Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by VVD0D95, Nov 29, 2018.
Seconded, but then you knew that
Chapter 114: Politics
“After much thought we have decided that the new Parliament shall open in two months time. We expect you all to be there, and ready to present arguments ready for debate.” James said looking at the three nobles and his brother who were sat opposite him. “We understand that there are concerns over the constituencies that have been chosen to represent Scotland and we are looking into those concerns, but for now, the task is simple. We are one nation, there are no borders here, and there is no cause for alarm. Any other concerns you have may be put forward now.”
As he had expected, the Duke of Arran spoke first. “Sire, what are we to do about the treaty we had negotiated with Denmark? The Danish ambassador has asked for clarification as he had been told by Robert Dudley that such a treaty was for Scotland only.”
James made a note to remind Dudley of his place and continued. “Inform the ambassador that the treaty applies for the entire nation. Goods are to be brought into Edinburgh, Aberdeen as well as London.”
“And what if he refuses to comply? You know what the Danish are like.” Arran asked.
“Then you leave it to us, and we shall handle the matter.” James said. He knew the Danish ambassador, there would be no problem there.
“There was one concern I had, Sire.” Atholl said. “if we are all to be in the House of Lords in Westminster will the chamber be big enough?”
“Work is currently being done on it to ensure that it is ready for the first sitting in August.” James said.
“And in regards to the housing situation, you had mentioned, Sire, that the crown estate would help.” Atholl said.
“Indeed. We have given you all a list of properties to look at and to decide what to purchase. We shall not force you, but we will remind you that all loyal subjects will avoid the areas housed by the opposition.” James said simply.
“Of course, Sire.” Atholl said.
There was a brief pause as everyone took a sip of their wine, then Arran spoke. “My sources in France report that the King of France has viewed this union as a source of great worry and has indeed continued on his mission to prevent some of the lords of the realm taking their seats in Parliament. I believe he has had several messages of contact with the Earl of Huntly, and even the Earl of Morton.”
“And Lord Darnley?” James asked. Morton was a blithering idiot, Huntly was someone James knew how to handle, it was Darnley that distant cousin of his he was concerned about.
“So, far nothing. Darnley remains on his estate and moves very little. Indeed, I believe he has not even sought a bride yet.” Arran replied.
“Good, as for Morton, leave him to his wife. He shall be devoured by her if he tries anything. Huntly is someone we want you to keep an eye on. Is that understood?” James asked.
“Yes, Sire.” Arran said.
“Good, dismissed.” James said. Both Arran and Atholl left, but Robert and Moray remained.
“What did you make of that?” James asked his younger brother.
Robert, recently created Duke of Annandale spoke. “I think that Arran will try to control the Scots party in Parliament, and that Atholl be the one actually controlling things.”
“And why do you think that?” James asked.
“Because Arran is used to power, but he is old and tired now, and England will be a completely different game.” Robert responded.
“And Atholl?” James pressed.
“Atholl is someone who knows how to read a room, always has been.” Robert said simply.
“Good. You may go.” James said to his brother, Robert rose and bowed, before straightening and departing.
James then looked at his other brother Moray and said. “You have done well.”
“Thank you, Sire. He is a good student.” Moray replied.
“We will raise you to a Dukedom for this. It is only fitting for a King’s brother.” James said.
Moray looked shocked, he bowed his head and said. “You honour me, Sire.”
Chapter 115: Obligatory
The creation of the United Kingdom of Britannia had been something William had worked on since the King had ascended the throne. That it had finally happened and that Irish, Scottish and English lords and commons had met for the first time in August to discuss a series of issues, was a source of deep pride for William. To him that would be his legacy, but there were countless other things that needed sorting out. Foremost amongst them the issue of France and the religious wars currently being fought there.
William took a breath and then at a nod from the King spoke. “Sire, my lords, we have received word from our sources in Navarre that the Prince of Conde has died. The wounds he took during the fighting earlier this year have finally overpowered him.” He paused to allow this news to be fully digested.
The King asked then. “Who has taken command of the Huguenots?”
“Antoine, the King of Navarre. It seems that he has rallied his cousins and his family and other Protestant nobles to his side and is now pushing forward.” William said.
“Navarre is next in line to the throne is he not?” The Duke of Arran asked.
“He is, Your Grace.” William said. “That combined with the general loathing that the House of Guise has incurred as advisors to King Charles has drawn a lot of support to Navarre.”
“So, the matter should be sorted then for us, surely?” The Duke of Norfolk a keen member of the Britannic church said then. “The King of Navarre is not a Catholic and he has recognised our King as the head of religion within the British Isles. He and his wife have shown they are true to their word. Something that cannot be said for the French King and his mother. We should ally with them.”
William saw the sense in what Norfolk was saying, indeed he agreed with him, but he was still somewhat hesitant to go forward with open encouragement. Therefore, he said. “Navarre’s son is still only young, fifteen at most, not any older than that. Plus there are rumours that the Queen Dowager wishes to arrange a marriage between her youngest daughter and the Prince of Viana.”
“But would she do that if Spain is also offering the hand of the Prince of Asturias?” The King asked then.
“I do not think so, Sire.” William admitted.
The Earl of Arundel, one of the few men who remained a Catholic spoke then. “I would urge caution here, though, Sire. Navarre is good for our interests in the short term, but in the long term I am unsure whether he can be considered reliable.”
William saw where Arundel was coming from, but he wondered if the King would. “You mean to say you think a successful Navarre would turn away from us and ensure that France allies with the German Protestant states.” The King surmised.
“Exactly, Sire. If Navarre succeeds in this war, he will likely either take the throne himself, or more likely install Henry, Duke of Anjou on the throne. This latter action would make Anjou a puppet.” Arundel said.
William spoke then. “Especially as King Charles has already married Maria Anna of Portugal and had a child by her, at our suggestion, Sire.”
The King nodded. “Indeed this is true.” There was a pause and in that pause William suspected he knew what the King’s answer would be. “Send word to Edmund Campion, invite him to court, we shall speak with him over the winter months, and then use him as a medium with Paris.”
“Yes, Sire.” William said. “Shall I also write to Thomas Gresham?” Gresham was the King’s main financial advisor and a superb banker who William thought deserved a knighthood and a peerage for his financial efforts.
“Yes. Tell him to send a loan to the Huguenots.” The King commanded.
Hope you're all enjoying the timeline. I'm open to suggestions for whom James, Prince of Wales (b.1556) could marry. I'm leaning toward Catherine of Navarre, but my plans for Navarre might nix that.
Without looking at the plausibility of the following suggestions... A sister of William of Orange, a Danish/Swedish Princess, a Portuguese Princess, or else Margaret of Valois, if she doesn't marry Henri of Navarre.
Keep them open
Chapter 116: Maximilian
“Sire, we must discuss the matter of the Imperial marriages.” His Chancellor Ernst said.
Maximilian bit back a sigh. Ever since his son Rudolf had died, his advisors had been on him to arrange a marriage not only for his eldest surviving son Ernest but also for his daughter Anna. Maria, his wife rarely spoke to him for long periods now. He knew she blamed him for the death of Rudolf, despite the fact the boy had died in Spain. “Very well.” He paused for a moment and then said. “The only sensible marriage for our daughter is the Prince of Asturias.”
Ernst nodded his head so fast it looked as if it might fall off. “I agree, Sire. Indeed, it seems that King Philippe is of the same mind, for he has cancelled any and all negotiations with the French over the hand of Princess Margaret.”
Maximilian nodded. He had always thought his cousin might do that, the moment Rudolf had died and they’d gotten the letter he’d known something like this would happen. “Very well, send the letter to our cousin. The appropriate time of mourning has passed.”
“And what of His Highness, Sire?” Ernst asked.
“Well, logic would dictate that we look to either Margaret of France for the marriage to ensure that we keep the peace there. Or that we look closer to home.” Maximilian said. “Ideally we would prefer someone closer to home. We do not trust the French.” And he had heard rumours about Margaret of France and the company she kept. He knew she would be miserable here around his son, and his son would be just as miserable.
“Perhaps Maria Anna of Bavaria, then Sire?” Ernst asked. “Her father has provided a lot of support in the fight against the Turks, and he has stood strongly by Your Imperial Majesty’s side during the struggles with the Protestants.”
Maximilian nodded. He knew that, he also knew Bavaria was the second most powerful noble in the Empire. perhaps the marriage might go some way toward healing the rift within the empire, as well as between him and Maria. After all, the girl was supposed to be just as religious as his wife and son were. “Send a letter to the Duke and see what happens.”
“Of course, Sire.” Ernst said.
Maximilian nodded. He knew his brother Charles had been considering marrying Maria Anna, but truly that thought slightly disgusted him. The girl was their niece, they would be better placed if Charles married someone else. He would need to think on that soon as well, for his brother was getting agitated without some proper domesticity. He turned his thoughts away from that and toward another pressing matter. “What is the situation in Constantinople?” The fact that the Turks held the eternal city continued to anger him, they were not deserving of it.
“The civil war has ended, Sire. And Sultan Suleiman’s grandson now sits the throne. Mehmed. He is a boy of twelve, and will have a long regency council.” Foreign Minister, the Prince of Salm said.
“Very well, how does this effect our chances in Hungary?” Maximilian demanded.
“We have two choices, Sire.” Salm said. “Either we can go for a full war now, without the complete support of the Imperial Princes, or we can wait and see whether the regency council descends into more war. If they do, then I believe Transylvania will be ours.”
“What of Zapolya?” Maximilian asked. The man had been a constant thorn in his father’s side, he did not want a similar issue plaguing him.
“Zapolya is ailing, Sire. He took a blow fighting against bandits and now is forced to rest permanently in bed. His son has taken over some of the commands, but he is also facing pressure.” Salm replied.
“Then we shall send a small force into Hungary to handle Zapolya’s forces and we shall move from there.” Maximilian said.
Salm nodded. “As you wish, Sire.”
Chapter 117: A Young Prince
James felt a tinge of excitement as he walked with his father through the gardens of the Falklands Palace. His father rarely had the time to walk with him or any of his siblings anymore, he was always busy doing something or the other. But early this morning he had come and told James to get ready, for they were going to go for a walk. Mother and Mary were sewing or doing whatever it was they did. Arthur was playing with some of the nobles’ sons, and here he was walking with his father, the King.
“So, Sir John tells me that your lessons are coming along well.” Father said.
James had to strain his neck to look at his father, the King was a tall man, and James was small, the other boys whispered about it behind their hands he knew, but they dare not say anything to the King’s son. “Yes, he taught us about the presence of the Christ Child in the family, the other day.”
Father nodded. “An important lessons. Tell me what he told you.”
James smiled at that. “Sir John said that the Christ Child was chosen as God’s son and spread the message of the Lord during his lifetime, and when he was crucified upon the Cross he promised he would return. His return was made complete through the birth of King Robert II, and passed on down the generations to you, Father.”
The King nodded. “And to you, and to your son after and his son after. Tell me what the responsibilities we bear are as a consequence.”
James thought for a moment, he didn’t always pay attention when Sir John went on about those sorts of things, that was more Arthur and Mary’s deal. But he did remember some of the basic concepts. “Well, due to being of the Christ Child, we must always ensure we are good to the poor, we must uplift them and give them meaning in this world. We must act as a medium between the common man and the noble, to ensure neither side tries to take advantage of the other. And we must take actions that ensure the betterment of our children and our flock.”
“Exactly.” Father said. They continued walking, James noted how some of the nobles bowed so low their noses were almost touching the floor. “Now, there was something I wished to discuss with you in relation to this.”
The King paused, and so, James asked. “What is it, Father?”
“Your sister shall be married to the heir to Portugal soon enough. And she has assumed quite the interest in all things Portuguese, as she should. However, your marriage is the most important thing that can be arranged. I had the opportunity to marry your mother, someone I knew. You might not be so fortunate. Therefore, out all the Princesses you have been told about, who would you most like to marry?” Father asked.
James was surprised by this question. If he were being honest with himself, it was not one he had thought about too much. Marriage and girls seemed so far away and frankly, girls still somewhat disgusted him, despite what some of the other boys at court thought. “I do not know.” Was his honest response.
“You have three choices.” Father said.
“Sire?” James asked. Wondering who they could be and hoping they weren’t ugly.
“Your cousin, Jane of Denmark, Catherine of Navarre and Elisabeth of Saxony.” Father responded.
James thought for a moment, the thought of marrying his cousin appealed to him slightly. He had written to Jane a few times, she was much younger than he was, but she was clever. Catherine of Navarre he had heard was very pretty. Elisabeth of Saxony? He did not know who she was. “And I only have one choice?” He asked.
“Only one choice.” Father said.
He thought on it, Jane would be nice, because he knew her, but then he wondered if it would make any sense. He knew that Philip was betrothed to a cousin, but that cousin was coming with a lot of money apparently. Still, he would like to marry someone he knew slightly. And therefore, he said. “Then I want to marry Jane.”
His father nodded. “Very well.”
Chapter 118: Danish Mary
Mary looked at her husband, he had the look of a man who had been up all night, drinking and quarrelling with his advisors. She had become used to that in their ten years of marriage, and she also knew that now was the time to push through what she wanted. Frederick might be the most powerful man in Denmark, but that was only because she had ensured that nobody questioned his authority. She’d poisoned several competitors, and had her friends blind the others. What she and her husband had wasn’t love, not like what James had with Jane, but it was something at least.
“So,” she began. “What decisions did the council reach regarding the debt?”
Frederick rubbed his eyes. “We’re going to have to raise the sound dunes, and ensure that any goods coming from the Empire are taxed more heavily. I’ve sent the Chancellor to Vienna to negotiate a fair deal with the Emperor.”
“A smart decision.” Mary said. She liked the chancellor, thought he was a smart man. One of the few smart Danish men she had ever met. “Though the Emperor is likely not going to be as receptive.”
Her husband sighed. “I know. That’s why I’ve included the necklace.”
Mary raised an eyebrow. The necklace wasn’t actually a necklace. It was a document that the Emperor believed would help him in claiming some territories from Sweden, written during the reign of his uncle. It had been handed to her husband when he had been a young man, for reasons neither of them quite knew. “Are you sure that is wise?” She asked.
“I think it is the only option we have.” Frederick replied. “Sweden cannot keep going, not unless it wishes to go completely bankrupt.”
“So you know that for sure then?” Mary asked. “It is not just another rumour?”
“Oh, it definitely is true. Our spy within the Swedish treasury reports that King John is having to sell off some prized possessions to ensure that the Swedish Kingdom does not fall into the hands of his creditors.” Frederick said with relish.
Mary nodded, and then she phrased her next few words carefully. “Perhaps now is a good time to sue for peace?”
Her husband didn’t respond the way she had thought he would. She had expected furious shouts and things being thrown. Perhaps he was too tired to do that, or perhaps he had come to the same conclusion as she had. That Denmark would also end up becoming bankrupt if this war continued for much longer. “I know.” Frederick replied. “I have sent envoys to Sweden to discuss ending the war.”
“What made you see sense?” Mary asked. Referring indirectly to the blazing argument they had had the last time she had brought this up.
“The last time I went to the front I saw soldiers eating rats. Danish soldiers forced to live like beggars.” Frederick said, his eyes looked haunted then. “I vowed then that this would end.”
Mary nodded, and then said. “Perhaps then there might be something else we can add to that that will take away the sting slightly?”
“And what is that?” Frederick asked.
“James has proposed a marriage between his son and our daughter Jane.” Mary said. She thoroughly approved of the marriage, having always wanted to see her daughter become a Queen, especially of the new Kingdom her brother had founded.
“Jane is nine years old, and your nephew is how old?” Frederick asked.
“He is thirteen. It would not be an immediate marriage, but a betrothal now, they would marry when Jane is ready.” Mary said.
She could see Frederick weighing up the advantages and the negatives, when he eventually answered. “Very well, I consent to this, but only because the marriage will mean our daughter doesn’t have to look to Sweden or the Empire.”
Mary smiled and kissed her husband’s cheek. “Excellent.”
Chapter 119: Prince of Asturias
A month after marrying his cousin Anna, Carlos had to admit being married wasn’t all that bad. He woke up with a beautiful woman next to him every morning, he went to bed discussing things that interested both of them, every night. It was perfection. And it also meant his father and mother both stopped hounding him over something or the other. Of course, meals with his entire family were still a regular occurrence, though he’d managed to beg off the last one due to Anna being unwell. This time however, he’d had to attend, Anna had insisted.
So, here they were. Sat around the dining table in the Palace, with servants being the only other people present. Carlos shifted in his chair and looked at Anna, she smiled at him, and then the King spoke in German so that Anna could understand, though she spoke Spanish somewhat well, the family had decided to speak in German in private. “You are going to be visiting Barcelona and Valencia on your progress are you not?”
It had been meticulously arranged by Carlos, a way for the people of Aragon to get to see them. “Yes, we are.” Carlos said.
“And what do you plan on doing whilst you are there?” The King asked.
“We were planning on going to see the Three Wings, and the Monument to King Carlos I, alongside the play about the Reconquista.” Carlos said. That last had been Anna’s idea. She claimed one of the actresses in the play was famous even in Vienna.
“How very cultured.” The King said, an odd tone in his voice. Carlos saw Mother look at the King strangely and wondered if they’d been fighting.
“Why, is there something you wished for us to do whilst we were there, Sire?” Carlos asked. He hoped not. doing official duties was always boring, but especially more so in Aragon where the people were so full of themselves.
“Yes, actually.” The King said. “We want you to pay a visit to the garrisons in both cities, and give speeches to them. They must know that they are remembered and that the crown owes them a debt.”
Carlos was about to say that the Duke of Alva had already done just that, but a quick look at his mother told him not to, instead he merely nodded and said. “As you command, Sire.”
The King said nothing, but nodded all the same. Isabella spoke then. “I think you will love Barcelona, Anna, it is filled with all sorts of things, and has some of the best plays going around in Europe.”
Anna smiled. “I’d heard as much. I have heard the play on the Reconquista is the best play currently going.”
“Oh it is!” Isabella said.
“When did you go and see it?” Carlos asked intrigued.
Isabella hesitated, and Carlos immediately knew his sister had not been meant to go and see it. “She went when we were there last year.” Mother said quickly.
The King looked at Mother then and said. “Such a play is not fit for a young woman.”
“It is a play about our ancestors, Felipe, it is something all our children should know about.” Mother said.
“Even me?” Felipe the younger, Carlos’ younger brother asked.
“You yes, her, no.” The King said.
“Why? Can a woman not know the history of her homeland?” Mother asked, something biting in her tone.
Carlos took Anna’s hand under the table and squeezed it. This was exactly why he had not wanted to come to the dinners. Mother and Father always fought over the silliest of things.
“She can, but not in a manner such as that play.” The King said.
“Pah. You just don’t want her to see your mistress.” Mother replied.
Before the King could reply food was served, they ate in silence, and then when they were done, Carlos excused himself and Anna, as they walked down the hallway, Anna asked him. “Are they always like that?”
Carlos snorted. “Oh this was tame, sometimes the arguments can result in shouting for days, even months.”
“Why? Uncle Felipe never seemed like this before?” Anna asked.
“Because he presents one image to everyone else and another to us. He and Mother don’t get along.” Carlos said.
Anna took his hand then and asked him sincerely. “We won’t be like that will we?”
Carlos looked at her and their joined hands and said. “Of course not, I am not my father.”
Chapter 120: Attack The English?
“Sire, the situation has changed since our last meeting.” The Duke of Guise said. “Reports have come in that the Protestants led by Navarre have managed to secure their hold over Gascony and are slowly marching northwards. If our reports are accurate they hope to be at the gates of Paris by October.”
“And what are our forces doing to prevent this?” Charles asked. He didn’t want to have to talk about this damned war, he wanted to be with his wife, comforting her. They’d just been told she’d never have children anymore, not after the birth of the Dauphin.
“My son is marshalling our forces and preparing for an assault into Gascon territory. He received word from one of our spies within Navarre’s camp that the man plans on celebrating his son’s seventeenth birthday soon.” Guise said.
“So, he will what? Set his army on the man during his birthday?” Charles asked.
“Yes, Sire.” Guise said.
“Such a move would violate every code of honour and conduct that is known to man.” The Admiral said. Charles knew his mother and most of his councillors did not trust the Admiral, but he was a link into the mindset of a Huguenot and Charles therefore found him invaluable.
“What else is there for us to do?” Guise demanded. “We must find a way to take back control of the war. And unless there is some secret you have not shared with us, Admiral, this is the best choice we have.”
“Yes, the Duke is right, Sire.” Mother said. “We cannot know what else there is to do. The Admiral has not done anything to prove his worth.”
Before Charles could respond, the Admiral spoke. “In case you have forgotten, Guise, I am the reason you are not dead. I was the one who sent the rider out after your army, when you decided to go for that fool hardy charge in Toulouse. I spared you from defeat and slaughter.”
“And yet you waited until I was nearly there before you acted. Why?” Guise demanded.
The Admiral snarled out a response then. “As I have said many times before this council, I only got the information moments before you were due to begin your attack. I had to do what I could.”
“I am not sure I agree with you.” Guise replied.
“Why? What do you think my reasoning was?” The Admiral asked a dangerous edge to his voice.
Before Guise could respond and start another fight, Charles slammed his fist down. “Enough of this nonsense. We will allow this attack on the Huguenots to go ahead, and we shall also begin negotiations with them.”
“Negotiations, Sire?” Guise asked sounding horrified.
“Yes. We cannot continue killing our subjects for some abstract reason. There will be peace or this country will never exist again.” Charles said. Thinking about the sort of Kingdom he wanted to leave for his son.
“What do you suggest, Sire?” the Admiral asked.
“We shall wage a campaign against the English. Their current presence in France is an insult to every Frenchman alive today. The Huguenots will agree with this. We shall put aside all previous tensions and fight the English, drive them away from Calais and Bolougne. And then when that is done, there will be a marriage.” Charles said.
“Between who?” Mother asked.
“Margaret and Navarre’s son.” Charles said, with that he lost patience, rose and left the room.
So the Hugenots will be attacked whilst celebrating the birthday of the heir to Navarre. And then will be asked to make peace and attack the nation that is bankrolling their war. On the promise that Navarre gets to marry into the royal (Catholic) household. The same household that just tried to kill him.
With offers like that who could resist?
Lol indeed aha. Needless to say Charles ain't thinking straight
Chapter 121: Argument
“Why haven’t you allowed a British force to leave for Calais?” Jane demanded as she entered her husband’s chambers. She’d just heard the news from the Countess of Derby and she was furious.
Her husband looked up at her, put down his deck of cards and looked at their daughter. “Mary, leave us.” Their daughter put down her cards, curtseyed to them both then walked out of the room.
James looked at her then and asked. “Who told you?”
“The Countess of Derby.” Jane said. “But it should have been you to tell me this.”
“You’re angry.” Her husband surmised.
“Yes of course I’m angry!” Jane snapped. Her husband could be so thick sometimes. “You are being foolish. The French King attacked a birthday celebration for the Prince of Navarre, and killed seven hundred people. He broke every single decent custom and law existing in our society. And you’re not doing anything about it.”
James sighed. “I cannot do anything about it. It is not a matter that affects Britain. It is an internal matter. They were slain fighting on French soil as traitors to the French crown.”
Jane looked at her husband in shock. “We both know that’s a load of nonsense. We’ve been funding them for years now. They are our allies. For heaven’s sake, James, he killed children and women.”
“I know he did.” James replied calmly.
“So, why aren’t you doing anything about it?” Jane demanded. “You are the King of the most powerful northern European country, you command a fleet that could rival the Spanish fleet, and you have an army that has defeated the French and the Spanish within the past two decades. Why aren’t you doing anything?”
“Because what the King of France decides to do to people within his own lands is none of my concern. Just as it would be none of his concern if I decided to execute the thousands of Catholics who remain within this land, despite the law being clear.” James said. “He is not King Philip of Spain. He knows where the boundaries are.”
“And yet that same King of Spain has issued a strong condemnation of the actions that took place in Gascony.” Jane said. “As has the Emperor, hell even the Pope has done as well.”
“We too have issued a condemnation. And yet neither Denmark nor Sweden are marshalling forces to attack France.” James pointed out.
“That’s because they don’t have a horse in the race.” Jane countered. “We do. Calais is ours as is Bolougne. You think if nothing happens to him that Charles will simply allow us to keep them? Now that he’s seen nobody will do anything to him, he will act. So, again I ask, why aren’t you doing anything?”
“And again, I say, because it does not concern us. Charles will not be able to attack Calais and Bolougne now. He will not have the standing.” James said.
There was something in the way her husband said those words that made her realise what the real reason for his delay was. “You’re afraid.”
“Sorry?” Her husband asked, his eyebrow raised.
“You’re afraid of having to commit to war. You know that it’s the right thing to do, but you’re scared of having to lead the army yourself.” Jane said. “You’re a coward.”
Her husband didn’t say anything, but she could tell her words had cut deeply. “Your father led his troops into battle, you’ve never done that before and it terrifies you. You’re scared and a coward.”
Her husband seemed to snap out of whatever trance he had been in then, for he got up and said. “Well then, perhaps you don’t need to see this coward again.” With that he stalked out of the room, leaving her stunned by her revelation. It was only much later that she realised what her husband had said.
She hurried out of the room and called after him. “James, James, come back!” But it was too late, he was gone.
Uh oh... Jane might just have put her foot in it there...
Until the French do attack Calais and Bolougne ......................
If they’re in a fit state to do so
Chapter 122: Savoy
Robert bowed low before the Duke of Savoy, and tried to avoid fiddling with his collar. Even in the middle of February it was damnably hot here. At a gesture from the Duke he spoke. “Your Grace, thank you for agreeing to meet with me. I know you are a busy man, but the proposal I bring comes from His Majesty King James. It is a proposal that His Majesty believes will work well with your interests.”
Emmanuel Philibert, hero of the Franco-Spanish Italian Wars, and a man who had defeated a French raid into his lands a mere two months ago spoke. “Go on.”
Robert remembered the words that Cecil had told him and used them here. “His Majesty was appalled by the way that King Charles of France treated the Huguenots, by attacking them at a celebration of King Henri’s birthday, he broke every code of honour and good conduct that exists for our peoples. The King believes that any sane sovereign would also be horrified by such conduct, and therefore, he proposes an alliance with you, Your Grace. You have claims on land in the south of France, King James encourages you to pursue them in an alliance with him.”
“Your King wants me to invade France?” The Duke asked.
“As part of a dual invasion strategy, yes.” Robert replied.
“And why would I do that?” Savoy asked. “The men who raided my lands last year were not doing so under the French banner and they were defeated easily enough. Furthermore, my lands are undergoing peaceful transformation, that is not a process that I can afford to halt.”
“Your Grace,” Robert began knowing he needed to change his approach slightly. “Whilst it is understandable that you would be reluctant to engage in war with France, you must know that the actions of King Charles in Gascony are not the actions of a sane man. Eventually he will turn his eyes onto Savoy and when he does you would be foolish to expect any sort of leniency.”
The Duke looked at him then, his eyes piercing. “Gascony was a horror yes, but it was the fate that the heretics deserved.”
Robert looked at the man, and did not reply for several moments, trying to gauge if Savoy was being serious or not. when he saw the slight shift in the man’s position he knew his answer. “You know that is not true.” Robert said. He would need be careful now. “Heretics they might have been, but they were due the right to a trial. There was peace between the two factions, a peace that King Charles broke. He massacred the Huguenots without giving them a chance to defend themselves. He has now taken Henry of Navarre as his prisoner, and refuses to let him leave to defend his Kingdom from Spanish incursions. Is that fair?”
“Henry of Navarre is also a French subject for the lands he owns in France. The King of France has it within his rights to do that.” Savoy replied dismissively.
Robert looked at the man and knew instantly that he did not believe the words he had just said. Deciding to push him, Robert said. “And you think that if he can do that, that he will not look to taking Savoy? It was only recently that you regained your patrimony, Your Grace. I would be surprised if you are so willing to allow such a cavalier attitude toward it now.”
The Duke laughed. “You are persistent, Dudley, I will give you that.” A pause and then. “Let us say that I do agree with your King’s desire to join in an action against France, I would need something to secure my commitment.”
“Of course, Your Grace. What would you want?” Robert asked. Though he suspected he knew where this was going.
“The hand of the King’s daughter Katherine for my son.” Savoy said.
Robert had expected such a demand, had even discussed it with Cecil, who had run it by the King. Who had agreed to it. Therefore, he took a moment and then replied. “Very well, though she is young now, so the marriage would need to wait a few years.”
“Naturally.” Savoy replied.
“So, we have an agreement then?” Robert asked.
“Yes.” Savoy said.
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