An Unexpected Prince

With no northern war as well, Frederick duke of Holstein gottorp is still alive as well, and his wife might be as well which has interesting consequences for the Swedish succession. Even if his wife isn’t alive
 
With no northern war as well, Frederick duke of Holstein gottorp is still alive as well, and his wife might be as well which has interesting consequences for the Swedish succession. Even if his wife isn’t alive
True, it might lead to OTL Peter III of Russia instead becoming Peter I of Sweden (or more likely Charles XIII), but no northern war might also lead to Charles XII himself having time to marry and father heirs. There are definitely possibilities for butterflies.
 
True, it might lead to OTL Peter III of Russia instead becoming Peter I of Sweden (or more likely Charles XIII), but no northern war might also lead to Charles XII himself having time to marry and father heirs. There are definitely possibilities for butterflies.
Definitely, was Charles the marrying sort? He never did marry orl
 
Definitely, was Charles the marrying sort? He never did marry orl
I do not know. He might simply have wished to wait until Sweden was at peace otl, or perhaps he was just picky when it came to wives. It's also possible that he was gay, but none of this necessarily prevents him marrying under ttl. In your Panthers and Lions timeline, I also believe he married a British princess
 
I do not know. He might simply have wished to wait until Sweden was at peace otl, or perhaps he was just picky when it came to wives. It's also possible that he was gay, but none of this necessarily prevents him marrying under ttl. In your Panthers and Lions timeline, I also believe he married a British princess
This is very true and he did indeed
 
Chapter 96: Carolus Rex New
Chapter 96: Carolus Rex

May, 1709


Charles, King of Sweden stretched his legs, picked up a paper, scanned through it, then put it down. Deciding he wanted to get this out of way quickly, he asked. “What word from Denmark?”

Magnus Stenbock, a member of the council and his chief of police spoke then. “Nothing, Sire. King Frederick does nothing but enjoy his wife and the arts. His troops remain at the border with Holstein Gottorp, but nothing else is happening.”

“He truly is a lay about.” Charles said, surprised. He’d heard that his cousin was lazy, but he’d never expected that he would be this lazy. “What are the positions of the Duke of Holstein and our other allies?”

“The Duke remains convinced that King Frederick will try something, and is therefore asking for aid. However, everything that we have been able to find suggests that King Frederick is happy to let things stand as they are.” Magnus said.

Charles nodded. “Very well, we shall leave Holstein for now. Should there be a change however, we shall send the men in.” Magnus nodded. Charles changed the topic to another area where he had interests. “And what of Pomerania? Have you been able to find out more about the situation there?”

Magnus nodded. “The nobles of Pomerania continue to protest the harsh regime that the Elector of Brandenburg has inflicted on them. They have appealed to the Emperor, but that man seems more interested in his mistresses than anything else. The King of the Romans had voiced some interesting in attending to their concerns, but he has been sent to Hungary. Therefore, I think there is a chance for us to get involved.”

“Excellent.” Charles said. He was twenty-seven and had been hankering after a war for most of his life. He needed a way to prove himself, and this seemed the best way. He turned to look at the President of the Chancellery and said. “We have the support amongst the nobles to do this.”

Count Nils Gyldenstolpe nodded. “We do, Sire. Most of the nobles have listened quite intently to the papers in regards to the plight of the Pomeranians.”

“Good.” Charles said, Nils smiled, it had been his idea to use the papers for this purpose after all. He turned to look at Carl Gustav, the man he had tasked with keeping the army in shape and asked. “How prepared are we for an invasion?”

Carl Gustav was an experienced soldier, a man who had fought alongside Charles’ father during the Scanian war, there was no one he trusted more. “The army is prepared and ready. All we need is to devise a proper strategy and we should have Prussian Pomerania before the year is done.”

Charles smiled. “Excellent. We shall discuss that in greater detail later. For now, though, I want the Prussians to think we are going to make a move elsewhere.”

“Yes, Sire.” Carl Gustav said.

Count Nils spoke then. “Sire, there was one issue that has come up amongst my discussions with the nobles.”

“And what was that?” Charles asked, though he suspected he knew what it was.

“Your marriage, Sire.” Nils said. “The nobles are concerned about the succession.”

Biting back a sigh of frustration, Charles said. “The succession is secure, our sister has three sons and a daughter. Should something happen to us, she and then her eldest son will inherit.”

“But Sire, surely you would wish to prevent that from happening? The nobles would feel more content if they knew the line of succession was secured through Your Majesty.” Nils said.

Charles knew that this argument could go on forever, and he had no patience for it. “Well, do you have someone in mind for us to marry?” When Nils floundered, he continued. “Exactly. Until you do, do not bother.”
 
Chapter 97: A King In Concern New
Chapter 97: A King In Concern

August, 1709


James took a moment to clear his thoughts. His son was unwell, and the doctors weren’t quite sure what was causing it. Marie Louise was spending every waking moment at Charles’ bedside, and James wanted to be with her, he wanted to show her that he cared. That the claims she’d thrown at him during their last argument had been wrong. But as always affairs of state came first. He cleared his mind and then said. “Give us a report.”

Sidney Godolphin, his chief minister spoke then. “The situation does not look good, Sire. The French army has captured most of the southern Spanish Netherlands and they have beaten the Spanish forces under the command of King James out of French Navarre. They are in short, winning so far.”

James wanted to bang his fist on the table, instead he simply asked. “Has Prince William not received any of our letters?” He’d sent a flurry of messages to his brother by marriage when the war had initially begun recommending several strategies, all of them involving mobilising the regiments under the command of the Earl of Marlborough.

“He has, Sire.” Godolphin said. “But it seems he is more than content to leave our forces in Brussels.”

James Radclyffe, Earl of Derwentwater and James’ cousin banged his fist on the table. “How foolish can he be? Does he not remember the role that Marlborough played in pushing back the initial French advance? Why is he leaving him in Brussels?”

Godolphin could not respond, instead, it was the Postmaster General and James’ uncle Laurence Hyde, Earl of Rochester spoke. “Because they had an argument about the nature of the campaign.”

“How do you mean?” James asked of his uncle.

“In a letter to the Dutch ambassador, it seems the Prince of Waldeck said that His Serene Highness felt that Marlborough was trying to focus only on English interests, which meant protecting the ports of Antwerp and other such cities from French probes, whilst Prince William wants to protect the Spanish Netherlands in its entirety. The Dutch ambassador wrote to Waldeck that he thinks our plans are not solid and are ill thought out and therefore His Serene Highness was right.” Rochester said.

James felt anger and shame and rage flood through him then. The Prince of Orange was a man he respected, to hear his ambassador speak of him in such terms was humiliating. His councillors were looking at him with the expectation of some sort of response. He knew that if he raged they would agree with him publicly, but privately think he was but a child. If he said nothing they would wonder if there was something wrong with him. Marie Louise often said she didn’t know if he were a person or a rock. He pushed that thought away and said. “Well then, we are going to have to settle that matter once and for all aren’t we.”

“Sire?” Rochester asked sounding concerned.

“How soon could we must a new army to go to the Spanish Netherlands?” James asked a thought forming in his mind quickly.

Godolphin said nothing, for he seemed speechless, it was his brother by marriage, Cumberland who spoke then. “It would take a few months to get everything sorted, and that includes getting Parliamentary approval.”

James nodded. “And no doubt those idiots would want some sort of concession to fund more men.” He looked at his cousin and said. “We shall leave it to you to sort that matter out.”

Derwentwater nodded. “Of course, Sire.”

James then turned back to his brother by marriage and asked. “And what is the situation with the navy?”

“Much better than on the ground, Sire.” Cumberland replied, he took a moment to catch his breath, the ailments he had had since James had known him were only steadily getting worse not better. Cumberland had told him that he had only months to live, maybe even weeks.

“How so?” James asked.

“We have control of the Channel, Sire. Under the command of Admiral Edward Russell, the Channel Fleet has successfully repelled all attempts by the French navy to try and achieve dominance. Subsequently, the French have attempted to get the advantage in the seas, under the command of Admiral George Rooke, our ships have ensured that they have failed there as well.” Cumberland said.

“Excellent. How long could we sustain such dominance?” James asked.

“I am not sure, Sire. It would depend on a multitude of factors only one of which is in our control.” Cumberland said.

“Financing.” James said.

“Indeed, Sire.” Cumberland said.

James thought on that. He would spend time with his wife and son, and then he would need to handle this situation promptly. “Very well, we shall meet with Parliament in two weeks’ time. We shall expect all of you in attendance and we shall expect the arguments to have been made beforehand in preparation for our arrival there. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Sire.” They all replied.

James got up then and said. “You are all dismissed.” He walked out of the room and made his way toward the room where his son was, his heart hammering.
 
Chapter 98: To War Or Not To War New
Chapter 98: To War Or Not To War

November, 1709



“Sire, the English and the Dutch are completely on the back foot. Half of the Spanish Netherlands has fallen to France’s forces, and the Spanish are looking to negotiate a peace.” Leopold Auersperg, his foreign minister said.

“How much exactly of the Spanish Netherlands has fallen?” Joseph asked calmly.

“Everything from Bruges to Namur has fallen, Sire.” Leopold said. “Ostend remains out of their clutches, but the garrison there does not look as if it could hold for long.”

“And what exactly have the English and the Dutch done about this?” Joseph asked. “Prince William is supposed to be one of the best commanders this world has seen, how has he failed to stem the tide of the French?”

Auersperg shifted slightly, Joseph knew his friend well enough to know that meant the other man didn’t have an answer, therefore he turned his attention to the Postmaster General, the Prince of Thurn and Taxis. The man obliged. “There are large disagreements between the Dutch and English commands over what their objectives should be. The Dutch forces are concerned about the French having land access and as such want to preserve Brussels and the road from there. Consequently, they’ve been willing to allow the towns on the way to Brussels to fall. However, the English commanded by the Earl of Marlborough want to protect the coastal towns, which are crucial for their trade. Hence their focus on Ostend, Nieuport and Antwerp, alongside Ghent. The conflicting aims mean that they are not able to agree on a clear strategy.”

Joseph nodded and then said. “They are arguing like two lovers who want to add a third person to their little affair. They will get nowhere. Have they actually fielded a joint force?”

“Yes, Sire.” Leopold replied. “They’ve fielded three joint forces since the war began, and only achieved one victory, and that was under the command of the Earl of Marlborough, something that has not sat well with the Prince of Orange.”

“So, the sainted William is human after all.” Rudolf Waldburg quipped, Joseph smiled at his friend.

Joseph then turned his attention to another friend and another minister Wilhelm Croy and said. “You think we should still get involved in this war then, do you, Wilhelm?”

Croy nodded. “I think it is imperative that we get involved, Sire. The French look unstoppable now, and if they succeed in defeating the English and the Dutch, then they will have the cards to make both Kingdoms subservient to their desires. That would be bad for us in the long term, and would leave us isolated on the world stage.”

“Neither the Dutch or the English got involved during the war we fought with the French, why should we get involved now?” Joseph asked.

“Because if we get involved and we help turn the tide, we can dictate the terms, Sire.” Croy said. “We can ensure that they are reliant on us.”

“And you think they won’t just accept our thanks and move on from there? The English might be willing to accept something, but the Dutch will never accept our growth in power.” Joseph said. “Certainly not under their current ruler.”

“But we can always try and negotiate something from a position of strength, Sire. If we are involved that is. If we are not then we cannot hope to shape the agenda of the future.” Croy said.

“The army’s reforms are not yet complete.” Eugene of Savoy said. “We need another year to ensure everything is in place.”

“And by that point this war could be over.” Croy shot back.

“Do you want more men to die for a pointless war, when in a year’s time they could be marching on Paris if everything is done properly?” Eugene demanded.

Croy said nothing, so Joseph spoke. “We agree with Eugene, we are not going to commit to fighting any war right now. We shall wait for the reforms to be complete and then we shall get involved. I know William of Orange, he will keep fighting until he cannot anymore, and the English will do the same.”

Nobody said anything else at that, but Joseph knew he needed to make good on his promise or he would be facing some serious complaints, very soon.
 
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