Chapter 103: Mother
Chapter 103: Mother
Anne took a deep swig of brandy, and then looked at her son. James, 2nd Duke of Cumberland, he’d grown taller and more handsome compared to when she’d last seen him, and he’d been named Secretary of State for the Northern Department as well. Anne was proud of him for using his natural skills, but she was upset. Upset because he never told her what was discussed in council meetings in his letters to her. That was why she had summoned him here, hoping he would be more open with her in person.
“I wanted to congratulate you on being named Northern Secretary, dear, it is quite the honour.” Anne said.
“Thank you Mother.” Her son replied.
“You must be very busy with the war on and needing to keep a handle on Parliament.” Anne asked.
“Something like that. Harley is useful in that he controls the Commons with a whip hand.” James said.
Anne hummed in acknowledgement, Sarah had said that Harley was someone who they couldn’t control, but who through his greed might well come to them in the end, and thus she was hoping she could perhaps find out more through her son. “So, is there anything that has happened in the council that you wanted to discuss? I know that I often found it helpful to talk with your father about it.” Anne said lightly.
Her son stiffened. “I cannot speak about council business with non-council members, Mother, I am sorry.”
Anne felt as though she’d just been slapped, and not for the first time she wondered why she had agreed to step back from the council when her brother had come of age. “I am merely offering my services as a listening board, son, that is all.”
“I know, Mother, and I appreciate it, but I cannot do it.” Her son replied.
Anne’s temper surged forward, she took a hefty swig of brandy and then said. “I am your mother, James, but I am also the senior Princess of the family, by tradition and right I could make you tell me what has been discussed.”
“No you couldn’t.” James said.
“What do you mean I couldn’t?” Anne replied. “I am the one who wrote the damned rules on this.” It was true she’d sent a whole booklet around the palaces for the staff to read, instructing them on who had precedence and who didn’t.
“The brandy must be clouding your thoughts, Mother.” James said. “Under the rules you wrote, I as Duke of Cumberland have seniority over you. I am the senior Prince of the Blood, and as such outrank you. Therefore, you cannot make me do anything.”
Anne slammed her fist down on the table, causing the brandy glass to rattle. “I am your Mother, James, and I demand to know what is happening!”
Her son remained calm as he replied. “And unfortunately I cannot tell you. Maybe if you made up with the King and were restored to the council I could tell you. But until then I cannot.” Her son made to get up. “Now if that is all you wanted to talk about, I am going to go.”
“No, please don’t go!” Anne pleaded. She quickly thought of another topic to speak about that would make her son stay. “How are your children?”
Her son smiled. “They are good, James has begun talking quite excitedly about things.”
Anne smiled sadly, she had only met her grandson once, and that was when he was christened. She could not go to Whitehall to visit her son, not whilst the Queen was there, and nothing she or Sarah seemed to have thought of had worked. The King and Queen were as close as ever.
As if sensing her thoughts, her son said. “You know you should go and speak with the King. He wants this breach between the two of you closed.”
Anne sighed and took another deep sip of brandy. “I wish it were that simple, but it is not.”
“Why?” James demanded. “He cares for you, and you care for him. What is stopping you from going to Whitehall and talking to him?” There was a long silence as Anne filled up her glass and continued drinking, her son then gasped. “It’s her isn’t it. It’s Lady Marlborough. She’s been whispering poison in your ear this whole time.”
Anne stopped drinking and looked up at her son. “What are you talking about?”
James looked at her, and his face had changed, it was no longer sympathetic, if anything, he looked deeply angry. “You two have always been close, and she’s been your lady in waiting for many years. But you never do anything without talking to her anymore. And she doesn’t like the Queen and Elisabeth for some reason, therefore you haven’t come to Whitehall.” Anne wanted to protest, but she knew deep down that her son was right. James snorted in disgust. “You know what Mother? Maybe get rid of the evil in your home first before trying anything.”
Anne looked at her son and said. “I cannot dismiss her.”
“Why?” James demanded.
“Because she is my friend.” Anne said, though she wanted to say Sarah was so much more to her.
“Then you will not know your grandchildren.” Her son said he got up, and stalked out of the room.
Anne watched him leave and then she burst into tears.