Anno Obumbratio: A 16th Century Alternate History

If not a crown, if the French keep Milan I have a feeling Phillipe Emmanuel might just get that duchy as an appanage of his own.

The official declaration of Italian as the sole administrative language in Milan is also noteworthy and might lead to butterflies in the Questione Della Lingua.
 
Never thought I'd see a TL where Mary, her mother, and Anne Boleyn are better off than OTL (which is not difficult, to be fair)...

Keep up the good work...
 
Francis of France is as debauched as usual. At least it seems that Jr. and Isabelle will be more chaste. I wonder who Octave will marry… I feel like you’ll do something interesting with him ;)
I do have some plans for Octave, but it will be a few more years before they come to fruition!

I'm just glad that France has been stable for now, Beatriz has the kids she loves even if her situation still isn't the best so hopefully she can be left alone. Hopefully the Dauphin can deal with both the Protestants as well as a resurgent Emperor by keeping the military sharp and well funded.
Given the Dauphin's marriage to a Habsburg princess, there is perhaps some hope that once François is gone, Franco-Imperial relations might recover. After all, the emperor is his father-in-law, and the boy that might someday succeed him will be his brother-in-law.

Emanuel seems like an odd name for a French Prince.
Keep in mind that it's his secondary name, not his primary name. He goes by Philippe. He's named in honor of his maternal grandfather, Manuel of Portugal. The name was not ever used by the French royal family, but there were also no Franco-Portuguese marriages at this time. Considering he was the third surviving son at the time of his birth, there was some leeway in him being given a dual name. Certainly he's not the first prince to have such a name (Charles Orlando comes to mind).

He's named after his maternal grandfather.
Correct, and it's a second name. Emmanuel entered into Savoyard naming conventions through Beatriz' OTL marriage; I see no reason why it wouldn't here. I think she would absolutely name her first (and only) son in honor of her father. He's got a suitably French royal name in Philippe.

If not a crown, if the French keep Milan I have a feeling Phillipe Emmanuel might just get that duchy as an appanage of his own.

The official declaration of Italian as the sole administrative language in Milan is also noteworthy and might lead to butterflies in the Questione Della Lingua.
Perhaps, but it might also be prudent to keep Milan attached to the crown of France. Especially considering the state of relations between François and his wife; I can't imagine the Dauphin has very warm relations with his younger brother, and some in France might not see it as a good idea to hand over Milan to a younger son who's mother has dubious loyalty towards France.

It may certainly help with the standardization of Italian, especially since France now controls great portions of northern Italy and indirectly influences central and southern Italy. There's likely to be some differences, but Milan IATL will have registries not unlike those in France. Great for genealogists in this TL's future!
 
Chapter 31. The Imperial Italienzug
Chapter 31. The Imperial Italienzug
1540-1542; Germany & Italy.

“Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of yearning.”
— Giotto


Music Accompaniment: La Notte

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Aeneas Piccolomini Introduces Eleonora of Portugal to Frederick III, Pinturicchino.

Part of the peace negotiations between François and Charles included an agreement to allow Charles to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope. The agreement included that the imperial Italienzug, instead of passing through the Duchy of Milan would be given access to Italy through the Republic of Venice. Sensitive negotiations continued throughout 1539 concerning the Iron Crown of Lombardy. Typically held at Pavia, this crown played a vital role in imperial coronations, as emperors would often stop in Lombardy to be crowned King of Italy. “… it came to little surprise that King François opposed the emperor being crowned as King of Italy in Pavia, for it would imply that he held dominion over French territories in Lombardy,” Girolamo Orsini, a Roman nobleman wrote in a letter to his brother. “I’ve heard that delicate negotiations have proceeded throughout the autumn between the Governor of Milan and the emperor’s envoy, alongside the Pope’s representative… and they have finally agreed that the emperor shall be given use of the crown… with the Count of Lodron to serve as the crown’s custodian and representative of the King of France.” As part of the agreement, it was agreed that Lodron would deliver the crown to Rome, to allow for its usage in the coronation; afterward, it would be returned to Pavia to rest where belonged.

Plans for Charles’ Italian procession for his coronation dated back to 1520—nearly twenty years, with plans for his Italienzug to include an army of some 20,000 infantrymen and 4,000 cavalrymen. Given that peace had only recently been arranged, there were different arguments within the imperial council. Chancellor Perrenot was adamant that the emperor should raise the full troops to show the full imperial glory of his situation. Others, such as Antoine of Lalaing and members of the Council of Finance urged the emperor to tread lightly and to consider halving the Italienzug army to 12,000 men—both to spare imperial finances and those of the German princes who would contribute. “I must go to Rome in glory,” Charles reportedly told his councilors. “I cannot go as a beggar.” He agreed to reduce the troops by a quarter, to 18,000 men: 15,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalrymen. Though some German princes would furnish troops for the expedition, others would provide the emperor with financial support instead. “The army of the emperor’s expedition to Rome was a crowning glory of his vast domains—Burgundian knights would march alongside German landsknechts—supported by musketeers from Holland and Flanders.” The emperor’s retinue would be vast: including not only the emperor but Empress Renée and her suite. Archduke Maximilian, the emperor’s eldest son, would also attend, with the emperor’s younger children to remain behind in the Low Countries.

Given the extraordinary celebrations that were planned in Rome for the imperial coronation, Pope Pius V also decreed that an extraordinary jubilee would be held in Rome, celebrating the recent peace in Europe. “Though many of the faithful were pleased to hear that remissions of sins and debts would be celebrated in honor of peace and the imperial coronation…” one Roman historian of the period wrote. “… the concerns of the Pope and the College of Cardinals were primarily financial. They foresaw the great expense and burden that the emperor’s coronation would put upon Rome; given the fragile state of papal finances throughout the 1530s, many saw a jubilee as the best way for the papal treasury to recoup its losses and fill the empty coffers.” Pius V ordered the Vice-Chamberlain of Apostolic Camera and Governor of Rome, Bishop Filippo Archinto to prepare Rome for the coming festivities—repairs were carried out on the four major basilicas, and roads and thoroughfares throughout Rome were to be cleaned and enlarged to accommodate the enormous number of pilgrims and tourists that would no doubt flood the city. Other orders were aimed at some of Rome’s ancient glories—Pius V ordered the church and side chapels attached to the old Temple of Antonius and Faustina razed, so that the temple could be renovated. Other artifacts of Rome, such as the old forum, did not fare as well: Pius V ordered previous excavation licenses around the forum suspended, bringing the site under the control of the committee in control of rebuilding St. Peter’s Basilica. Other ancient sites that were in ruins, such as the Temple of Castor and Pollux and the Regia were plundered for marble and stone to go towards the construction of churches and palaces throughout the city, to the consternation of the Roman magistrates who deplored the destruction of Rome’s history to fund its future.

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Mudéjar Tile used for the Palace of Tevuren; Tevuren would be a testament to Charles V's world spanning empire.

It was eventually decided that Charles V’s coronation as emperor would echo the legacy of Charlemagne and would occur on Christmas of 1540—which would also serve as the opening date for the Jubilee, which would run until November 1541. “The period before the emperor’s coronation opened with great celebrations throughout the Low Countries,” Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, son of the emperor’s chancellor wrote in a letter to Rome. “The emperor and empress made a joyous entry into Mechelen, and also stayed briefly at Tevuren, where the emperor had begun reconstruction efforts on the old castle there…” Indeed, the beginnings of the Palace of Tevuren can be traced back to Charles V, who sought to transform the castle into a true Renaissance pleasure palace—melding Italian and French influences with the Spanish Plateresque movement, which incorporated Mudéjar designs. Charles and his retinue soon left the Low Countries in November of 1539, visiting Aachen and Cologne. “The Archbishop of Cologne presented the emperor and empress with a great barge…” Bartolomäus Welser wrote in a letter to his brother, Franz Welser. “Named Johann der Täufer in honor of Saint John the Baptist; the barge is a wonderous gilded creation, the front decorated with an emblem of the imperial eagle, with a golden figurehead of the Virgin Mary alongside small figures of angels…” The great barge included an imperial apartment to accommodate the emperor and empress, decorated sumptuously with paneled walls, tapestries, and even a state bed. “Of course, the archbishop required some 30,000 ducats to provide this ‘gift’ to the emperor,” Welser continued in his letter. “—a loan which we were very happy to provide him against some of his clerical revenues for the next five years. A tidy profit for everyone all around—except perhaps the archbishop.” The imperial barge would ferry Charles, Renée, Maximilian, and some of their most favored retainers from Cologne to Mainz—with the remainder of the imperial retinue traveling behind them overland.

From Mainz, Charles and the imperial retinue traveled through parts of Germany, where celebrations were held in the emperor’s honor. “His Majesty was treated to entertainments on his travail through Germany…” one member of the imperial retinue wrote in his private journals. “…patricians in Frankfurt hosted a ball in his honor, while those of Nuremberg, not to be outdone, staged a masque that reportedly cost the city ƒ10,000 and included wine fountains and a full feast for the city’s poorest residents…” At Augsburg, Charles reviewed the troops provided by the German princes who would accompany him to Rome. “They were dressed in their very best vestments,” one officer wrote in a letter home. “And they carried their weapons as if they were prepared for war… the only thing missing was the smell of smoke and fire…” Many German princes also joined the emperor at Augsburg: this included Prince Severin of Saxony[1], son and heir of Duke Heinrich of Saxony, and Joachim II Hektor, Elector of Brandenburg. From Augsburg, the imperial group would travel to Munich—where the emperor and empress would be fêted by Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria, who joined the imperial retinue along with his son, Theodor. By the spring of 1540, Charles would make his first peacetime visit through his Austrian domains—staying briefly at the Hofburg in Innsbruck, the former residence of his grandfather, Emperor Maximilian. “It is a dank and depressing place,” Empress Renée complained in a letter to her friend, Anne de Parthenay. “… it is in a horrible state of disrepair, and several apartments are practically uninhabitable. I have been lodged in the chambres of the late empress, Bianca Maria, a very sad life; her portrait still hangs upon the wall here, and I look upon it as I write to you with a shudder… her spirit is still here and roams these halls.” Charles himself had little good to say about the Innsbruck Hofburg—calling it a mausoleum of sadness.

By late spring, the imperial procession reached Italy—with Charles and Renée being welcomed into Venice. Charles was the first Holy Roman Emperor to visit Venice in nearly a century—since Frederick III. They attended a sermon at St. Mark’s Basilica given by the Patriarch of Venice. Most extraordinarily, the emperor’s visit coincided with Sposalizo del Mare—the Marriage of the Sea—traditionally held on Ascension Day, where the Doge of Venice threw a golden ring into the sea. Doge Sebastiano Giustiniani, seeing the chance for a great diplomatic coup, invited the emperor to partake in the ceremony. Francesco Cornaro, a Venetian nobleman wrote of the ceremony in his diary: “… the bucentaur docked at the Doge’s Palace as was custom—but the emperor exited the palace first, donned in full regalia; his robe was crimson and etched with cloth of gold thread, with an ermine trim—wearing his crown. Behind him followed the doge in his full regalia—a mantle of gold and silver brocade, with the corno ducale upon his head and the command rod in his hand. Both boarded the bucentaur together and were seated beside each other at the stern… at the emperor’s side was the papal legate, while the French ambassador sat beside the doge. The great barge traveled down the lagoon into Adriatic, surrounded by boats and gondolas—and the imperial eagle flew freely aside our great lion…” Both the emperor and empress were celebrated at feasts and fairs held after the Sposalizo, with the emperor even being invited to inscribe his name in the Libro d’Oro—the traditional golden book of Venetian nobility. It was estimated some 60,000 ducats were spent on entertainment during the imperial visit. Only a fraction of this was paid for by the Republic’s funds: the majority was furnished by the doge himself. “Prayers are needed, dear wife,” Doge Sebastiano wrote in a letter to his wife—lamenting their economic woes. “… should our cargo from the Levant and Egypt fetch a good price, then we shall weather this storm; if they do not, then we shall be forced to consider other matters…” Yet Charles’ visit was not entirely for pleasure—he met privately with the Venetian Signoria as well as Doge Guistiniani, outlining his hopes for warmer relations between them both—especially where their common enemies, such as the Turks were concerned.

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Miracle of the Cross, c. 1494.

From Venice, the imperial coterie passed through central Italy—spending time at both Ferrara and Florence. “Duke Ercole is a spiteful dullard,” Renée wrote in a letter to another of her associates, the Sieur de Soubise. “… a typical Italian, spoiled and bigoted. Oh, how I feel for his wife! Duchess Maria is a kinswoman of mine… the daughter of Claude of Lorraine, slain at Marignano. What a sad life she has lived; reared in a convent—then married away at thirteen, weighted down in gold to make the duke happy and content him with his French alliance…” One happy outcome of their visit to Ferrara was the Elector of Brandenburg’s marriage to Duke Ercole’s youngest sister—Isabella Maria[2]. This was less a match of love and one of expediency. At twenty-one, Isabella Maria was long past the age when a princess usually married. Her elder sister, Leonora, had entered a convent rather than marry, and some at the Este court believed that Duke Ercole was pressing his younger sister to consider the same vocation. “I do not desire to be a nun—I have received no calling for the religious life,” Isabella Maria reportedly told one of her favorite ladies. “…but I cannot say that I have received a call to be a wife, either. The elector is fat, and though he is not ugly, he is far from my liking… but if marriage to him shall free me from Ferrara and my brother’s tutelage, then I shall happily wed.” Duke Ercole loaded his sister down with a dowry of 40,000 ducats—with half of that to be in plate and jewels.

At Florence, the imperial party was hosted by Lorenzo III, the Duke of Florence, and the newly minted Duchess of Florence, Jeanne of Austria—the emperor’s illegitimate daughter. Jeanne had arrived in Florence nearly a year before, and already discord reigned in her marriage. “… they were mismatched the very day that they set eyes upon each other,” Maria von Pallandt, a lady-in-waiting to Jeanne wrote in a letter to a friend. “… when they speak, it devolves into arguments; the duke can never pay her a compliment but criticizes every detail of what she does, down to the minutiae, while she is lonely and isolated in the cold edifice of the Palazzo Fiorentino[3].” Lorenzo was cordial to his father-in-law—great balls and feasts were hosted at Fiorentino in his honor—even as the Duke of Florence grumbled privately to his councilors about the expense. “… I was offered the hand of the emperor’s bastard, and I took it, in the name of peace…” Lorenzo reportedly uttered to Angelo Nicolini, one of his councilors. “… and now I entertain the emperor on the eve of his coronation—spending the dowry which he paid to me to do so.” The tension in Florence was thick, and Charles did not deign to remain a moment longer than needed. Empress Renée recorded her own thoughts in another letter addressed to Jean Calvin, the French Protestant reformer now residing in Geneva: “… as we have traveled further into Italy, more and more I realize the odious lies of the Catholic Church. They use their splendor as a veneer for their foulest natures, wishing to keep their flocks fat, happy, and stupid. All the Italians I have met are utterly bigoted; the men are stubborn and cruel, the women stupid and placid. I firmly believe that no Frenchwoman could ever be happy in Italy, and I shall be glad to return to Brussels. My stomach twists and turns as we approach Rome…”

Charles made his entrance into Rome in October 1540. “All gathered for the entry of the emperor into the city through the Porta Tiburtina, of all classes and ages,” Tullia d’Aragona, a renowned Roman courtesan wrote in a letter to one of her lovers. “.. as the emperor passed through the city, he paid visits to the churches of his numerous dominions: Santa Maria della Pietà, Santa Maria dell’Anima, and Signora del Sacro Cuore… there he made bequests, before making his grand entrance into the Vatican…” Charles and Renée were received warmly by Pius V at the Apostolic Palace, where they were granted a private audience—with the Pope granting the emperor use of the Lateran Palace for the duration of his stay for his court, as well as the use of Castel Sant’Angelo to house officers of the Italienzug, with common soldiers garrisoned outside of the city walls. Rome surrendered to a whirl of entertainments and processions that consumed the city as the leadup to the imperial coronation. A reflection by Empress Renée in her journals recorded the following: “… entered Rome today, a horrible feeling… despite so much history here, the odious stink of the church clings around here, most especially in the Vatican. Was presented to the pope alongside the emperor… Pope Pius V is an older man, past sixty…wizened with a white beard, in his white and red papal garb. A foul, mealy mouthed man… he knows how to say everything while at the same time saying nothing at all. Am to be presented with the Golden Rose tomorrow… I shall have to ask Mme. de Soubise to pack it tightly into my traveling chest with my chemises; I dare not refuse the honor, but I shall have to rid myself of it when we return to Brussels…” Charles himself also hosted entertainments in honor of his coronation, such as an investment ceremony for members of Roman society, where men such as the painter Titian received the honors of Count Palatine of the Lateran Palace and Knight of the Golden Spur—honors given for services rendered, and for life—not hereditary.

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Charles V by Titian, c. 1540.

Two days before his coronation, Charles received the Iron Crown of Lombardy as King of Italy in the chapel of the Lateran Palace. “His Majesty arose from his chair to greet Our Lord; he kissed his foot, and in turn the sword, scepter, and crown were carried before His Holiness…” one attendant to the ceremony wrote in his journals. “… His Majesty remained on his knees at the feet of His Holiness, while he recited several prayers; first, he took the sword and blessed it, and put it into the hands of the emperor who returned it into its sheath…” On December 25, 1540, the emperor, and empress attended mass at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. “Silly superstitious snuff,” Renée would declare in her private journal afterward. The mass was long and solemn. When all was said and done, Charles and Renée kneeled before the pope, kissing his feet. Renée would later lament at this ritual—marking it as the moment within her heart that she became a Protestant. Charles offered up the ritual formulas—promising to protect the Roman Church and swearing fealty for himself and his future successors to the pope. Before the assembled crowd, including Italian and German aristocrats and representatives of the various Italian states, Pope Pius V invested Charles with the artifacts of his office. He was formally invested with the insignia of the emperors, followed by a golden scepter, a naked sword, and a golden apple. Pius V then placed the golden crown upon Charles’ head, with Renée being crowned afterwards. For the first time, Charles was hailed as the Roman Emperor, while Renée was hailed as the Roman Empress. Both were invited to sit in chairs of golden brocade d’or alongside the Pope. Outside the Basilica, the coronation was announced with the populace shouting: “Viva Carlo V Imperatore! Viva Renata Imperatrice!” The great bombards fired in celebration—the smoke and sound ringing throughout the eternal city.

Following the coronation, the imperial procession proceeded throughout the city. The imperial procession included not only the emperor and empress but the pope as well. The sovereigns protected under a canopy; behind them followed the Roman magistrates, four chaplains of the pope, ambassadors from various countries—followed by various princes, dukes, and counts, the college of cardinals, as well as different prelates, with Flemish and German soldiers led by their officers. The pope soon broke away from the procession to return to the Vatican, while Charles and Renée would eventually retire to the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trevestere. Charles took his place at the high altar on the faldstool—with Renée invited to sit beside him. Both sovereigns removed their crowns, and they joined in prayer—with certain high officials and magnates invited up to the altar to receive a kiss of peace from both the emperor and the empress. Coins and money were distributed by the imperial officers outside of the basilica, and Charles also invested in several other Roman nobles with the title of knight. The imperial retinue would retire soon after to the Lateran, where celebrations would be carried throughout the evening and night—celebrating the crowning of a new emperor.

[1] Like his OTL counterpart, he has been reared at the imperial court and given a Catholic education.
[2] Lucrezia Borgia’s youngest daughter. Died after birth IOTL; she has survived here.
[3] The OTL Palazzo della Signoria / Palazzo Vecchio which the Medici resided in from 1540 until the construction of the Pitti Palace. It’s received a different name here, roughly the “Florentine Palace.”
 
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No way he does that. She's his empress and the mother of the rest of his children.
It wouldn’t make his children with her illegitimate to be fair- but he cannot play the role of the secular head of Catholic Christendom when he can’t even maintain the catholicity of his own house.
 
So Renee’s officially thrown her lot in with the Prods- might Charles be forced to divorce her?
If she "comes out" as a Protestant, the most likely response by Charles would be to imprison her and cover it up. Possibly she would be declared insane, like his mother Juana.

OTOH - suppose she decides that being Catholic endangers one's soul. She "comes out" to Charles in private, and tries to convert him, but he refuses vehemently. He thinks the matter is settled, and takes no further precautions. Renée however decides that "desperate times call for desperate measures". To save her soul, and the souls of her children, she does a runner with the children to the court of some important Protestant prince, say Philip of Hesse.

Now the matter is very public. Charles threatens war unless his family is returned. Philip may give in. The religious issue is one thing, but the authority of a husband and father is another. Or he might arrange for Renée to move on, perhaps out of the Empire to Denmark or Sweden. At that point, Charles probably gets a divorce.
 
He finally got crowned!
Yes! It took twenty years, but he got there.

“I need a goddamn vacation” -Charles V, 1540
He's definitely traveled quite a bit this year! Compared to the OTL Charles V, this one isn't the roamer and has been more based in the Low Countries.

So Renee’s officially thrown her lot in with the Prods- might Charles be forced to divorce her?
At this point he's not aware. There's been hints of her thoughts, but she's not outright made that jump yet. Even if it goes public, I don't think he'd go that far. Likely, he'd want to bring her back into the Catholic fold, as there aren't really any grounds for an annulment... though given Pius V's successor is more pro-Imperial, I'm sure a reasoning could be found.

No way he does that. She's his empress and the mother of the rest of his children.
Correct, not to mention the political implications. François might not care much about his sister-in-law, but he'd absolutely use any potential issues against the emperor.

It wouldn’t make his children with her illegitimate to be fair- but he cannot play the role of the secular head of Catholic Christendom when he can’t even maintain the catholicity of his own house.
To be fair, I'd argue he already has issues with that: his sister Mary in Bohemia has embraced the Protestant faith as well. Of course, having a wife embrace it is a totally different issue...

If she "comes out" as a Protestant, the most likely response by Charles would be to imprison her and cover it up. Possibly she would be declared insane, like his mother Juana.

OTOH - suppose she decides that being Catholic endangers one's soul. She "comes out" to Charles in private, and tries to convert him, but he refuses vehemently. He thinks the matter is settled, and takes no further precautions. Renée however decides that "desperate times call for desperate measures". To save her soul, and the souls of her children, she does a runner with the children to the court of some important Protestant prince, say Philip of Hesse.

Now the matter is very public. Charles threatens war unless his family is returned. Philip may give in. The religious issue is one thing, but the authority of a husband and father is another. Or he might arrange for Renée to move on, perhaps out of the Empire to Denmark or Sweden. At that point, Charles probably gets a divorce.
I don't think the emperor could make the jump that Renée having different religious beliefs means she's insane. She's not talking about seeing angels or having delusions. He could certainly have her closely confined somewhere, though.

That's a risk I don't think she would be willing to take. What we know of Renée from OTL is that her Protestant faith during her marriage was mostly private and confined to her chambers; several of her attendants were seized by the Inquisition and questioned during her time in Ferrara. There's no Inquisition in the Low Countries, though Charles did appoint an Inquisitor General for the Low Countries in the 1520s, and later appointed one in Flanders, as well. It's possible that her attendants here could fall under similar suspicion here, too.

If this spreads, it's quite possible that Renée could face a heresy trial much like she did IOTL. I don't really think she'd flee or try to abscond with the children, it's certainly not something that would help her cause. In fact, her children being taken away from her IOTL is what caused her to "recant" though she never again attended mass and likely resumed Protestant worship when she returned to France. Being empress is a big step up from Duchess of Ferrara, but Charles would be able to apply the pressure; I think the similar threat of losing access to her children would make her think twice.

Of course, being empress affords her certain privileges, and the Protestants in Germany would definitely be happy to know one of their own sits beside their emperor.

Or she can remain Catholic to the public, but protestant in private.
The most likely outcome. But there's bound to be gossip about her attendants and her correspondence with reformers. But I don't think she can ever truly make the full "leap" while Charles is alive.
 
I don't think the emperor could make the jump that Renée having different religious beliefs means she's insane.
I meant that as a way to conceal her religious deviance, to avoid the embarrassment of having a an openly Protestant wife.
He could certainly have her closely confined somewhere, though.
Exactly - and give out that she is "mad", much as was done with Juana.
What we know of Renée from OTL is that her Protestant faith during her marriage was mostly private and confined to her chambers...
Didn't know she was an OTL figure. Looking at her, she's in a very different position from OTL. There was no Protestant political faction in Italy, but there certainly is in Germany, where her husband is facing open rebellion by powerful Protestants. IMO, her being even a private Protestant would be an intolerable problem for Charles, and she would not accept being part of the Catholic court that is fighting Protestants.

But you know this period far better than I do.
 
Didn't know she was an OTL figure. Looking at her, she's in a very different position from OTL. There was no Protestant political faction in Italy, but there certainly is in Germany, where her husband is facing open rebellion by powerful Protestants. IMO, her being even a private Protestant would be an intolerable problem for Charles, and she would not accept being part of the Catholic court that is fighting Protestants.

But you know this period far better than I do.
Yes, she is the younger daughter of Anne of Brittany.

She's definitely playing with fire. There have been some hints to her sympathies; she met with Protestant theologians briefly at one of the first Diets she attended, and now her numerous writings and private thoughts. She certainly will disagree on any policy Charles has towards the Protestants: while at this point he's learned that the cat is largely out of the bag and any hope of reconciling them back into the church it futile, that doesn't mean that he's prepared to tolerate said beliefs. It will all come to a head sooner rather than later.

I don't think Charles would accept her being a Protestant in private either. If he finds out, there will be massive repercussions, especially because she and Charles have children. There could be a very real fear of her trying to convert them to Protestantism (and iirc, she even took Protestant communion with two of her daughters IOTL). She would be heavily pressured to recant, though having the Holy Roman Empress subject to a heresy trial should be a major PR issue for Charles and contribute to other issues: how can be supported as a sovereign when he can't even manage his own home / family?
 
She would be heavily pressured to recant, though having the Holy Roman Empress subject to a heresy trial should be a major PR issue for Charles and contribute to other issues: how can be supported as a sovereign when he can't even manage his own home / family?
Which is why the "she's gone mad and can't see anyone" option is attractive.

She's been something of a Trojan Horse in this scenario - a crypto-semi-Protestant before marrying Charles.
 
What a timeline. I’ve had a wonderfully hard time getting caught up, since you write so prolifically. This is truly great work.

I do have a couple of writing suggestions, but I don’t want to be so presumptuous as to share them here unbidden. If you would like me to share them, let me know.

I’m impressed, homie.
 
I do not have a new chapter for you all just yet...

But I wanted to thank both @Aluma and @FalconHonour for nominating Anno for the Turtledoves. Thanks to everyone who has been along for this wild ride these last few months as I've stepped back into Alternate History again. It's been such a warm welcome and a lot of fun picking up an old hobby again. January has been absolutely crazy work wise and I've been a bit down creatively, but I am working on the next chapters and I hope to have something out in the next few weeks.
 
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