Flower O'Scotland

Chapter 83: Jane's Great Plan
Chapter 83: Jane’s Great Plan

December, 1559

Jane cleared her throat and looked at the two men before her. She had asked for this meeting whilst her husband attended to an issue in Wales, because she wanted to get their thoughts on a matter quite dear to her, without the King’s views influencing their words. “Your Eminence, Sir John, we have summoned you here today because we wished to discuss the matter of the church. Not just of England, but of Scotland and Ireland also.” She paused and saw that both men were deeply interested now. “It has come to our attention that since King Henry’s split from Rome, the churches of all three nations have undergone quite considerable transformation. Whilst our husband and King’s father King James did not split from Rome, he did on your advice Sir John introduce some changes. This has consequently led to a situation where in our view, the matter of the churches is confused and unclear. We must resolve this issue and we would hear from you both on this matter.”

There was a brief silence as the two men looked at one another. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer was old and frail now, but his mind was still sharp, and he had harboured some sort of belief in the reformed religion for some time, Jane knew. Sir John was her husband’s closest advisor on religious matters, and she did not know quite where he stood on everything, that he had even agreed to meet with her at all was revelatory. Cranmer spoke first. “Majesty, before we can discuss this great and imposing issue, we must know whether Your Majesty wishes to discuss a solution for all three churches, or just one?”

Jane shuffled slightly and then said. “All three churches, for they all descend from the same origin after all and they are united by one King and one Queen.”

Cranmer did not say anything for the longest period, and when he did speak his voice was soft. “Then in that case, I would propose a grand council to resolve the matter involving all the great Bishops and clergy of the three realms.”

“You would not provide a direct solution?” Jane asked surprised. She had never thought of Cranmer as the sort of man who would shy away from providing direct answers.

“Majesty, it is not that, it is just that this is a matter that needs quite some thought and it would not be fair of me to simply propose a solution when the needs of each church vary so significantly.” Cranmer replied.

“They do not vary so significantly, Your Eminence.” Knox said. “The issue is simple, we must decide, or rather Your Majesty must decide whether you wish for there to be three separate churches serving as an obstacle to the union of the crowns and the lands and peoples, or whether you want just one church to unify the entire island.”

“You would erode history.” Cranmer said.

Jane spoke then. “With respect, Your Eminence, history is already being eroded. We are forgetting that before we joined with Rome there was a united church based in York and spread throughout the isles. But that is not the point. The point is that the Church in Scotland and the Church in England follow a similar religious tone and belief, and the imagery in both churches is far more akin to the taste of these isles and not some pomposity from Rome. The church in Ireland is slowly moving toward this position as well. Therefore, we must ensure that it continues.”

“Do you wish to create a united Britannic church, Your Majesty?” Cranmer asked.

Jane saw no point in lying so she said. “Yes. That is the objective that myself and His Majesty the King share.”

“Then a council is the way to go, Your Majesty.” Cranmer said. “Get everyone in one room, and get them to discuss the positives and cons of this system and then you will get them to see your view.”

“And you do not think that this would be used by various parties to take away momentum?” Jane asked.

“No, I do not. I think instead what it will do is give Your Majesty a chance to present your cause through reasoned argument before those who will need to implement the changes you wish, and it will allow them to see the positive side to it.” Cranmer said.

“But you will not be there to host it.” Knox pointed out.

Cranmer nodded. “Indeed I would not. I am old and failing, but you do not want me there. I am stubborn as well. You need someone who will be able to manoeuvre people to where you want them to be.”

“So, who could that be?” Jane asked.

“Not Pole, he is devoted to Rome.” Knox said.

“And not Parker is a fool and no politician.” Cranmer said.

“We do not want a politician we want someone who will share in our vision.” Jane said.

“Then you want Grindal, Majesty.” Knox said.

“Grindal is the right choice, he has brains, and he is devoted to the King and Your Majesty.” Cranmer said.

“Then Grindal it shall be.” Jane declared.
Chapter 84: Somersaults In The Wind
Chapter 84: Somersaults In The Wind

March, 1560

Felipe looked at the letters strewn across his table and sighed. Sometimes he wished he was more organised and clinical like his father had been. And other times he liked that he was not so without mess. He knew what worked for him and he was going to keep working down that angle, whether it hurt him or not. It was a sin not to go with what you knew, the Priests all told him that.

He looked up and looked at his councillors. “Gentlemen, we are five months from the issuing of the statement for reform, how are we looking?”

Javier Godoy, his chancellor shifted nervously. “Sire, things do not look good.”

Felipe raised an eyebrow. “Why?”

“Sire, the flow of gold and silver from the new world is slowing down. It appears that our settlers in the colonies are beginning to demand things beyond their remit, such as representation in the Cortes and an ability to decide their own rates of taxation. Consequently, until those demands are met they will not allow for the supplies to be sent over.” Godoy said.

“Which means that we will not have the money to pay for the road changes and sewage improvements that we had promised the people.” Felipe said. He thought on this for a moment and then turned to Alba and asked. “What are the chances that if we grant them what they want they shall relent?”

Alba looked at him for a moment, a long one at that and eventually responded. “I do not think so Sire. These people, they are not honest men, if they where they would have realised that these actions do not serve any purpose. No, instead, I would have them all gathered up and executed to send a message to their fellow citizens.”

“Sire, surely such a measure is harsh. We can give with one hand and take with the other without having to execute them.” Godoy protested.

“Do you know what happens when you give a beggar food, Godoy?” Alba asked then. “He comes back to you day and night asking for more, until one day he will kill you. His Majesty cannot afford that.”

Godoy said nothing then, for the analogy used played right into his own family’s history. Felipe looked at Alba and then said. “Send word to the governors, we want these men found and killed and we want the gold brought immediately.”

“Yes, Sire.” Alba replied writing this down.

“Sire,” Julien Castro his foreign minister began. “There has been word from France.”

“Go on.” Felipe said.

“The Queen Dowager has confirmed a betrothal with the heir to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, and as such has brought the Medici into France’s orbit. Furthermore, the Duke of Guise has written to me to assure me that the Dowager Queen will not broach any alliance with Navarre in the short term.” Castro said.

“Good.” Felipe replied. “We have also decided against any marriage between our daughter and Enrique of Navarre. We do not wish to condemn our daughter to a life of hell. Instead, we are considering the marriage with the French Princess for our own son.”

“Such a marriage would be very beneficial, Sire, and it would help confirm for all of Europe that Spain is indeed the most powerful nation.” Castro said.

“Good, see it done.” Felipe commanded, and Castro hurriedly made some notes.

The man then spoke once more. “Sire, there has been some information passed onto me from our spies in London.” Felipe gestured for the man to continue. “It appears that King James and his wife are planning on having some sort of council to discuss the matters of the church.”

Felipe raised an eyebrow. “What sort of matters?”

Castro hesitated then and Felipe had to glare at him for him to continue. “Matters relating to whether or not to stay with Holy Mother Church or embrace the heresy found elsewhere.”

Felipe repressed a sigh. He had feared something like this might happen. “And do we know whether this is something that King James has instigated or has it been done by his wife?”

There was a moment’s pause and then Castro responded. “It appears as though it has been done by his wife, Majesty. She is the one who met with the reformers.”

“Then perhaps we must send a reminder to King James that it was Eve who was created for Adam, not the other way around.” Felipe said.

“Yes, Sire.” Castro replied making a note.
Chapter 85: Fort Knox
Chapter 85: Fort Knox

June, 1560

John took a moment to look around the room. The Archbishop of Canterbury was not here, he was preparing for his last meeting with God, but the Archbishop of York was. The Archbishop of Glasgow and the Archbishop of St Andrews had come, as had the Archbishop of Dublin and various other minor Bishops and clergy. They had come to Hampton Court Palace, to discuss the future of the church not just in England, but in the entire isles. John felt honoured that the King and Queen had seen fit to name him chairman of this congregation or congress.

He cleared his throat and spoke. “Gentlemen, Your Eminences, it has been some time since we met and discussed. We have all gone around in circles trying to decide where the future lies. I propose we look at something completely new and different from the usual theological debates.” He paused to let his words sink in, and as expected, the people gathered round leaned in. “I propose we discuss something crucial to each and everyone of you, that being the role of Bishops in the church.”

Immediately the Archbishop of York who no doubted thought his succession to the role of Canterbury secure spoke. “There is nothing to discuss. There have always been Bishops so long as there has been a church.”

Knox looked at the man and said. “Actually, Your Eminence that is not true.” Before he could finish, York interrupted.

“Do not blaspheme me, Knox. You know nothing more of the church than I.”

John hid the smile behind his hand and once he had composed himself replied. “Your Eminence, I mean no offence, but these documents here clearly prove that the role of Bishops only emerged during the second century following the end of Christ.” He passed the documents down the table to York who read them with great insistence.

The Archbishop of St Andrews spoke. “Regardless of their historical relevance, I do believe that Bishops are necessary.”

“And why do you say that, Your Eminence?” John asked, knowing he needed to be careful here.

“I say that because through the anointing of the Bishop, we therefore allow ourselves to channel the Holy Father and his Son onto Earth and therefore ensure that we add religious legitimacy to everything that occurs. And that is something that is needed whether or not you believe it has existed since the start.” St Andrews replied.

John thought over that. “But then, do you believe that they need hold their power from Rome?” He saw what that did and saw how York contorted.

“Where else would we draw our power from other than from Holy Mother Church?” York demanded.

“Why from God’s representative on this world.” John replied.

“That is the Holy Father himself in Rome.” York responded.

“You are wrong, Your Eminence.” John said. “The Pope is the foundation of the church, not of God’s authority on this world.”

Before York could respond, the Archbishop of Glasgow spoke. “He is right you know.” There was a pause and then the man continued. “God’s authority is vested in the King, as his only son said ‘Give unto Caesar,’ meaning that we owe are places in this world to the King.”

“So, what of the other Kings?” York countered. “Do they require our obedience as well?”

“No.” the Archbishop of Dublin said. “We were not created by them, we were created by the King who sits in London.”

“Exactly,” John said happy to have finally reached his point. “If Bishops are necessary they are necessary only so far as they serve at the King’s pleasure. The King rules all three Kingdoms on this most august Island fortress, therefore, it makes sense for him to have the right to appoint those who would spread his word, for his word is God’s word, do you not agree?”

“Does this mean we are leaving Rome?” York asked hesitantly.

“We shall decide that in due course.” John replied smiling.

“I agree with Sir John,” The Archbishop of Glasgow said. “The King is our master, not Rome.”

There was a moment’s pause and John waited, he knew not to rush these men, they were Bishops they were old men and they did everything slowly. Eventually, York grumpily said. “Very well, I can see the sense in that.”

“Let us have a vote then.” John said. “Those in favour, say aye.” All of them said aye so he did not bother saying the other option.

“It is confirmed then, the King is God’s chosen on this world, and his right is to appoint his representatives in the Bishops on this island fortress.” John said.
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Another good update, thank you!

Things seem to heading towards a more OTL-Anglican type of British church than OTL Knox supported, but I do wonder if he views this just as a first step...

seen fit to name him chair of this congregation or congress
Small nitpick, sorry: calling someone a piece of furniture, i.e. the use of 'chair' instead of 'chairman,' is a very modern thing; 'chairman' or 'moderator' would be much more in keeping with the times.
Another good update, thank you!

Things seem to heading towards a more OTL-Anglican type of British church than OTL Knox supported, but I do wonder if he views this just as a first step...

Small nitpick, sorry: calling someone a piece of furniture, i.e. the use of 'chair' instead of 'chairman,' is a very modern thing; 'chairman' or 'moderator' would be much more in keeping with the times.
Glad you like it! And Knox has his plans, don't you worry :)

And ahhh, thanks, will amend that :)
Chapter 86: Resolutions
Chapter 86: Resolutions

September, 1560

James had tried to avoid Hampton Court as much as possible, though his spies in the meetings of the congregation of clergy had told him all about what was happening and who was doing what, and who had slept with whose daughter and all of that. He knew all of that, and frankly he was quite disgusted with it. These were men of the cloth acting as if they were little more than animals caught in heat, arguing and bickering and fucking anything that moved. He was of half a mind to lock the doors of the palace and burn them all down. But decided against that course because it would ruin a perfectly nice palace after all.

He had decided after months of thinking over it to come to Hampton Court. He’d left St James, and taken his wife with him. It had been her idea after all. And now, they were stood outside the doors of the main room, waiting. “Their Majesties the King and Queen.” The herald announced, the doors opened and the guards banged their staffs on the floor. The room went completely silent as James walked into the room with Jane. They continued walking ignoring the eyes on them, before stopping in front of the thrones. James sat down and then helped his wife sit, before gesturing for the others to sit down as well.

Once that was done he spoke. “It has been some time since this congregation was first called. In that time we know you have discussed much and decided on many things. We wish to see what you have decided.” He paused and then said. “Your Eminence,” he looked at the Archbishop of York. “Would you mind telling us what you have decided.”

The Archbishop of York looked frail and fragile, but he still had an arrogant demeanour about his person when he rose. “Of course, Majesty.” A pause and then. “On the matter of the role of Bishops we have decided that they are simply Your Majesty’s representatives to the people of these isles. We believe that Your Majesty has been chosen by God as his representative on this world and therefore it is our duty to do as Your Majesty bids, and that Your Majesty has the right to choose us and dismiss us as you please.”

James looked at the Archbishop and then at Jane and then asked. “And what of Rome?”

Here the Archbishop looked uncomfortable but still replied. “Sire, we have agreed that the Church of Rome whilst being the first Church, is little more than a foreign intervention within the realms of these three Kingdoms.”

James was not sure whether he agreed with that, but he was intrigued to see where this was going. “Go on.”

“Sire?” York asked confused.

“What else do you think in relation to Rome?” James asked.

“Sire, we believe that the Church in Rome has strayed far from the true teachings of the Church. We believe that there should not need to be any sort of payment for service offered in the church. We believe that though Adam and Eve were the original sinners, that they did so because of the free will that Lord God gave them, we believe that humanity has the chance to choose where it wishes to go, and that God will decide where we go as a basis of our decisions. Bribery is not something that can settle that.” York said.

“Good.” James said simply. “What else have you decided?”

“We have agreed that the bread and wine of Communion is indeed a representation of the body and blood of our Saviour Christ, and that it is an essential part of the service.” York said. “We have also agreed that services should be conducted not in the Latin of the foreigner, but instead in the English that is native to this island fortress.”

James nodded, he had long agreed with that statement. “And what else have you decided?”

Here York hesitated for the longest time, and James wondered what was making the man hesitate for so long. “We believe that Your Majesty as God’s representative on this world and for this island fortress, should be the Head of the Church for all three Kingdoms.” There was a pause and then. “Whilst the Pope might have claimed such a thing as St Peter’s representative here, he was not made by God as Your Majesty was, therefore we wish for Your Majesty to take your rightful place as the head of the Church for all three Kingdoms.”

James was stunned, he had somewhat expected the decision that he should choose the Bishops, but to be claimed as head of all three churches? That was something he had definitely not expected. He looked at Jane who nodded encouragingly. “We….we are most honoured by this decision and do gratefully accept.”

York bowed before him and the other clergy rose and did the same. “Then it is our honour to see you as God’s true representative here on these Britannic Isles, Your Most Divine Majesty.” York said, as others took up the call.
I didn't expect that! Agreement on a split with Rome and the king as temporal head of the church?! I was sure there would be some big split or something, with heads needing to be banged together (metaphorically). You continue to surprise me... thanks!
I didn't expect that! Agreement on a split with Rome and the king as temporal head of the church?! I was sure there would be some big split or something, with heads needing to be banged together (metaphorically). You continue to surprise me... thanks!
Glad you liked it. I can you assure you now, not everyone's going to be happy with this, nor is Spain.
Chapter 87: Arthur's Lieutenant
Chapter 87: Arthur’s Lieutenant

December, 1560

Arthur rolled his shoulders, his orders from his brother and King had been simple, hold Scotland and do not in any circumstances allow the nobles to get more powerful than they needed to be. Given that he was just eighteen, Arthur would like to think he’d done quite well so far. There’d been no uprisings and he’d kept a close eye on the Lennoxes as well. And yet now as he looked at the piece of paper before him, the words written in his brother’s official hand, he wondered what the hell he was supposed to do.

“Sire, there is complete precedent for this.” The Lord Chancellor said gesturing to the document. “When King Malcolm Canmore married Saint Margaret he essentially changed the nature of the church of Scotland. It went from Gaelic to completely to Rome in ten years.”

“That’s the point though surely?” Arthur asked. “It took ten years for that change to happen, not one.” He looked at the paper and sighed. “His Majesty has in one year changed the fundamental make up of this society that took five hundred years to shape. Even our Kingly Father never did anything like that.”

“Is it such a bad thing, Your Royal Highness?” The Earl of Arran asked. “That it be changed like this?”

Arthur looked at the man, and asked. “What do you mean?”

“Your Royal Highness, our society has been stagnant.” Arran said. “Three hundred years ago, we were the leaders in art and literature, and people came from all over to hear what our writers had to say. Now? Now we are seen as a back water on the continent. In France they used us to distract the English. Now, with what His Majesty has done, we have the chance to be a leader again. We can lead the conversation on the church and on reform and on adopting the Holy Book for the times we live in now.”

“Lord Arran is right, Your Royal Highness.” The Lord Chancellor said. “Already people are publishing the Bible in Scots and are creating new plays that are being seen not only in Edinburgh and Dundee, but also in Carlisle and Berwick and even London. There is talk of taking one of these plays to Paris as well.”

Arthur sat there listening to this and found himself at a loss. On the one hand his devout Catholic education found this sinful, on the other, his proud Scots nature found this to be wonderful. “And this is all being done since the proclamation?”

“Yes, Your Royal Highness.” The Lord Chancellor said. “And the hostilities we expected from the Highlands has not come. They are benefitting from this as well.”

Arthur nodded, he’d seen the increased use of Gaelic symbols in the churches nearer to the Highlands, had even bought some into the church in Stirling and Edinburgh. Skills that only the Highlanders had or remembered. “Very well.” He paused and then said. “Issue the edict stating that this declaration must be read out from each and every church and parish until the end of days, should someone question it. Furthermore, increase the number of services in Scots to three on Sundays.”

The Lord Chancellor made a note of that, and then the Earl of Atholl spoke. “There is another matter we must discuss, Your Royal Highness.”

Arthur looked at him and sighed. “What complaints do you have about His Majesty’s betrothal for me now?”

Atholl looked sheepish. “Your Royal Highness, they are not complaints per say, but merely a recognition of the status that you yourself have and the position within the three Kingdoms.” A pause and then. “A marriage with an English bride would be fitting for His Royal Highness Prince Robert as a third son, but Your Royal Highness is a second son, and the direct adult male in line to the succession, you are deserving of a higher ranking bride.”

Arthur looked at the man, and though a part of him agreed with Atholl, another part of him remained firmly loyal to his brother, the King. “His Majesty wishes to bring our three Kingdoms closer together. Consequently, a marriage between myself and Lady Joan Percy is necessary given the history of border raids between the two Kingdoms involving the Percys. This is a way of ending that.” He got up then signalling the end of the meeting, he nodded to the men and walked out of the room. Sometimes, he wished his father was still alive.
Chapter 88: Portugal's Conscious
Chapter 88: Portugal’s Conscious

March, 1561

Joao Manuel sat in the council chamber and he wanted to beat his own head in with a stick. Finances, politics all of this was being thrust at him now, and he didn’t know what to do. Joanna was unwell, perhaps as a result of another failed pregnancy and he was terrified that his son Sebastian wouldn’t survive either. There was just so much going wrong with his family, that he was beginning to think it might not be worth the continued alliance with Spain if his family went extinct. He sighed, and then took up one of the papers.

He read it and then looked at his treasurer. “Dom Manuel, what is this document saying?” He passed the document to the treasurer who took it and read.

“Sire, we are entering into another bountiful period. Soon enough we shall be able to increase expenditure on roads and sewage, and perhaps even improve the sanitation of the cities.” Dom Manuel said.

“That is good.” Joao replied, before his father had died, Joao had been speaking with him about trying to change the sewage works in Lisbon and other cities, because the smell coming from them was horrible, and after visiting Madrid, he was convinced they could not follow the Spanish model any longer.

“Furthermore, if you read this letter,” Dom Manuel handed him another piece of paper. “You will see that the silver and diamond mines in our colony in Rio are producing more than enough to compete with Spain.”

Teodosio, Duke of Braganza and his foreign minister spoke then. “I think that will be a cause for concern, Sire.”

Joao sighed. “Yes, clearly our brother by marriage will want us to do something to curtail that, or he will try and force another trade agreement on us.” Joao remembered how angry his father had been when King Felipe had forced the Treaty of a few years ago on them, which had meant the diamonds and silver could only be sold at a reduced rate, so as not to compete with the Spanish produce of the same.

“We will need to find a way to change that.” Teodosio said.

“How though?” Duarte, Duke of Guimares and his cousin asked. “King Felipe has his agents everywhere.”

Joao looked at his ministers, and he saw genuine fear on most of them, he knew that some of his countrymen were terrified of the might of Spain, but he had not realised just how afraid they were. “We could always appeal to the Holy Father and put our case before him. King Felipe will not refuse a direct order from Rome.” Joao said.

There was a pause and then Teodosio said. “I can send a missive to our ambassador in Rome, Sire, if you wish me to?”

“Yes.” Joao said making his mind up on that matter. “Do that. The sooner this issue is addressed the better.”

Teodosio nodded and made a note of that, then said. “There is another matter that involves the King of Spain, Sire.”

Joao sighed he knew what this was about. “What ridiculous demand has King Felipe made now?”

“He has written to all good Catholic nations demanding that we take action against England, for its move away from Rome.” Teodosio said.

Joao wanted to laugh. He knew his brother by marriage was ambitious, but he did not think he was mad. The man was acting as if he was God’s chosen, when he was not. “Ignore that message, and instead send one to King James, informing him that we wish to strengthen our old bonds of friendship with a marriage.”

“Sire?” Teodosio asked. “Is that wise?”

“Yes. We will not bow to the whims of Felipe of Spain, and we have to renew our alliance with England, to show it that we recognise what it is trying to do and that whilst we do not agree with it, we will not attack it.” Joao replied. “Furthermore, they have a daughter and we have a son.”

“I shall write to them right away, Sire.” Teodosio said.

“Good, now if there is nothing else?” Joao said as he rose, he saw Teodosio look at his notes and shake his head, Joao turned and walked out of the room, arriving back at his own chambers, where his wife was fast asleep, and not in pain for a change.
Chapter 89: Seymour's Farewell
Chapter 89: Seymour’s Farewell

May, 1561

Edward could feel his body begin to loosen its grip on life, he could feel everything starting to shift and change. It was a harrowing thing, knowing that death was just around the corner. Still, there were some things he had to do. Some advice he had to give the King and Queen, and then he knew he could rest. The King had summoned him to the royal apartments in St James Palace, and so he sat, doing his best not to show just how weak he truly was.

“Ah, Lord Edward,” the King said. “Thank you for coming. You are well?”

“As well as can be, Sire.” Edward replied. The Queen looked well as well, considering the illness that had hit her and the Royal children some time back.

“Good. Now, you have said you wish to return to your estates, and that you wish to resign your position as Lord High Treasurer.” The King began. “After some consideration and with much reluctance we have decided to agree.” Edward breathed a sigh of relief. “But, before you depart, we wished to ask for some advice from you.”

“I will do my utmost to help you in any way I can, Sire.” Edward said truthfully.

The King nodded, and then said. “With the proclamation of myself and the Queen as heads of the church of Britannia, we wished to know your thoughts on whether the settlement could also lead to a political union of all three Kingdoms.”

Edward hesitated before answering, instinctively the thought of such a union did not sit well with him, but he also knew that the King wished for it more than almost anything else, and he was not someone who would crush his King’s dreams. “Sire, I believe that before a political union can happen, one must first consolidate the Church of Britannia, and ensure that it does not fall by the wayside. There are a great many factions within the three Kingdoms who would benefit from seeing the church fail. You cannot allow that to happen.”

“So, what would you suggest?” The Queen asked looking at him intently.

“Hold a meeting of the senior Bishops of each three churches regularly, and whenever a doctrinal dispute arises hold a council. But always be present for these meetings. For though the clergy recognise Your Majesties as being God’s representatives, they are still human and they will wish to retain power for themselves as much as possible.” Edward responded.

“And if they refuse?” The Queen asked.

“If they refuse, then Your Majesties must remind them of the oaths they swore at Hampton.” Edward answered. “No honest man will refuse then.” He was sure of it, be they English, Scottish or Irish, a man’s oath was his worth.

“Very well.” The King said deciding to move onto another matter. “As to your replacement who would you recommend?”

Here Edward hesitated. A part of him wanted to suggest his own son, but his boy was still young and inexperienced. He would have a hard time dealing with his grandfather’s bastards, let alone the court. Instead he said. “William Cecil.”

“Cecil?” The Queen asked sounding surprised. “Why him?”

“He is a hard worker, he is smart, and he knows how to manipulate the courtiers into doing what needs to be done. It might not be the best sort of work, but he will do it. And he is someone you shall need in the days and years to come.” Edward said.

The Queen looked as if she wanted to say something then, but the King placed a hand on her arm and she stopped. “We shall consider him.” The King said. There was a brief pause and then. “And what of this offer of marriage from Portugal?”

Edward knew his answer to this. “I believe that this marriage is the right thing to do. Even though they are a Catholic nation, they are our oldest ally, and also one of the greatest powers in the world. They will help counteract Spain and keep England on the world stage.”

“Very well.” The King stood as did the Queen. “Thank you for everything.”

Edward rose as well and bowed. “It has been my honour, Your Majesties.”
Chapter 90: Orange

Chapter 90: Orange

August, 1561

Catholic or Protestant that was the main issue effecting the people of the Low Countries. William could see it constantly everywhere he turned. He was decidedly Catholic himself, but he could tolerate those of the new faith, and yet he saw how it was ripping apart everything around him and he was worried. Either there would be a war in the Low Countries or there would be rebellion, either way, it would not end well, for anyone. He looked at the two men before him, the Count of Egmont a man who switched between religions like a man changed coats, and Aleksander de Witt, the richest merchant in the entirety of the Low Countries.

“Gentlemen,” William said. “I understand that you have concerns you wished to voice to me.” Being the premier noble in the entirety of the Netherlands gave him a lot of power, but all he wanted was to keep things the way they had been.

“Yes,” Egmont said. “These new policies that the Governor has introduced violate our rights.”

William raised an eyebrow. “The policies which have seen a reduction in taxation and an increase in liberties?” Those had been the policies he had argued for with the Governor, spending a great deal of time going back and forth on the matter until four months ago.

“Not those.” Egmont countered. “She is trying to introduce the Inquisition.”

William scoffed. “That is nothing more than a rumour started by people who should truly know better. The Governor has said to me directly that she would never introduce the Inquisition and nor would His Majesty the King ever introduce it so long as he knew we were loyal. And we have proved that time and time again.”

Egmont shook his head and produced a document and placed it on the table. “I got that from my friends in the Governor’s household. It’s a document proclaiming the introduction of the Inquisition, signed in the governor’s own hand.”

William hurriedly picked up the document and read through it, as he did so, he felt his heart begin to sink, the words were all the King’s but then there was the signature at the end. He cursed under his breath and then said. “It has not been declared yet, there is still time to change course.”

Egmont shook his head. “I do not think there can be.”

“What do you mean?” William asked.

Egmont sighed. “I believe the Governor will agree to this because the King has told her she has to. Which means there is only one thing we can do.”

“Such a thing would be treason.” William responded.

“It might just be the only choice we have left.” Egmont said.

William looked at de Witt who had said nothing in this entire time and asked. “You do not agree with this, surely? Such a thing would ruin you.”

De Witt said nothing for a moment, then he sighed. “I fear this might be the only suitable course of action. We cannot allow financial loss to affect the loss of our liberties.”

“So, you would throw away everything we have worked for, for what?” William demanded.

“For a chance to avoid persecution for following the only faith we believe in.” Egmont snarled. “William, were it you who were governor this would not be an issue, but the governor is not one of us, she is a Habsburg and will always do what her brother tells her. Either we must rebel or there must be a change.”

An idea came to William then. “Let me speak with the King, before you do anything. If I fail, then you can do what you want.”
Chapter 91: Lennox and the Devil
Chapter 91: Lennox and the Devil

November, 1561

Matthew looked at the men before him. He knew there was something approaching treason in this meeting given their intentions, and yet he found that he could not bring himself to care. He was old and tired, and he wanted a chance to get one over Arran just this once. Their entire lives they had fought one another, and now Arran was looking at getting himself raised to a Marquess whilst Lennox who had a claim to the throne was staring at nothing. He was angered by that and so he spoke with heated passion.

“The King’s nonsense with this new church might have been accepted by most in this Kingdom, but I for one refuse to turn from the true faith. I will never recognise the church he has created nor his push for closer union.”

There were murmurs of agreement from the men around him, one of them, a big auburn haired giant spoke then. “Quite right, my lord Lennox. It is disgusting that he has spent only three years in England and already the King has forgotten us.” The man was Lord Cameron who controlled a clan who could raise an entire army out of their own family.

“We cannot allow him to forget where he comes from.” Lord MacDonald said, the man was smaller than Cameron but he was smarter.

“Indeed not. Though the question is how do we make him see what we see?” Matthew asked. “No doubt he will point to his brother and say that he has not forgotten us, for his brother does everything asked of him.”

“That is exactly what we need him to say.” MacDonald said. “His brother is his representative, but his brother is not him, and therefore we have the legal recourse to seek justice.”

Matthew raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”

“What I mean to say is that the laws of his land as regards to the Kingship have not been changed since the time of King David. Meaning that unless the King is in the Kingdom for five months of every year one can consider his Kingship to have been declared null and void.” MacDonald said.

Cameron spoke then. “But then could he not claim that his brother as his Lieutenant countermands that?”

“No.” MacDonald said. “When King David set out the law there was no such thing as Lieutenant in the Royal Family, therefore we can claim that he has abdicated his responsibility.”

An idea came to Matthew then. “What would happen if one were to issue this declaration whilst the Lieutenant is alive?”

MacDonald looked at him and said. “The Lieutenant would need to consider whether to abdicate or not. As would the King, though given the King’s personality, he would no doubt declare war.”

Matthew thought on this and then said. “If we can consider this true, and can get some legal scholars to verify this, then we can perhaps cause chaos for Arran.”

MacDonald smiled. “Exactly, Arran is a man who has never strayed far from power, if he thinks that he has a chance of being crowned King he will do whatever he can to gain it. Then we can have him thrown to the wolves and take power ourselves.”

Cameron looked at Matthew then and asked. “What are you going to do, my lord?”

Matthew smiled. “Meet an old friend and deal with an old foe. I suggest we all do the same and ensure we have protections in case something go wrong.”
Chapter 92: Hamilton
Chapter 92: Hamilton

February, 1562

“So, what you are telling me is that the law that King David set out four hundred years ago still applies to this day?” James Hamilton, Earl of Arran asked wanting to make sure he’d understood his friend correctly.

“Yes, my lord.” Charles Maitland, lawyer extraordinaire said. “When he wrote the law and when it was passed through the estates, it was agreed that this law would stand throughout the test of time.”

“So, because King James has not been in Scotland for more than six months, he has technically forfeited his right to the throne?” James asked.

“Yes that is correct, my lord.” Maitland said. “And because he appointed his brother Arthur as his lieutenant without the consent of the estates, then Arthur has also lost his claim to the throne.”

James considered this and then asked. “But surely the Lord Chancellor would’ve pointed this out when the King succeeded to the English throne, after all, the Chancellor is not a fool nor is the King.”

“Ah, but you see my lord, the law is one that was buried deep within the statute books and therefore not one that everyone knows. I only discovered it through chance two months ago, and I had to do a lot of work to figure out if it was still applicable.” Maitland replied.

James looked at the man and then asked. “Who else knows about this?” He knew Lennox knew and that was why he was being very careful with what he said and did.

“My cousin Lord Fraser knows, as he was the one who helped me discover the law, but other than that nobody else that I am aware of.” Maitland said.

James paused to consider this. “It just seems far too convenient. A law appears stating that a King loses his claim to the throne if he does not spend six months of a year in the realm, and it is found not just by us but by Lennox as well. I do not think this is right. Furthermore, I am not sure if it is genuine.” He looked at Maitland. “Is there anyway to see whether it is indeed genuine.”

“My lord, I have checked it against the rolls that survive from King David’s day, the seal is the same, the writing is the same, the phrasing is the same. It is genuine.” Maitland said.

“So, then why do I feel uneasy about all of this?” James asked.

“Because you are a true and loyal subject, my lord, you do not wish to harm the realm.” Maitland replied.

“Lennox will not be that patient.” James said. “He will try and claim that this law will remove everyone from the dynasty from their claim. We cannot allow him to sit the throne.”

“Precisely, my lord. James and Arthur might have removed their claims by their own action, but there is still Prince Robert.” Maitland said. “A regency for him under your guidance is sure to provide the direction this realm needs.”

“You do not think the King will try and retake the throne?” James asked.

“I do not think so, he will want England to remain his.” Maitland said.

James thought on this for a moment and then said. “Very well, thank you Charles.”

As the man got up, he asked. “What will you do, my lord?”

“The only thing I can do, I will summon my men and ride to Edinburgh.” James replied.
Chapter 93: Albany's Lament
Chapter 93: Albany’s Lament

May, 1562

Arthur kept his expression blank as the gates opened and he spurred his horse onward. He’d known something like this would eventually happen, ever since he had learned that there was a rumour going around that his brother had forfeited his claim to the throne, thanks to some obscure law. He’d checked this law out, and found it did not exist on the rolls, and so he’d ordered Edinburgh prepared for war. Now, he rode out to confront a man he saw as an uncle, the Earl of Arran. The man had come with 2,000 men and looked prepared for war.

Arthur stopped in the spot they agreed and waited for Arran to get there. He wore no armour, whilst Arran did. “My lord.” he said as the man stopped his horse before him.

“My Prince.” Arran responded.

Arthur snorted. “So, tell me, Lord Arran, if I am your Prince why have you come here with men and arms?”

Arran did not say anything for a moment and then said. “I am sure you have heard of King David’s Law.”

Arthur nodded. “I have heard of this so-called law.”

“My prince it is not just a so-called law.” Arran said sounding agitated. “It is a genuine law that several lawyers have found on the rolls of accounts from King David’s time. It explicitly states that a King loses his claim to the throne of Scots if he spends less than six months a year in the realm and does not convene the estates to appoint a lieutenant.”

Arthur saw the desperation in Arran’s words and he played on it. “If that is the case do you not think His Majesty would have summoned the estates to confirm me as the lieutenant before he went off to England?”

Arran shook his head. “I do not think His Majesty knew about the law, which is understandable for it is such an obscure law.”

Arthur did not laugh, instead he drove the knife in deeper. “Our father gave both myself and the King a very detailed legal education and the King has never avoided a session on the ancient laws of this realm. Had such a law existed he would’ve know about it and acted accordingly.” He paused and then asked. “Where did you find out about this so-called law?”

Here Arran really did look uncomfortable. “I heard about it from my lawyer, Charles Maitland. He pointed it out to me after examining the rolls.”

“Quite the odd thing do you not think, for Maitland to be examining the rolls suddenly?” Arthur asked.

Arran looked visibly uncomfortable now. “My Prince?”

Arthur clapped his hands and the gates opened and two pages rode out with two documents before them. Arthur took the pages from them and handed them to Arran. “What you see in your hands is the documentation of the rolls from the reign of King David during the period when this law supposedly came into being. I looked for the rolls when this whole thing began. As you can see there is no mention of this law in them whatsoever.”

Arran shifted. “I…I… Maitland assured me had seen the rolls and that he had found the law.”

“Maitland lied to you.” Arthur said. “How long have you known the man?”

“Two years, he came to me from….” Arran trailed off then.

“From where?” Arthur pushed.

“From Lennox’s employ, he said that Lennox was a harsh master, and that he could help me undo him.” Arran said.

Arthur saw everything click into place for the man and sighed. “You have been played, Sir. Lennox wants the throne.”

Arran looked at Arthur and the look he gave was one of a man prepared to ride to war. “He shall not get it, Your Royal Highness, that much I can promise you.”
Chapter 94: Lennox Hides

Chapter 94: Lennox Hides

August, 1562

Matthew shifted slightly, the hall was damp, the man before him was bitter and old, but he had offered Matthew shelter where his own tenants had refused. He looked at Lord Sinclair and said. “I must thank you for this, my lord, I know you are risking a lot.”

Sinclair waved a hand. “It is nothing to help a fellow Catholic against the over mighty authority of Edinburgh.” There was a pause and then Sinclair asked. “How did you get found out?”

“It was that fool Maitland.” Matthew responded. “He was too obvious in what he said to Arran and when Arran arrived at Edinburgh, the Duke of Albany convinced him otherwise. So, a writ was issued for my arrest. I killed two of the men who came to enforce it and then fled northwards. To where I knew Edinburgh’s writ did not extend.”

Sinclair laughed. “A damp holdfast in the middle of the sea. Very smart.”

Matthew smiled. He’d known Sinclair for most of his life, the man had come to England when he’d been a child and had taken him under his tutelage for a time before he’d been forced to return to Scotland. Now, here he was the last of his line and an old man. “I do not plan on forcing myself on you for long, my lord, I promise you that.”

Sinclair waved a hand dismissively. “Don’t worry Matthew. You are family. All I need you to tell me is what you plan on doing?”

“I plan on removing Arran once and for all. The man is a danger to Scotland and to the throne. He cannot be allowed to have a surviving power base in Scotland nor can he afford to have the ear of the Duke of Albany otherwise everything will go wrong.” Matthew said.

“Agreed.” Sinclair said simply. “Already they are enforcing brutal suppression of Catholicism, no doubt because of Arran.” Sinclair coughed and then asked. “What of your wife and children? Where are they?”

Matthew felt a tinge of guilt then. “I…I had to leave them in Lennox. It would have been far riskier to bring them with me than to simply leave there where they are. In Lennox, they are safe and they know the way around things. Margaret is already meeting with our tenants to discuss an uprising.”

“An uprising?” Sinclair asked. “No, no, do not call it an uprising then you will be done for treason. Name it something else.”

“What else can it be?” Lennox asked. “Arran has become Albany’s key advisor; the policies show that. We must rise up and throw off the tyrannical advice of Arran.”

“Call it an uprising and you will be fighting the entire Kingdom. Albany is incredibly popular and your little stunt has come back to harm you.” Sinclair said.

“Then what do I call it?” Matthew demanded. He hated how desperate he sounded, but he was truly quite desperate.

“You don’t call it anything. You let me deal with that.” Sinclair said.

“You?” Matthew asked.

“Yes, me.” Sinclair replied. “I’m not going to die alone in this holdfast, I still have friends in the mainland, I shall mobilise them and get them to label it a crusade. An attempt to free Scotland from bad governance. Call on your allies and ensure they are ready to march.”

“March…” Matthew said. “Right yes, to Edinburgh.”

“And from there to England. We must show the King that we mean business.” Sinclair said.

“Yes, of course.” Matthew said, but as he said that, he felt nervous and a great sense of foreboding.
Chapter 95: A King's Quandary

Chapter 95: A King’s Quandary

November, 1562

“I know Northumberland and Westmoreland have met more than once to discuss whether or not to stage an uprising like their forefathers did. I don’t know why they haven’t yet taken the final plunge. Everything that Francis has told me suggests that there would be considerable support for it.” James said, Jane was playing with his hair as his head rested in her lap.

“They won’t rebel unless they get another major player to join in. They are scared of you, my love.” Jane responded.

“But why?” James asked. “I have won no major victories on the field of battle unlike my father or grandfather. I am not King Henry, nor am I King Edward. I am merely me. Why are they scared of me?”

His wife laughed softly. “It is because of that fact that they are scared of you. You achieved something that required King Henry a war to consolidate. You have broken with Rome and the country is behind you. Not only that, but Scotland stands with you also. Why would they not be scared of you?”

James looked at his wife and asked. “How are you so sure?”

“Because I believe in you as you should believe in yourself. It is no small feat to get three entire Kingdoms to abandon Rome and join in this new church we have created. You did that, not anyone else.” Jane said.

“And yet Scotland is on the brink of war with itself. Arthur writes that Lennox has gathered an army of some three thousand men and is marching on Edinburgh. He claims not to want to disrupt order, but only to remove Arran from Edinburgh. I don’t know why Arthur let Arran remain when he was clearly going for the throne, but it is Lennox who worries me more. He has a claim to Scotland, and his wife has a claim to England.” James said.

“You do not think Lennox can beat Arthur and Arran and the other lords combined do you?” Jane asked sounding shocked.

“I don’t think so, but stranger things have happened in Scotland. There’s nothing to suggest that it would be a complete carnage, but someone might switch sides.” James said. He knew his history just as well as his wife did, and she sighed.

“Who do you think is likely to change sides?” Jane asked.

“Crawford. He has ties with Lennox through some trading arrangement. He is also a devoted Catholic.” James said. “I am half tempted to head north and settle things myself.”

“No.” Jane said immediately. “Don’t do that. If you do that you will undermine Arthur and send a message to everyone that you think he’s not able to handle a little rebellion like this. And it will give credence to the rumours and other filth Lennox is exploiting.”

“I know, but still, I am King of Scots, I should be handling this mess.” James said.

“Do you trust Arthur?” Jane asked.

“Of course I do!” James said.

“Then trust him enough to deal with Lennox. Lennox has three thousand men, Arthur has the might of Scotland behind him. He cannot lose.” Jane said.

James sighed. “You’re right.”

Jane said nothing and instead started rubbing soothing circles on his head, allowing him to close his eyes and forget his worries for a time.