Saturday, January 19, 2013
A few days later
A few days later.
While Lord Ferguson was planning his raid on Lyndhurst back in London events were unfolding.
It has been two days since the chaotic and rather abrupt end to the council of nobles, since then those nobles that had lands a good distance away at first fled to territory they considered friendly to their own political interests. Not wanting to be too far away from London, most then sent couriers and deputies racing back to their own lands with the news and instructions on what to do.
In London the city began to calm down following two days of rioting, Lord Castlemaines troops had established order and people slowly began to return to the streets and businesses. The damage was considerable and would take some time to repair, equally the courts were busy dealing with the instigators and agitators that provoked the riots.
There were demands for Sir Steven Ferguson’s arrest following his murderous rampage out of the city with a force of Eighty Dragoons; he literally left a path of blood down the streets he used to exit the city.
Most nobles however knew that Sir Ferguson was safe from arrest at least for now.
In Whitehall Palace a meeting of the nobles friendly to the monarchy had been organised, there were eleven Nobles and knights that turned up to discuss the future of the English Monarchy and the Government one Lord noted that left ten of the traitors “on the other side” who were not invited. The nobles at the meeting were:-
Lord Hackett chaired the meeting
Sir Anthony Tiller
Also in attendance was Sir John Strange a renown senior judge of the courts, he had been asked to attend by Lord Hackett, and finally in attendance was James the young man whose future they came to discuss. Many of the lords were at first reluctant to allow James to sit in, but as Lord Castlemaine pointed out how were any of them to know the “strength of his powder” unless they were able to observe and listen to him.
Very quickly the rights and wrongs of making James King soon came about, the nobles each had time to air their own views and it was plain to see there was considerable confusion as to the legality of making James King.
It was on this subject that James for the first time spoke to any of the nobles, he gently taped his uncle Sir Edward Anders on the elbow indicating he wished to speak, when it came around to Edwards turn to air his views he simply said
“Everyone here knows my views, so I wish to defer my opportunity to speak to allow James a few words.”
James stood to speak, he was tall for his age, fair hair and quite handsome; he did not the least look the slightest intimidated as he addressed the Nobles.
“My Lords and Knights, I thank you for allowing me this opportunity to speak, and once I have aired my views I will leave you gentlemen in peace.
Since I have been in England I have been heartened by the love and goodwill shown to me by all I have met, I say that knowing there are also many who will despise and hate either me or what I represent. I have taken every opportunity to learn all I can about England and its history, in particular that of my own royal family. I have also taken the time to study the very question concerning the legality of my assuming the throne of England.
Why you may ask would I spend the hours pouring through very droll legal books, the reason is gentlemen I wanted to be sure in my own mind that what I was about to do was in fact legal. I have no desire to be imposed on the people of England nor than I wish to be imposed on yourselves.
Now it seems to me, and I am sure Sir Strange sitting over yonder will be able to correct me if I am wrong; there is a precedence that would allow me to assume the throne.”
James then referred to as small piece of paper he had taken some notes on,
“the precedence was when my one of my great grand sires Henry VII simply assumed the title King following the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 on which King Richard died. He did this though his rights to the claim may have been challenged, however then and there at that time there was no one else suitable.
It was then further cemented by the “Defacto Act” of 1485 which meant any legislation arising from his majesty Henry VII passed immediately following the battle was made automatically legal, this included making war on any of Richards supporters or other claimants, and it also enabled him to summons parliament.
It occurs to me my lords that King Henry VII position is not that different from my own. I am the sole legal claimant to the throne and without a King it is not possible to summons Parliament. Thus we have the unsatisfactory situation of no Noble Council and no Parliament and without me as King no legal way to call a Parliament
All heads then turned to Sir Strange for his considered opinion,
He nodded, he eyes firmly fixed on James,
“Incredible young man erm sire, I would have not thought there were more than a handful of people in England that would have been aware of the circumstances following King Richards’s death. But you are right, you have what seems the only proven birthright to the throne and in the absence of another royal claim you have every right to claim the throne as yours and again the de facto act does authorize you on becoming King to enact laws and summon Parliament. It would simply take a simple statement that you are assuming the throne and all of us here would immediately become your royal subjects. Though unlike the King Richard situation Parliament is a far more prickly situation, namely because we have not had a parliament nigh on a hundred years. So in my estimation you will need to summons a Provisional parliament based on the Lords and Knights, at least until you can organise a more democratic system.”
“Thank you Sir Strange, and thus Gentleman I wish to declare that I am assuming the throne of England as James III”.
The gathering remained quiet, stunned by the sudden turn of events, it was Lord Frobisher that was the first to speak,
“Perhaps I was mislead as to the purpose of this meeting, I was under the illusion we were here to discuss the terms under which the King would be permitted to rule.”
Edward rose to speak, but there was a hand on his shoulders as James rose,
“My Lords, does anyone here challenge my right to the throne, if so speak now, for there will be no negotiation on my rights to be King unless based on legal issues.”
James paused for a few moments, taking the time to gaze and judge each noble sitting at the table.
“Where the negotiations would be more properly directed is as to under what conditions you as Lords and Knights will remain, as well under what conditions Parliament will operate. You see my Lords your titles were given to your ancestors under the royal prerogative of the Monarchy, a monarchy that was hounded by some of your ancestors, people who owed their very status and stations in society to the very establishment they sought to destroy.
Yet without a monarchy approval or even of that of a Parliament you as a council simply appointed Knights and Lords not for the service to the nation but to ensure your own power bases. You did this despite the protests of the people of this nation, I refer of course to the Middlesex and York rebellions, all made by good simple folk seeking to preserve what they could of their Kingdom, and their rights. Rights which your ancestors bloodily squashed with much slaughter and which you as the ruling Knights and Lords have continuously squashed.
As for myself, I would view your future roles as my advisors, as a upper house of Parliament, a house of Lords if you will.
The lower chambers will be representative of the middle class and in some circumstances the more educated of the lower classes. However I have no intention of allowing the masses to have a large sway in Parliament anymore than I will allow the Nobles to have the same. It will be a democracy in as much as one element balances the other and I will sit in the middle watching.
I envisage a system where the Lower chambers will discuss and propose laws, they are then sent to the House of Lords for approval, if you my lords find them unsatisfactory you may send them back to the lower house for new discussions. Then and only then may the lower chambers appeal to me to consider the proposed laws as they are before re-discussion, if I deem them adequate then I will allow them to pass if not I will confirm your decision for them to be passed back.”
“But this is ridiculous,” Lord Frobisher exclaimed in almost a screech, “It makes your House of Lords impotent, if the Lower House don’t accept that we Nobles think a proposed law should be changed, they would always be appealing to you; making our role redundant. We have no power, what is the point of being a Noble if we cannot exert influence and advice directly to the throne.”
Lord Castlemaine rose to speak,
“It is my dear Frobisher called democracy, you see we as nobles that once used to rule and command are likely to become like the dinosaur extinct, is that not right sire.”
“Extinct, no my Lord Castlemaine, I value your role of nobles as advisors and counselors and for that role you will keep your private estates and their incomes plus pensions that I will distribute accordingly as long as they are deemed by me as reasonable. However you will no longer rule, nor command your provinces or your military units unless appointed to do so by me or Parliament. All incomes from the provinces will be directed to the treasury, and the treasury will have a cabinet minister appointed by Parliament or its government to manage the financial affairs of the nation
Let it be made quite clear my Lords, your role as governors of this land failed miserably, because of it we are no longer one of the dominant powers of Europe; England is in great danger of losing the American Colonies as well as the few we have left in India. Because each of you either individually or collectively have deliberately ransacked and plundered the treasury for your own purposes, I gather our navy has not been paid for a long time and the soldiers have been paid irregularly. My Lords, you are all thinking but I am a boy, what do I know, know this; I am now King James III of England, my age is no handicap to my knowledge of Kingmanship, nor is it a handicap to my ability to ensure what I do is both just and right.
My Lords your power over the people was a veneer, it was kept there by displays of your power and the arrogant displays of your wealth and power. You clearly will not like what I am telling you but it is the truth and each of you know it. Since two days ago the veneer of your power has been exposed, you can never go back to the days of where you ruled supreme, all you have between anarchy and security is me. The people believe I will make a change and if I tell them that you have lost your powers, that things will change, then England has a chance. If I fail to convince the people, then my Lords we will all likely hang from the same tree.
But if any of you don’t like what I am saying, you are free to walk out those doors, but you will not go under the Kings banner of protection and you will be swept of all your noble titles and possessions. It is a simple choice I offer you my lords.
Lord Hackett rose to speak; he was the most powerful man at the table with the most to lose,
“Sire, when I was asked to support your claim to the throne I was promised that my lands and wealth would remain in my hands so that I may pass them onto my daughter, further more I was guaranteed that she would be raised to Princess on my death; from what I have heard here; were all those promises made falsely sire.”
“No my Lord, your wealth will remain to do with as you wish, as for your daughter I would meet with her to see what we can do in regard to her position, but I can assure you she will be raised in nobility based on my discussions with her and you.
Obviously I cannot promise all of you my lords that I will equally raise your sons and daughters to nobility over and above what they have as their due through from inheritance, but no son, nor daughter will be worse off than they are now. Several will be offered posts within the palace which may require them to be raised perhaps beyond their current status, but again I will decide that on their merits and value to me.”
Lord Hackett continued, “It seems sire you have done much thought on the matter, I am left wondering why we were summoned if not to negotiate the terms of your being raised to the monarchy?”
“My Lords you are free to discuss your roles in relation to me as King, but it was never my intention to negotiate my rights to be King. I will sit on the throne as the sole legal claimant to the throne of England, my claim is as legal and correct therefore there neither is not up for no negotiation. What was not legal my Lords was the council of Nobles. My understanding was it was created to oppose the interference of King William and his wife Queen Mary before their tragic deaths, since then you have forcefully and illegally exerted your power over the nation, closing Parliament and ruling ruinously for many decades.
You were not summoned to approve of me my Lords, for my role is as I mentioned legal and proper, we are here to discuss your roles as my counselors. Make no mistake my Lords any noble not a member of the House of Lords is not a Noble anymore. So you will need to decide whether you oppose me or accept the role as Kings Counselor with all the benefits that derive from that position, or you will become like all those currently siding with my Lord Bedford and be considered rebels; there is no halfway position.
On that note My Lords I will withdraw so you may discuss openly and freely which road you wish to take. One final point I will make, you could collectively decide to join the rebels and oppose me, do that and I will still be King and I will create a army based on people you have oppressed for decades. How many do you think will follow you considering what you have done to them and their families, I advise you my lords think well on it.”
With that James rose from the table and left the room. As he closed the doors he could already hear the howls of protests, his cousin Colonel James who was standing in the hallway as officer of the Kings guard smiled at him,
“Well Sire, it seems that went down rather well.”
James slapped his much older cousin on the shoulders and said
“What did you expect cousin, I have just pulled the food from their mouths and like babes wanting the feeding to continue they will scream and no doubt have tantrums, I believe most will come to realise that it is better to stay rich and alive rather than dead or live in exile as a poor noble.”
Just at that moment a rather beautiful woman walked around the corner of the hall way, she paused instantly recognising Col James,
“I am sorry Colonel Anders, I thought the council might be finished, I had hoped to speak to father.”
She looked to young James who was standing there with his mouth open,
“My apologies sir, I do not believe we have been introduced.”
Colonel James with a smile said
“I apologise Lady Margret, I just assumed you had both already met, Lady Margret this is as of now King James III of England, Sire this is Lady Margret Hackett, the daughter of Lord Hackett.”
Now both James and Lady Margret stood facing each other speechless, finally young James said “My Lady I most certainly do apologise for my rude gaping, I am most honoured to meet you.”
Margret smiled “It is my honour sire to have the great pleasure of making your acquaintance”, they both simply stood smiling at each other.
Colonel James finally decided to break the ice,
“Sire while the Nobles make their deliberations this may be a perfect time to talk a walk through the gardens.”
Instantly young James responded,
“Indeed cousin you are quite right, and might I ask for the pleasure of your company Lady Margret.”
Again she smiled, “The pleasure is all mine sire, may I ask how long you have been King, I thought that was why the council was meeting.”
James smiled as he glanced back at his cousin,
“I believe I have been King for about 15 minutes my Lady, and the Lords are now discussing how loyal they will remain to me.”
“Oh my goodness sire, I do hope that they decide wisely and support you.”
“As I do Lady Margret, for the alternative is too horrible to consider.”
The discussion amongst the Nobles was extremely lively, several suggested leaving and possibly joining Lord Bedford, but when Lord Castlemaine pointed out the wisdom of James’s words they reconsidered.
Lord Culpepper added “”My god he is an arrogant son of bitch now as a boy, what will he be like as a man and King. How dare he speak to us like that.”
Edward spoke “He dares because he knows he is right, he has the blood of Prussian royalty and English Royalty in his veins, and in that he has the self believe that everything he does or says is right. Yes it is arrogance, but it is self belief and I for one would prefer a King who believes in himself over some limp wrist wastrel that will be bullied and controlled by others.
What’s more my Lords, we all know he is right, who amongst us can go back to our lands and guarantee our military units would remain loyal to us.”
Essentially they all then realised that their positions as nobles and Lords would become threatened by the very people they were supposed to rule, and since most Lords had ruled unwisely if left unchecked the people would rise up and in that case the nobles and their families had a lot more to lose than wealth.
Lord Hackett took a moment away from the discussion to gather his thoughts, he had hoped he would be able to dominate and hence influence this young king, but it was quite evident now that this young man was to be his own man. It meant for the first time he realised that all he and his family represented was coming to an end and he wondered could he simply hand it all over without a whimper.
His sole concern was for his daughter Margret, with no other children she would have received the total inheritance and could have lived very comfortably, he even had agreed to marry her to the son of one of his rival Lords, but now that was quite impossible.
Edward had seen Lord Hackett move towards the windows, he looked old and tired, but still he decided he had to talk with the man.
“I am sorry to intrude on your private moments my Lord but I wanted to have a few moments alone with you if I may.”
“Certainly Sir Edward, I am sorry I am a little in my cups at the moment, what is on your mind?”
“My lord, as you have seen things have changed, James is not the boy any of us have realised, and his ability to grasp and confront situations rapidly confounds even me. Perhaps like you and the other Lords I had hoped we could influence a young boy into becoming a King, but I fear instead of a boy we have taken a tiger by the tail.”
“Are you honestly telling me that you didn’t know what he planned or intended to act as he has done?”
“Indeed I am my Lord, James is a very private young man, not given to espousing his thoughts; however what I have learned over the last few months is he has a unique potential to grasp a complicated issue and deal with it in a very simple way.
I had wondered how he would deal with confronting you and the other Lords, if I may be so bold my Lords you are not men given to listening to commands from others and thus I thought perhaps he would become too intimidated to even be able to rule.
However as we have seen, he had worked out the issue of the nobles in his mind, he investigated all aspects of his being able to rule and then he acted, knowing we would be faced by the two simplest choices, follow him or oppose him; thus making a complicated issue a very simple one.”
“You are quite right Sir Edward that we have a tiger by the tail, but if he is like this now, my god he could become a tyrant of a King and where would all be then huh?”
“Well my Lord I feel James will need to be an extraordinary King, for he has much more to do other than simply rule. He must fight a civil war, unite a nation behind him, rebuild a national economy and all the while deal with foreign powers who will do all they can to ensure England remains a divided nation. So while he may be a tiger to us, for England he is the right man,err boy.”
“Yes I suppose you are right Sir Edward, but it is not easy for me as a father to see all I have gathered for my daughter, simply being cast aside to the winds.”
The two men stood for a moment gazing outside through the window, both deep in their private thoughts.
It was then Edward noticed Young James, Lady Margret and his son James wandering along the pathways below.
Lord Hackett had turned and was preparing to join the others when Edward spoke.
“My Lord it occurs to me, the one thing James does not have is partner and consort, and in these turbulent times I believe he needs a strong supportive wife, one who will smooth his rather more aggressive and impulsive nature.”
Lord Hackett turned to Edward, “And who do you have in mind Sir Edward?”
Edward placed a hand on Lord Hackett’s shoulder and swiveled him around so he was looking out the window, down on his daughter laughing with young James.”
“It seems my Lord that fate may work in strange ways, you have fears for your daughter which would evaporate were she perhaps queen, James is in need of at least one strong Noble supporter and I know his mother would be keen to see him married and most importantly of all; England needs a Royal family not just a King.”
Lord Hackett looked down on his daughter, it was the first time in a long time he had seen her laugh so, she was animated and James was responding equally with howls of laughter.
My daughter the Queen of England now that would be far greater than I could ever have dared hoped for.
He turned to Sir Edward, for the first time in a week he was smiling,
“I have always under estimated you Sir Edward, you are like you nephew down there a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but you know I believe England needs a few wolves to be let loose amongst its enemies, now let’s go and drag these other bastards back to the table and knock some sense into them.”
He paused for a moment, then laughed aloud, so loud in fact that the other lords stopped arguing and all turned and looked at Lord Hackett,
“I have just thought of a problem, does anyone in England know how to organise a bloody coronation.”
They all looked from one to the other shrugging shoulders and then laughed. Lord Hackett stepped over to the table.
“Well my Lords we need to decide, do we support James or run with our tales between our legs and take our chances with bloody Bedford and his rabble?”
Lord Castlemaine spoke up immediately
“I support the King, he may not be what I would choose but by god he is the best option on offer.”
Lord Hackett nodded, “I agree, it is time we stopped being a pack of idiots and put our country before our personal greed, and coming from me that says a lot. I agree with Lord Castlemaine James may not be what we each want, but he is what England needs and I will support him”.
Having seen the two strongest Nobles decide to support the King it did not take long for the others to see the wisdom and to a man they all agreed to support their new King.
Edward left the meeting, walked along the corridors of the palace heading for the gardens, along the way he met Sophia, she was looking at him anxiously,
“England has a King Sophia, your son has come a long way; but he is now England’s best hope.”
Sophia burst into tears and Edward drew her onto his shoulders, just then there was a voice behind him,
“What on earth is wrong mother?”
James, Margret and Edwards’s son stood there gaping at Sophia as she cried uncontrollably.
Edward simply said
“England has its King, all the nobles back there are behind you sire.”
James stood transfixed to the spot for a few moments, he glanced from his mother who was still in Edward’s arms crying, to his cousin and finally to Margret, without thinking he took her by the shoulders and twirled her around, they both were laughing and giggling.
A voice from behind said
“Now there’s a sight the Palace of Whitehall has not seen in a very long time- laughter.”
Lord Hackett stood behind them and was beaming with a smile of his own, both at the thought of England having a King but also in seeing young James there holding Margret’s hand and he hoped and prayed to a merciful and forgiving god it would also soon have a Queen.
Lord Hackett was not the only one to have noticed the hand holding, Sophia did as well and she realised that her son, now King was about to face his first real challenge, conquering a woman’s heart, she didn’t give a thought about how he would conquer England.