A More Personal Union

Moray is Lord James Stewart; he's not the Earl of Moray ITTL, because that title and accompanying lands belong to the Earl of Huntly. OTL, Mary made Stewart Moray in gratitude for his service; during the early years of her reign they were very close. However, ITTL Stewart and Mary have not seen each other in years. Stewart is doing his best to maintain the peace in Scotland.
 
Moray is Lord James Stewart; he's not the Earl of Moray ITTL, because that title and accompanying lands belong to the Earl of Huntly. OTL, Mary made Stewart Moray in gratitude for his service; during the early years of her reign they were very close. However, ITTL Stewart and Mary have not seen each other in years. Stewart is doing his best to maintain the peace in Scotland.
Interesting. Stewart (I can't help thinking of him as Moray - but yeah, if he hasn't gained the title and lands...) was a competent man, though possibly ambitious.

Wonder whether he'll remain a supporter of Mary or not - he's not the sort to take for granted as either a diehard supporter or enemy, but he's not as treacherous as some of the asshats.

Interesting times ahead! :D
 
March 1563: With the complete breakdown in civil authority in the Languedoc, cities such as Toulouse and Montpellier have become unsafe; while riots rage against the Inquisition, bandits and other outlaws take advantage of the chaos to enrich themselves at the expense of the peasantry.

Since November, Toulouse has been leaderless, drifting between periods of relative quiet and periods of mob rule. The Parlement of Toulouse has not met; most of its members are noblesse de robe, who have the money and power to flee the Languedoc for less unstable provinces.

On March 20, a Saturday, seven Toulousain jurists and city guards meet in the crypt of the Basilica of St. Sernin. Led by the judge Jean de Coras, they declare themselves “true subjects of his majesty Francis, second of that name and by the grace of God King of France” and that at the same time, “having no law above us, save God’s and the King’s, for all other lawgivers hath fled, we take upon ourselves the right of lawgiver, until such time as his majesty’s law is restored.” Three of the men are Huguenots, four are Catholic.

Their goals are twofold: restore order and royal authority to the Languedoc, and expel the Inquisition. Because of their almost fanatical opposition to the Inquisition, the Toulousains quickly nickname the men “the Exquisitors.”

Rallying both Protestants and Catholics who have spent the last nine months living in fear, the Exquisitors set themselves up as the civil authority in Toulouse: the “Exquisite Parlement” as they are called. There is no organized opposition, all other institutions having fled.

Throughout the months of March and April, the Exquisite Parlement begins to build a militia composed of men of both faiths, hoping to seize back the Languedoc from bandits and looters.

April 1563: Henri de Montmorency begins to move south, rolling up most opposition in his path. He’s spent the winter reinforcing his troops, and now he’s prepared to take the south back from civil unrest by force.

A force of three hundred Hamiltons marches on Lochleven Castle, where William Douglas, murderer of James Hamilton, is celebrating Easter. On Easter Monday, April 12, they fight a short, inconclusive battle with Douglas’s men; around a dozen on each side are killed, and the Hamiltons retreat.

May 1563: Agents of the Exquisite Parlement discover three Spanish monks who have arrived from Barcelona, and have been hiding in a barn outside the city. The three plead that they are Dominicans on their way to Turin as pilgrims, but the Parlement finds evidence it considers compelling that the three are in fact Inquisitors. After torture, one of the brothers confesses that they are in fact Inquisitors, and the three are hanged.

On May 30, the French royal court is convulsed with rumor and gossip, until at last Queen Mary announces publicly what the courtiers could only guess at: she is pregnant.
 
NOW the chaos is unleashed :) France is interesting, but Scotland ought to be downright exciting...it won't be lost on many that even though that Papal communication was primarily about France, it was aimed at their monarchs too...there are inquisitors in France, and the prospect of an heir...I don't expect a happy or long reign in Scotland now. The question will be who isleft standing after the monarchs are either dead or fled to France...
 
June 1563: Aside from the royal couple themselves, almost no one greets the news with happy hearts. For Catherine d’Medici, a royal pregnancy means an inevitable lessening of her power and a corresponding increase in the power of her daughter-in-law, whom Catherine despises. For the Scots, a personal union with France means a loss of autonomy. For the Catholics, the fact that the child will, by necessity, be monarch of a Protestant Scotland means that a compromise religious settlement is likely. For the Huguenots, a royal heir consolidates the Catholic Francis’s position considerably. For Elizabeth I, the infant represents a dangerous challenge to her own succession. For the Pope and the Council of Trent, it is a store of future trouble, since Mary of Scotland is more likely to take her husband’s side in matters pertaining to religion, and from appearances, Francis is no more than lukewarm in his faith. In a stroke, Mary has raised the political tension all over Europe.

The news that the Queen is expecting dismays the Scots. A personal union with France portends a Protestant Scotland becoming a mere appendage of Catholic France. With a distant monarch, the possibility that the old religion may be imposed by force once again is unacceptable to many of the Lords of the Congregation.

The idea almost certainly starts with Archibald Campbell, Earl of Angus. Angus, a devout Protestant and committed Francophobe, is one of the most powerful magnates in Scotland, and a resurgent Catholic throne can only harm his standing in the kingdom. In the middle of June, he comes to the conclusion that the only way to maintain his own position is to have a Protestant on the throne, and he has just the man in mind: his brother-in-law, the Regent, James Stewart.

Stewart is of royal blood--he is Mary’s half-brother by James V--and although illegitimate, is highly respected as a skilled politician and administrator. He has proven his Protestant credentials by backing the Siege of Leith, which led to the expulsion of the French in 1560 and the establishment of the Scottish Kirk.

On June 20, Angus meets with Morton at the Red Castle of Lunan. Angus explains his desire to see Stewart on the throne. Morton is at first indignant; he still holds a grudge against Stewart for disallowing a duel between himself and James Hamilton. However, Angus gradually gets Morton to see reason. Morton is satisfied, after Hamilton’s death, that his honor has been redeemed. But the Hamiltons themselves are now enraged, and only Stewart’s strong hand stands between the feuding clans and total war. If Stewart’s power were diminished by, say, the accession of Catholic lords like Bothwell, then there would be little to prevent the Hamiltons from going to war against the Douglases, to the detriment of both. Morton needs Stewart.

With the ball rolling, the so-called “Red Conspiracy” begins to grow. Patrick, Lord Ruthven, and the other attainted lords receive feelers from Angus and Morton, and respond eagerly. Of the lords attainted at the end of 1561, only the Earldom of Arran has been rehabilitated, after the murders of two of the holders of the title. Ruthven, Gray, Glencairn, Boyd, and the others have exiled themselves to England, and are eager to be reinstated and rehabilitated. The only way that can be accomplished, at least as they perceive it, is to remove Mary and put in someone who, in his gratitude, will restore their titles and estates.

That someone is James Stewart.

From the beginning, it is unclear exactly how much Stewart knows of the plotting. Canny and ambitious, he has a knack for not knowing too much, particularly of things that might backfire and destroy his political ambitions. Backing a group of plotters against his lawful sovereign, no matter how much he might desire their success, is treason, and extraordinarily risky. As a result, if he is aware of the plot against Mary, he makes no sign of it.

With Mary in France the coup seems straightforward and easy. Those who oppose it must be marginalized while the plotters seize strategic castles and institutions, and Parliament must be convinced, or coerced, into declaring Stewart the king. It is the last part that is perhaps the most troublesome.
 
July 1563: The Exquisite Parlement has managed to extend its authority through Toulouse and the surrounding areas under the generalship of a young Huguenot, Francois de la Noue, but pacification of the rest of the Languedoc is proving more difficult than they had foreseen. Meanwhile, Montmorency has reached Montpellier, where he pauses to re-impose order on that lawless city. He’s been hearing troubling rumors that power in Toulouse has been seized by a republic. As he restocks and reinforces his men in preparation of the move westward, he ponders the repercussions of this.

For Catherine d’Medici, the war in the Languedoc has been far too expensive. It must be funded, somehow. Catherine finally hits upon a novel and impish solution: the Pope. Since the Pope’s agents triggered the uprising, naturally he should pay. Of course, she doesn’t put it like that. In a very deliberately worded letter, Catherine calls upon Pius to “offer up what meek meat you may, so that this realm, which hath been so unharmoniously sundered, shall be put a-right, for in their haste to put aside what hath been called by many heresy your priests and inquisitors hath done a mischief, albeit unknowingly, and with pure intent.” Like everything Catherine writes, the letter is a masterpiece of doublespeak, designed to shove the blame for the uprisings firmly on the Inquisition in the least inflammatory way.

August 1563: The Red Conspirators begin to move more quickly now. In order for their coup to be successful, they must seize the Great Offices of State and persuade--either through bribery or coercion--the Parliament to proclaim Stewart King of the Scots. They must also hold various castles and strong points in Scotland, and be prepared to put down those lords who might oppose them.

These include John Stewart, Earl of Atholl, James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, and all the Hamiltons: Atholl and Bothwell because they are Catholics and loyal to Mary, and the Hamiltons because a crowned Stewart will be certain to prevent them from achieving their vengeance against Morton and the Douglases.

By now the Red Conspiracy has expanded to include the preacher John Knox, who is violently anti-Mary, the Earl of Rothes, Lord Home, and most of the leaders of the notorious Clan Eliott, who are to stir up the Borders in order to keep Bothwell busy.

The conspirators plan to strike at the beginning of September. The Douglases will harass Hamilton lands, while Atholl will be quietly placed under house arrest.

On August 9, Rothes attempts to recruit Huntly into the conspiracy, a singularly foolish thing to do. Rothes, like most of the Lords of the Congregation, believes that Huntly is on their side. Originally a Catholic, he turned coat in 1560 to support the Lords in their attempt to expel Mary of Guise and the French, then turned his coat again to become a supporter of Mary of Scotland, and then turned his coat yet a third time when he passed Mary of Scotland’s communications with the Duke of Guise on to the Protestants. Clearly, he is not to be trusted. Huntly quickly agrees to join the Red Conspiracy.

If Stewart were unaware of the conspiracy prior to August 24, he is aware now, as he is quietly approached by Angus, who explains to him their intent to put him on the throne. The conspiracy is too far gone and Mary too far away in France; there is nothing she can do now to stop it, Angus explains. He further elaborates their numbers and their plan for seizing power.

Stewart is aghast when he learns that Huntly has been brought in; unlike the credulous Rothes, he has absolutely no faith in Huntly’s word, and knows that Huntly, envisioning great rewards, will have sent news to Mary by now. It is possible, given the large number of conspirators, that Bothwell and Atholl are already aware of the plot; if not, they soon will be. He must move quickly, or be destroyed when the coup fails.

The Pope is not pleased by Catherine’s letter; he finds her insolent and lukewarm in her faith, and now she has the temerity to demand that he pay for what she has encouraged. Writing back, he informs her that the well-being of her son’s subjects is solely in Francis’s hands, and that “he hath been in speak [sic] and deed ill-advised, and intemperate, and hath done but a little mischief himself by promoting the heretical beliefs of his people.”

On August 21, Montmorency links up with the Exquisite Parlement’s forces under the command of Francois de la Noue near Millau. The two groups regard each other warily: the Royal forces because they fear the Exquisitors are rebels, the Exquisitors because the Royal forces are largely Catholic. However, after a tense two-hour negotiation, Montmorency and La Noue come away somewhat more reassured. Montmorency is relieved to hear that the Exquisite Parlement still recognizes the sovereignty of the Crown, while La Noue is gladdened to hear that Montmorency is concerned with reestablishing order, not imposing religious conformity. The two reach an accord: the Exquisitors will provide Montmorency with whatever help he needs to reclaim the south, and Montmorency, in turn, will permit free exercise of religion in Toulouse and the surrounding areas.

September 1563: On September 2, the conspirators assemble in Edinburgh. It is now or never. Bothwell is in Kirk Yetholm, near the English border, putting down Eliott raids. Atholl is in Dunkeld, where a troop of Douglases are on their way to put him under arrest.

At dawn, Ruthven, Boyd and Glencairn ride into Edinburgh with a small band of their followers, preparing for their parts in the coup. In front of Holyrood Abbey, they are met by Stewart, whom they are very glad to see, and whom they hail with shouts of “A Stewart, A Stewart!”

As they dismount, he has his men arrest them on the spot. Boyd and Ruthven are too shocked to react, but Glencairn flees into the abbey, where he has to be dragged from the altar by Stewart’s soldiers.

Rothes, Angus, and Home are likewise arrested; Gray, who wisely has remained behind, flees to England upon receiving word of the arrests, while Morton and the Douglases in Edinburgh manage to elude Stewart’s soldiers and escape to the Highlands.

Stewart’s counter-coup is well-timed. In a carefully drafted report, he sends word to Mary in France of the attempt on her throne. The report arrives at the French court just days after Mary, hearing from Huntly of the conspiracy, has dispatched a furious letter to Stewart, castigating him for any role in the plot. Receiving news that the plot has been defused and that Stewart did so on his own initiative, Mary breathes easier, and sends him another letter, apologizing for the fierce tone of the first, and reassuring him of her affection and trust.
 
October 1563: In a whirlwind campaign, Montmorency and La Noue manage to suppress most of the more lawless regions of the Languedoc. Although their hold is still tenuous, for the moment order has been restored to the province. Now, the question is, what sort of order is it to be?

On October 16, Mary, out of gratitude for his service in squashing the recent coup, creates James Stewart Earl of Mar, granting him new estates and significant honors.

Glencairn, meanwhile, has been busy. Since the beginning of September, he has been imprisoned in Borthwick Castle in Midlothian. On October 22, he, with the help of some bribed servants, escapes dressed as a priest. Making his way north, he plans to join with Morton in the Highlands.

With the impending birth of Mary’s child, Catherine d’Medici finds her power on the wane, as is inevitable as Mary’s prestige at court rises. The mother of the heir will have the king’s ear most of the time, and therefore Catherine must take steps to ensure that her own position is secure.

Unfortunately, Mary and Catherine cordially despise one another. Whatever course Catherine decides to take, it will require establishing more friendly terms with her daughter-in-law. That implies something dramatic.

Luckily, Catherine has been saving an ace up her sleeve for just such an occasion. Mary’s beloved uncle, Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine, has been imprisoned in the Donjon de Houdan for over a year and a half. As far as Mary knows, this has been done on Francis II’s orders, although in fact Catherine was the instigator. Now Charles will come in handy.

Catherine informs Mary that she intends to intercede on Charles’s behalf to secure his release. Although Francis was correct to imprison him in March 1562, the point has been made, and there is nothing further to gain from holding him, while releasing him will give them credit amongst the French Catholics. Mary eagerly seizes on this news and thanks her mother-in-law, surprised at the change in Catherine’s demeanor.

November 1563: Mary takes to her confinement. With the Queen Consort removed from court, Catherine strikes quickly. Francis is easily swayed, and under his orders, Charles is released, with one condition.

Before his release, Charles is required to sign a secret bond. The language of the bond is, by design, obtuse and ambiguous, but its meaning, if the text is carefully parsed, is clear, stating his recognition that the Pope is the head of the Church, and the King of France is the head of the Church in France. Francis, as King, has the right and authority to summon colloquies, such as the Colloquy at Poissy, in order to properly codify regulations that touch on ecclesiastical matters, and the conclusions of the Colloquy were not illegitimate. Charles is also required to recognize that the legates and inquisitors serving the Pope in France do so at the King’s sufferance, and that the movement of bishops is subject to royal approval. Also, the applicability of papal bulls in France, and other letters, is subject to the King’s sovereign approval.

Of course, the Pope’s authority is supreme in matters spiritual and doctrinal. In his weakened mental state from nineteen months in prison, the Cardinal believes incorrectly that the bond merely affirms his recognition of the current extent of the Gallican settlement in regards to the Roman Church. In fact, it extends it considerably, in effect recognizing the triumph of Gallicanism over Ultramontanism.

Notably, Francis is not a signatory on the bond.

The King assures Charles that the bond will remain secret, merely serving to reassure Francis of Charles’s loyalty. The normally wily Cardinal has been slightly addled due to his stay in prison, and agrees easily to Francis’s terms.

As soon as the bond has been signed, and Charles released, Catherine informs Mary in her private chambers that her uncle has been granted a pardon by the King. Mary, overjoyed, embraces her mother-in-law for the first time in years.

Catherine then sends the bond off to Pius IV, along with a letter informing the Pope of “the extraordinary kindness of His Majesty, who has been ever gracious and grants clemency to Charles of Lorraine, who hath in his impetuosity demeaned both the authority of His Majesty and also your Holiness, but who hath seen true the way of Christ and hath admitted his fault and affirmed your Holiness’s authority in matters spiritual, which hath long been the sovereign law of this land.”

Charles’s release is greeted with great acclaim by the French Catholics, especially those in Guise who, like most of the northern French, have had little to celebrate since the Inquisition arrived.

December 1563: The sixty-four-year-old Pope nearly has a stroke when he reads Catherine’s letter, and the bond. Catherine, he writes back, “being not of the Church but indeed a poor woman, steeped in sin as any woman, art forgiven for that thou lackest the head and heart to see when thou art being led astray by heretical doctrines,” but Charles should know better. The Pope’s authority over the Church is unquestionable, even in France, and the notion that the French kings in some way possess a special authority over their national church that permits them to defy the Holy See is “in no wise true and in every manner erroneous.” Any authority the King of France has over his church is granted by the benevolence of the Pope, and no one else. By championing Gallicanism, Charles is championing heresy. Pius writes furious letters to Catherine, Francis, Charles, and Mary, as well as his cardinals and inquisitors, denouncing Gallicanism and upholding Ultramontanism.

On December 22, Charles is arrested in Chevreuse by inquisitors on charges of heresy.

‘Le Petit Cyclope’

January 1564: On January 3, Mary of Scotland gives birth to her infant, who unites the crowns of France and Scotland. The child is large and healthy, save one defect: on one eye, a film. The future king of France is blind in his left eye. The Queen loves him anyway, and dubs him her “petit cyclope”.

For his part, Francis is delighted, and spends much of the next few days enjoying the company of his new son. He names the baby Henri, after his own father.

From the beginning there is doubt as to the paternity of the new Dauphin. Francis seems more than eager to accept Henri as his son, but others are not so sure. Francis is sickly, and gossip about his inability to perform in the bedroom runs rampant--of course, not where the king can hear. There are scurrilous rumors that the father is actually the dashing Francis, Duke of Montpelier, or the court lyre player Joachim Thibault de Courville, or the handsome Scottish expatriate Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.

Catherine has kept the arrest of her uncle away from Mary until the young Queen has given birth. Now she informs her that Charles has been incarcerated by the Inquisition on orders of the Pope, and shows Mary the letters which Pius has been sending to his legates in France. The young Queen is furious, and her emotional unease results in her already weakened frame succumbing to a terrible fever, and she is confined in bed for the remainder of the month.

Since October, Francis, under Catherine’s guidance, has been conducting negotiations with the Exquisite Parlement. It grates on both of them, but the reality is that the Parlement, as well as a number of smaller regional parlements, is the only effective government in the Languedoc. The Parlement is a mixture of Catholics and Huguenots, and the recent troubles have forced them to put aside their religious differences and focus on law and order. As a result, a spirit of tolerance reigns in the south, especially since intolerance is too reminiscent of the hated Inquisition. Therefore, if royal authority is once more to be extended throughout the Languedoc and Provence, religious concessions must be made.

On January 21, Francis issues the Edict of Chenonceau, which establishes that, while Catholicism is the supreme religion of France, Huguenots may worship in private. Huguenots caught worshiping in public will pay a fine, rather than a more severe punishment. In addition, it is hinted that religious relations with Scotland will be normalized, and the authority of the Scottish Kirk inside Scotland recognized, when Mary recovers from her illness.

The Edict is unpopular with the Catholics, but the Roman Church, via the Inquisition, is not making itself popular, and if the Inquisition can arrest a God-fearing man like Charles of Lorraine, then the Catholics consider that perhaps it’s best to side with Francis rather than Pius in this matter. Maybe they’ll give this tolerance thing a try. It’s that or the Inquisition.
 
February 1564: With the birth of Prince Henri, tremendous pressure falls on Elizabeth I of England to marry and produce an heir, or, barring that, name one of the other potential claimants as her heir, lest Henri le Cyclope ascend to the throne after her death. This becomes known as the “One Three Nine” Problem, after the fact that Henri would be Henry I, III, and IX, of Scotland, France, and England, respectively.

The Council of Trent denounces the Edict of Chenonceau, and after a particularly fierce lecture by the Jesuit Superior General Diego Laynez, the French legates storm out of the proceedings. “We shall not be addressed as dogs by one who is but a converso of short standing, when we have known the word of Christ for a thousand year,” sneers Gentian Hervetus, a French delegate, referring to Laynez’s Jewish ancestry. Although few of the French delegates agree with the Edict, they take offense at being treated so shabbily, and the impression that the Council is merely a stage for the dramatics of the Spanish and the Hapsburgs at the expense of the French only increases. The French refuse to return to the Council, stating that their honor demands that the Spanish retract the insults that have been hurled at them. The French now have the perception that it is the Jesuits who control the Council, and the Spanish most of all.

Documents arrive from Scotland for Mary in France: death warrants from Mar for Ruthven, Boyd, Home, Angus, and Rothes, who are guilty of treason. Although Mary willingly signs the orders of execution for Ruthven, Boyd, and Angus, she feels that imprisonment in Sterling Castle should be punishment enough for Home and Rothes.

March 1564: With the collapse of the Council of Trent, the Spanish position hardens. It is becoming obvious, at least to Philip II, that the French have no intention of upholding the True Faith, no matter what their delegates at Trent might protest. The rumors that Prince Henri was not fathered by Francis II have reached Philip’s ears, and in a nasty letter to Enrique de Guzman, one of his most trusted advisors, he says,

“Of the King of France it is said that he hath but no staff but the staff of a child, and that even that is shriveled, and so the Scottish mare is ridden by every knight in his court, and he turneth away. She is the source of all poison in France, and I have it from many a man in her court that she hath a lust within her, that her husband cannot satisfy. Her wickedness knows no brake, and so Francis, like France, is led astray, for her words are honey and also heresy. Scotland is a festering boil on the arse of France, and her queen a great whore and heretic.”
In a rather more diplomatic letter to Pius IV, Philip calls for the Holy Father to take extreme sanctions against the French, “for they lapse into darkness and ignorance.” The True Faith must be upheld in France; to do otherwise would in itself be heresy, for “aid unto heretics is heresy also, and a black mark on an otherwise virtuous soul.” Francis has fallen under the influence of the Protestant Mary, Philip writes, ignoring the fact that Mary is a Catholic. Remove Mary, and the problem shall resolve itself. Philip’s opinions vastly underestimate the depth of feeling in France in regards to religion. The Huguenots and their stand against the abuses being committed by the Church, particularly the Inquisition, are completely beyond Philip’s understanding, and his increasing rage at their success belies that fact.

At the Spanish Court, Francis and Mary quickly become laughingstocks, Francis for his ill health and perceived cuckolding, Mary for her imagined promiscuity. On April 3, the Court is sent into uproarious laughter by a pantomime in which Francis is portrayed by a hunchbacked dwarf who is blind to his wife’s infidelities, and Prince Henri by a piglet in fleur-de-lis covered robes.
 
April 1564: Elizabeth I of England finds herself continually confronted with the One Three Nine Problem. Her most trusted advisors urge her to marry and produce an heir. Ideally, her spouse should provide a valuable counterweight to the combined might of France and Scotland. While her longtime favorite, Robert Dudley, attempts to position himself as a likely candidate, hinting that his wife Amy might not live much longer, Elizabeth dismisses such concerns, believing that the resulting scandal would forever tarnish her reign. No, a prospective husband must bring foreign power to the table: Spain, the Empire, Portugal, or one of the Scandinavian countries.

An unlikely candidate emerges in the form of Charles II, Archduke of Austria. Marriage to Charles would bring the powerful Hapsburgs into England’s diplomatic orbit, but Charles is ardently Catholic, and it seems religion is likely to scupper the match.

Instead, Elizabeth plays a delaying game, flirting with one suitor after another, and hinting that she might declare one of the homegrown quasi-Tudors as her heir.
 
May 1564: By now, the fact that Francis and Mary are laughingstocks in Spain has drifted back to the French court. Francis, who loves his wife dearly, takes offense at the implication that his wife is promiscuous, especially when he manages to receive a paraphrased version of Philip’s letter to Guzman. In a rare but perhaps misguided show of spine, Francis fires off a letter to Philip:

Sooth, you have insulted me greatly, when I have given you no offense, and though I am as to a brother to you, you slap my cheeks and portray me the buffoon. I am as much a King as thou art, O my royal brother, and until now thou hast been a bosom brother. But I am much offended, and your words do me offense, and I shall not take the blow.

If your honor stings you but little, ignore me, but should thy conscience prick thee as conscience pricketh the heart of the basest rogue, then send word of apology for the foul rumor that you spread, which is calumny ‘gainst mine loving wife. Else you are shameless, and no Christian monarch, for you traffic in lies.

I send this with Reynard [Simon Renard de Bermont, Spanish diplomat], who hath displeased me muchly of late, as he is your servant. That he is in my presence, I should not like him, and send him with haste to you.

Speak you no more words against my Marie. Speak you no more words against my beloved son, Henri, for it draws in me great anger. A man asketh, “Be the queen of France a whore?”; thou sayest. A man asketh, “Be the Dauphin a bastard?”; thou sayest. The Holy Father asks, “Is France a den of heresy?”; thou sayest. I am sore wroth, that I am thrice accused: that my wife is a whore, I deny it; that my son is a bastard, I deny it; that my realm is a font of heresy, this I deny.

Your words displease me, [and] I shall have no more of them.
Philip reacts to this letter about as can be expected:

To the man who of recent calleth himself King of the French, from the King of the Spanish, greeting.

You scold me so in a nice long letter, which I am loath to receive. You have besmirched my good name, and my honor, for you call me a liar, and accuse me of trafficking in rumor; you take the side of a notorious debauch [sic] over that of my loyal and trusted servant [prob. Renard].

That the words of the notorious Machiavell Katerina de Medici are heretical, this cannot be denied, for it hath been vouchsafed by His Holiness himself, and none dare gainsay it. Save you, brother. If your realm truck with heresy, it is not my doing, but your own, and you would be wise to still your flapping tongue and heed closely the word of the Holy Father, who wishes only goodness for you.

In sooth, I am not offended, although the words of your letter were harsh, for you are but a young man, still green, and too easily moved to speak when you should not. Therefore, I hope you heed my advice, and be at peace, and still your tongue, and heed closely the words of those wiser than you, and you will find that your realm is more peaceable and secure. If not, then not, and I accept no consequence of it.
 
Enjoying the writing.
Thanks!

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June 1564: On June 3, 1564, a world-shaking event: Pope Pius IV dies at the age of 65 of a stroke. Throughout Christendom, Catholics are stunned by the news, which arrives at the farthest reaches of Europe by the end of July. Pius, although a skilled politician, has left a legacy of division between Catholic and Protestant, England and Rome, Spain and France. Hopefully, his successor will be more successful in drawing together Christians of all stripes.

On June 19, those cardinals on the ground in Rome begin their conclave to pick the next pope. For the French, it is a golden opportunity to put on the throne a Bishop of Rome sympathetic to them, and they energetically back Charles of Bourbon, whom they hope will be a moderate on the issue of Gallicanism.

Circumstances, however, are not on their side. Most of the French cardinals are away from Rome; the Vatican is swarming with priests and bishops who are publicly or secretly with the Hapsburgs or the Spanish. Intrigue dominates the proceedings.

As tempers flare, the conclave risks violence; at one point, a Portuguese priest breaks a water pitcher over the head of a French bishop. But on June 24, a majority is reached. The Spanish have bribed or bullied every cardinal they can, and, presenting a united front with the Austrians, declare the new pontiff to be 62-year-old Ugo Boncompagni, favorite of Philip II.

The French are immediately indignant, and just before the formal election, exercise their right of exclusion, in essence a veto of the candidate. In a shocking move, the Austrian and Spanish-sympathizers overrule them, stating that the French abstention from the Council of Trent means that the French have ceded their competence in recognizing which members of the Sacred College are personae non gratae for the purposes of papal election, and therefore have no right of exclusion. This patently trumped up charge serves only to infuriate the French further, who point out that they have made popes, and unmade popes, in the past, and may do so in the future.

On June 25, Cardinal Ugo Boncompagni is acclaimed by those cardinals remaining as the new pope. He takes the name Adrian VII, after the founder of the Counter-Reformation.
 
France and Spain are driven closer to war. And the Habsburg supremacy over the Holy See might lead France down a divergent path, one that would mean the First Daughter of the Church divorces herself from it.
 
July 1564: With the new pope firmly ensconced in Rome, Philip II begins the process of drawing Adrian VII into his orbit. Adrian is concerned with reestablishing the Council of Trent, with or without the French, in order to better combat the rising tide of Reformation.

Adrian is vehemently and implacably opposed to Protestantism; Elizabeth I of England is an apostate and Catherine d’Medici and Francis II are heretics, by his logic. In supporting Protestants, both Elizabeth and Francis have put their thrones at risk. Elizabeth has already slid into heresy, and in Adrian’s opinion, lost her throne. Francis, however, may still be saved. The Pope puts his personal secretaries to the task of drafting two bulls, Caducus Peccatum [“Having Fallen into Error”] and Sum Promptum [“Being Apparent”], which he intends to issue at the appropriate time. Caducus Peccatum declares Elizabeth a heretic, and encourages her faithful Catholic subjects to overthrow her. It releases her subjects from any allegiance to her, as well as threatening the excommunication of those who remain loyal to her.

Sum Promptum clarifies the Church’s position on the Gallican Settlement: Rome is the supreme authority in all matters ecclesiastical. Should Francis, or any of his subjects, countenance any doctrine that denies that authority, he will be excommunicated. The Council of Trent’s resolutions on Protestantism have the full support of the Papacy

For the moment, Adrian sits on the bulls, hoping that Francis will see the error of his ways and return to the warm bosom of the Church.
 
August 1564: Philip II to Adrian VII:
That your Holiness’s rightness in the cause hath been denied by the French is without doubt, for they are feckless and prone to error. Of late, it is said that the King of France hath become in all things the servant of his wife, and that she in turn doth pour sympathy onto those heretics who dwell in her realms. For is it not true, that the Scots have rejected the True Faith? and that Maria [Mary] of Scotland doth but little to redeem them? For in secret she doth encourage their cause, and give offense to her husband by her adultery, which hath revealed itself in the guise of the blinded prince.

If Francisco [Francis II] is in peril by the wiles of his wife and cuckoo’s egg, we should be doing him favor to remove her from his presence, and also the great and vicious heretic his mother, Katerina de Medici. His so-called heir is a cuckoo, and thus not fit for a throne; nor are his brothers, for they have been led into error by their mother.

What, then, is to be done? The land of France hath a cancer, which is Protestantism, and it must be excised, for the patient sickens and dies. And while he recovereth, Francisco shall require a proper physician, one who is adept at statecraft and loyal to your Holiness, and a proper heir, who is Valois by blood, and not blind by adultery. What, then, is to be done?...
 
July 1564: Marriage negotiations between Elizabeth and Charles of Austria begin, although they are hampered by Elizabeth’s demand to see Charles in the flesh before making a decision.

Lords Ruthven and Boyd are executed. Upon receiving the news, Mary of Scotland exults, “The old warlock [Ruthven] is dead at last.” Mar, writing from Edinburgh, counsels Mary to rehabilitate the sons of the two intriguers, but she is adamant that “no good thinge shall come of it [the Red Conspiracy].” Twenty-three-year-old William Ruthven flees to England; seventeen-year-old Thomas Boyd swears revenge on Mar for his part in the arrest and death of the elder Boyd, and joins Morton in the Highlands along with fifty retainers.
 
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