The Vales of Lyndurst records the lives of the Anders family in my imagi nation world of mid 18th century England. An England without a King and a dysfunctional Ruling Council of Nobles.
An England where families are torn apart by factions and loyalties remain questionable.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
The lessons a young King must learn
As news of the Royalist
victory spread throughout the country the news as one would expect
varied according to ones political sympathies. In the eyes of the
Royalists it was one of the greatest victories of all time, to a
Parliamentarian it was merely a skirmish, a testing of the resolve
for both sides.
In London, Whitehall
Palace was a buzz with excitement following the news of the victory,
courtiers and palace lackeys alike all claiming to know of some
aspect of the battle that others didn’t. Perhaps it was they knew
General Anders personally, or they had heard from their brother who
was a officer of the valiant 104th. That battalion alone
was already reaching legendary status for their Spartan like defense
of the St Johns wood.
For those in the know
however, the battle heralded by a few as one of England’s finest
was in fact a bloody draw. When the facts were considered the
Royalist army had barely held its own and it was indeed fortunate to
have come away intact.
The Prime Minister Sir
Edward Anders had read the report from his brother Sir Leopold the
commander of the Royalist forces at the battle, Sir Leopold was open
and honest about his own failings and the problems the Royalists
faced but more importantly he was sending a warning to King James's
Government that future battles are likely to be costly and ruinous if
Twynford was any indicator.
Sir Edward walked from
his office along the corridors of the palace making his way to the
Kings audience chamber, officially this room was where his majesty
greeted dignitaries, diplomats and the like, but under King James the
room had become sort of informal haunt for everyone of James
favourites; some of whom Sir Edward
seriously disapproved off.
Outside the chambers
were stationed two of the Kings Guard as well as their commander
General James Anders, James being Edwards son.
It was clear that James
was quite agitated and as soon as he saw his father approaching James
made his way quickly towards him, presumably to ensure he was out of
hearing range of the two guards.
Edward smiled at his
son, but the smile slowly disappeared as he he could see his son was
“Good Grief James,
you look decidedly beside your self at the moment, what on earth is
“Its the King father,
he is becoming impossible to work with and I am sick and tired of
being a palace lackey, I want out of here; for gods sake get me a
field command father and quickly.”
Edward quickly checked
that no-one was near and taking his son by the elbow he lead him to
an alcove in the corridor.
“Now James tell me
what has happened?”
“Oh several things
father, first of all I have been told by his majesty that I must wait
out in the corridor in case he needs messages sent, me his Commander
of the Guard becoming a message dispatcher, and now he is having a
drunken revelry with his new friends in the audience chamber. One of
whom I challenged because he had a sword, despite the fact I had
ordered that no one may carry weapons in his majesty's presence
unless they were his guard. James told me that he decided it was
alright for his friends to remain armed, so what the hell is the use
of me trying to protect him when he dismisses everything I do or say.
And of course he then delegates me to wait outside until he is ready
to employ me.
For gods sake father I
am sick of it, if you dont find me a position in the army I will
resign and return home, I have far better things to do there rather
than play lackey to a jumped up boy who has overnight become King and
has no idea as to behave as one. Lately to him, every day is a party
with his rowdy friends.”
Edward nodded, he
understood his son's predicament and he too had become concerned over
the young Kings behaviour, it was coming to
a time when there would need to be a readjustment in the Kings
behaviour. If there wasn’t and word got out of the palace about the
Kings behaviour then the people of London and England may see there
is little to gain in fighting a war for a King that behaves no better
than the Lords did before him.
“James you must have
patience, I will talk to the King and make him understand he needs to
change things, but son whether he knows it or not he needs you, we
all need you; but more importantly we need you here close to him.”
“Well regardless of
whether he needs me or not father, if things don’t change I will
resign, so you do your best but be warned I am set in my mind to
leave his service if he continues the way he has done so far.”
realising that matters were quickly coming to a head and if he didn’t
make the King see the error in his ways everything that Edward,
Leopold and the Young Kings mother Sophia had done would soon be
“Have you seen Lady
Margret?” Edward asked.
His son frowned for a
moment, “Yes she stormed out of chamber some time ago and she did
not look happy”.
“Alright James I
would ask you do me one more thing, please send someone to ask Sophia
if she would come here and James, I think it best if you get some
more guards, we may need them.”
Edward made his way to
the chambers he paused a moment before opening the door, he then
opened and walked in, the chambers normally a room of sombre
occasions was instead one of hilarity noise and colour. There were
people everywhere, some clearly drunk, some singing and every
seemingly talking at the same time.
One young man bumped
into Edward and yelled at him
“Get out of my way
you damned old buffoon”. The younger man then realised he was
abusing the Prime Minister and quickly retreated, Edward recognised
him as the son of Lord Belmont.
Edward made his way
through he throng of people it seemed that was being jostled and
bumped by everyone in the room as he made his way forward, finally he
caught sight of King James sitting at a table with a host of young
ladies drooling over it and him. Beside the King was a smart well
dressed young man, he was obviously the man his son had issues with
as he wore a dress sword to his side, Edward could not recall seeing
him before but decided he should remain and listen.
It seemed the
discussion was on the recent Battle of Tywnford, so with more than a
little interest Edward remained hidden amongst the crowd around the
table, oddly it did not seem to occur to the masses intent on
listening to the young man that the Prime Minister was in their
The King enjoys his new friends
“Of course you know,
Sire”, the young man continued his discussion “I am sure General
Leopold was a capable General in his day, but sadly the pike and
sword are no longer the weapons of choice, why I believe I could have
fought that battle to a better conclusion, in fact I know I could
have done so”.
James seemed to be more
engrossed on the bosom of a young lady who appeared to be more out of
her dress than in it, she was was leaning over the table facing him
James merely nodded,
almost transfixed on the view before him,
James asked “just how would you have fought the battle.”
“Flanking Sire. That
is how the General should have fought this battle, outflanked em
sire. Sadly though the older generals of today have no perception in
this regard, its all up and at them, frontal attacks don’t you
James smiled at the
young lady, drawing his eyes momentarily away from the young ladies
rather obvious assets as he sipped his goblet of wine.
“Marjorie my dear I
do think we need you around the palace much more.”
“Why sire what could
little old me do in a place like this?” she asked in a drunken
“Oh my dear we would
find a position for you” he added, the whole group around the young
“But sire are you not
already engaged to Lady Margret, I fear she would not have the likes
of me in your errrr employ sire, though I do feel I could satisfy you
any position you found me.” she purred.
James smiled, “Well
my dear I may be betrothed to the Lady Margret, but a King has
certain advantages” and with a smile and a wink he added “and
dare I say Marjorie, a King has certain needs”.
The young man clearly
irritated by Marjorie taking all the Kings attention continued with
his criticisms of the battle.
“Sire the trouble
with the army these days is the officers are too old and fight
battles of yesterday, Are you aware sire that I have written a
pamphlet on how modern warfare should be fought .”
The King looked up from
Marjorie, taking a goblet from her hands he drank the wine and looked
at young Rodney.
“A pamphlet you say
Rodney, now that is interesting; you must allow me to read it
“Oh indeed sire, you
must read and I am sure you will find it instructive.”
Another young man moved
around the back of the King, glass of wine in his hand, spilling some
of it down his front as he staggered.
“Sire why dont you
make Rodney, the General in charge of your army, he knows more about
fighting than any ten of your generals.”
The man drank the
remainder of the glass, obviously to the relief of those around him
for they feared they would also soon be wearing the contents. He
leaned forward staggering against the King, placing his glass on the
table he all of a sudden had the same view of Marjorie that the King
had been enjoying of late, the young man looked up at her.
“My god Marjorie, you
have grown somewhat since I tumbled you all those years ago”.
James lost interest in
Marjorie at that remark, and if looks could have killed the looks the
young man received from Marjorie would have had him dead at that
The young drunken man
staggered to his feet, looking across the table at all the young
people about, he saw the head of an elderly man behind the others,
“Ye gods, there is an
old man in the room, sire I believe your butler must have wandered
James tried to see the
old man but couldn’t for the mass of people around him, he was
tiring of the drunken mob anyway so he stood up, and then saw the
look on his uncles face.
Edward turned from the
crowd and made his way to the door as he did so the gathering were
jeering at the butler running for the door, opening it he saw his son
who was standing there with half a dozen guardsman, along side them
was Sophia the Kings mother, lady Margret and rather surprisingly
Lord Hackett, Margret’s father and the most prominent lord
supporting the King.
said in a clear voice, “ clear this room of this riff raff. And
that young man wearing the sword he is to be shown the door and never
permitted to enter the Palace again.
General James smiled
and followed by his guardsman entered the room and began to rather
unceremoniously clear the party goers out.
The young King stormed
into the centre of the room, and yelled
“Stop this, I demand
you stop this, these people are my friends and here and they remain
here because I want them too.”
Edward looked at his
nephew and then nodded to the guardsmen to continue to remove them,
again James yelled at the Guardsmen, you will stop this and leave the
room, I will deal with you all later; I am your King.'
walked in and stood beside Edward.
“Sire if you wish
your drunken friends can remain, then they will be able to regale
what is about to be said to their friends in all the taverns of
London, so if it is your wish they should stay; then so be it.”
Lord Hackett paused for
a few moments looked at Edward and then to his daughter and then
walked up to James.
He pointed to the
throne chair at the end of the room,
“If you think that
chair over there makes you a king, then lad I am sorry for you. There
is more to Kingship than than being popular with societies drunkards
and whores. Do you not realise what has happened to make you King,
High born people have sacrificed positions, wealth and favours to
make you king, poor people, people you have never met have died on
the field of battle to make you King. Your own family have risked all
to make you King, your own Uncle and your cousin here, lost a son and
brother to make you king, in all of that I ask you what have you done
to be a King.
You have done nothing,
you have humiliated my daughter and because of that you have
humiliated me, you have stood here listening to that young fool over
there slander your own step father and god only knows how your uncle
and cousin feel at the moment when they look upon what they have lost
to put you in a wooden chair so you could make fools of them.
James, if you think I
will continue to support you in making fools of us all, think again,
at a word I can withdraw my support and by my lead I am sure many
other lords supporting you will do so as well. So by all means James,
keep your friends here but beware when the parliamentary mob pour
through that door there, the only thing between you and them will be
this drunken mob, so you decide wisely, and if we are to stay then
you will need to change, if they are to stay then I pray for your
The effects of the wine
suddenly seemed to have gone from the young King, he looked at Lord
Hackett, then to his Uncle and his mother, then he nodded to his
cousin the commander of the Guard.
“Clear them out”
the King he said rather shakily.
As the guardsmen
cleared the room, King James made his way back to the table, a table
awash with wine and food.
He sat down head in his
Edward came up to him
and pulled up a chair near him as did his mother,
“James you were not
born a King nor born into a world of Royalty, because of that all of
this is new and confusing. One simple truth in being King is as I
have told you before simply find your power base and make it work for
We in this room are
your power base and we want you to succeed, but there will always be
people like those you have just sent away hovering in the outskirts
of the court. They are leeches James, they will suck the life out of
your rule as much as they will from your power-base. They have no
other interest other than their own profit and gain, so for gods sake
James realise to be King does not mean everyone is or should be your
James looked up at his
uncle, then to his mother and he saw the tears in her eyes,
“I am sorry, I know I
have acted like a fool, but you know I never asked to be a King, I
was happy back home in Germany, but all of a sudden one day people
started telling me I was to be King of England. You know, not one of
you bothered to ask what I wanted, but I was caught up in this thing,
this energy that everyone created that I should be King. Yes I
believed you all, that my right is to be king, but then it seems to
have to occurred to me that in being King I should have certain
privileges and part of those privileges was having friends.”
He looked up at
Margret, “You know you all were born to your stations in life, you
were raised up knowing what was expected and what was not, who was
acceptable and those that were not, in a matter of a few months I
have tried to learn what has taken all you all your lives to learn
But the one thing I
have always known is the people I love, I love them because they are
important to me as people, not because of what station they held in
He stood and walked
over to his mother, taking her hand.
“Mother I have been
an idiot, and I will probably continue to be an idiot, but I will
promise to try and not be such a big one in the future.”
He turned to Margret,
“To you I owe the biggest apology for dishonouring
you earlier today, that was unforgivable but never the less I do ask
for you forgiveness Margret.”
Margret smiled at him,
then James turned to Edward
“Uncle I am so sorry
for so many things, for the things I said in here today, for the
things I allowed to be said and whether you believe it or not I do
realise what you have given up and lost to help me be King.”
For a moment the young
monarch paused and then he walked over to Lord Hackett,
“My lord, you were
right in all the things you have said, but do know this I have never
taken your support as a right, even in my blindness and stupid
behaviour I have known I owe you much. I
love your daughter not because of your support but for the woman she
is, I honour you however not for what you have done for me, nor for
what you can do for me, I honour you because you believed in me from
the outset.” He then smiled as he turned back looking at Margret
“But of course my
Lord our relationship works both ways does it not, I take that
tiresome daughter off your hands and make her a Queen do I not.”
Lord Hackett smiled,
“Indeed you do sire, indeed you do; and please do it soon before
the burden of controlling her becomes unbearable.”
Finally he walked over
to his cousin,
“You my friend I
apologise to most of all, because you have had to put up with my
overbearing ways for the last month or so, what can I do to make it
up to you Cousin”.
In an instant James
said “Give me a field command”.
Both Edward and Lord
Hackett said almost as one, “No not that”.
The King turned and
walked back to the table, he looked at his cousin then to Edward,
“No James I cannot
give you a field command just yet, as you have seen I need a strong
right hand man beside me, someone who has nothing to gain by staying
with me and dear cousin you are that poor object. But in return I
promise never to take you for granted anymore and should this
accursed war drag on then indeed I will look to giving you a field
command if you can find me a new right hand man”.
The King then walked to
the throne, sat down and looked to Edward who stood there amongst the
others, smiling and thankful that a near crisis had been averted.
“Now my dear Prime
Minister, is it business as usual that brought you to this room, what
is it you have come to see me about?”
For a moment Edward had
forgotten what it was he was coming to see the King over, but then he
remembered the message in the folder in his hands,
“Oh indeed sire I had
forgotten as it were, well considering what has just transpired it is
almost nothing Sire, merely that the French have landed”.