The Virgin's son

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by mcdnab, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. mcdnab Well-Known Member

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    The Virgin's son

    Part One:

    12 October 1561

    "The Queen is delivered of a fair son,".
    Words that had not been heard in England for almost quarter of a century were regarded as something of a miracle in London.
    Within days the news was spread the length and breadth of the realm and was dispatched to royal court's across Europe.

    The news was perhaps most urgently sent to the Scots court of Mary Stuart.
    Mary, newly returned to the land of her birth, when informed of the birth is said to have wept "bitter tears" at the end of her hopes of the English crown but equally the young Queen took great delight in the gossip that Lord Robert Dudley, the Queen's favorite, was far more likely to be thought the father of the infant. Though she sent her "dear sister and nearest kinswoman" her "heartfelt joy" at the news and happily agreed to act as godmother to the infant Prince.

    The Prince's name was also the source of much gossip with Henry widely predicted in honour of the Queen's father and grandfather, however it was finally confirmed on 14 October that his name would be Edward.
    As he shared a birth date with his uncle Edward VI.

    On the 17th October the Prince was christened in the chapel at St James, being declared Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall and Earl of Chester by the Garter King of Arms.

    By tradition the Queen, who was described by her ladies as in perfect health, did not attend the lavish christening which was conducted by Archbishop Parker of Canterbury.

    The first portrait of the Queen and her infant son was painted in the style of previous incarnations of the Mary with the Christ Child - but the Queen's husband is notably absent from the picture copies of which were widely distributed in the next few years.
     
  2. ranichi17 Unabashed Targaryen Critic

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    So Elizabeth did marry, but who? Obviously it's not Dudley.
     
  3. Dragos Cel Mare I don't want to be a selfish jerk anymore... Banned

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    My guess is Alencon, if only because he was one of the few people that Elizabeth genuinely had some fondness for.
     
  4. Emperor Constantine 21st century Monarchist

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    To early for that. Alençon was only 6 in 1561. Maybe she didn't marry:D, like in Code Geass.
     
  5. JennyB Well-Known Member

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    I think the clue is in the title. No (official) daddy. :eek:
     
  6. Darth_Kiryan The Númenorean Sith

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    so....either she really enjoyed getting frisky (she's 28 so she still young) or we have an immaculate conception.:D
     
  7. OwenM Red Tory Scum

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    I think that's pretty clear.....
     
  8. Yuelang Tr'ump fhtagn Banned

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    If Parthogenesis, the offspring should be female...

    Affair then... or immaculate conception...
     
  9. Jonathan Corbynite with fire in heart & food in belly

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    Interesting, you have me at the edge of my seat sir.

    Obviously, their is a father. But will his name be kept quiet, with Francis Walsingham, paying a visit to any person gossiping?
     
  10. funnyhat Well-Known Member

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    But that just wouldn't make sense. Surely she'd hastily get married to the father before the birth to legitimize the child. She could always have her hubby's head cut off later;).
     
  11. OwenM Red Tory Scum

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    From the text, her husband (whomever he may be) is the official father, but it says it's rumoured to in fact be Dudley's.
     
  12. Jonathan Corbynite with fire in heart & food in belly

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    I don't think she will execute the father of the next King. Why not have the Archbishop of Canterbury have the country believe it is a virgin birth.
     
  13. OwenM Red Tory Scum

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    Because it's specifically stated in the post that she's married?
     
  14. funnyhat Well-Known Member

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    I don't mean to say that she would, just that there would be no reason not to marry the man who impregnated her (unless there were something really odd about him).
     
  15. CarribeanViking fnord

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    Yes, but what if he- Walsingham- is the father? Now that would be a very interesting set of genetics indeed.

    He was already prosperous in trade, something of a fanatic though- and Elizabeth was not fond of fanatics of any kind, really- but also probably not ambitious enough to woo the queen. She was also not greatly interested in a man's intellect at that age, nobody's ever accused Robert Dudley of genius, so it is highly improbable-

    on the other side of the coin, though, I also find it highly entertaining. He probably had more in common with Thomas More than either of them would have liked to admit, being mirror images on opposite sides. He was a successful ambassador, successful secretary of state, successful sponsor of piracy, considering his importance in the workings of the English state he is probably as near to a husband as she actually had;

    now contriving the circumstances in which they could meet, that might be a challenge.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
  16. Jonathan Corbynite with fire in heart & food in belly

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    It only says her "the Queen's husband is notably absent from the picture", which could be, because she doesnt have a husband and it is simple a red herring.
     
  17. Jonathan Corbynite with fire in heart & food in belly

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    The first James Bond. Or simply:
    Thy Spy That Shaggath Me.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. mcdnab Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for teasing in the first post - though I love the Spy that Shaggeth me idea!

    Chapter Two:

    The Queen's husband

    What finally brought Elizabeth Tudor to the point of marriage has been heavily debated given her apparent early reluctance following her accession.
    She had turned down a proposal from her sister's widower but throughout 1559 she seemed to entertain the possibility of his cousin Archduke Charles - though by the end of 1559 it seemed the Queen had got cold feet about that offer.

    To most of her court and to the gossips at courts across Europe it was clear the Queen would prefer, given a free choice, to marry her favourite Lord Robert Dudley were he free to do so.

    Events would conspire against that hope.

    Elizabeth reluctantly had provided troops to support the Lords of the Congregation against the French troops of the Scots Regent Marie of Guise. By July 1560 Marie was dead and negotiations for peace and the withdrawal of French troops from Scotland were underway.
    It was during these discussions that an old candidate for the English Queen's hand was again mentioned.

    The English negotiators were happy to consent though Cecil and Nicholas Wotton the dean of York and Canterbury both had little hope the Queen would agree.

    The would-be groom was James Hamilton, the eldest son of Mary Stuart's former regent, the Earl of Arran - he was Protestant and more importantly had along with his father joined those opposed to the late Marie of Guise and the Franco-Scots Alliance.

    He had another advantage if Mary Stuart died without issue then Lord James was second in line to the Scots throne after his father.

    The match had been mooted almost twenty years earlier during Henry VIII's attempts to marry Mary to his son Edward but had failed after Hamilton's father switched to the pro-French side.

    Now it was written into the treaty of Edinburgh - Elizabeth was technically betrothed to the surprise of most of her courtiers and perhaps herself.

    Her favourite Robert Dudley remained confident there would be no wedding apparantly laughing loudly when the Spanish Ambassador offered him his condolences on the Queen's betrothal.

    So unbelieving in fact were most that the ambassador told his master the Queen was not enamoured of the match and it would not happen.

    Another person keen to avoid the match was Mary Stuart herself. She had refused to ratify the treaty which also recognised Elizabeth as Queen of England.

    Mary wrote in angry and dismissive terms to Arran and his son - reminding them as her subjects they had no authority to make such a match and she would not give consent.

    However the Scots Parliament which was busy severing Scotlands links to Rome was more than keen to ensure the match moved forward and passed assent for the marriage in mid-August.

    For the English the match had obvious advantages it helped curbed French ambition in Scotland, he was not Elizabeth's subject but equally he was not of high enough birth to threaten her, he was equally not too foreign to offend her subjects, if Elizabeth was married and an heir on the way it stopped the ambitions of Mary and her Guise relations to the English throne and it would meet with Spain's approval (not as much as a match with a Catholic chosen by Philip II but at least it was anti-French).

    Elizabeth and James had met a year earlier when her agents helped him back to Scotland after he fled France.

    At the time there was little evidence of any great attraction and some had even suggested a match with The Queen's cousin and closest English heir, Lady Catherine Grey, would be a better option.

    The Queen in July and Auugst made little comment on the match though she accepted the agreements reached with the Scots and the French but many including her secretary William Cecil remained convinced they could never bring the Queen to the altar.

    However, in early September Lady Robert Dudley died in unusual circumstances and the Queen was suddenly caught up in a flood of suspicion both at home and abroad.
    Even Dudley's departure from court could not completely remove the air of suspicion that Lady Robert had been murdered to enable her husband to marry the Queen - more dangerously it was even suggested Dudley had already bedded the Queen to ensure his plans to marry her would come to pass.

    Under great pressure from a council fearful she might marry her widowed favourite - the Queen indicated her renewed interest in the "Scots match".

    Later the same month rumours also arrived from France that Mary of Scots was with child (falsely as it would turn out).

    The pressure on Elizabeth through September and early October was now intense - the Queen, Cecil reported was torn between conflicting emotions - on one side was her unnatural (to him) determination to remain unwed on the other was her supposed passion for Dudley.
    The council had also threatened her that any match with Dudley would meet with fury and rebellion, that if Mary of Scots bore a child it would give hope to Catholic's unhappy with Elizabeth's Protestant settlement - again leading to dissension and unhappiness across the realm.

    Their warnings and threats were met with raging tempers and heated discourse from the Queen.

    On October 4 Cecil met again with the Queen and she gave her reluctant consent to allow the Scots' Lord to travel to her court - for she would not agree the marriage without seeing him again for herself.

    Lord James travelled south under heavy escort arriving in London in late October.

    The Scots Lord was soon seen entertaining the Queen and was liberal with gifts to many at court in anticipation of his marriage but courtiers were still doubtful.

    The news soon reached France where an angry Queen Mary wrote to Elizabeth urging her against such an "unseemly match" with a mere Scots subject. Nicholas Throckmorten apparently said he would ever be grateful for the letter - delighted the Queen of Scots had used such little tact - as telling the Queen she shouldn't do something was usually a guarantee of a temper tantrum and that she would do exactly what she had been warned against.

    On November 20th 1560 The Queen created Hamilton "out of great love and respect" Duke of Richmond entailed unto the "heires males" of his body with precedence over all other peers. A royal title closely associated with the Tudors made it clear to all - the Queen would finally marry.

    The council and Parliament were keen but the marriage agreement reached in late November made it clear Elizabeth did not intend to allow any husband power and authority- he was forbidden to remove the Queen or any children from England without the Queen, the council and Parliament's consent, he was denied the title of King and any rights to succeed the Queen. He would receive an income at the "Queen's pleasure" to maintain his household and estate.
    The couple were married on the 13th December and if the Queen appeared slighltly less enthusiastic it might be the news that Mary of Scots' husband King Francis II had died a few days earlier - removing a significant threat and a large reason for her marriage.

    Lord Robert Dudley is reputed to have told the Spanish Ambassador that had Francis died a week or so earlier the marriage would never have happened.
    But the deed was done - Elizabeth was married.
     
  19. rgroberts Member

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    Oh, this is fascinating! Consider me subscribed. :D
     
  20. Jonathan Corbynite with fire in heart & food in belly

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    Do not apologise mcdnab, you were not teasing. You were doing exactly what any good writer hopes to do and have whipped up excitement for a new TL.

    I had tried to think of a "suitable" suitor but came up with none and must congratulate you on finding this little gem.
    And to also say I have fallen off my seat, but have re-positioned myself, back on the edge, waiting for chapter three.