I really do love this timeline.
Of course being n adulterer, which everyone knew, or even him being declared one officially, isnt going to make him abdicate. What it is, is an excuse. What really will get him to abdicate is pressure from the tories, who fear civil war.Lycaon pictus
Fascinating intrigue and maneuvering. I think Wellington has been rather painted into a corner, although that was a nasty trick he tried, attempting to get Charlotte declared illegitimate. Hopefully things can be calmed down a bit. However having George IV formally declared an adulterer is going to cause rumptions of its own. Plus I'm not sure whether that would force him to quit the throne. However have to see how things develop.
Sunday, July 23
"I beg your pardon?" said King George IV in dangerous tones. He had summoned his cabinet again, possibly not trusting them out of his sight. They had met briefly outside his house.
"We are all in agreement on this," said Lord Liverpool. "The Pains and Penalties Act must be abandoned tomorrow." Castlereagh, Eldon, Bexley, Harrowby and Westmorland all nodded.
So did Wellington. "I have reason to believe that the Radicals are plotting to turn the proceedings against us, to depose you in favor of your daughter and—"
"She is not my daughter!"
"If we drop the matter now, we can still salvage the peace," continued Wellington. Last night he had felt terribly guilty about having plotted to depose George himself. Now that he was in the man's presence again, those feelings were slipping away.
"Do you know that girl and that woman both had Sir Charles Hesse as a lover?" said George. "Why hasn't that been addressed?"
"It is too late for that," said Castlereagh. "I will not have another 'infallible' plan explode in my face."
"No one is asking you to invite the queen back into your home, Your Majesty," said Liverpool. "Your marriage to her will remain a legal fiction, as it has these many years."
"Endure it, Your Majesty!" spat George. "Can't be helped! It's for the best! Again and again and again! Was ever a man subjected to such constraints, such coercions—"
"Do you call this constraint?" said Wellington. "All your life, Your Majesty, you have enjoyed at ratepayers' expense such luxuries as few men even dream of — endless nights of parties, wine, games and music, well-born women lining up to be your next mistress — and all that was ever asked in return was that you endure a bad marriage, a thing many men suffer with far less recompense!" Myself, for one, he thought.
"I would have traded a good many nights of gaming and drinking to marry a woman I loved!" said George. "And to be forced — forced, if I wanted my rightful inheritance — to couple with that… stinking thing…" He gagged a little, but continued. "While everyone assured me it was for the best, and all London celebrated because their prince had found true love at last… and how was I rewarded for my pains? With that… cuckoo's egg!"
"Your Majesty, that allegation was proven to be—"
"If she's not a bastard in the flesh, she certainly is one in spirit! Goneril and Regan were better daughters!" He put his head in his hands.
There was a long pause. Then Lord Liverpool spoke.
"Your Majesty, we all sympathize with your position, but—"
"No," interruped George. "No. I have had enough. I have suffered enough. I will not go to church to hear her blessed and prayed for. I will not have her by my side at my coronation. I had no choice but to obey my father, but I need not obey you lot — I am king. I know what a great inconvenience that is to everyone, but it is the truth. If Parliament will not satisfy me in this, then I shall dismiss Parliament as is my right.
"And do not presume to threaten me with a Whig majority, either. Should that happen, the lot of you go back to the back benches and I will still be king. I can dismiss a Whig Parliament just as easily."
There was another long pause.
"So be it, Your Majesty," said Liverpool, "but for the sake of the kingdom I have one request."
"What is it?"
"I request," said Liverpool, gesturing in Wellington's direction, "that His Grace be permitted to continue his services as Master-General of the Ordnance, should you choose to dismiss the rest of us. If things come to the worst… we may have need of him."
"Very well, if he can refrain from offering me unsolicited advice."
As they were leaving Carlton House, Wellington turned to Liverpool. "Should I thank you for that?" he said.
"No, you shouldn't," said Liverpool. "I did it because if the fate of the kingdom were to rest on one man's shoulders, I would choose you to be the man."
* * *
Wellington looked down the length of the table at his wife. Once, a young violinist had loved and desired that lady more than anything — so much so that he had abandoned his music and gone into the army to win her father's approval. (He had actually burned his violin. Damned silly gesture, he could have sold it and bought something useful… but perhaps at the time it had been necessary for him.)
And it had worked. Now she was his wife. Ironically, the feeling between them had long since vanished. In a greater irony, he had found he was better at war than at music. If that young fool had been given the freedom he desired, he could not possibly have made a life for himself that was as satisfying — or as useful to king and country — as the one Providence had chosen for him. Which was why he had very little sympathy with those who agitated for greater freedom… and no sympathy at all for the king.
"Of course, if we choose to continue with the trial," he said, "then while Lords are trying the Queen, Brougham will have the Commons try the King. And, again, the King will dismiss Parliament."
"If he tries to govern without Parliament, it will mean chaos," said Catherine. "I know that much. What will you do?"
"That is what I have been asking myself again and again. If I obey him, it will only prolong the ruin of the kingdom."
"Why not resign, then?"
"Because I wish to avert the danger to the kingdom, not merely wash my hands of it. If I resign, the situation will be the same as it is now, but with some empty-headed lackey doing my work in my place.
"The only other option would be to defy His Majesty and His Grace the Duke of York. I could do that, and I think the army would follow me. But if I did, I might as well crown myself King Arthur II… or, more fittingly, Emperor Wellington Bonaparte I."
"I must say, you would certainly make a better king than—"
"Silence," he said in a voice he might have used to reprimand a subordinate.
Catherine was silent.
"I am not the Thane of Glamis and Cawdor," he said. "Do not say such a thing to me again."
"Forgive m—" Wellington motioned for her to be quiet.
"It never happened," he said. Then he set about eating his dinner, which was starting to get cold.
Of course he'd make a better king, and so would nine out of ten random Englishmen. But if the crown was up for grabs, if a general couldn't win three battles in a row without becoming a threat to the Government, Britannia would soon suffer the fate of the Roman Empire. That was why legitimacy mattered, even if it meant the occasional rule of a millstone such as George.
Some other way forward would have to be found.
Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Lord President of the Council.
Lord Privy Seal. His son, whom I mistakenly referred to earlier as the Earl of Westmorland (I'll clean it up for the Finished Timelines version) is the British ambassador to Italy.
Charlotte herself told her father that Caroline tried to play matchmaker between her and Hesse. This was years ago, when things hadn't gone completely toxic between George and Charlotte.
IOTL, when his cabinet abandoned the war on Caroline, George threatened to resign in favor of his brother Frederick, and afterwards tried to have Lord Liverpool removed. Here, what he sees as his daughter's betrayal has pushed him over the edge.
I started reading this a week ago and thought it was good. But the way it is now goes much further than that. Well done, sir.
Wonderful, bloody wonderful! I Wish I could write like that
I gotta say, I was initially bored by the royal family-related updates. But having reached the most recent one, they have become my favourite part of the timeline
Will we see updates focusing on the South American theocracy?
Parliament just handed a constitutional role to the sovereign of Wales.
If this doesn't explode everything inside of a generation, the balance of powers going forward is going to be quite a bit of fun.
True. Charlotte Augusta isn't thinking past the current crisis. Going forward, she'd better be nice to little Leo if she doesn't want some PM using him to thwart her someday.
Does the Prince(ss) of Wales have a seat in the House of Lords?
Peeresses suo jure were allowed in the House of Lords in 1963.I must admit that is something I was wondering as well? At which point did female's become members of the house? Unless she's making a declaration from the public gallery, but not sure if that would be that welcome.