Sunday, January 13, 2013

Palace of Whitehall


With the abrupt end of the meeting of the Nobles it took some time for the significance of what had just happened to sink in, but within a few minutes Nobles and knights were gathering in small groups talking over the events that had transpired, these small groups then formed larger groups as Lords and knights tried to find allies amongst those who shared similar beliefs. However it occurred almost immediately to Lord Bedford as he looked around the room that England had just slipped into the early throes of a civil war, and he and his supporters were in what would become enemy territory, it would be prudent that they left London as quickly as possible.
Outside the chamber an unruly crowd had been gathering all afternoon as word spread around London that the Council of Nobles had finally imploded and was finished forever, the rumour that there was a new King also added to the crowd’s sense of uncertainty and fear which only seemed to inflame the crowd’s temperament. Already as many of the Lords came out they were attacked by any type of missile the crowd could find.  Lord Castlemaine who was the Duke for the London area sent for the garrison to be summoned, so they could escort the Nobles away from the chambers as well as clear the streets.
Lords Bedford and Ashley seemed to be the main target of the crowd’s vehemence, Lord Bedford’s coach already damaged by the morning trip to the chambers had to be abandoned along the way and he had to take over a dragoon’s horse, no easy task for the portly elderly Duke. It was decided that they would be safer if they rode directly to Lord Bedford’s lands in Kent.
 By the time he arrived there several hours later Lord Bedford was in agony, in an extremely foul mood and intent on vengeance for the humiliation he had experienced throughout the day. Never in all his life had he been so humiliated and he would have Castlemaines head and as for that damned Anders he would see that entire family wiped out, boy King and all.
His first reaction on arriving back, was to call out the Kent Army, and begins closing the borders, during the night other lords and knights drifted into Kent as they escaped London.

It was late evening before the last Knight had left the chambers, some left defiantly shouting and abusing the crowds; others left in disguise and surreptitiously made their own way back to their lodgings. While others simply walked out the front door, but even the more popular lords were attacked and abused by agitators that every unruly crowd attracts.
Sir Edward Anders finally arrived back at his town house to find the street closed off. He approached one of Castlemaines Dragoon officers a Captain and asked why it was closed and where were his friends and family.
The Captain explained that his town house had to be abandoned for the moment as it was too difficult to protect, that his family and friends were now in the Palace of Whitehall under a strong guard for their protection.

Edward finally made his way to the palace, already there seemed to be the flickering of lights in every room as staff made preparations for the Anders family and James. The Cordon consisting of Castlemaines troops around the palace was substantial and that gave some sense of reassurance to Edward.
As he climbed the steps to the main entrance he was met by his son Colonel James Anders, the 100 men of the Lyndhurst Guard were responsible for the internal security of the palace and James had just finished ensuring they were all posted and alert.


                                                                 Palace of Whitehall
He stopped at the top of the steps as his father approached, James realised just how tired his father looked.
“Evening father, well this place is a step up from the town house.”
Edward nodded to his son,
“Yes well it needs to be son, but tell me who the hell decided to bring James to London?”
“It was uncle Leopold’s decision, he was worried that his estates were too vulnerable to attack and he wanted Sophia and James close to you and he believed they would be better protected here in London. We had a dispatch rider come from him earlier this evening and he has sent the remainder of the 1st Battalion and two squadrons of Dragoons, they should be here tomorrow.”

Edward looked at his son, he realised that he had placed a large responsibilities on the young man’s shoulders and in the coming days those responsibilities would only increase.
“Now listen to me James, we are in great danger here, we are for the moment virtually prisoners and we have to be very careful.”

“Prisoners father, whose prisoners?”

“Well almost everyone and anyone at the moment, we can’t move outside the palace because of the mob, and then we have Lord Castlemaines army surrounding the palace supposedly protecting us, but equally they could be there to keep us in.”

“You don’t trust Lord Castlemaine father?” James asked.

“At the moment son I don’t trust any of them and in the coming days we will see how strong their resolve is, today they reacted out of natural instinct, some for their survival; others out of self interest; in the next few days we will find out the price of that self interest.  But James for god’s sake remember one thing, we are all in great danger and we must suspect everyone until things calm down.  I want someone at Sophia and James’s side all day; we need to get our own servants here and especially the cooks.”

“You really think they will try to kill James?”

“Of course I do son, I would if I were them and the sooner would be better as far as they are concerned, they won’t try tonight as they will be uncertain of who is where but they will certainly try within the next few days. It won’t be by armed attack unless its Castlemaine who makes the move, but they will try by stealth so be on your guard.”

James turned and led his father through the doors of the Palace, in arriving in the foyer James turned to his father.
“I will be glad when we get those reinforcements father, but don’t you think uncle Leopold has left Lyndhurst vulnerable, we will only have 1 battalion of Infantry, a new cavalry regiment and a couple of Battalions of Militia back in Lyndhurst.”

“Leopold knows what he is doing son and he like me realises the days where Lords, Dukes and knights rule provinces has gone; all the estates will become vulnerable within a few months. What matters most to us is getting James on the throne and keeping him there, and of course keeping London safe. To do that we will need to concentrate more forces together rather than leave them in tiny garrisons to be picked off one by one.”
Edward wiped his brow, for the first time today he realised how tired he was,
“Son, the stumbling block to getting James on the throne is making the Lords understand is the very fact that they can no longer govern their provinces.”
“Well if they can’t govern them who will?”
“Parliament James, Parliament, and that is what we must do in the next few days, establish a parliament out of nothing and have a Government to run England, but first we must convince the Lords to give up all they rule.”
From the top of the stairs came a voice,

“No easy task then uncle.” It was James, soon to be James III but for now simply James.


                                                                 James III
Edward managed a smile; it amazed him how the boy had seemed to have grown in the short time he has been in England.
“No James it will be no easy task, especially since they all have great wealth to lose.”

James came down the stairs pausing on the stairs a few steps from the bottom,
“And what price will they demand for giving up their lands and wealth?”

“Control of you James, they will want a puppet King so they can carry on from where they left off, a different style but the same old game.”

James mother came to the top of the stairs having heard the voices and as she descended to stand alongside her son she said,
“Well that is the one thing they won’t have.”

James looked at his mother and smiled at her

“But mother we must allow them to think that is what they will get, a compliant boy king, and when it is too late we shall remind them what they have is a King who is his own man or perhaps I should say boy eeehhh uncle.”

Edward smiled he looked at this boy who had been plucked from obscurity in Europe  and thrust into the turmoil of a possible war in England with people wanting his death, wanting to control him and or demanding favours from him, with all this the boy understood the craft of Kingship, something none of them could have taught him.
“Indeed James you are quite right, you will make a formidable King I think.”

With that James turned and began to walk up the stairs to his new rooms, he paused turning to his Uncle

“Uncle, I don’t know why you have risked everything for me, I truly don’t understand that yet; but I promise one day I will.”

He then turned and marched up the stairs followed by his mother.

Edward turned to his son with a smile, Colonel James just stood shaking his head,
“It is hard to believe that he is only 15 and has never been in a royal court in his life.”

Edward nodded, “Indeed son, but then he is a natural leader and one day he will show us all just how formidable he can be.”

*Note to Historical Buffs
The Palace of Whitehall was mostly destroyed by fire in the 1690's but in my story it still stands in the mid 18th century, at least for a while yet.

3 comments:

  1. The trick is to get the City of London to accept James as King. By the City, I mean 'the mob' so-called (rather unfairly in my view), or if you prefer, popular public opinion.

    From an historical perspective, although the support of London was not a warranty of success, the lack of it was a near-on guarantee of failure. So, how strong is the Royalist feeling in London (and England as a whole), particularly compared with, say, Republican sentiment, wishes for democracy, a theocratic movement (very strong in Scotland in 1640, I believe), or even something more Socialist in outlook (such as the Levellers and Diggers of the 1640s and 50s).

    You're having fun with this, aren't you, Barry!

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  2. Fascinating prospects.

    Btw, James is now old enough to have a good experience at fencing -a compulsory part of any young noble boy education? It can prove precious....

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  3. Thank you gents for your very helpful tips and suggestions as usual.

    I am going to address the mob mentality in regard to the Monarchy, my feeling is that the people of England are sick and tired of the Nobility, the people of London more so because they would see the splendour of the nobles as they flaunt their wealth and position in thye city and events such as the Noble council meetings.
    I dont think the ingredients are right for a revolution though that was one of my options, but neither will they simply accept a new order without some suspicion regardless of what is put in place.
    Eventually however they will see the value of order returning to England and the monarchy/Parliament will have the best options for establishing order and security. By then however there could well be other issues coming to the fore, such as international intervention.

    Im not sure about James experience with fencing, mainly because he was not brought up in the true sense of a noble; but his "father" General Leopold Anders would have installed some military disciplines in him both theory and in practice, so perhaps this could include fencing and horse riding.

    Yes Archduke I am very much enjoying this little blog, it has taken me on a journey into my imagination that I find entertaining and exciting when I am considering options of "what next".

    Thank you all for your very helpful advice and suggestions and I welcome them all very much.

    PS Archduke sir, are we still on for the Ulrichstein scrap?

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