A Death in Scotland...

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Shiva, May 1, 2017.

  1. Threadmarks: Prologue

    Shiva Dreaming... always dreaming...

    Aug 21, 2014
    A comfy couch
    A portrait of James VI of Scots, made after his untimely death.
    Scotland, 19 March 1570.

    The year 1570 in Scotland began with violence with the assassination of the regent for King James VI of Scots, known historically as 'the Wee-King' or 'the Boy-King'.

    The murder of James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, resulted in the rise of Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, the paternal father of James VI through his eldest son, to the regency.

    A political opportunist of a kind most often seen in Scotland's nobility in this era, his elevation to the Regency of the officially Presbyterian Monarchy caused the supporters of Mary of Scots to turn on him, however Earl Lennox paid this little mind at the moment since more disturbing events were happening right in front of his eyes.

    James VI of Scots, a boy who was barely 4 years old, was dying of one of the myriad of sicknesses that tended to come with the spring.

    Despite attempts by the best doctors available to save him, James VI died a week after his diagnosis on 19th of March, 1570.

    His successor? Well... It's complicated.
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
  2. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

    Mar 15, 2015
    Birmingham, UK
    Consider me subscribed.
  3. Lalli Well-Known Member

    Feb 28, 2010
    Succession question of Scotland will be intresting. And perhaps England has too intresting succession when the queen kicks a bucket.
    CaliBoy1990 likes this.
  4. Threadmarks: A New King and the Marian Civil War

    Shiva Dreaming... always dreaming...

    Aug 21, 2014
    A comfy couch
    A New King and the Marian Civil War
    Remainder of March 1570, Scotland

    In the week of James VI's illness, a flurry of scheming and intrigue unleashed itself, first in the city of Stirling, where James and his court were based since Edinburgh was in enemy hands, and then began trickling its way throughout the kingdom as news of the young king's sickness spread.

    As hope for the King's swift recovery were dashed and it became obvious that the boy would die, his grandfather and regent faced a very stark set of choices, not just for the succession of the crown but for his own personal survival.

    As one of many members of the extensive House of Stewart (or Stuart if you used the French spelling), Matthew Stewart, the Earl of Lennox had good claim on the Scottish crown. However in the official line of succession he was behind the Hamilton's, the legal heir of James VI was James Hamilton, the Earl of Arran, also the Duke of Châtellerault, a French title that Hamilton still sometimes used, despite having officially lost it in 1559.

    However there are a number of problems regarding James Hamilton's chances at becoming the new King, one is that he was still officially a supporter of the discredited, abdicated, and exiled mother of the dying king, Queen Mary of Scots. Another was that due to said support, James Hamilton had been arrested by Matthew's predecessor and was still in confinement, albeit in comfortable quarters suitable to his station, Hamilton was currently in Lennox's custody as a result. Then factor in that James Hamilton was an old man who's oldest son was considered a madman with no marriage or children, and his younger brothers were also supporters of Mary and had joined the 'Marians' in fighting the King's Men to restore both Queen Mary and the Catholic Church over Scotland.

    Now amongst the Scottish nobility, especially of men in Matthew's and James Hamilton's generation, religious affiliation was more of a political thing than anything to do with actual devotion. But even Matthew could see that actual opinions on the matter of faith and belief had hardened considerably over the years, due to the effective preaching of the Reformers, led most notably by John Knox, and on the Catholic side of things well... Too much blood had been shed, too many lives lost, simply too much had already happened for anyone to back down now.

    The years of the Wee King's reign were mared by what modern experts called 'a high-stakes civil war', fought by irregular armies, assassins, fanaticism, and a desire to settle old blood feuds. With his death, the situation would only get worse.

    Scotland needed leadership, a good and solid Protestant ruler, a new King.

    Preferably a King that wouldn't order his, Lennox's execution immediately upon ascending the throne.

    So ignoring his own past of switching his religion to the tune of the changing tides of politics, the good Earl of Lennox swiftly proclaimed himself the King of Scots once James VI breathed his last.

    A document was produced, supposedly marked by the Wee King on his deathbed, that altered the succession in Lennox's favor, excluding the entire Hamilton family entirely.

    As King Matthew I of Scots began issuing edicts, he sent messages to England to request that his wife, the new Queen Margaret Douglas and only remaining son, now Prince Charles of Scots return to Scotland once it was safe to do so. He also instructed his wife to begin looking for a good new wife for their son, preferably a Princess who could bring Scotland (and the Lennox's) a dowry and/or an alliance.

    Matthew also began taking stock of his supporters, sending proclamations of his coronation and demands of fealty from the Scottish nobility.

    Even while doing this, King Matthew expected challenges to his new reign to begin... Shortly.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017
  5. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

    Mar 15, 2015
    Birmingham, UK
    Oh now this is interesting, a King Matthew eh? I sense troubles brewing should he not cater to some of the more powerful factions.
    Tunak23 likes this.
  6. Threadmarks: Unhappy April (Scotland)

    Shiva Dreaming... always dreaming...

    Aug 21, 2014
    A comfy couch
    Unhappy April (Scotland)
    April 1570


    The death of James VI of Scots was met with dismay, the pamphleteers were already spreading rumors of poison and strange going-ons at Stirling Castle in the weeks prior to James's death. Even amongst the Queen's Men there was despair since it had been hoped to not just restore the boy's mother to the throne, but have him raised as a properly Catholic heir. Without an obvious heir, the cause would fall apart if Mary died unless she managed to bear another child, or chose a new heir.

    A tall order considering that Mary was currently the 'guest' of Queen Elizabeth of England, in the care of the Countess of Shrewsbury, and under heavy guard.

    While some began to despair, after all despite holding the city of Edinburgh and Dumbarton Castle, the foreign troops that were supposed to arrive in December to bolster their cause never materialized. Others became convinced that if they didn't press for advantage now they would lose, after all with Lennox proclaiming himself King, surely this would cause the heretics to squabble amongst themselves.


    On the King's Men side of things, there was mourning for the death of the Wee King, not to mention plenty who were suspicious of the circumstances surrounding the boy's death. That's not even factoring in Lennox's proclaiming himself King so swiftly, several Scottish lords had their own claims on the throne due to several Kings named James Stewart having bastards and giving them lands, titles, and legitimizations.

    However with Matthew having been the Regent, even if so briefly, meant that he had already been putting his own supporters in control of the government, and any in-fighting now would just give those Marian Catholic shits an opening, and risk having foreign troops from either France or Spain (or both) pouring into Scotland to restore their pet Catholic Queen.

    So the majority of the King (James VI's) Men chose to officially swallow their malcontent and agreed to attend 'King Matthew's Parliament' at Stirling Castle, or at the very least play along and see what they could get out of all of this. A few skived off, some claiming sudden illness, others the needs of fighting certain Papist bastards, a few of those were even being honest in their excuses for not attending.

    After all Matthew Stewart might be a King now, but the Lord worked in mysterious ways and 'King Mattie' might not get to keep his new crown on his brow for long.

    Plus, if he could make a strong enough case, they might even attend his coronation.

    Author Note:
    Due to me writing these up at 3 in the morning after work I managed to forget that Edinburgh wasn't in the hands of the Kings Men in 1570, James VI and his court were at Stirling Castle in the city of Stirling at this time. So I fixed it. Now coming up in the next post will be the initial 'International Reactions' to the death of James VI and his grandfather proclaiming himself King, the Big Three kingdoms of England, France, and Spain will get to absorb all this a bit and adjust their plots accordingly.
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  7. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

    Mar 15, 2015
    Birmingham, UK
    Fascinating, Scotland's becoming more and more dramatic by the day
  8. Major Major Tired Old Man

    Mar 5, 2005
    Where everyone watches for two minutes in May
    What is King Matthew going to offer for Bothwell? Or will the Danes "accidentally" let him go, to add to the fun there?
    Tunak23 likes this.
  9. The Professor Pontifex Collegii Vexillographiariorum

    Feb 22, 2006
    Collegium Vexillarum
    Things are a wee bit messie!
  10. Jammy Grand Duke of Abingdon

    Jun 12, 2006
    What does Elizabeth make of this?

    Is she funnelling money and weapons to her prefered candidate yet?
  11. Threadmarks: Unhappy April (England, France, Spain, and Denmark)

    Shiva Dreaming... always dreaming...

    Aug 21, 2014
    A comfy couch
    Unhappy April (England, France, Spain, and Denmark)
    April 1570


    Once it was confirmed that the rumors were true and that James VI of Scotland was dead, the court of Queen Elizabeth I of England and Ireland went into an official period of mourning for the death of one of the Queen's closest remaining blood relatives.

    Elizabeth's thoughts on the developing situation in Scotland were very complex, her personal vanity and belief in God's divine support for monarchy were still appalled at the overthrow of her cousin, Mary of Scots, even if it was becoming obvious that Mary was a serious threat to Elizabeth's reign and life. However she could at least tolerate that James was the King of Scotland, he was Mary's son and a good candidate to be her own heir.

    His death made things more complicated in regard to the English succession.

    Not to mention that the lad's grandfather had seized the Scottish throne, and whispers of poison, witchcraft, and other unnatural things were finding their way through England already.

    She was also miffed that 'King' Matthew of Scotland (or was it Scots? the usage was still inconsistent) had sent letters directly to wife, Margaret Douglas, with requests that she start looking for a foreign marriage alliance for their son, 'Prince' Charles of Scotland/Scots.

    The lad, at the moment Elizabeth was calling him Charles Lennox, was HER blood-relative due to his mother ALSO being a daughter of Margaret Tudor via her second marriage to Archibald Douglas. If anyone was going to find a bride for the lad in the marriage market of Europe it would be HER, the Queen of England. Especially if Matthew and his wife ever expected their son to have even a slim chance at being named her official successor.

    She had already sent word to 'Queen' Margaret Douglas and her son, requesting their attendance at court in London so that she might provide them suitable accommodations to their rank and station.

    Meanwhile at Chatsworth House, one of the many residences of Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewbury, who was more commonly called 'Bess of Hardwick', her official guest and friend, Mary of Scots took the news of the death of her son about as well as could be expected.

    Despite having been separated from the boy since he was a baby, James was her son, her only son.

    Mary of Scots locked herself in her bedchamber for three days before emerging with a request for some food and an all black wardrobe, the later she would wear for the rest of her life.

    After this, the former Scottish Queen began to throw herself into her professed Catholic faith and into needlework, the second of which was something that Bess had introduced her too during her 'residency' in England.

    Mary said to Bess a week after the official announcement of her son's death, "I fear that I am the most unhappy woman in all of Christendom."


    Charles IX of France took note of the death of James VI of Scotland, if for no other reason than the damn Duke of Guise was making a lot of noise about finally intervening against the 'Scottish heretics' in order to restore his blood relative, Queen Mary of Scots to her rightful throne. Especially now that said heretics had managed to lead, 'poor, sweet innocent' 'Prince James' into heresy and an early death; before the age of reason of course, which was why the members of the House of Guise were in mourning black and having Masses sung for the repose of 'Prince James the Innocent's soul in heaven.

    Charles noted that even Henri de Guise had conceded that France needed to subdue it's own rebelling heretics first. A tall order at the moment since, despite having the advantage in sheer numbers, the Kingdom's debts were spiraling out of control due to the Third War of Religion, and the Huguenots had sacked Toulouse and were marching through the Rhone valley, clearly heading for La Charité-sur-Loire.

    Not that Charles was happy with the Duke of Guise at the moment, the bastard had been caught having an affair with Princess Margaret, Charles's own sister no less. Well, she had been thrashed for it personally by him and their mother, Catherine de Medici, and the Duke of Guise had been exiled from court in disgrace. However even in exile he was proving to be an annoyance.

    It was becoming obvious that France was going to have to come to an accord with the Huguenots before the religious conflict brought the Kingdom into utter ruin. Even though it was tried before and failed miserably.

    Charles also wondered how his mother's attempts to find him a wife were going and just sighed, as much as he resented his mother for her domineering nature, he'd be quite lost without her.


    Philip II of Spain took in the information of the death of James VI with his usual outward stoicism, while internally contemplating what he could do about the situation. The conclusion disgusted him since it was obvious that there was very little that Spain could do directly, for the moment.

    He had just finished suppressing the Dutch Rebellion against his right to rule in 'Habsburg Burgundy', but he needed to keep the Duke of Alba there with troops to ensure that the rebellion stayed suppressed. After all the most capable and notorious of the ringleaders of the rebellion, William the Silent, was still at large, and large portions of that land were still adherents of the Protestant heresy.

    Not exactly a trustworthy piece of territory, but it was obvious that the Lord wanted him, Philip II of Spain to purify the land of it's heresy and return it to the bosom of the Holy Mother Church.

    Then there was the fact that most of the Spanish fleet would be tied up into yet another war with the Ottoman Empire, but at the moment were struggling against the Barbary Pirates, and piracy in the New World in general. Between the Dutch and English pirates and privateers, the gold that Spain desperately needed to fund the various projects of the Empire was irregular in it's arrival at best.

    At the moment, Philip really only had enough material available to keep everything he had on his plate going, and that was it.

    Then there was the matter of negotiations for his latest marriage, this time to Anna of Austria. With the death of Don Carlos and only two living daughters, he truly did need a male heir to ensure that the Spanish Empire had as smooth a succession as possible. True, it was legal for women to inherit his various titles, it was just a lot more unstable when they did so.

    No, as much as he loved them, he needed a son to inherit Spain, and the various other titles that were part of his half of the Empire bequeathed to him by his father, Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire.


    Frederick II of Denmark (and Norway) took note of the death of James VI for reasons that are rather curious... Once he sobered up enough to think rationally of course.

    Due to a twist of fate (or more likely stupidity), James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell and the 'husband' of Mary, Queen of Scots had fled to Denmark a few years prior in the desperate hope that he, Frederick would help him raise an army to forcibly restore Mary to the Scottish.

    Unfortunately for Bothwell he had first made a stop in Norway where he ran into the woman he had already been married too, Anna Throndsen. Considering that she was part of a powerful family this resulted in Bothwell being arrested, ultimately having to promise to pay her a lot of money and sacrificed one of the ships he had taken from Scotland in exchange for his freedom.

    By this time word of the murder of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley had reached Denmark, along with demands from Elizabeth I to extradite him as part of an investigation into this and many more of Bothwell's actions.

    At first Frederick had thought to use Bothwell as a pawn in some sort of scheme, it was all nebulous, but it came to nothing when it became obvious that Mary of Scots would stay an English prisoner for a very long time. Currently Bothwell was in a dank, shit filled dungeon chained to a pillar.

    But with James VI dead and the Scottish throne in dispute between this Matthew fellow and Mary of Scots... Well maybe improving Bothwell's conditions a bit would keep him alive longer, after all with him alive the former Queen of Scotland wouldn't be in a position to contract a new marriage, at least one that couldn't be disputed and leave any future hypothetical children with questionable legitimacy.

    It was a cheap way to further the Protestant cause a bit, and would make him look rather good. He could use the good news considering that the latest war with Sweden had turned into a stalemate. Neither side had the resources to continue fighting, but Frederick was still loathed to just end it with no gains whatsoever.

    As he finished issuing orders to have Bothwell sent to more comfortable accommodations, Frederick reached for his wine cup, some part of him already knew that he would have to start talks with 'John III of Sweden', he just didn't want to do it right now.
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  12. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

    Mar 15, 2015
    Birmingham, UK
    This was fascinating, and an intriguing look into just how drink addled Frederick II was aha. Looking forward to seeing what happens next.
  13. Threadmarks: The Stirling Parliament

    Shiva Dreaming... always dreaming...

    Aug 21, 2014
    A comfy couch
    The Stirling Parliament
    Scotland, Late April-Early May

    The Stirling Parliament hosted by Matthew I at Stirling Castle, one of the few Scottish Parliaments not hosted in the capital city of Edinburgh, was a tense meeting. Men who had been rivals and enemies for decades, blood feuds that had existed for generations, many with overlapping claims on titles and lands, not to mention those who were conspicuous with their absence, and at the top of this tinderbox was the new, self-declared King of Scotland.

    There was much to discuss, such as the on-going war with the Marians, the possibility of foreign intervention, the affirmation of Matthew Stewart as the King, and the little matter of the parliament being held in Stirling in the first place.

    King Matthew chose to have a sermon given before the formal opening of the Parliament, and the preacher giving it was the first surprise of the meeting.

    John Knox, the man, the legend, the one who was already seen as the 'Father of the Scottish Reformation', was the one speaking before the Peers of Scotland. Granted he was starting to lose his voice to old age, but he was in fine form that day.

    Now how he got to Stirling in the first place is a curious tale, back when the first regent of James VI was assassinated, William Kirkcaldy of Grange, the Keeper of the Castle of Edinburgh was influenced by William Maitland of Lethington into siding with the Marians and seized control of the city, but was unable to seize the person of James VI or his grandfather, now Matthew I. After seizing Edinburgh, William Kirkcaldy of Grange had all known Protestants and their sympathizers thrown out of the city, with a single exception. A man whom he had befriended when they were galley-slaves together, John Knox.

    John Knox had been considering leaving the city, despite officially accepting Grange's offer when rumor of James's death first reached Edinburgh. That forced Knox's hand, because of his extreme Anti-Mary sermons and calls for her execution for the murder of Lord Darnley, her restoration would see his execution.

    So... The most famous preacher in Scotland had fled to Stirling and thrown his lot in with Matthew Stewart.

    His two and half-hour sermon managed to cut most of the tension out of the room, the sermon itself being part-unofficial eulogy for James VI and part Presbyterian propaganda for the new 'Most Protestant' Monarch of not just Scotland, but all of Britain. It was obvious to the lords present that Matthew had thrown his lot in with Knox and the reformers as much as Knox had joined himself at the hip with King Matthew I.

    One of the most famous things about the 'Stirling Sermon' was John Knox calling James VI, "Our most noble and innocent Scottish Josiah, taken from us before his time." almost singlehandedly caused the name 'Josiah', previously a rarity to become a permanently popular name for boys to be given in Scotland.

    Once Knox finished his sermon with a prayer for the soul of the late King, and a prayer in support of the new one, Parliament was formally opened.

    The first piece of business was formally presenting the Peers with the 'Instrument of Succession' that was signed by James VI and several witnesses, removing the Hamiltons from the Scottish succession due to their treason and placing the crown upon Matthew's head.

    While many were not happy at such an irregular change to procedure, plenty suspected the document of being a fake even after several of the witnesses, such as George Buchanan testified to it's authenticity. Things could have gone badly for Matthew in this matter if it wasn't for the fact that, borderline illegal or not, there weren't a whole lot of good alternatives at the moment.

    Several of the men present, such as Robert Stewart, Earl of Orkney, were members of the House of Stewart with their own claims on the throne, but they were even more distant than Matthew and the legal heir (if you discount the abdicated Mary of Scots) were the Hamiltons, the eldest of which was Matthew's prisoner, his eldest son was completely insane, and the other two were fighting for Mary's restoration.

    No... While a few men such as Robert Stewart were now thinking of how they could get the throne, the majority present had accepted as an accomplished fact that Matthew Stewart was the legitimate King of Scotland, and voted unanimously in their acceptance of the Instrument of Succession, also accepting that Matthew's only living son was the heir to the throne as well.

    They did this for stability, for the Protestant faith, and because Prince Charles, the soon-to-be Duke of Rothesay, was currently unwed and the only living child that Matthew Stewart (who was in his early 50's) had.

    Men like Robert Stewart could still get their chance at a crown, they just had to be patient and pray that God was on their side.

    With that out of the way, the other issues discussed were the sieges of the Marian strongholds, such as Dumbarton Castle and the city of Edinburgh. The commanders in charge of said sieges had sent representatives to the Parliament, the other lesser pockets of Marian/Catholic stalwarts, and the forfeiture of estates by the rebelling lords, and several men in the room getting new titles and lands at Parliament by the new King, with more rewards to be handed out later based on performance and merit as 'the realm is secured from the traitors who have brought so much disorder'.

    An example was Robert Stewart, Earl of Orkney, who had his title bumped up to 'Duke of Orkney', Bothwell's claims didn't count.

    And speaking of Bothwell...

    One of the official announcements given by King Matthew was a reiteration of demands issued by James VI to the Danish crown to have Bothwell extradited to Scotland to be executed for the murder of the King's 'Most beloved son', who was posthumously made into 'Prince Henry, Duke of Albany'.

    A similar, but very politely worded, request would be sent to Queen Elizabeth of England for a second official inquest into the actions of 'Mary Stewart, formerly Queen of Scots' into her own role in Henry's death.

    As for the on-going war, the lords present pledged to continue fighting in the name of King and Country, and oaths were given alongside declarations of hope that once all of this 'dreadfulness' was ended that all of Scotland could be united as Matthew was formally crowned at Scone under the banner of peace and the 'true faith', etc, etc, etc.

    The Stirling Parliament, which lasted nearly two weeks, saw the establishment of King Matthew's new regime in Scotland, a sign of the former Earl of Lennox's lifetime of participation and skill in Scotland's ever changing and fractious political scene.

    Even as Parliament adjourned and the lords and representatives began to depart to return to the fighting with new earnest, Matthew was fully aware that this could still all fall apart, and that not all of Mary's partisans were open about their devotion. His death could come about from a knife in the dark as much as in glorious battle, and his son, his spoiled son, would need all the help he could get to secure his new inheritance.

    But for the moment, King Matthew I of Scots dared to hope for a bright future...
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  14. Noblesse Oblige Reaper Squad Member

    Aug 2, 2014
    Deling City, Galbaldia
    In hindsight, with James VI's death, it basically throws the English succession into the hands of Edward Seymour, Lord Beauchamp, so...earlier Edward VII, no Great Britain, unless a Seymour and a Stewart marry down the line.
  15. Threadmarks: A Calm Moment at Dumbarton Castle

    Shiva Dreaming... always dreaming...

    Aug 21, 2014
    A comfy couch
    A Calm Moment at Dumbarton Castle
    Early May, 1570

    John Fleming, the 5th Lord Fleming, often just called Lord Fleming, or by the men 'the Commander', glanced out the window of his private quarters at the besiegers. In the night he could see the flickers of light coming from their campfires. It was a small siege, but then again Dumbarton was a small castle, but it was easy to defend considering it's location, only one path of assault in a single direction was possible, and it's critical location allowed easy access to the River Clyde and easy access to the open sea.

    It was for this reason that, initially, he had believed that foreign forces would come, could still come, from France, Spain, even England. Protestant heretic or not, Elizabeth was kin to his most gracious Queen and surely even the bonds of family would compel Elizabeth Tudor to help restore the rightful Queen of Scots to her throne?

    Apparently not. Granted the English had sent money to Mary's forces, as did France and Spain, initially, but the promised relief forces that were supposed to arrive last December had not come.

    The assassination of Earl Moray had given him hope that the traitors and heretics were beginning to break, he had personally welcomed the assassin into the wall of the Dumbarton himself. The seizure of Edinburgh had delighted him even more. Then word of Prince James's death had reached the castle, he had tried to keep it from the men but word had inevitably leaked. Morale hadn't fallen as badly as it could have, after all the Dumbarton was still well provisioned and he had plenty of coin left to pay his forces for the rest of the year.

    But Lennox seizing the throne had clenched it for him, he, the Lord Fleming would never bend knee to a Usurper, and that is what Lennox would always be. For if the Queen, heaven forbid, were to pass away without new issue, then the crown would pass to the House of Hamilton, granted their sire was in Lennox's hands, but Fleming expected word of the 'passing' COUGHmurderCOUGH of the Earl of Arran any day now.

    No... The crown would fall to 'Mad Jimmy', which, God willing, would pass to his more able living brothers, either John or Claude, depending on the fortunes of war and the will of the Lord and the Virgin.

    Fleming was aware that France and Spain were troubled by their own dens of heretics, but surely the Good Lord would provide and enable them to win swiftly against them so they could come to the aid of poor Scotland in it's time of need, right?

    Lord Fleming sighed, he was getting tired, but he had to keep going. He had lived for four decades and he might yet live to see Mary restored to her rightful throne.
  16. Threadmarks: Three Queens (Pt. 1)

    Shiva Dreaming... always dreaming...

    Aug 21, 2014
    A comfy couch
    Three Queens (Pt. 1)
    England, May 1570

    -- The start of the month of May in London saw the formal arrival of Margaret Douglas, the Queen of Scotland and her son, Prince Charles, the newly created Duke of Rothesay, at the court of Elizabeth I. With all the pomp and circumstance that it would entail.

    The reasons for Elizabeth to be so quick to bring them to court as she prepared to go on her yearly progress through England were various, one was to keep a close watch on her ambitious cousin and her son since (in some quarters) they were now the family of a King. The other obvious reason was that, due to their Tudor blood via Margaret Tudor, the Queen's Aunt, Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay had a claim on the throne.

    And currently Elizabeth I had no official heir.

    Now some at court had considered the possibility of James VI one day becoming the King of England, but his early death squashed that plan, and Mary's own actions in Scotland had made many, even those among the 'secret' Catholics, wary of her gaining the English throne.

    But if Margaret Douglas was hoping for a pronouncement from Elizabeth on the English succession that day, she was sorely disappointed. While greeted with fetes and feasts and other forms of celebration and entertainment, Elizabeth was polite but a bit distant over a period of three days before giving them both permission to live as guests at the royal residence of Hatfield House in comfort.

    Elizabeth, and her court had been observing them, especially Charles, and they didn't like what they saw.

    While the boy had been well-educated, and cut from a similar cloth as his brother, albeit a bit more wispy looking, Charles was clearly under his mother's thumb, and not to mention it was reported to Elizabeth by her favorite, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, that Charles had been overheard bragging about being 'the future King of the British Isles'.

    Now while one would think that, despite Charles's (supposed) inopportune words that all of this would place England firmly in Matthew I's camp in the fight over the Scottish throne... But there wasn't a formal declaration of recognition from Elizabeth, recognizing that Matthew was the King of Scots.

    Everything that had been said and done could be easily repudiated as a 'terrible misunderstanding' and 'shameful happenstance' should Mary ever get Scotland back.

    Not to mention that Elizabeth had begun talks with France about a possible marriage between herself and either Henri, Duke of Anjou (and current heir to the French throne) or the youngest living sibling of Charles IX, Francis, Duke of Alençon.

    Normally this would just be an exercise in scaring Spain, especially since Elizabeth had been officially excommunicated by the Pope earlier in the year, but with James VI dead, and Charles, Duke of Rothesay having managed to offend her, and the other candidates having their own baggage.

    The Virgin Queen was beginning to think that she might be forced to take a husband, even if it did risk her own power.

    -- Guerau de Espés, the Spanish ambassador to England took note of all of this and sent word back to his King through official correspondence, but through an unofficial courier de Espés sent an update about a plot he had gotten involved in.

    It was a strange thing, being funded by a banker from Florence, but the end results, God willing, would see the old spinster heretic dead and a proper Catholic monarch on the thrones of the British Isles once more.

    What de Espés didn't know was that the courier was making copies of all these 'special' messages and during his round-about journey to Spain would make port in Rouen and had them sent to his true master, Sir Francis Walsingham, who had already cracked the cypher.
    Last edited: May 27, 2017
  17. VVD0D95 Lemmy is God.

    Mar 15, 2015
    Birmingham, UK
    The dance quickens. Brilliant!
  18. Threadmarks: A King's Mother

    Shiva Dreaming... always dreaming...

    Aug 21, 2014
    A comfy couch
    A King's Mother
    France, May 1570

    -- Catherine de Medici, the Queen mother of France, and it's ruler in all but name took a moment to calm herself, the correspondence in front of her revealed the latest bad news.

    Namely her plans to have her son, Charles IX, wed Elisabeth von Habsburg, the younger daughter of Emperor Maximillian II, since the elder sister that Catherine would have preferred for her son had just married Philip II of Spain, had gone up in smoke due to the sudden announcement of Elisabeth's engagement to Sebastien I of Portugal.

    Granted there'd have to be dispensations, but even a political novice could see that the Pope would grant them, so that was that.

    Catherine then turned her attention to the other pile of papers, she had read them several times already, committing it all to memory, the latest on the negotiations with the fucking Huguenot spawns from the depths of FUCKING HELL!

    Catherine froze in shock, did she yell that last part out loud? No matter, she was in her private quarters and only a couple servants were present, it didn't matter.

    Between Coligny, the Condé's, and the Bourbons led by that bitch, Jeanne d'Albret, the heretics that had brought so much disorder, bloodshed, and misery to her beloved Kingdom... And by that she completely meant the Kingdom of her sons.

    As much as she'd love to wipe out every single Protestant within France at this point, the French Kingdom was completely exhausted and needed time to recover.

    Besides... There were other ways to take of problems besides armies and battles, and Catherine fully intended to introduce her foes to every single one of those measures once the time was right.

    Plus, there were rumors that Jeanne d'Albret had become sick with consumption, if true it would mean that one of her foes would die soon enough.

    In the meanwhile she really did need to find an alternative bride for her son, the King... perhaps Marie de Cleves? She was pretty and her younger son, Henri, Duke of Anjou had already praised the girl's beauty. The girl did have a couple other sisters as well, but Catherine really wanted to find a match more prestigious than a member of the House of Cleves.

    But it seemed that Catholic Princesses were becoming a rarity these days.

    Then there was the latest from England, namely the 'Virgin' Queen was already making the latest proposal to wed one of her younger sons, either Henri or Francis. Catherine had authorized... Sorry, The King had authorized his brothers to travel to England to try their hand at wooing the Tudor Queen.

    Elizabeth had done this before, but Catherine could sense an urgency in this latest twist in the English Queen's history of using hypothetical marriages to leave the powers of Europe uncertain of where England stood in the game of politics.

    With James of Scotland dead, one of the best candidates outside of the lad's mother for the English inheritance, was gone.

    Plus... The French Queen wondered what Elizabeth knew of a certain scheme that was already underway. The idiot banker was in her family's lands after all, and her spies had told her about Sir Walsingham intercepting the Spanish Ambassador's messages to various players in the ever-growing web.

    In any case Catherine had already decided to stay completely out of this sordid affair, if they were successful then fine, if not then she could honestly say she had nothing to do with it.

    Then there was the new King of Scotland and his son, if Matthew could make his claim stick then maybe she could pawn off her soiled daughter Margaret on Prince Charles. Even though that would mean that Scotland would become yet another hive of heresy, the Auld Alliance was simply too useful a tool to throw away over a thing like a difference of theological opinion.

    She had once thought that of the Huguenots though, and look how that turned out.

    The difference though was that Scotland was on an island, the Huguenots were in France itself, and they had unleashed this chaos upon the land.

    Scotland as a Protestant Kingdom she could overlook, the Huguenots she could not.

    Catherine sighed, shaking herself out of her thoughts, while reaching for a fresh sheet of paper and her quill, it was time to contact Marguerite of Bourbon-La Marche and open marriage negotiations with the woman for the hand of one of her daughters for her eldest son. There was little doubt in Catherine's mind that the Dowager Duchess of Nevers would accept.
  19. Kynan Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2013
    This is really interesting, and the writing is nothing short of amazing.
  20. Jammy Grand Duke of Abingdon

    Jun 12, 2006
    Really enjoying this.