TL: A Different Louis XVI

1761: Louis Joseph Xavier, Duc de Bourgogne, begins to recover from the injury which resulted in a fall from a toy-horse. Although he will walk with a slight (barely noticeable) limp for the rest of his life, he is otherwise unaffected. Te Deums are ordered across France for the boy’s recovery.
After nineteen years of marriage, the Electress Palatine gives birth to a long-awaited son, christened Franz Ludwig Josef in honor of his godfathers, the Holy Roman Emperor and the king of France.

1762: Louis XV’s granddaughter, Maria Isabella of Spain, Queen of the Romans, is brought and delivered of a healthy baby girl, Maria Theresia Elisabeth, named for her two grandmothers. Also in Vienna, the Queen of Hungary, wife of the Holy Roman Emperor, attempts to adjust the marriage treaty by which her late son, Karl (deceased the previous year) was to marry Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain, to now allow for the marriage to take place between her third son, Leopold and the Spanish infanta.
In St. Petersburg, the Empress Elizabeth dies, to be succeeded by her nephew, the Prussophile Pyotr Feodorovich. Pyotr realizes that Prussia would make a better ally than an enemy, especially for his planned assaults on Denmark for the duchy of Oldenburg. And he signs a ceasefire with Prussia.
Russia is flummoxed by the sudden change in policy which sees many of their recent gains handed back without much of a struggle. On this wave of discontent, Pyotr’s wife, Ekaterina Alexeïevna, attempts a palace coup. However, one of the conspirators loses his nerve, and confesses all to the emperor in exchange for a pardon. In his typical martinet fashion, Pyotr remarks “I have no use for a traitor. You nearly betrayed me once. Why would you not do so again?” and the man is summarily relieved of his tongue and exiled to Siberia.
Needless to say, Pyotr is ready and waiting for the guards’ regiments when Ekaterina makes her move. Pyotr’s German guards take down those who support his wife. The coup is unsuccessful, Ekaterina is placed under house-arrest. The guards’ regiments involved are roundly punished, with the ringleaders being hanged, broken on the wheel and drawn-and-quartered.

1763: The war which has been raging for the past few years is finally wrapped up in the treaties of Hubertusburg, between the continental powers, and that of Paris, between Britain and France. Needless to say, France and her allies can be regarded as the losing side.
Emperor Pyotr III’s marriage to Ekaterina is dissolved, and Ekaterina forced to take the veil in the Novodivichy Convent. At the same time, Pyotr realizes the necessity of marrying again, especially since he only has a single child, the nine-year-old Crown Prince Pavel. His attachment to Elizabeth Romanovna is ended, and ambassadors are sent into Germany to search for suitable princesses.
The young Queen of the Romans is delivered of a healthy baby boy, christened with great pomp and circumstance with the names of Franz Philipp Josef Karl Ludwig Stanislaus, with the Elector of Saxony (who’s also king of Poland) and his wife standing as godparents.

1764: The dauphine, Marie Josèphe de Saxe, formerly a princess of Poland, gives birth to her final child, Marie Élisabeth Philippine Hélène. Her husband starts to sicken from the tuberculosis which will kill him the following year.
The queen of the Romans gives birth to a daughter named Maria Christine (for her favorite sister-in-law), but dies shortly thereafter, leaving a grief-stricken husband with two small children. The marriage contract between Archduke Leopold and Infanta Maria Luisa is finalized. Meanwhile, the Savoyard prince, the duke of Chablais (nephew to the emperor) travels to Vienna.

1765: The Holy Roman Emperor, Franz I Stefan, formerly duc de Lorraine, dies in Innsbruck shortly after seeing the marriage of his son, Leopold, to the Infanta Maria Luisa. Much to her dismay, the Empress’ favorite daughter, Maria Christine ‘Mimi’, is married off to the duke of Chablais. Although the ceremony is rather sombre what with the court still being in mourning for her father. Her brother will later describe it as ‘a marriage that brought me another useless brother-in-law’.
In an attempt to strengthen the bonds between the courts in Paris and Warsaw, the king of Poland broaches the subject of betrothing his eldest son, Crown Prince Friedrich August, to the dauphin’s eldest daughter, Marie Adélaïde Clothilde Xavière. Formerly there was an unofficial engagement between the Crown Prince and Clothilde’s elder sister, Marie Zéphyrine but it was cancelled when Zéphyrine died in 1755.
Louis Ferdinand, Dauphin de Viennois dies at Fontainebleau, leaving behind a wife, four sons and two daughters. His eldest son, the duc de Bourgogne, automatically becomes the new dauphin.
The electress of Bavaria, one of the king of Poland’s sisters, takes ill and dies of a variety of smallpox.

1766: Marie Josèphe due to dislike of her eldest son’s betrothal to an Austrian archduchess (something which finds resonance at the anti-Austrian French court), she attempts in correspondence with her brother to betroth the dauphin to his cousin from Saxony, Marie Amalie. This move is ultimately unsuccessful.
At the same time, the Queen of Hungary puts her next two daughters, Maria Elisabeth ‘Liesl’ and Maria Amalie on the market. Elisabeth is a raving beauty. But her mother’s eye is on the widower king of Spain, Carlos III. The offer to marry Elisabeth off to him is declined, with thanks, and the queen is forced to start casting around for a new match for her daughter.
Elisabeth and Amalie’s younger sister, Maria Josefa ‘Pepa’, is finally married by proxy to Carlos III’s third son, the king of Naples. (His first son is an imbecile who must be kept under house-arrest, while his second is the current prince of the Asturias). She will leave for Naples in the New Year.
King James III of England, Scotland and Ireland dies, and his dissolute son, the Bonnie Prince Charlie of song, succeeds to a phantom crown in Rome. Naturally, Charles III, as he now is addressed by only the members of his court, since the pope refuses to acknowledge him as the king of England as he did the prince’s father. Famed lover Casanova will call him ‘the pretend pretender’. But, needless to say, this is a king in need of a wife, and no matter what his personal life might look like, his pedigree is spotless.

1767: The dauphine, who has never quite recovered from her husband’s death, passes away.
Archduke Leopold, who has succeeded to his father’s title of Grand Duke of Tuscany, welcomes his first child to the world, a little girl named Maria Teresa Giuseppina Carlotta.
Pepa – now Maria Giuseppina, Queen of Naples and Sicily, sets off to her new husband, escorted by her widower brother Josef.
The duchess of Chablais gives birth to her first child, a daughter, named Maria Teresa Benedetta.
The new ‘king of England’ is married to the youngest sister of the Elector of Bavaria, Maria Josefa. While this isn’t a prestigious match for the daughter of a one-time emperor, she is nearly thirty and when the attempted matches to the current Holy Roman Emperor and the late dauphin failed, she seemed destined for a nunnery.

1768: the death of the queen of France leads to the queen of Hungary offering her elder daughter, Elisabeth, as a replacement. While the French ministers think that this might be a way of calming the king, Paris’ answer is dithering, much to the dismay of the Hungarian queen, who begins to look elsewhere. And finally, the vacant position of Electress of Bavaria is filled by Liesl.
As for Amalie, she is engaged to the same Crown Prince of Saxony who had hoped to marry Madame Clothilde.
Her next sister, Maria Carolina ‘Charlotte’ has her betrothal finalized to her one-time brother-in-law, the duke of Parma. And she sets off soon after Josef’s return to Vienna from escorting Pepa south. The queen of Hungary has been busy in her son’s absence, arranging a second marriage for him. To the youngest daughter of the king of Portugal, Maria Benedita Francisca. Since the birth of the king’s eldest daughter and heiress presumptive’s son in 1761, the Portuguese Prime Minister, the Marques de Pombal, has been marrying the remaining three daughters of the king off to strengthen Portuguese alliances to the rest of Europe. Needless to say, the Queen, born a Spanish infanta, is not happy about this, but her influence over her husband is rather minimal of late.
Maria Josefa of Bavaria arrives in Rome to meet her new husband. Needless to say, the British royal family in London are rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of the Stuart line finally dying out, what with an irresolute drunkard marrying a spinster.

1769: The new electress of Bavaria gives birth to a son, Maximilian Thomas Franz.
The marriage between Josef II, Holy Roman Emperor, and his new Portuguese wife takes place in Brussels. While Benedita is plain, she seems to exercise a calming influence on the emperor’s marriage. And even if he doesn’t take to her, he at least treats her with a sort of respect. Most notably after she endears herself to Josef’s two children, Maria Theresia ‘Titi’ and Franz ‘Franzl’ (Christine died at the age of a few months).
With the king of France wishing to secure the succession for the crown, finalizes the wedding arrangements for the dauphin (now eighteen) and the youngest of the Holy Roman Emperor’s sisters, Maria Antonia ‘Antoine’. To the now dismissed minister, the duc de Choiseul, this marriage is the crowning achievement of his rapprochement between the houses of Bourbon and Austria.

1770: After a long journey, Maria Antonia arrives at Compiègne. There is a distinct chill in the air of the court towards her, even after she becomes Marie Antoinette, dauphine de Viennois. However, her grandfather-in-law is charmed with her, so at least that counts for something. Her new husband, on the other hand, is, well, not. He’s a nineteen year old Bourbon prince, with a passion for the hunt and his mistress, the beautiful and witty Laure de Fitzjames, Princesse de Chimay, and like all nineteen-year-old boys, he absolutely abhors sweet little girls of fourteen.
However, the marriage goes ahead in a splendid affair in the Chapel Royal at Versailles. With the wife of the English ambassador noting that during almost the entire ceremony, the dauphin was stealing glances at the Princesse de Chimay. However, soldier on the dauphin will, and he at least does his duty by his new young wife.
The Crown Princess of Saxony gives birth to her first child, a daughter, named Auguste Maria Theresia. As does the queen of Naples – a daughter christened Maria Teresa Francesca Carolina.

1771: The Queen of England, France, Scotland and Ireland, Maria Josepha, gives birth to her first child (at the age of 32), a daughter. The baby is christened Maria Clementina Amalie ‘Mary’, and promptly named the Princess Royal, the first time that that title has been held since the death of Charles’ aunt, Louisa Maria, in 1712.
While everyone imagines Charles – most notably the British resident in Florence, Sir Horace Mann – will go into a drinking bout and probably start beating his wife as he did his mistress, Clementina Walkinshaw after they fell out, the king shows his glee at finally having legitimate heir(ess) by throwing a massive blow-out that his brother, Cardinal Henry Stuart, quietly covers with his income from his see of Frascati, in celebration.
Rather, it is Maria Josepha who struggles to contain her disappointment. She so much wanted to give her husband a son, and she unfortunately knows time is against her. You see, while Charles might’ve cleaned up for her sake, and perhaps been visibly shocked at her plainness, she is quite in love with him, even if he doesn’t necessarily feel the same way. But the courtiers don’t doubt that she has been a soothing influence on their king. Plus, the fact that she’s related to most of Europe’s Catholic royal families doesn’t hurt.
The king of France’s second grandson, Louis Auguste, duc de Berri, is wed to the princess of Poland originally proposed for his older brother, who becomes Marie Amélié, duchesse de Berri on her marriage.
The duke of Parma’s sister, Maria Luisa, princess of the Asturias (who during her mother’s lifetime had been considered as a possible bride for her cousin, the dauphin), gives birth to her first child, a son, christened Carlos Clemente.
The Holy Roman Emperor’s second youngest brother, Archduke Ferdinand, marries Maria Beatrice Ricciarda d’Este, heiress to the duke of Modena and Reggio, and his wife, the duchess of Massa. The duke and duchess of Modena’s marriage has been on the rocks for years, most notably after the duchess’ failure to produce a male heir. But for now, Ferdinand and Maria Beatrice will serve as the Austrian viceroys in Milan, while he patiently waits for his father-in-law to die.

1772: The dauphine gives birth to her first child. A son. Named Louis Robert Joseph Xavier and given the courtesy title of duc de Bourgogne. The birth of the king’s great-grandson (something that last happened with the current king’s birth) is cause for celebration at Versailles, even though the French economy has taken some bad knocks of late, and it can ill afford it.
The duchess of Parma gives birth to her first child, Maria Teresa Carlotta. And the Viennese court is surprised when the queen of the Romans announces a pregnancy.

1773: The two youngest brothers of the dauphin, the comtes de Provence and Artois, are both married to two Savoyard sisters, (Maria Teresa to the comte de Provence and Maria Anna to the comte d’Artois). Their older sister, Maria Giuseppina, was originally considered for Provence, but was married off the previous year to the Crown Prince of Saxony’s younger brother, Prince Karl Maximilian.
The Holy Roman Empress gives birth to a stillborn daughter.
Maria Josepha of Bavaria goes into labour during a visit to the Santa Rosalia Convent. It is here that she is delivered of the son that she and the Jacobites had prayed for – a perfectly healthy baby boy christened James Edward Charles Albert Francis Xavier. Needless to say, the Jacobites outside of England go wild, and those left in England go down into their cellars and drink a toast to the birth of a prince of Wales to the king over the water.
Charles’ reaction is even more exuberant than it was to his daughter’s birth. In fact, the celebrations make those for his daughter look like a comparison between Lent and Carnival.
“One more Stuart to cause misery to the world” writes George III when he hears the news.

1774: King Louis XV of France and Navarre dies. The electress of Bavaria gives birth to a second son, Karl Ludwig Emanuel.
The Holy Roman Emperor’s daughter is propelled onto the marriage market with great force by her grandmother who is eager to secure a grand match for her. One of the problems that arises is the scarcity of ‘good’ Catholic matches on the marriage market. There’s the Prince of Beira, the Holy Roman Empress’ nephew, but the Hungarian Queen dismisses one Portuguese match as one enough. While there had been desires by the French to exchange Marie Antoinette for her niece, or overtures made from Austria to France about a possible marriage between Titi and either the duc de Berri or comte de Provence, these met with firm refusal from the respective sides.
It is then that the duchess de Chablais proposes a match between her husband’s half-nephew, the Prince of Piedmont, and her niece – as a way of balancing French influence in Savoy. After all, the Savoyards have just married two of their princesses (the prince’s sisters) to French princes, and a third to a prince of Saxony.
And on the topic of Franco-Savoyard matches, the Comtesse d’Artois gives birth to a son, Louis Antoine, titled duc d’Angoulême.

1775: The dauphin’s second youngest sister, Madame Clothilde, is married by proxy to the Elector Palatine’s son. Her aunts, the Mesdames les Tantes whom a later historian will refer to ‘as that generation whose turn never came’, regard it as an inferior match. However, the new king reminds them that he is not their father, and the purpose of princesses is to be married off abroad to secure alliances, ‘not sit around as spinsters to decorate a home like so many useless ornaments’.
A threat is likewise made that if they continue in this manner, the king will send them back to a convent like where they came from, and where their youngest sister retired voluntarily.
While at first it is believed that the king will reverse his grandfather’s edict concerning the abolition of the parlements, the court is in for a rude awakening when Louis XVI does not. The triumvirat of the comte de Maupeou, the duc d’Aiguillon and the comte de Terray on the conseil du roi makes several of the noble families look at it with unease, given the three’s rather reformatory dismissal of the provincial parlements in the sunset years of Louis XV’s reign. The voice at court goes that the French king intends to abolish certain privileges of the nobles. He’s already started trimming the Bourbon family tree by issuing an edict limiting the style of ‘Royal Highness’ to male-line grandsons of the king. Their sons will be styled ‘Serene Highness’.
The princes of the blood who were formerly ‘Serene Highness’ have now been limited to bearing that style solely for their lifetime, and not passing it on to their children, unless granted by the king. Their children will be addressed solely as ‘Highness’.
This cleaves the royal family in two. The king and his good-hearted, dog-loyal, but weak-willed oldest brother, Monsieur, on the one side (surprisingly finding the Orléans heir amongst their number), and the opposition headed by the Comte de Provence, the Mesdames les Tantes and several of the more important families in the realm – Rohan, de la Trémoïlle, de la Tour d’Auvergne and branches of the house of Lorraine who all qualify for the rank of ‘Royal Highness’ and address by the king as ‘mon cousin’ and being addressed as ‘cousin du roi’.
The queen of France gives birth to her second child, a daughter named Marie Thérèse Charlotte and bestowed with the traditional honorific of the French king’s eldest daughter, Madame Royal. At the same time, in a means to spite his brother, Monsieur, the Comte de Provence announces the pregnancy of his wife.
Monsieur and Madame’s marriage has remained unconsummated, and this has led to all sorts of vicious rumors spreading around the court, namely that Madame is actually preferring entanglements with members of her own sex – like her friend and lady-in-waiting, Louise Charlotte de la Tour du Pin, marquise de la Charce. Madame will later write that was only the friendship of the queen which sustained her through this period.
In faraway Saxony, Princess Maria Giuseppina of Savoy dies mere months after her marriage to Prince Karl. She had reportedly been homesick for some time and many say that her death was as a result of extreme melancholy.

1776: The comtesse de Provence gives birth to a stillborn daughter. Her husband responds by spending more time with his mistress, the Comtesse de Balbi. After the ending of the king’s affair with the princesse de Chimay, he starts spending more time with the queen, and while it will never be a love match, it certainly becomes one of friendship. Needless to say, this extra time that he is spending with the queen results in her falling pregnant again.
And during her pregnancy, the king takes as mistress one of the queen’s ladies in waiting, Yolande Martine de Polastron, princesse de Polignac.
In Florence, the Stuart court is surprised at the news of a further pregnancy for their thirty-nine year old queen. Many thought her past the age for childbearing when she married the king, but even the queen herself regarded the birth of the prince of Wales as her last hope of childbearing.
The electress of Bavaria gives birth to a daughter, Maria Theresia Amalie Ludovika, with the king of France and the crown princess of Saxony standing as godparents.
Crown Prince Pavel of Russia marries to Princess Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt as a way of strengthening Russia’s ties to Prussia, since her sister is married to the Crown Prince of Prussia. His father doesn’t regard Wilhelmine (who takes the name Natalia Alexeïevna) as having the best of personalities, since she’s ambitious, arrogant and definitely a flirt, with Pyotr dismissing Pavel’s best friend, Count Andrei Razumofsky after Natalia is caught making lambent calf-eyes at him one too many times.
For Pyotr this is dangerous, as he is more than aware of the fact that there are rumors at court when Pavel was born, that it had been one of Ekaterina’s lovers who was his son’s father. And that it was most definitely her then lover, the Pole Prince Stanislaw Antoni Poniatowski who was the father of their daughter Anna who had died in infancy.
The last thing he needs is for any child of Pavel’s to suffer from the same rumors: even if since then the physical resemblance between the Emperor and his son has proved them wrong.
Pavel is upset at his father’s actions, and this leads to the first rift in their relationship.
In other news, Natalia’s brother, the Erblandgraf of Hesse-Darmstadt, marries Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg, niece of the current duke and great-niece of the king of Prussia.
The Erbprinz of the Palatinate and his wife, formerly Madame Clothilde, welcome their first child into the world, a boy named Karl August Ludwig Ferdinand. The Elector had previously worried about the possibility of the pudgy French princess being able to even conceive. And he stated this in private to the French ambassador. Not that the elector really has much room to talk, he and his wife were married for nineteen years before they had a child, with both entertaining their own lovers before and since. Clearly Klothilde has beaten her mother-in-law in that regard, overweight or no.
The Queen of France gives birth to a second son, Louis Alexandre Joseph Stanislas, duc d’Anjou.

1777: Natalia Alexeïevna gives birth to a healthy baby boy, named Aleksandr ‘Sasha’. While the queen of England gives birth to another son, named Charles Maximilian Francis Emanuel Albert and created duke of Gloucester and Kintyre by his father.
The pope finds himself placed in a damnably difficult position. While he has been willing to acknowledge George III as the rightful king of Great Britain, that was when it seemed as though Bonnie Prince Charlie would be the last of his line, followed by his cardinal brother. But now…now with the Count and Countess of Albany (their incognito title that fools no one) having three healthy children and their line to continue for another generation at least, it seems to be slightly more problematic. However, the pope has other matters weighing on his mind, most notably mounting pressure from the Holy Roman Empire, the kings of France, Spain and Portugal and several other sovereigns to dissolve the Jesuit order.
The comtesse d’Artois gives birth to a daughter, Marie Anne Sophie, styled Mademoiselle, as the highest ranked unmarried female at the court of Versailles.
King Louis XVI has been in negotiations for his youngest sister, Madame Élisabeth ‘Babette’, to marry the prince of Beira for the better part of the last year. While his wife doesn’t wish Babette to leave, and Babette herself would probably prefer to become a nun, like her aunt Louise, the marriage contract is finally signed and the girl leaves for the south of France, accompanied by the Mesdames les Tantes, who are journeying south officially to take the waters at Aix, and the comte de Provence, who is seeking to visit the estates of the dukedom of Vendome that he has been endowed with of late.
The real reason, of course, is that the king wants the more conservative faction far from Versailles for his next move.
Babette arrives in Lisbon (by way of Madrid), where her wedding takes place to the prince of Beira at the bedside of the dying king.
Finally when the king dies, and his eldest daughter ascends as Queen Maria, the Marques de Pombal (the king’s right hand man and for many years de facto ruler of Portugal) is sent into exile, and the court is exceedingly dominated by what the English ambassador calls ‘nobles thirsting for an impossible revenge, and a queen dominated by a religious devotion bordering on a mania’.
Needless to say, the court in Madrid (as well as Portugal’s now Queen-Mother (a Spanish infanta by birth, who was once the fiancée of Louis XV, and his spurning of her resulted in her hatred of all things French, including her newly-minted granddaughter-in-law, Isabel) are working to change Portugal’s foreign policy to a more pro-Spanish one. They propose that the younger son of the Queen, D. João, marry a Spanish infanta, and that the Queen’s only daughter, D. Mariana Vitoria, marry a Spanish infante. That the only infanta available is the Prince of the Asturias’ eldest daughter, D. Carlota (who’s all of two years old) is not considered a problem.
The Holy Roman Emperor’s daughter, Titi, is married by proxy to the Prince of Piedmont, shortly after the Emperor has travelled incognito to visit his family in Italy and the back through Paris. His opinions of his sisters are truly remarkable, but his sharp tongue spares none, since he describes the king and queen of England that he meets in Florence as ‘the most ill-suited pair one can imagine. He, the leader of the ’45 rebellion, but since so sunk in depravity and dissoluteness that he looks far older than his years; she is the plainest creature one can imagine, though she is certainly witty and graceful, but very concerned with her rank as Queen. But their three children are well-mannered and polite, thoroughly English, despite living in Italy, and charming…
Madame announces her first pregnancy at the end of the year.
The elector of Bavaria dies.

1778: Madame gives birth to her first child, a son, christened Louis Xavier François Auguste, and created duc de Normandie. The comte de Provence, newly returned from his estates, is further put out as he now moves still further back in the line of succession.
The king receives certain gentlemen representing the colonies of Great Britain in America. The colonies rose up in revolt against their British overlords the year before, after a string of new taxes were imposed on them. And now they are seeking French backing.
Louis is no fool. As much as he might like to stick it to Britain and take back colonies that his grandfather lost, he knows two things: 1) France’s finances will not support this. His finance minister, Anne Marie Turgot has told him this much, that the “first shot of this war will bankrupt France”. And 2) these men are seeking him to back them in overthrowing a crowned and anointed king. While some of his ministers argue for him to enter the war to regain French supremacy, he asks them how can he support them when he has not a livre to put in his pocket.
So, in the end, Mr. Franklin and his party, are turned away from Versailles without any promise of French support.
Sticking with French finances, Turgot unveils a new plan to get more money for the crown. Well, it’s not news per se, the great Sebastien Vauban proposed it to the Sun King more than a half century ago, but it’s definitely new for the French court. With the royal family being reduced in size and the branches of Condé and Conti for all intents and purposes being forced to live on the incomes from their estates, rather than pensions from the crown as previously, the minister now proposes to extract taxes from the percentage of the kingdom best suited to pay it: the first and second estates (i.e. the nobility and the clergy).
The electress of Bavaria, Regent for her still underage son, Maximilian IV Thomas, gives birth to the elector’s posthumous child, a daughter named Maria Karoline Antonia Maximiliane.
Marie Antoinette announces her fourth pregnancy.
Natalia Alexeïevna gives birth to her first daughter, named Anna ‘Annette’ for the emperor’s mother.

1779: Turgot’s plan unleashes a storm of discontent among the nobility. Why should they pay taxes. And they are spearheaded by the king’s brothers, his aunts, and his cousins, the princes de Condé and Conti. The latter two are already disgruntled about their demotion (since the king slashed them from the famille privé (the king, queen, their children, the king’s brothers and their families and the aunts) and including them only in the famille royal (the entire Bourbon royal family in France) when he reorganized the French royal family) to mere ‘Highness’. Turgot’s tax is simple, land tax should naturally be paid by those with the most land, including members of the royal family.
When a petition is brought to the king to withdraw the plan, he takes the wine-glass in his hand and crushes it. “Take this message to your masters, if any stand against me, I warn you, I will break them like glass.”
And he signs the so-called Edict of Compiègne into effect. No longer are the nobility exempted from taxes. The pope issues a protest at the taxation of the church by the state, but the king reminds the pope of the status quo in France.
The king’s third son, Charles Louis Raphaël Philippe, duc d’Aquitaine is born. The king is not the only one seeing an increasing family, as the Artois’ welcome a second son into the world, Charles Victor Amédée, duc de Mercoeur.
Klothilde, Erbprinzessin von der Pfalz, gives birth to her second child, a daughter, named Elisabeth Ludovika Auguste Josefa.
The newly-elected King of the Romans, 17-year-old Franzl, is betrothed to the fourteen-year-old Auguste Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt, cousin to the Russian and Prussian Crown Princesses.

1780: Madame gives birth to a stillborn child, while Mademoiselle dies a death blamed on teething.
In St. Petersburg, Natalia Alexeïevna gives birth to her third child and second son, Pyotr ‘Petrushka’.
The Princess of Brasil (formerly ‘of Beira’) gives birth to her first child, a son named João Luis José Pedro. Although the boy dies six months later.
The duke and duchess of Chablais are appointed to assume the position of Governor of the Austrian Netherlands after the death of Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine. Lorraine, double brother-in-law to the Queen of Hungary, dies leaving a tidy pile of debts. The governor’s mistress and bastard son were dealt with via bequest before Charles died, so they are well taken care of. However, Josef II (his nephew) is eager to get out of paying the debts. So he simply has the late prince’s will cancelled, stating that as a member of the imperial family the governor was obliged to receive the emperor’s consent to a will, and since no such consent was given, the will is invalid.
The queen of Hungary dies, much aggrieved by her son’s behaviour, but she makes a proper Catholic death, blessing each of her children, even the estranged Crown Princess of Saxony.
Shortly after arriving in Brussels, the duke and duchess of Chablais’ daughter, Maria Teresa Benedetta takes ill, and although she will recover, she will suffer from severe pains in the head during cold weather.
Versailles goes into mourning for the death of one of the Aunts, Madame Sophie.
 
Here's my brief divertissement before I go back to school. I was originally gonna make it a TLIAD/W but then I realized I might be overreaching myself. Hope you enjoy
 
1781: The first marriage proposal for Madame Royal is made, from Spain. The proposal is that she should marry the eldest son of the Prince and Princess of the Asturias, Carlos Clemente. While the French king considers this match, he sees no reason to put all his eggs in one basket, since a collateral proposal is made to marry the dauphin to Infanta Carlota Joaquina. That the young Carlota is betrothed on paper to D. João of Portugal is of no concern to the Spanish. Although, they likewise offer Carlota’s younger sister, Maria Amelia (b. 1779) if the French would prefer.
The Comtesse de Provence is announced as pregnant again, whilst Madame gives birth to a daughter, Marie Antoinette Amélié, who immediately receives the rank of Mademoiselle.
Titi, Princess of Piedmont, gives birth to her first child, a princess named Maria Isabella Antonietta, after her grandmothers.
Already the duchess of Chablais is trying to manoeuvre to secure her daughter’s (and only child, since there have been other pregnancies, but they have all thus far ended in stillbirths and miscarriages) future. You see, Maria Christine, much to the resentment of her siblings, was substantially endowed with a overly large dowry on her marriage (especially considering that she didn’t marry a reigning sovereign), plus she and her husband received the plum post of Governor of the Austrian Netherlands, with a substantial promotion in their income. This private fortune is to pass to her daughter, which will make her more than a catch for any prince in Europe.
Archduke Maximilian, the Queen of Hungary’s youngest son, is appointed as Palatine of Hungary and as the heir to their father’s duchy of Teschen (all that remains of the Lorraine inheritance), since he’s unlikely to inherit anything else what with Josef having been elected emperor, and now crowned king in succession to his mother, Leopold having received Tuscany, and Ferdinand waiting on his father-in-law to die. Maximilian is not exactly liked by Josef, and some say that the only reason he appointed his brother known in the family as ‘Fat Max’ to this position, is because it was his dying mother’s wish.
This is hogwash, Josef has mostly disregard for his late mother’s dying wishes. Especially after he found her reports on him in her desk. He proceeded to go through them, and marking them ‘True’, ‘partly true’ or ‘completely false’. No, the reason he appointed Maximilian to the position is because he needs an ally he can trust. And to be frank, he regards Leopold as ‘all brains, no heart’ and Ferdinand ‘as ruled by Beatrice [his wife]’. Maximilian caught the tail-end of the whip in the final years of their mother’s reign due to the fact that she considered him as being too close to Josef, but more importantly, to Franzl (who shares quite a few of his father’s ideas, but has several more all his own). And considering that the Hungarian queen wrote of Josef ‘he only wishes for my death, for he sees in me all that is to stop him from accomplishing his madness’, Max’s affections were not well regarded or seen as well placed.
The truth is, Josef knows that Maximilian isn’t an intellectual. Far from it, to be frank. He cares about the dinner table, the cellar and the hunt. And due to his perceived lack of intellectual prowess, Josef appoints him knowing that he will agree with whatever orders come from Vienna.
There’s a surprise in store for all as the Holy Roman Empress gives birth to her first surviving child, a daughter, named Maria Anna Viktoria Pia. To everyone’s surprise, one of the child’s godfathers is none other than his Holiness, Pope Pius. Many suspect that either this is the empress’ doing, or that it is Josef’s, but not out of any kindness on his part – the duchess of Chablais will later write ‘it was not in his nature’ – as a crude joke.
The Queen-Mother of Portugal, Mariana Vittoria of Spain, dies. In a letter to her sister-in-law, the queen of France, the princess of Brasil remarks that ‘although she was conscious until an hour before she died, she has never said one kind word to me.’

1782: The comtesse de Provence’s pregnancy ends in the birth of little girl who only lives a few days. The pregnancy, traumatic for both mother and child, might not cost the lady her life, but it will certainly cost her the ability to fall pregnant at all. Needless to say, her husband is neither impressed with this ‘rat of a girl’ and sincerely believes his wife to be exaggerating her grief. It is the beginning of the end of the Provence’s marriage, but they don’t know that yet.
Madame is delivered of a second son, Louis Auguste Fédéric, duc d’Alençon. In contrast to his older brother, who at first seemed healthy, but is now showing disturbing signs of an overly large head (plus he was late to walk and talk), the queen (who will give birth later in the year) describes little Alençon as “as robust as a peasant’s child”. Of course, this comment leads to the suspicion that Monsieur is not the father of his son. Again.
Monsieur is a well-meaning man, with a fondness for the hunt and for making locks at his smithy that his brother allowed him to install in Versailles’ attics. Of the Bourbon fondness for making love he doesn’t seem to have a trace. He’s an intensely private man who has a private corridor built connecting his rooms to his wife’s so that he doesn’t have to endure walking through throngs of courtiers the morning after. Whereas his brothers three have mistresses of their own – la belle Polignac, the king’s maitresse-en-titre (though bearing more in common to Louis XIV’s mistresses than Louis XV’s as far as influence is concerned); the comte de Provence has Anne Nompar de Caumont, comtesse de Balbi; and the comte d’Artois has Marie Louise d’Esparbès de Lussan, vicomtesse de Polastron. And to make things resemble even more of a comic opera, both La Belle Polignac and the Vicomtesse de Polastron (who is married to Polignac’s half-brother), serve as ladies-in-waiting to the queen.
The king forgives his brother these peculiarities of temperament, especially since Monsieur is loyal, unlike Provence. Artois remains the wildcard, at times being in the king’s good graces (mostly because of the queen liking him) but at other times attaching himself to Provence’s party.
Franzl, king of the Romans, marries Auguste of Hesse-Darmstadt in a splendid ceremony in Vienna.
Mary, Princess Royal of England, is the subject of her first betrothal. Her father is well aware that he is getting on in years, and the pope’s dithering on whether to acknowledge him as king or not has led to Charles uprooting his court from Rome to Florence. It is there, at a ball at the Palazzo Pitti that the princess catches the eye of the grand prince of Tuscany, Francesco Giovanni Battista (b. 1768), son of Archduke Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany and his Spanish wife.
Of course, Charles is thrilled at the idea of his daughter wearing more than a paper crown one day. Leopold is more cautious. He knows that the English who pass through Florence on their Grand Tour call regularly at the pretender’s court, and the Grand Duke’s mistress at the moment is the wife of the Earl Cowper, who has recently been endowed by Josef II with the title of Prince of Nassau d'Auverquerque. However, he is also aware that were he to allow the marriage to go through, it would be a passive acknowledgement of the Stuart claims being still very much alive, and might cause friction between Austria and Britain. Plus, Charles wouldn’t be able to provide a dowry suitable for an Austrian archduchess (his only incomes are pensions from the Pope and the French crown (much reduced), plus whatever his brother could supply from his see of Frascati and his position at the papal court).
Josef II, on hearing of this planned match, shortly after seeing his own son married to Auguste of Hesse-Darmstadt, dispatches a letter to the Florentine court warning that a marriage of a member of the imperial family without the consent of the emperor is unequal. Plus, he has his own match in mind for Francesco – the boy’s double first cousin and daughter of Josef’s favorite sister, the Queen of Naples – Maria Teresa Francesca.
The king of the Romans is packed off to Hungary to join the military there. However, surprisingly, his wife insists on accompanying him. Josef is not impressed by her decision to go, with the intention of setting up house in Pressburg, in the same palace recently vacated by Archduke Maximilian after his departure to take up the archbishop’s mitre and crozier in Cologne.
However, after a plea from both his wife and his beloved daughter, he grudgingly allows it, though muttering that ‘the king will be with the army, and she will be in a palace. What difference is it if the palace is in Vienna or Pressburg?’.
The Empress is pregnant again – at thirty-seven.
Meanwhile, in the empress’ native Lisbon, the Prince and Princess of Brasil welcome their latest child into the world – a little girl named Maria Isabel Francisca, immediately created Princesha do Beira by her grandmother, the queen. The Portuguese court also sees a wedding. That of the infanta, D. Maria Ana Vitoria to the younger son of King Carlos III of Spain, the infante D. Gabriel. Gabriel is his father’s favorite son, plus, unlike his brothers, the prince of the Asturias and the king of Naples, he actually is possessed of a keen intelligence (as opposed to his brothers who care only about hunting and are dominated by their wives (who can’t stand each other), plus he’s a talented musician.
Marie Antoinette gives birth to her last child, Marie Sophie Pauline.

1783 – Starts with an interesting commission to the architect du roi – Marie-Joseph Peyre. Granted, Peyre’s getting on in years, so how much of the work he will actually be responsible for is debatable. The king of France wishes to divide his time between Paris and Versailles. Needless to say, the last used royal residences in Paris – the Louvre (which is full of artists) and Les Tuileries (which was last used during the Regence of Louis XV over seventy years ago – are outdated and old-fashioned. Peyre’s job is to extend the building of the Palais des Tuileries towards the Louvre, with the intention of them being able to accommodate the courtiers and the ministers, since where the king goes, they must to.
Peyre is still riding high after his joint success (with Charles de Wailly) on the recently inaugurated Théatre de l’Odeion. The king, queen and famille civile (immediate royal family) attended the première performance at the new theatre, Racine’s Iphigenie, to rapturous applause by the Parisians.
However, the court takes a dim view of the king’s planned move. For once, his three brothers, and his two surviving aunts are in agreement, they don’t want to leave Versailles. The queen is likewise reluctant, considering her abode at the Petit Trianon and the little farm she’s built for herself at La Hameau, but she is fond of the Parisian night-life (much like her husband). In fact, one of the few recently renovated parts of the Tuileries is a pied-a-terre that the royal consort has had furnished for incognito excursions to Paris.
The king stands firm in his decision, despite opposition. To Paris he will go.
The city erupts in joy when the royal cavalcade enters, with one Parisian remarking ‘at last, the royal family is home’. Except that the home that they are returning to, namely Les Tuileries, is somewhat out of order. When Madame Royal walks through the rooms of the palace, she protests to the queen: ‘But it is ugly in here, Mamma’. Antoinette doesn’t disagree with her daughter, the palace is certainly a far-cry from Versailles, but says to her ‘Louis le Grand lived here. And he was happy, and we must not be more demanding than he’.
Provence is barely arrived at the Tuileries when he makes a beeline for his own Palais du Luxembourg, leavingthe comtesse de Provence to wait on her in-laws. The Mesdames les Tantes naturally find something to complain about, commenting on the place that it is a ‘rat’s nest’, amongst other less complimentary descriptions from the courtiers.
On one occasion, Madame Adélaïde (the doyenne of the ‘old court’) comments to her sister, Madame Victoire, that ‘these rooms would not be fit for a dog, much less a princess’. Unfortunately for her, the king overhears this comment, and it is “suggested” that the aunts travel to take the waters at Bourbon-les-Bains.
[FONT=&quot]Needless to say, the courtiers take the hint.[/FONT]
 
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Please keep this thread going! I am absolutely loving this!!!

Just a couple of observations/suggestions. Firstly, I believe that the Grand Duchess Natalia (first wife of the future Tsar Paul) had a physical impediment that meant that she was actually incapable of giving birth which is why she died the way she did. Secondly, if the Duc de Bourgogne had lived to become King then is it possible he might have married Marie Antoinette's sister, Maria Carolina, rather than Marie Antoinette? In her biography of Marie Antoinette, Antonia Fraser suggested that Caroline was her mother's preferred choice for a French marriage and age wise she would have been a better match than her younger sister. Marie Antoinette could have married the Duke of Parma - bearing in mind how childish he was supposed to be he probably wouldn't have minded waiting another year or two for a wife.

Once again, huge congratulations on this thread. It makes fascinating reading!!!
 
This is a great TL, but may I suggest placing their given names alongside their titles? It's a little hard to keep track of everyone when it's only their titles that are stated in the text.
 
it is “suggested” that the aunts travel to take the waters at Bourbon-les-Bains.
[FONT=&quot]Needless to say, the courtiers take the hint.[/FONT]

Bourbonne-Les-Bains?

If so, it might be a bit early, unless a butterfly in the tL caused the bath to be built earlier than OTL (OTL, while there were bath much earlier, the main building was started in 1783).

EDIT: Plombieres-les-bains might be a better location.
 
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1782 contd:

The next event of the year at the French court, is the haggling between France and Spain over the territory of Louisiana. The French previously ceded the vast territory – stretching from the Mississippi River all the way west to the Rocky Mountains – to their Spanish cousins during the last war as a way of preventing that they be forced to cede it to the British during the peace negotiations.
Now, the French are willing to reacquire the territory. However, Spain is playing hardball. King Carlos III has no interest in war – being only being persuaded to don an army uniform with difficulty – but he also is not willing to simply hand over land that is part of his empire for nothing. Carlos instructs his envoy to Paris that he will return Louisiana to the French, in exchange for the marriage of the Prince of the Asturias’s eldest son, Carlos Clemente, to Madame Royal.

The Princess of the Asturias, however, isn’t a fan of this match. She doesn’t like her sister-in-law in Naples (who happens to be sister of the French queen). Plus, as a mere daughter of a duke, she would have to yield precedence to her daughter-in-law. This is a construct brought over with the French when they started ruling Spain – along with much other etiquette.
Until she becomes queen, the Princess of the Asturias, Maria Luisa of Parma, when arriving at a double door, must yield to her husband and father-in-law (who also get both doors opened, whereas she only gets one side opened as a further removed descendant of a king). Still worse, in the same vein, her sister-in-law, Mariana Vittoria of Portugal, and her prospective daughter-in-law, both get two doors.

Likewise at the Spanish court, which has recently celebrated the marriage between the Infante Gabriel and Mariana Vittoria, is also the site of a “new” tradition (it’s actually an old tradition that fell into disuse under the Habsburg dynasty). Gabriel is created His Royal Highness, Infante D. Gabriel, Duke of Peñafiel, Count of Mayorgain a magnificent ceremony staged at the sombre Palace-Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Granted, Gabriel has no actual power – his father makes sure of that (the Trastamara royal dukes caused enough headaches for their royal relatives) – but, then, he’s more of a Maecenas than an Augustus.

The scheming Maria Luisa doesn’t like this one bit, even if it does pigeon-hole her sister-in-law somewhat.

Not that the newly-minted Duchess of Peñafiel needs the pigeon-holing. She’s a quiet (although energetic) personality, pious after the fashion of the Portuguese court, fortunately lacking the Braganza tendency to religious mania. With quite a bit in common with her French sister-in-law. But unfortunately, her husband’s elevation in rank (as well as his prior favouritism from the king) means that Maria Luisa sees her as a rival. But then again, that princess sees both the Countess of Osuna and the Duchess of Alba as her rivals too.

Part of it is due to Maria Luisa’s own insecurities. While her husband is faithful – if dull, he’s only interested in hunting and eating (something he shares with his cousin, the duc de Berri) – she is energetic, plotting and scheming (bear in mind, her mother was the daughter of Louis XV who tried to get her husband named king of the Austrian Netherlands) for her own kids for the throne – or thrones (if she can get the Portuguese to replace D. Joāo with the yet to be born son of Prince José, she’d be the first to jump at said opportunity and offer one of her daughters).

As to thrones, one of her daughters – the second, Maria Luisa IsabelLulu’ (b. 1776) – is being considered by King Carlos III for a match with his other grandson (and child of Maria Luisa’s archrival, Maria Giuseppina, Queen of Naples), the Duke of Calabria, Prince Carlo Gioacchino. Needless to say, neither of the mothers in this scenario are fans of the match (Maria Giuseppina dislikes Maria Luisa almost as much as she is disliked by that woman), although Naples’ Prime Minister, Bernardo Tanucci, sees that it would be good sense.

Tanucci is in a difficult position. He knows that the queen is vehemently anti-Spanish if only to be pro-French (or more precisely, pro-Austrian queen of France). And also that if the queen were of a mind to, she could sweep him aside and have him replaced by her own candidate – a detestable (to Tanucci) Inglese. Thus, a match between Lulu and the Duke of Calabria is more good sense for Tanucci than it necessarily is for Naples. Carlos III is the man who appointed him to this position – and he has no desire to follow his colleage, du Tillot, in Parma’s lead and see himself dismissed.

However, this betrothal will be one of the last throws of a desperate man.

The Neapolitan queen is much more inclined for a match between the duke of Calabria and either a French princess – Madame Royal if possible, Madame Sophie if not – or an Austrian archduchess – Maria Anna Viktoria. But, for now, she plays along. Carlos III isn’t immortal after all, and once he’s gone, a puff of wind will be all it takes to topple the minister. Besides, it would be a waste of her manipulating of her husband (with the exception of the French king, all of Maria Theresia’s Bourbon sons-in-law are of unprepossessing weak-willed stock (truly it would’ve been disastrous for France if Bourgogne hadn’t recovered from his illness, leaving Berri to become king of France!)). She’s already got him to start building a Neapolitan navy – around the same time that her brother, Leopold, dissolved the Tuscan one. Plus, she’s followed the example of her own mother and had her children variolated against smallpox, which sparked off a fashion of doing so amongst the Neapolitan nobility. But it is her charity projects – she is the daughter of the woman who stressed caring for others during her childhood in Vienna – which have helped make her popular to the common folk.
The first of the acts which have caused her to be remembered as “the angel of Charity” in Naples, occurred when, shortly after her marriage, whilst on a royal hunt (her husband shares that passion with his brother in Spain and cousins in France), a peasant wine-grower was injured. She conveyed the unfortunate man to her own coach, made arrangements for the family left behind, as well as paid recompense for his ruined crops.
And once, during a trip from Naples to Capodimonte, she stopped her carriage for over an hour to aid an injured postilion. She would not continue until she had established the presence of a surgeon. She then insisted on a stretcher for the injured man.
Since then, she has worked to establish Neapolitan versions of both the Collège Militaire and the Hôtel des Invalides in the city, ensuring her popularity with the military by caring for the army from enlistment to retirement. Her instigation for the creation of a navy has likewise not been solely a vanity project (although many detractors have expressed that view). The Saracens have been preying on the natives of the island kingdom of Sicily for centuries, capturing them and selling them as slaves. One of the reasons for the Marina Reale is to combat this threat. And just before the end of the summer, five ships of the Neapolitan fleet (with the flagship unsurprisingly named “Regina Giuseppina”) pay a courtesy call on the Spanish port at Barcelona.

In Vienna, the Empress is delivered of yet another daughter, named Maria Elisabeth Dorothea Franziska.

At the same time, the Crown Princess of Saxony starts casting around for prospective brides for her eldest son (and eventually possibly heir to Poland), Prince Louis Maximilian Friedrich (b. 1773). Her disabled father-in-law sees a possible match in Louis’ cousin, Elisabeth Ludovika of the Palatinate, while his wife (a Bavarian princess by birth), would much prefer one of her nieces, the daughters of the late Elector. Either way, both of these betrothals are floating somewhere in the realm of speculation when Friedrich Christian, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania and Elector of Saxony dies that December.
 
1784

The death of the Polish king occasions an election of a new king. Unfortunately, Prussia, Austria and Russia all have their own personal candidates that they’re supporting – and attempting to line the pockets of the voters. Prussia and Russia, bound in a loose treaty since 1763, both support the candidacy of a Pole, Prince Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski. Both Friedrich and Pyotr of Russia have hopes of seizing territory in Poland should he be elected. Friedrich would very much like the strip of land to connect his own territory of Ost-Preussen and the actual margraviate of Brandenburg. While Pyotr is eyeing covetously some lands in the southern parts of Poland near the Black Sea.
Austria, on the other hand, is supporting (no surprise), the Elector of Saxony, Friedrich August III, married to an Austrian archduchess. However, since the Seven Years’ War ended, Catholic power in Europe has been at somewhat a low ebb, which the Holy Roman Emperor hopes to remedy, and France’s recent repurchase of Louisiana causes Britain to start glancing nervously over the Channel at her continental neighbour.
And then, the lightning bolt falls. The Emperor of Russia is approached by the young King of the Romans who has paid a visit to the imperial court at St. Petersburg. As much as Russia has been eyeing the lands in Poland, she wants control of the Black Sea more. And standing in the way of that dream, is the Ottoman sultan, who holds the stranglehold of Istanbul. However, Josef II is preparing for a war against the Ottoman Empire, to take back the lands in Serbia lost during his grandfather’s reign, and he wouldn’t be averse to Russia helping herself to certain parts of the Ottoman Balkan pie.
Of course, Russia’s emperor is aware that while times are changing, he’s not so sure that he wants to jump from the Prussian ship just yet. He’s gotten several territories back from the Danes for his beloved Holstein thanks to Friedrich’s needling and big stick diplomacy. However, Friedrich’s old, his heir is a buffoon (most of Europe certainly thinks so, especially the Prussians themselves who call him “the overweight bastard”), more interested in the arts than in artillery, and Pyotr would like to hold onto those territories that he has wrested from Denmark, especially since he’s pulled a move to have his younger son (born from his second marriage, to Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick (aka Empress Elizaveta Carlovna) (the king of Prussia’s niece several ways)), Peter (b. 1765), succeed him in his German territories (1771’s Treaty of Amalienborg which states that little Peter is to become Duke of Holstein and Gottorp on the death of his father. Peter shall bear the style Imperial Highness as a member of the Russian Imperial family, but he shall have no rights of inheritance to the Russian throne, just as his brother Paul, will have renounced all rights to the Holsteiner throne.)
Josef promises that he will support Pyotr against any attempt by Denmark to reclaim the lands he seized from them in the brief Holstein War (also known as the Mad War of 1765).
And with that, the Treaty of Annenhof is signed. Russia and the Holy Roman Empire are to be allies in a war against the Ottomans; the Empire will support the succession of the Grand Duke Peter to Holstein, and in return, Russia will withdraw its support for the candidacy of Prince Czartoryski.
Needless to say, a dumbfounded Friedrich of Prussia watches Friedrich August of Saxony walk off with the Polish crown as Augustus IV. However, Friedrich is used to winds changing at the drop of a hat (Pyotr’s own accession to the Russian throne is an example of that), and the consummate diplomat that he is, he even puts forward one of his own nieces as a potential Crown Princess of Poland, Princess Luise Philippine of Prussia.
Augustus made several promises to get that crown. One of which is to break (or at least decelerate) the spread of Russian influence in the Commonwealth Realms he has inherited. Nor does he wish to simply exchange Russian dominance for that of Prussia. However, the Annenhof Treaty is followed shortly after by the Treaty of Kaniow, by which Poland is to be a silent partner in the Austro-Russian Turkish war, simply allowing Russian troops an easy access route over their lands. But, Kaniow also signals the beginning of the end of Russian dominance within the Commonwealth.
He does, however, take up Friedrich on his offer. Except Luise Philippine is not the princess he has in mind for his son. No, a Hohenzollern will not do. He instead proposes a double match to another of Friedrich’s nieces (well great-niece, actually), who is slightly better connected – Princess Elisabeth Friederike of Württemberg (b. 1772) and her brother, the second eldest son, Prince Ludwig (b. 1756).
Granted, neither of the prospective spouses are the children of the reigning duke (his own marriage to one of Friedrich’s nieces, Princess Elisabeth of Bayreuth, crashed and burned spectacularly, and since her death in 1780, he’s since remarried morganatically), but of his third brother (brother no. 2 having only daughters who’re ineligible to inherit) and another of Friedrich’s nieces – the Princess of Brandenburg-Schwedt (who’s sisters are the Erblandgrafin of Hesse-Kassel and the wife of the younger brother of the (until 1776), childless Swedish king). Plus, Elisabeth’s sisters are the Erblandgrafin of Hesse-Darmstadt and the future betrothed of Peter of Oldenburg; whilst her oldest brother was married in 1780 to Princess Charlotte (b. 1766), oldest daughter of King George III.

In Pressburg, the Queen of the Romans gives birth to her and Franzl’s first child, a son, christened Karl Josef Dominik Georg Ludwig. This boy is the first Habsburg child born on Hungarian soil since the Habsburgs took over that realm.
Her mother-in-law is likewise expecting, and will give birth, near the end of the year, to her last child.

Meanwhile, in Paris, Peyre unveils his plans for the reconstruction of the Tuileries. He’s been going over the previous plans for the palace, and in order to extend the building insofar as to accommodate the entirety of the court (remember, Les Tuileries was never intended to house a court per se, it was built as a private residence for Queen Catherine de Medicis), he plans to take up much of the blank space of land that lies between the palace, and the Louvre further along the river. In effect, his plans will connect the two palaces. A dream that has been held since the days of Henri IV, and has seen several architects take a stab at it (Courceau, Le Bernin, Houdin and Mansart among others).
The long Galerie that was built by Henri IV along the river is to serve as Peyre’s starting line. A symmetrical wing is to be extended from the Tuileries all the way to the Louvre on the opposite side of the grand courtyard. Once boxed in, the Tuileries will be expanded over the courtyard, fronting out on a grand colonnade that Peyre has modelled after the square at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, with a large equestrian statue of King Louis in the centre in place of the Piazza de San Pietro’s obelisk.

Marie Antoinette manages to engineer the release of Messieurs de Belleguarde and de Moustiers who have been imprisoned by the spite of the king’s minister, the duc d’Aiguillon. Belleguarde and Moustiers’ only crime is belonging to the former clique centred around the duc de Choiseul. This touching scene is immortalized in a painting by Adelaïde Labille-Girard of the queen in an angelic white dress, holding the dauphin by the hand and with a kneeling Belleguarde and Moustiers in front of her, thanking her for her mercy. The queen was touched by this painting, and had it placed in her apartments at the Tuileries, even though the obvious style of the painting (with the queen and dauphin replacing the Madonna and child to kneeling votaries) caused a scandal. Not so much as the painting of the queen in a muslin dress with a straw hat and a rose by the queen’s portraitist, Madame Vigée-Lebrun, but outrage to the pious nonetheless.

In Lisbon, the Princess of Brasil gives birth to the long desired son, who from birth is far stronger than his late brother was. However, the Queen promptly attempts to remove him from his parents’ care. Which leads to an argument. The first of several. Since José and Isabel have the intentions of raising their children in a far more enlightened atmosphere than the Queen’s court, at their own little court. After some persuading, the queen leaves the child with his parents.
The next argument takes place at the ostentatious christening ceremony, where the Prince and Princess of Brasil have an argument with the King and Queen over the child’s names. The overly-pious king wants the baby named João, for the saint on whose day the baby is christened, St. John the Baptist. However, while neither of the child’s parents are suspicious, it seems unfortuitous to name the child after a sibling who died before he left the cradle (although three of the princess’ brothers are all first named Louis, so go figure). Plus, the Queen’s choice of godparents for the child is equally unsatisfying to the baby’s parents – the younger brother of the Prince of Brasil, Infante João and his little Spanish betrothed, Doña Carlota.
Instead, the baby is christened Luís Jorge José Francisco António, with the English ambassador standing as proxy godfather for King George III, while the French ambassador’s wife, stands proxy for the French queen. In a way, little Luís Jorge’s godparents indicate the differences between the Prince of Brasil and his mother for the future of Portugal. But that’s still to come.

Turin likewise rings to the sounds of babies’ cries as Titi, Princess of Piedmont, brings forth twins into the world: Maria Vittoria Giuseppina and the much longed for son and heir, Carlo Amadeo Filiberto Ferdinando. Fortunately, unlike their relatives in Portugal, the Prince and Princess of Piedmont don’t have any problems surrounding this birth.
But, the birth of a son and heir to the Prince of Piedmont, means that his brother, the duke of Aosta, moves down a notch in importance. Because of this, the marriage plans for Aosta and a royal princess – namely the eldest daughter of Leopold of Austria, Grand Duke of Tuscany, Maria Teresa Amelia (b. 1767) – have been put on the back burner.
And that’s where the king of France comes in. He’s anxious to mend fences with Savoy, especially so that he can mend fences ruined by the disastrous marriages between France and Savoy. Just one problem, he has no of age royal daughters to offer for Aosta (besides the already betrothed Madame Royal). The duc d’Orléans’ heir, the duc de Chartres’ eldest daughter is still in the single digits age-wise, the prince de Condé and his wife separated after the fortuitous birth of their son after the first try, and Conti is on the verge of extinction.
And that is where his maternal family comes to his aid in the form of the recently of age, Elisabeth Ursula ‘Lisette’, Mademoiselle de Saxe. Lisette is the daughter of the next brother, Prince Xavier, of the late elector of Saxony who also just happened to be king of Poland, by his morganatic wife, the Countess Chiara Spinucci, a former lady-in-waiting to the current Queen-Mother of Poland. Of course, this marriage (way back in 1765) didn’t go over too well in Saxony-Poland, so Prince Xavier moved to his loving family in France. And they then proceeded to multiply like rabbits, with their ten children having the style of Comte/Comtesse de Saxe-Lusace (Sachsen-Lausitz), and Chiara being addressed as Her Serene Highness, the Princess Xavier. When the Elector wrote to Louis XV to protest this, the letter went unanswered.
So, Lisette, the oldest daughter of the couple (their first two children both died in infancy), and a year younger than the offered archduchess, is proposed as a match for the duke of Aosta. It certainly helps that she’s prettier than her rival, plus, her dad’s willing to chip in some serious dough to make the marriage happen.
The Duke of Savoy likes the sound of this idea intensely (the money part, that is). His wife, son, brother, and sister-in-law, do not. His wife and Aosta have the opinion that this match is beneath the dignity of their station (considering the duchess is the sister of the late queen-mother of Portugal, and the current king of Spain, that’s a valid point), with Aosta commenting that “she’s only one step removed from a bastard”. The duke and duchess of Chablais are opposed to it on the grounds of them being the leaders of the pro-Austrian party (but, they’re not in Turin, at the moment, so that makes their argument pretty shaky) and this looks like an attempt to expand French influence.
Surprisingly, the princess of Piedmont is neither for nor against the match. She simply points out that Austria doesn’t want a French princess, and Mademoiselle de Saxe, is not. France doesn’t want an Austrian duchess, and again the lady is not. She, much like Titi herself, is connected to both, however, unlike her, she is part of neither.
And so, the match goes through, with the sixteen-year-old Lisette sobbing her way through her marriage vows in the chapel of the Palace at Fontainebleau, and her brother, the Chevalier de Saxe, standing in for the groom, before the entire court.

Another sobbing bride emerges from the court of Berlin as the Prince of Prussia’s oldest daughter, Princess Elisabeth Charlotte Ulrike ‘Lieschen’ (b.1768) is married to the second son of King George III of Great Britain, Prince Frederick, Duke of York. George has already married his oldest son, George, Prince of Wales to his cousin, Princess Auguste Amalie of Brunswick (b.1764) in 1780, with two infant children, Princess Charlotte (b.1782) and Prince George, who will be born later this year. And although Denmark’s Crown Prince keeps angling for one of George’s daughters (promising to dismiss any and all other candidates), George is mindful of what happened to his unfortunate younger sister who married the king of Denmark (that was part of the reason that he accepted a significantly lower marriage for his eldest daughter, Charlotte).

Denmark is in a tricky spot. Technically, the King is Christian VII. But he’s nuttier than a fruitcake, so until very recently, Denmark’s real ruler, was his stepmother, Dowager Queen Juliane. His son, Crown Prince Frederik, overthrew her in a palace coup, and currently the Dowager Queen has been exiled to the political wasteland, along with her son – the Prince Frederik (it gets confusing) – and his wife (who can’t stand each other), plus their soon to be born daughter, Princess Juliana. Unfortunately for her, little Juliana will not even make it to her first birthday.
Currently, Denmark is isolated. It has no allies – Juliane’s policy was distinctly pro-Prussian, and before her, Christian VII’s queen, Caroline, and her lover, Streunsee, charted a more pro-English course. And due to the Crown Prince’s sister, Lovisa, being of questionable legitimacy (they don’t call her ‘La Petite Streuensee’ at court for nothing, but fortunately for her, as far as looks go, she favors her mother, so no one can be quite sure), as well as the crown prince’s personal dislike for Juliane and her offspring, that means he needs to get wedded and bedded last year.
Now, another British match would make sense. Especially given George III’s wife’s fertility (fifteen children in all), and hoping that the queen would be working like an overworked bakery. Except that the British king has firmly decided against it. A Russian grand duchess – namely Grand Duchess Maria Petrovna (b.1767), younger sister of the future duke of Holstein-Gottorp – might be helpful in combatting the common Swedish threat posed by Gustaf III. However, Gustaf and the Russian emperor are cousins, and a Russian marriage would mean that Denmark is accepting the status quo established in Holstein after the Mad War.
Juliane’s government considered the possibility of a Prussian princess for the new Danish queen, sort of as a way to keep Danish and Prussian policy in lock-step with one another. However, even the Prussian king is realizing that that is unlikely to happen, Prussian queen of Denmark or no.
So that leaves the smaller German courts to find a Protestant match. And finally they turn up the lady in the person of Princess Marie Sophie Friederike of Hesse-Kassel (b. 1767), daughter of Landgrave Karl of Hesse-Kassel and his Danish wife, Princess Lovisa (full sister of Christian VII). Admittedly, this is for all intents and purposes a domestic marriage, since Karl is the second son of the Landgrave who has been domiciling in Denmark since his mother overtook the custody of the Danish royal children following the death of her sister (Christian and Lovisa’s mother, Louise of Great Britain).
So, in Copenhagen, Crown Prince Frederik marries Princess Marie, just before Christmas.

Over the Sound to Stockholm sees the birth of the first child of the king’s brother, Carl, duke of Södermanland, and his wife, Duchess Lotta: a little boy christened Carl Ulrik. The succession is reasonably secure – for now – after some speculation, with the king and queen being as active in certain departments as Monsieur and Madame. They have two children: Crown Prince Gustaf (b.1778) and his sister, Christina Augusta (b.1782).
At the same time, the king’s sister, Sofia Albertina (b.1753), is married for the first time to the next youngest brother of the king of Poland, Prince Anton (b.1755) (Prince Karl died in 1782 without remarrying after his wife’s death). Due to Russia’s recent volte face in foreign policy (with probably another coming, granted that Pyotr III is frequently rather ill), Sweden now stands alone in the Baltic, with only her ancient alliance with France as a slender reed on which she leans.
Not that the match is popular in either Warsaw or Stockholm – given the simmering cauldron of differences after two centuries of constant friction, and out-and-out warfare between Sweden and Poland. However, it is less popular in Stockholm – their Lutheran princess (who had formerly been slated to become Abbess of Quedlinburg) marrying a Catholic, than in Warsaw, where it is seen as simply a marriage of the king’s younger brother (and the throne is elective in any case).
But that doesn’t mean the match is easily accomplished. It takes several months for the Swedish and Polish diplomats meeting in Swedish Pomerania to hammer out the marriage contract. In fact, Sofia and Anton will only marry in 1785.
 
Sorry for the long delay between posts, but it's starting to get difficult with the characters especially since we're moving further away from the POD, so it takes a little more planning and thought.
 
No need to apologize for the delay - this is wonderful stuff! I love how Archduchess Maria Amalia (Duchess of Parma in the OTL) is now the Queen of Poland, and that her sister Maria Josepha (dead of smallpox in OTL) is proving such a success as Queen of Naples. It's a shame their sister Maria Carolina doesn't feature more prominently but then as Duchess of the fairly insignificant Parma it's hardly surprising.

I'm dying to know what happens with Bonnie Prince Charlie and his family. Could we yet see a Stuart return to the British throne? Probably not but it would be fun if it happened.

Anyway, congratulations yet again on doing such a fantastic job!
 
No need to apologize for the delay - this is wonderful stuff! I love how Archduchess Maria Amalia (Duchess of Parma in the OTL) is now the Queen of Poland, and that her sister Maria Josepha (dead of smallpox in OTL) is proving such a success as Queen of Naples. It's a shame their sister Maria Carolina doesn't feature more prominently but then as Duchess of the fairly insignificant Parma it's hardly surprising.

I'm dying to know what happens with Bonnie Prince Charlie and his family. Could we yet see a Stuart return to the British throne? Probably not but it would be fun if it happened.

Anyway, congratulations yet again on doing such a fantastic job!

Thanks a lot.

As to Amalia and Karoline, I'll maybe focus on them in the next post (however most of the info I can find on them is that they dominated their husbands, behaved eccentrically (in Amalia's case) or schemed perpetually (in Karoline's).

Josefa's stuff she's doing TTL is based on stuff her sisters actually did, but I don't consider it implausible that she is more practical (she was Josef's favorite though) and uses Acton's advice for a fleet in TTL, plus her care for the soldiers I based on a combo of their mother's philanthropy with Amalia's predilection for handsome young soldiers to help her with her horse-breeding.

Although, I COULD see Amalia scheming to get more power for her husband or son (maybe even have the throne become hereditary), many of her and Karoline's actions don't/can't translate well onto the larger world stage (Amalia) or to a smaller throne (Karoline).

As to the Stuarts, well, I'm currently playing it by ear.
 
Yes, I can certainly see Amalia scheming for more power - something she couldn't really do in humble Parma. I'm not sure what sort of her man her Saxon husband was but if he was a more assertive personality than Ferdinand of Parma that might have suited her well and they could have made a good team.

Josepha as Queen of Naples is an interesting prospect. As well as being one of the most attractive sisters she also seems to have been sweet natured and less domineering than her sister Caroline. She might well have had better relationship with Ferdinand of Naples than Caroline did. I think Caroline rather despised her husband and ended up treating him like a naughty schoolboy - something which probably caused resentment and led to their marital difficulties later on. If Josepha had been slightly softer in her treatement of him - much as Marie Antoinette was with Louis XVI in the OTL - then they could have ended up as genuinely good friends.
 
I'm envisioning a more pro-active policy for the French regarding the recently-reacquired Louisiana territory. How might such a policy be implemented (for instance, what incentives can be given for people in France to uproot their lives and make the crossing to the New World to settle amidst the fur-trappers and the Indians?)? Would it require a law, per se?
 
Settlement?

Well, can you combine free passage, free land and nearby small forts to facilitate trade with the natives while protecting them from those same natives without it causing a significant budget issue?
 
Well, can you combine free passage, free land and nearby small forts to facilitate trade with the natives while protecting them from those same natives without it causing a significant budget issue?

Well, LXVI HAS proportioned taxes out more evenly so he has a bit of cash that the monarchy didn't OTL, plus he didn't set France's debt back by supporting the ARW like OTL, so he might have some extra cash.

I thought of using it as a penal system first, with convicts being given the choice of exile to America to work off their sentence (the convicts being drawn from the more minor offenses: debtors, thieves etc, rather than murderers or rapists) or mouldering away in a grim prison. Is this plausible? Or would the Louisianers say "no" much like the Dutch said when the British tried to do it at the Cape after 1804.
 
Out of curiosity, besides the Prussian princess (who later became Princess Radziwill (and mother of Elisa Radziwillowna)) was there any other princess ever considered for Frederik VI?

And then, on another question, before I decide to continue with this, is there anyone actually reading this? Or is it more a vanity project?
 
Out of curiosity, besides the Prussian princess (who later became Princess Radziwill (and mother of Elisa Radziwillowna)) was there any other princess ever considered for Frederik VI?

And then, on another question, before I decide to continue with this, is there anyone actually reading this? Or is it more a vanity project?
I am reading this and enjoying it very much indeed!
 
1784, Part Deux


To start with, the ailing Bonnie Prince Charlie catches wind of the continued unrest in the American colonies. True, this has been going on since Mr. Franklin approached Louis XVI in 1778 (when it had been going on for almost a year already), but it has hardly been the ‘teacup war’ Britain had been hoping it would be, that would be over in a few weeks. It has turned into a bleeding seven-year long ulcer, with various countries siding with the rebels (like Spain and the Dutch Republic) when they need to settle a score with Britain, and then withdrawing again once they’ve wrung the concessions they desired from Britain.

However, this unrest has been rather unfruitful in the Jacobite court’s eyes. They’d been hoping France would perhaps sign onto the ‘thrash Britain’ committee, to support another uprising in Britain. Or at least, that the crown would be destabilized enough for those dratted Germans.

True, the British monarchy is at a weak point, the prince of Wales’ marriage to a ducal first cousin rather than a king’s daughter as might have been hoped is regarded as proof of that. Truth is, George III simply wanted his son settled away from his rakish lifestyle, and had no time to wait for the Prussian princess who is now coming to marry his second and favorite son.

However, there is another truth that comes home to the pretender as it becomes more and more apparent that the courtiers are aware of his widow becoming regent for their still underage son, and are clucking around her more than him. It has been nearly forty years since the ’45. A whole generation has come and gone since the prince led his troops south to Derby from the Scots’ marches. And unlike then, when the king had been German born, with a German born heir, and the young Stuart prince was seen by some as the delivering messiah, Charlie’s son, James, will have to displace an English king from a German family, who has been born and bred in England, never set foot outside it; and nobles who might have once flocked when seeing the Stuart colors raised, have since made their peace with the crown, or died off, leaving a new generation that prefers the Georges to the unknown quantity that they consider the Stuarts.


But, there’s another problem over the pond. The recent reacquisition of the Louisiana Territory by France, has made the rebels reconsider the British. And thus made the British fight that much harder to get the American situation in hand.

And now, the bell has been rung, as a deputation of American representatives travel to the town of York in formerly French held Quebec to make a very strange offer indeed.

The recipient of their offer is King George’s own brother, William, the duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, who has been residing ‘amidst the fur trappers’ since his brother exiled him from court following discovery of his ‘unpleasant marriage’ (translation: undesirable) to the Dowager Countess Waldegrave, Maria Walpole in 1775.

This ‘unpleasant marriage’ has resulted in three children, two of which have been born in the New World: George William (b. 1772), Sophie Matilda (b. 1774) and Caroline Augusta (1776-1778). So, thus, when the delegation arrives in Gloucester’s anteroom at Rideau Hall in mid-1784, their offer is astonishing (although this may be considered ‘astonishing’ in the same vein as Charlemagne’s Christmas coronation as Emperor).

William is offered the Crown to rule over the territories that have been involved in the rebellion against his brother.

The entire time the war has been going on, William has been regarded with suspicions both by the Americans and the British. Westminster sees the duke as overly partisan to the Americans, due to the duke’s refusal to return home on royal summons when the rebellion broke out, only moving his residence from Boston, to nearby Quebec. The Americans, on the other hand, see William as being too partial to London, mostly because of their skewed perception, that as the king’s brother, he is open to ‘German’ George’s ideas.

However, now that the Americans are glancing nervously at the once-again French territory sharing a border, it seems politic to try and get Britain onside with them. But they want a king who is johnny-on-the-spot, not sitting in London.

And they want the king to agree to the rights that they perceive themselves as having which are ‘inalienable and inviolable’, in the words of a later prime minister.

George will obviously not agree to these, or rather, Parliament refuses to agree to the demands of what they see as rabble rousing colonists who need to learn their place.

Hence, Benjamin Franklin, Nathaniel Gorham and Alexander Hamilton have travelled north to make the offer of a crown to William. While the more republican elements of the revolution would prefer an elected leader – sort of like the Consuls of Ancient Rome - Hamilton remarks to them that ‘you can scarce agree on a general to lead the army, and you would choose a man to lead our country?’ in reference to the division of support for Generals Washington and Gates. As Gorham points out to them ‘…in choosing the Prince [William] we take the form of government which divides us the least. Those of you who wish for Consuls will get your elected leaders in the prime minister, those of you who wish for a king will get him’.

However, William is going to be severely restricted in his movements, if he accepts the crown. The king is beholden to a parliament which will convene, comprised of elected representatives from the colonies; and he will have a prime minister who will serve a term of five years. However, all ministries will be responsible to the parliament, rather than the king, but William will retain responsibilities over the ministerial portfolios of the navy, war and foreign affairs, although the candidate for minister is subject to the approval of parliament.

And so, the Kingdom of these United States of America is born on 4 November 1784, when William agrees to accept the crown under the title of ‘William I’.

George III goes into a fury when he receives a letter from ‘our dear brother, the king of these United States’, and calls him ‘that ungrateful wretch, the duke of Gloucester’. (Indeed, until the end of George’s life, he will never speak of the American king as anything more than ‘His Royal Highness, the duke of Gloucester’).


Maria Amalie of Austria, now, ‘queen at last’, as the wife of the king of Poland, is crowned, alongside her husband, in Warsaw’s Archcathedral of St. John. Alongside them are their children, whom her sister, the duchess of Chablais described in a letter to the late queen of Hungary as ‘the most beautiful children imaginable’. This description is borne out in several portraits of the Polish court by Marcello Bacciarelli.

The first child and eldest daughter, Auguste born in 1770, is described as ‘as beautiful as an angel’ by the Russian ambassador. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Auguste is of a much milder disposition than her rabidly scheming mother, meaning that her recent debut onto the marriage market has been a gigantic success.

The Polish Crown Prince (for want of a better term), Ludwik Józef Fryderyk August, is described as (although he’s only eleven) ‘tall, handsome, intelligent and with a winning charm’. However, Ludwik Józef has a dark secret – one that his parents attempt to hide from the court as much as possible (more so now that the focus is on them as the centre of the new court): he suffers from epilepsy. And, although his cousin in Florence, Archduke Carlo Giovanni, suffers from it too, Ludwik Józef’s gets slightly more notice as the crown prince, rather than the third in a baker’s dozen of kids.

The next child, second daughter, Marie Anna Ludwika Katarzyna ‘Nannerl’, is 10, and is the next of the children described in the Russian ambassador’s letters – he reports her as being shy, but as having ‘a cheerful and playful personality’. While the third daughter, Karolyna Maria Teresa Adelajda ‘Lolotte’, 7, is tagged as having ‘little of her sisters’ formality’.

However, as to the new Queen herself, the Russian ambassador writes that she is a loyal, if not necessarily loving wife – this is also a view shared by several of her in-laws, claiming that she does not care for her children, the Abbess of Remiremont, Maria Christine de Saxe, writing that she loves them ‘avec un devoir’ only, with her behaviour towards them seeming harsh, if not cruel.

And here is where the outside world is probably wrong. Amalie is well aware that she wears a paper crown in comparison to her brothers and sisters – the Sejm that voted the king in today, can depose him tomorrow (something that has already happened with both her father-in-law’s father and grandfather). Hence her scheming. Although heredity counts for little once the king is dead, if she can fix her children’s wagons to powerful players on the European chessboard, then the chances of the crown eventually passing to one of her grandchildren is strong.

Hence why she is not exactly eager to have her daughter married off to a younger son of Württemberg’s heir-presumptive to the heir-presumptive. Nor does she like the idea of her son’s match with said Württemberger prince’s sister.

She is well aware that her children have the blood of the great Jan III Sobieski who stopped the Turks at Vienna flowing in their veins. And as such, she considers a match with Württemberg as a match with a comparative nonentity. (Although, her sister, Liesl, back in Vienna was in love with the current duke, back in the day, the Hungarian queen dismissed the idea of such a match as being unsuitable, and the Protestant Württemberger estates were not thrilled at the prospect of having another Catholic duchess).


In France, the law for the population of the colonies is signed into effect at the Tuileries. This law, popularly called the ‘Tuileries Act’, is concerned with the settling of French citizens in the overseas territories of the crown, particularly in Louisiana


Spain’s ambassador to France, the Count of Aranda, drafts a rather surprising memorandum which he sends to the aging King Carlos III. In it, Aranda states that Spain should take heed lest her empire in the Americas go the same way as the English colonies. He also forewarns that ‘this kingdom [America] is born a pygmy, so to speak. It required the support and forces of two powers…a day will come when it will be a giant, even a colossus in these countries’.

Needless to say, the recently crushed revolt of Condorcanqui brought the Spanish Empire alarmingly close to losing not only their viceroyalty in Peru, as well as part of the newly created (in the 1770s) viceroyalty of Rio la Plata. But the fact that the effects of Condorcanqui’s rebellion was felt as far afield as New Spain and New Granada.

In his missive, Aranda warns that the Kingdom of America will start casting covetuous eyes not only on Spain’s possessions in Florida, but on their colonies in the New World. And that like dominoes, the Spanish colonies will one-by-one fall to the winds of revolution sweeping from Patagonia to Quebec. He writes “since it has never been possible to retain for long such large possessions at such enormous distances from the metropolis”.

His plan is this: the New Spanish, New Granadine and Peruvian viceroyalties are to be granted as fiefs in perpetuity to the king of Spain’s youngest three sons, the duke of Peñafiel and the Infantes Antonio (b.1755) and Francisco (b. 1757). These kingdoms are to each make an annual contribution to Spain’s coffers, but are to otherwise be semi-independent of their mother country.


The Peace of Rotterdam, in which the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland formally recognizes the Sovereign and Independent Kingdom of Appalachia, is hammered out between a commission of five delegates from America, and the British ambassadors. George III is none too pleased with this idea, in hindsight, preferring Lord Shelburne’s proposal of reorganizing the American colonies as a consortium of independent states, with its own assembly and subject to the Crown of Britain.

One of the items is the rights of succession pertaining to the former duke of Gloucester. He and his children are to be excluded from the British line of succession, and likewise George III’s children are to be excluded from the Appalachian line. While another fixes the border between still-British Canada and the northernmost province of the Kingdom of Appalachia.


And once the Peace of Rotterdam is signed, the Americans set to work on setting rules in place for their royal family, spearheaded by the newly appointed Prime Minister, Sir Benjamin Franklin. The House Laws for the new Columbian royal family contain several key points:

· The kingdom of Appalachia is never to be held in personal union with any other crown.

· No member of the Appalachian royal house may marry without consent of parliament

· No member of the Appalachian royal house may marry a native-born Appalachian.

· The heir to the Appalachian throne is to be entitled the ‘Prince of Roanoke’, with the style of ‘His Royal Highness’, while all other princes of the house bear simply ‘Highness’.

· The eldest daughter of the king of Appalachia shall bear the title ‘Princess Royal’

· Any member of the royal family who marries without receiving the consent of parliament shall be considered to have forfeited their place in the line of succession.

· By marriage to a foreign prince, any Appalachian princess will be considered to have renounced her succession rights to the crown

· In lieu of a male heir, the Princess Royal may succeed to the throne, but the succession of Appalachia is to be strictly through the male line.


And so, with these house laws in place, the Appalachians on the morning of July 4, 1784, crown William of Gloucester, King of Appalachia, in Philadelphia, the erstwhile capital of the new kingdom, by the newly appointed Archbishop of Pennsylvania and royal chaplain, William White.


The archbishopric of Pennsylvania is recognized as having precedence over all other clerics in the kingdom, as Primate of Appalachia, while the archbishop of Baltimore is to be his counterpart for the Roman Catholics.


For now, the Appalachians seem to have successfully disengaged themselves from London, but it remains to be seen if the new country can hold out.
 
NB: my apologies if the American/Appalachian portion seems vague or more fluid than it was, any one who can make suggestions on how to improve it is welcome.
 
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