend.

“How is she?” He asked. He knew his sister had gone through a lot, had turned this way and that on her marriage.

“She is well enough, but I believe that her marriage is what causes her the greatest unhappiness.” Alexander answered honestly.

Alexei frowned. “I do not know what she is writing to the Tsar, but to me it seems as though she enjoys court, but that her husband has a second family. Is that true?”

Alexander nodded. “It seems the man has forgotten who his wife is. And finds time to get her heavy with his child and then ventures back to the harlot who dominates him.”

Alexei gritted his teeth. “The Tsar assumed that by arranging this marriage he would ensure we had better ties to the Dutch and also give Lizette a happy marriage as Anna has with Courland. It seems he was mistaken. Abandoning the daughter of the Tsar for some common harlot. He has forgotten his place.”

“I am sure the Prince of Orange will meet with his cousin and try and resolve the matter. The Prince has not forgotten the good things that the marriage has brought to his people. He is also fond of Lizette.” Alexander said.

Alexei nodded he had hoped for the same also. “Maria and I are considering sending Peter away to study, he is nearly old enough now that such a thing would be normal. We had considered Amsterdam. However, if these insults to Lizette continue we may consider elsewhere. Perhaps to Berlin, or even to Vienna itself.”

Alexander said nothing, therefore Alexei continued. “I do not want him marrying one of Menshikov’s girls either. Despite what that old man thinks. I know he would have had me removed had my brother Alexander survived. No doubt he hopes to make Peter a puppet to his own designs.”

“So, it is true then?” Alexander asked. “I’d heard he’d been planning on suggesting a marriage between Maria Menshikov and your son.”

“Yes, he’s been whispering in the Tsar’s ear about it for months now. The Tsar refuses to give it serious consideration, but eventually he will bend.” Alexei said.

“Surely he’d want to avoid having three Marias in a row! Besides I much prefer Alexandra.” Alexander joked.

Alexei gave a wry smile and continued. “I’m sure father has some grand idea for Peter. A marriage to a relation of the Holy Roman Empress, or the Queen of the Romans. If she were willing to learn the language and the Faith, I’d agree. But I am not so sure about that.”

“So, you wouldn’t object if I proposed to say Alexandra when she’s of age?” Alexander jested.

Alexei grinned. “You’re first cousin to the future Tsar, you’re one of the most eligible bachelors in the whole Kingdom.”

“So, is that a yes?” Alexander asked.

Alexei grinned, but didn’t reply to that. Instead he said. “I suppose I worry too much about Menshikov, the Tsarina doesn’t like him, and considers him an upstart, but she has bent to the Tsar’s suggestion of a potential marriage between her brother and his daughter. And with her brother likely to serve on the regency for Moldavia, perhaps that would not be such a bad thing.”

“It certainly wouldn’t hurt.” Alexander agreed.

“Indeed, though whether it will gain traction or not…” Alexei trailed off as he heard his son come running passed the window.
Chapter 208: Retaliation
Chapter 208: Retaliation

January, 1725

“Word has come from Ireland, Sire.” Charles Seymour, Lord Privy Seal said. “The Duke of Ormonde writes that he has established control over Dublin and has gotten his brother the Earl of Arran to take control of Belfast. He has begun examining the reports of Viscount Shannon to ensure he is completely knowledgeable of everything the Viscount had been working on before his death.”

James nodded. The murder of Viscount Shannon through poison had come both as a surprise and not. James had suspected something like this might happen eventually. He was just surprised they had taken someone from Ireland. “And has he found the people who slipped in the poison in Shannon’s drink?” James had had to meet with Shannon’s relatives here to personally offer his condolensces. It had not been a good time.

“He has, Sire.” Seymour said. “Three people, two men, brothers named Gerald and William O’Shane were the ones who served and procured then poison.”

“And the third?” James asked.

“A woman named Edith who had been slowly poisoning Shannon through injecting poison into his food.” Seymour said.

“Wait, how is that possible?” Walpole asked. “Surely Shannon would’ve been able to tell?”

James spoke then. “Shannon liked his food slightly more flavoured than most people do. He would’ve simply taken it as that.” He looked at Seymour and asked. “Did they say why they did it?”

Seymour didn’t reply instead William Wyndham Secretary of State for the Northern Department spoke. “I have spoken with our friends in Ireland and have passed that correspondence onto Ormonde, Sire. It seems that there is a movement within Ireland that looks to establish independence for the area. They seek to remove themselves from the grip of London.”

“And what do they want?” James asked.

“To become a republic in the mould of Athens or Rome before its Empire.” Wyndham said.

That got a lot of mutterings around the table. James had to laugh. “They wish to become a Republic in an area where the nearest republics are Venice and some half bit Italian states. Truly a bold move. What has spurred this on?”

“The union, Sire.” Wyndham said. “Whilst the union might have brought an increased standard of living for many within Ireland, there are still a great many who cannot vote nor express any political will for fear of being persecuted. Therefore, many of those same people are joining this organisation in the hopes that it will give them what they lack.”

James thought on this, he could sympathise with the Catholics they had received a hard road since Cromwell, but the non-conformists? They were nothing but bigots. “And will it?” He asked.

Wyndham shook his head. “The leaders are non-conformists who despise the Catholics more than they do London. If there was a republic then they would be the ruling class.”

James nodded, he turned and looked at Simon Harcourt, Lord Chancellor and asked. “What are the legal procedures that can be used here?” He asked.

Harcourt said nothing for a moment and then said. “Sire, I believe the appropriate course here is to execute those responsible for the treason and then perhaps Your Majesty should visit Ireland. It would be harder for the Catholic elements to justify rebelling if they could see you. Perhaps then you might be able to discuss some relief for them.”

“Relief?” Walpole asked suddenly. “For Catholics?”

James looked at the man and said. “We would simply go and visit and see what their concerns are. The relief need not be political.”

“Exactly, legal aid can be brought in.” Harcourt said.

James nodded. “We want a planned visit made soon. Write to Ormonde to make the appropriate arrangements.” He would take George and Caroline with him.
“Word has come from Ireland, Sire.” Charles Seymour, Lord Privy Seal said. “The Duke of Ormonde writes that he has established control over Dublin and has gotten his brother the Earl of Arran to take control of Belfast. He has begun examining the reports of Viscount Shannon to ensure he is completely knowledgeable of everything the Viscount had been working on before his death.”
And this has given me a headache by reminding me that an Earldom of Arran exists in the Irish peerage that has nothing to do with the Scottish Earldom of the same name (though the Scots' versions has been bumped up to Duke of Hamilton by this stage).
And this has given me a headache by reminding me that an Earldom of Arran exists in the Irish peerage that has nothing to do with the Scottish Earldom of the same name (though the Scots' versions has been bumped up to Duke of Hamilton by this stage).
Indeed indeed aha
Chapter 209: Raja of All India
Chapter 209: Raja Of All India

May, 1725

Shahu looked at the ministers assembled before him and not for the first time found himself marvelling at the fact that he was actually here, inside the Red Fort and ruling all of India from Delhi. He had dreamed of this moment since he was a little boy, and though a new palace was being built for him, he knew that this was real, and very much happening. A thrill rolled through him once more.

He cleared his throat and said. “Have the Sikhs responded to the proposal?”

His chief minister Baji Rao spoke then. “Sire, the Sikhs have sent a response, stating that they accept the proposal. And are willing to send over their Guru’s grandson in response to the acknowledgement that they are a state ruled by their Guru who owes fealty to you.”

Shahu nodded, he had thought long and hard about this and had decided this was the best solution he could find. “Very well, when will the boy come?” He wanted the boy to have the chance to get to know his own family and perhaps become more of a Hindu than Sikh when he returned.

“In the next few moons, Sire. It seems he is being given the full rituals before coming.” Baji Rao said.

Shahu nodded. “Very well. We all know the importance of bringing the Sikhs into line and onto our side, they played a crucial role in destroying the Mughals. Speaking of which what has happened to the remaining Mughal Princes?”

Baji Rao continued. “Sire, other than those that were executed, five of them have been found and are now awaiting trials and sentencing. The issue remains as to what to do with the Mughal Princesses that are there.”

Shahu did not even have to think about it. “How many are there?”

“Three, the others all committed sati.” Baji Rao said.

Shahu flinched slightly, Sati was such a barbaric practice. “They shall marry my son and heir.”

“Yes, Sire.” Baji Rao said.

“There is another matter, Sire.” Ghorpade said.

“Go on.” Shahu said.

“The people of Kabul remain in chaos, torn between one tribe and the other. Both sides are fighting against one another for control of the city. Before the Mughals fell they had done nothing to stem the tide. I would recommend acting now to prevent a hostile power taking control of the city and causing issues for us in the future.” Ghorpade said.

Shahu thought on this and then asked. “Who are the two families leaders?”

“Mirhas and Qasim.” Ghorpade said. “One is more willing to allow toleration in Kabul, the other is more likely to execute anyone not a Muslim.”

“Until such a time as we can bring a Hindu ruler into Kabul, we will not interfere. Let them kill one another. We shall rebuild the ruins.” Shahu said.

He could tell that Ghorpade was not happy with that decision, but the man still bent his head. “Yes, Sire.”

Shahu was about to rise, when another thought occurred to him. “The loans that the Mughals had agreed to, have they been paid off?”

“They have, Sire. And the invitation to the Jews has been extended.” Baji Rao said.

“Good. We shall not fail where they did. Regardless of what the priests say. They are our people as well.” Shahu said, rising then and walking out of the meeting to get some fresh air and to enjoy the fact that soon enough the Red Fort would be no more.
I have just recently found this TL, and I have to say I am very impressed with the scope and quality with which you have written it. The ramifications for India ITTL are very interesting, and I have a couple of questions.

- As you have mentioned in this and previous chapters, it seems that Guru Gobind Singh and his sons have survived much longer than OTL. How has this affected the development of Sikhism?

- Have the Marathas begun raiding Bengal? Or, as Shahu seems to want, have the Marathas shifted away from raiding and plundering and are beginning their conquest of Bengal?

- To what extent have the Marathas plundered Delhi, or have they even done so? Will Shahu and his descendants sit the Peacock throne?

- What is the state of Europeans in India now?

The fact that some Mughal Princesses are still alive will be very beneficial to the Bhonsle dynasty ITTL. To somewhat answer my own question, it seems that Shahu and the Marathas as a whole are continuing Mughal traditions and tying themselves to the previous dynasty to gain legitimacy in the eyes of the Indian Muslim population.