Thursday, January 3, 2013

Choices to be Made

County of Lyndhurst
The Choices need to made for James.

For Sir Leopold the ride back home had been a troublesome one, after having talked with his brother and his friends about James the adopted son of his fiancée. In his mind he had played over and over how he was to explain to James’s mother Sophia Schiller that despite his promises to her that James would be safe in England, it appears he was now very far from safe.
James’s well being and security had always been that no one knew much of his families lineage, it was known by a few intimates that he was a nephew of Frederick II of Prussia. In fact it was for that reason they left Hesse, it was the fear that if it were well known that James was Frederick II nephew living in Hesse; the boy would simply become a pawn in a bigger game between Kings.
Once the decision to move it seemed natural England was the safest place for them to move to. They could live and be safe in Lyndhurst county, the county his brother Edward governed. It was today in discussing some news regarding James that Sir Leopold was acquainted with the realization that now he was in far greater danger in England that he could have been in Germany.

His birth mother was Princess Wilhelmina, sister to Frederick II, his father was as far as most people who knew the secret was German, but it now appears his father’s lineage lead all the way back to Charles I  of England. That made James Charles I great-great grandson, it also meant he was the sole remaining Royal of the English throne.
By a huge freak coincidence in fleeing Europe to protect James, they had arrived in a Kingdom that was by far even more dangerous than the one they had just fled.

Once he arrived back at his new home which he called: New Park House” after the area in which it had been built, he wasted no time explaining the situation to his fiancée.
He had been totally honest with her; he had decided on the ride back he would not try to beguile her with any false sense of security and well being.
Though he had known Sophia for many years he was astounded by her calm reaction to being told that her son was the only legitimate claimant to the English throne, thus was in great danger. There had been a lot of tears, however despite them there had been no accusations that he feared might be leveled at him.
It seemed that she accepted just as Sir Leopold had done, none of them knew of the Royal connection so as such they must all accept a share of the responsibility. However clearly something had to be done and it was Sir Leopold who suggested they had two options; to stay or flee.
When Sophia asked him where they could flee too, the only sensible option he could think and they were with no real conviction that was to return to Prussia and seek Frederick II’s protection or go to North America.
However Sophia was wise enough to see the inherent dangers of both options, in Prussia there was no guarantee, and then there was the oath she had given to Princess Wilhelmina that she would not allow James to become a Prussian Pawn.
In North America a colonial war was still under way between English, French, Spanish and American Colonists, so it was for certain that was not a viable option.

They decided to sleep on it over night, it had been a long sleepless night for both of them, but in the morning they sat down over breakfast while James was out riding a new horse in the yards behind the mansion.
Sophia said she must decide what was best for James, because she had taken the responsibility of raising him; she had given the oath to his mother, so it was her decision to make. Sir Leopold reluctantly agreed to abide by her decision, and begged her to put him out of his misery and tell her what she had decided.
She smiled at him, reaching across the small table to hold his hand,
“We must stay, but it is on one condition and that is neither James nor anyone else makes a claim in his name that he would seek the throne of England. Further more if your brother wants us to stay he must give James a great deal of protection”.

Leopold told her how it would almost be impossible for anyone in England to ignore the fact that James was of English Royal blood, and it was certain that the council of Nobles, that self appointed power hungry pack of jackals would or could not ignore the fact that he was or could be a royal.
There would be some who would instantly declare for him and there would be others who would demand his death and this would be despite whether he declared himself or not.

Sophia made the suggestion that as far as she knew only this mysterious Father Paul had the evidence that linked James to the throne, if that evidence was destroyed or kept secret then there was no proof that James was a Royal.
Leopold told her that the passions for and against royalty were such that once the suggestion had been made in the minds of many it would become a fact, hiding or denying what many will suspect will not make James safe.
It was then that she finally relinquished realising they were trapped.
“So in the end regardless of what we want or do James will be seen as a threat or a deliverer, either way his life will be forfeit.”
Leopold said “To me my dear it seems fate has brought James to this place at this time, and if fate decrees he is to die there is little we can do to prevent that, though we will do all in our power to make him safe. Equally my darling fate may have decreed England has suffered enough under the rule of Nobles and it has sent James as a deliver to the English people.”

“Leopold that is such rubbish, James is a boy, yes a very intelligent boy but what does he know of being a King, or even of politics, he has enough trouble staying on that horse let alone lead armies or people.”

“For sure Sophia, James will need guidance and that is what you and I will be there for, we will not leave his side until he is ready to make his own decisions. Edward will help us by both providing guards to protect you and James and he will undoubtedly be using his contacts to raise allies to help James in his cause.”

Sophia looked at him for a few moments.
“Leopold it easier is for you, you can make decisions and see things in a big picture, but for James and I we have the little picture to live in, I have never had to think beyond caring for my son, what do I know about advising him to be a King. I will lose him to a bunch of men who will use him or his cause to further their own gains.”

“My darling your role is the most important of all, it is from you that he has learnt so much, through your insistence that he learnt languages, sciences and history, that boy already knows more than most Nobles sitting at the council. As for others trying to influence James only you, Edward or myself will be allowed to discuss and make decisions for him. For certain others may try to influence us by fair or foul means but as long as we are strong and determined on our course we will not go far wrong.”

She looked at him and said,
“When do we tell him.”

“There is no time like the present my dear.”

Together they both rose from the breakfast table to go out and tell their son his life would be forever different, try and explain to him why he was about to become the centre of a storm.
The other thing Sophia did later in the day was to write to Princess Wilhelmina to keep her informed and seek advice.

Sir Edward starts to gather Support.

As soon as Leopold and Sophia had made their decision to stay in Lyndhurst, Edward as Governor of the Country enacted several new projects, first he began to establish a new training ground for his small army, this new ground was purposely very close to Sir Leopold’s estates in New Park. It served two purposes in that the County needed a central training area as well as establishing a protected zone around Sir Leopold’s estate.
At all times there would be a company of Infantry and a squadron of Cavalry in the new Park region.
The estate itself would be guarded and patrolled by men from Edward’s own Guard Company.
Sir Leopold’s Mansion had two new house servants, both were Edwards best men and would keep close to James and Sophia at all times.

Next he looked at the possibility of raising one of his six militia Battalions into a regular battalion, the costs of equipping the unit would be minimal as the uniforms and equipment were already available, the detrimental effect would be on taking 600 men away from the fields and the new workshops just being established in the county.
He decided he would need to talk with Amschel Rothschild, perhaps he could come up with a way to defray the effect of losing so many men from the labour force; Edward found that Amschel always had a way of looking at problems from directions others would not have thought to consider.
Finally he had travelled to London initially because he had to attend the Council of Nobles meeting as well using the opportunity to sound out allies and opposition.
The journey from Lyndhurst to London was always a tense one; the Kings Highway ran through every county in England and was meant to ensure protection, the noble whose county the highway ran through was meant to provide security and protection along the length of his part of the highway, however occasionally the Nobles guards were worse than the bandits. Most nobles travelled with an armed escort; by law the escort was not to be more than 100 men, which is what Sir Edmond used on this occasion. It was far more than he would usually need but for the task ahead which would likely stir up some troubles and enemies he felt sure the journey home may be considerably risky.

His first call when arriving in London had been to see the Duke of Exeter, Lord Richard Hackett. Lord Hackett was one of the three most powerful Lords in the council, he was not what Edward would call a friend or ally, but he was a Royalist and in the past had spent a considerable fortune trying to find a link to an English Royal. The main problem with Lord Hackett was that he would want control of the Royal, which was not going to happen to James.
The other problem and it was going to be a common one, no noble would readily relinquish their power to a King, and Edward felt in the end there would have to be a compromise or a new civil war would ensure, in that event all the factors weighed heavily against James.

Edward realised how much simpler things would have been if the Archbishop had not sent Paul on his quest, because then Leopold, Sophia and James would just have been refugees fleeing the European war and no one would have paid them any regard.

Duke of Exeter, Lord Richard Hackett
Lord Hackett was more than a little surprised to receive a request for an interview from Sir Edward Anders. Anders he recalled was one of those rare knights and Peers that actually spent time governing his county as opposed to the majority who spent most of their time frequenting the Gentlemen’s clubs of London.

Lord Hackett was expecting the usual request, loans for some scheme or another, patronage for a relative or a bribery attempt in some endevour to gain his influence; they were all part of the onerous task of being a Peer on the council.
Instead he realised he was actually being “sounded out” about the depth of his political persuasion in regard to having a monarch. This discussion Lord Richard then decided with some relish was going to be a far more interesting interview than most, far more interesting indeed.

“Well Sir Edward I am sure you know of my attitude to the monarchy, after all it’s hardly a national secret now is it.”

“Indeed my Lord it is not, but what I am interested in if you will forgive me for being so bold is your less well known attitudes to having a monarch on the throne, in other words what conditions would you as a Peer accept as suitable.”

“Well now, that is indeed a very interesting question, but first I must ask you; why are you so interested in monarchy; have you discovered a well hidden royal in your family closet Sir Edward.”

Both men laughed, and then the smile on Edwards face dropped as he continued.
“No my Lord I fear I don’t have a Royal of my own tucked away, but allow me to say this I do know of the existence of a royal whose lineage is proven without doubt. Obviously I am not about to stand on the roof tops of London and scream the news, my life would have a tendency to be somewhat shortened.”

“Indeed my dear Sir Edward not only your life will be shortened, but likely your body as well, at least by a head. Well under normal circumstances I would be looking at you now as a man that had come to me with some hair brain scheme and this interview would be in the process of being wound down. However since I have never known you as a knight for a penchant with a hair brain schemes, I am inclined to believe you are serious and as such I do have to warn you; you are treading on dangerous grounds Sir Edward.”

“Indeed my lord I am fully aware of the dangers.”

“Yes it appears you are, I did wonder about the reports I received of a knight travelling to London with a full escort quota, and now I believe I understand why. It seems to me Sir Edward we are in that awkward situation of both sides not entirely trusting the other and equally unwilling to fully disclose ourselves; how do you suggest we move on from this situation.”

“Well perhaps I should develop my interest a little more in the hope that you will see that I have come to you for advice, not as some hair brained scheme to overthrow the Council or to commit treason of any sort.”

“Well Sir Edward there are many on the council he would have you on the gallows by now for even making the suggestion that a royal exists, however I am not one of them; but please go on.”

Edward went on to explain that he had come into the knowledge that there was a bloodline that ran from a bastard child of Charles I and still exists to this day. That he had seen the evidence and he was inclined to believe it was authentic but was not in a position to disclose more at this early stage.

Lord Hugh listened with great interest, and as he listened he watched this man develop his explanation. He always wondered about Sir Edward, on the council he was a rare man, rarely heard unless he was passionate about something and then he entered in the fray with all his passions. He was considered to be a forceful man but a fair one.
Sir Hugh remembers that there was a considerable strain between County of Lyndhurst and its neighbour the Duchy of Romney. Good god Duchy of Romney how more pretentious could a pirates family become.

When Edward finished Lord Richard signaled to a man servant who stood some distance away.
“Jenkins would you please leave the room and stay outside the door until I call you, I do not wish to be disturbed by anyone.”
Jenkins a tall well built man looked out of place in a servants suit and Edward realised he was more bodyguard than manservant. Jenkins bowed, “Of course my Lord”.
He then quietly marched from the room.

Lord Hugh smiled seeing how Sir Edward watched Jenkins,
“Yes he does somewhat belie his true purpose does he not, no matter how hard I try it seems being a servant does not come easy to that man.”

Sir Edward smiled in return, “Indeed my lord but these days we all must take precautions.”

“Yes you are so right Sir Edward, now then we are truly alone and I think we need to discuss in some more detail what it is you would have me do in regard to this newly discovered royal of yours.”

“Well my lord he is hardly my royal, but I will own the fact that at this stage I am somewhat protecting his existence.”
“So it’s a male we are talking about, that is good; a King always carries more prestige and authority; whether that is perceived or real matters little it is simply the way people perceive things. For the common people it’s more about the father figure they seek in a King, for the nobles well sadly we are a much more difficult obstacle for any would be monarch to overawe.”

“Yes my lord it is a male, a young boy of eleven years old, so were he to be put on the throne it would be under regency for a few years.”

“Well that would depend Sir Edward, once he is sixteen years old he could be King in his own right, and believe me you would be lucky to get him on the throne in 5 years or less. You do understand that to recreate the Monarchy in England can only be done by force; sadly the council will not relinquish its hold willingly. Oh I do say there are a few who would readily support a proven royal, but it would be conditional on what they hope to gain from supporting a King.”

“Indeed my lord and am I right in assuming that you would be such a noble.” Edward asked.

Sir Richard laughed aloud,
“My God Sir Edward I do like you, a man that thrust straight to the heart of the matter. Indeed I am such a Noble; there are several reasons why I would support a monarch right now where as a few months ago I would not have contemplated even listening to what could be reasonably called a treasonous plot.”
“May I ask my lord what is different now, that would make you have such a change of heart?”

“Well Sir Edward as you have trusted me with your life I will return the compliment. Sir Edward I am dying; I have at most a year to live.”

“My god my Lord I am so sorry to hear this.”

“It is nothing, I have lived a good life and I have been fortunate in that my father and his father were such capable men in that they created the powerbase I enjoy today. Sadly however I have only one child and that is my most precious jewel of my life, my daughter Sarah who is just sixteen years old. Sadly Sarah will not be strong enough to hold off the pack of hyenas in the council so I am forced to betroth her to a son of one of the men I most dislike on the council that of course is the Duke of Kent. The only chance I have of protecting Sarah’s inheritance is to have a contractual marriage in which her inheritance is guaranteed to be protected.
In fact Sir Edward we may be able to do both of us a service as I need one more noble to act as guarantor on the marriage contract and it seems to me that we may be able to do a service to each other.
You clearly need my help and I could do no better than have a man of such integrity as you acting as a guarantor for her.”

“My Lord I would be honoured to do act as her agent, you can be assured of that”

“Excellent but that is not the reason I would be interested in supporting your hair brained scheme Sir Edward, it would be on condition that the King protects Sarah’s inheritance, that he would make her a Princess of the realm; that would be my price.”

“My lord though I cannot speak with certainty for the parties involved, I have been given some latitude to agree to certain conditions if they were reasonable, and yours would be most reasonable my lord.”

“Indeed they are Sir Edward, and you must understand that for now my support must remain a secret, in fact until I see you and your young monarch make much more progress other than closeted proposals my daughter’s betrothal to that young bastard Lord John will have to remain in place, and that saddens me sir, saddens me greatly. So I urge you to press this matter forcefully and when I see you have the strength to see this through you have my word that I will support your cause, that being of course on a public promise from the King and his regents that my daughter’s inheritance will be protected and she becomes the Princess of Kent.”

“You have my word on that my lord, now may I ask one more favour?”
“What is that Sir Edward?”
“Who else on the council do you think I should approach on this matter?”

Lord Richard pondered the possibilities for a few moments

“You need to speak to the Duke of Berkshire, Lord Hugh Speke. Now I know he is a lame brained republican but he has two valuable assets, first he knows he is out on a limb with his political views and that sooner or later his position on the council will become untenable. In fact I have heard certain rumours that my Lord Bedford is planning moves against him in the coming year, secondly his lands control London and that is where the power base of the realm is, both financially as well as politically. For you to succeed Sir Edward you need Lord Speke and London.
The other men you need to approach are the Dukes of Cornwall and Cumberland, both are royalists but they just  like me will have their price; and it will depend on how desperate you are as to whether you will agree to them.”

“Well my lord you have been most helpful, I will speak to the people who act for the Royal and I am sure I can get them to agree to your terms.”

“Well that is fine Sir Edward but there will be one more condition and that is I must met this Royal to both satisfy my own interest he has the potential to rule as well as the people you have that are advising him.”

“I will add that to the message I take back to them, but my Lord you must understand moving the boy around in England comes at great risk.”

“Indeed I do Sir Edward, but the journey we are all to embark on will be a series of monumental risks.”

“Indeed my lord, it will be.”

With that the interview was at an end.

Once Sir Edward had left the room, Lord Richard summoned in his man Jenkins.

Jenkins I want that man followed, to see who he talks to and to make sure no harm comes to him.
Jenkins went to salute but quickly remembered his station in life, he bowed ever so awkwardly,
“Aye my lord I will get right onto it now.”

Lord Richard decided he had to know more about what was going on in Lyndhurst, he felt sure that this new royal was hidden there somewhere and there was only one man he could ask and that was his new business partner who had business interests in Lyndhurst Amschel Rothschild.

1 comment:

  1. One good effect of the move to enclose the commons: it would free up men for the rather unproductive role within a standing army. At that he might consider hiring mercenaries in small numbers, as trainers, and as a cadre for his regulars. For the latter, some horse and guns wouldn't go amiss, neither.

    Sir Ed'ard Anders might find himself, without ever intending to do so, building up a self-contained, self-sufficient 'model' community within his demesne. Could that be his plan?

    He'll have to be very, very careful whom he selects as allies, methinks...