A William and Mary Timeline: For Want Of An Heir

Not the best diplomacy-wise, but his wife is the favoritest half-sibling of the King (IOTL co-founder of Cabal de Meudon) so Duke and Duchess of Bourbon are in the inner circle of the new King.
Conse works nicely I think :)
 
“The effort to recapture the Convoy failed, Sire.”
Great to see the Battle of Texel being a failure for the French and the large consequences this, relative small sea battle, have on the war.
I wonder if the French will ever give toss for Dunkirk in the future, since Jean Bart remains an unkown sailor.
In OTL due to succes of Texel by a commoner of Dunkirk, Louis XIV start to see Dunkirk as a naval base rather than a fortified city as part of the defensive line of fortification bordering the Spanish Netherlands.
One nit pick, I do think the larger part of the Dutch, confederate, fleet was closer to reinforce the squadron of the convoy than an English fleet.
 
Great to see the Battle of Texel being a failure for the French and the large consequences this, relative small sea battle, have on the war.
I wonder if the French will ever give toss for Dunkirk in the future, since Jean Bart remains an unkown sailor.
In OTL due to succes of Texel by a commoner of Dunkirk, Louis XIV start to see Dunkirk as a naval base rather than a fortified city as part of the defensive line of fortification bordering the Spanish Netherlands.
One nit pick, I do think the larger part of the Dutch, confederate, fleet was closer to reinforce the squadron of the convoy than an English fleet.
It was a joint effort this time around.
 
Chapter 7: Queen
Chapter 7: Queen

August, 1694


Sarah stood outside the Queen’s chamber fighting the urge to fiddle with her skirts. The summons had come earlier that morning and for most of the day Sarah had been wondering what the Queen could wish to speak about. She had gone over everything that she had said and done for the last two years and could not think of anything that the Queen could find objectionable.

And yet she could not help but think that that was why she was here. The Queen rarely spoke to her. There were subtle acknowledgements of her presence but nothing more. So, that the Queen had summoned her to speak in private had got her completely flustered.

She took deep breaths and waited.

The door opened a hair, and one of the maids spoke to the two guards standing on either side of the door, she spoke in such a quiet whisper that Sarah could not hear what she said. The maid disappeared when she was finished speaking and the taller of the two guards looked at Sarah and said. “Her Majesty will see you now.”

The door was pushed all the way open and Sarah walked passed the guards and into the room. She was greeted by the sight of the Queen sitting in the tallest armchair present, one with carvings of lions and panthers on it. Sarah curtseyed.

“Your Majesty.” She said, hoping her voice did not betray how nervous she was.

“Sit.” The Queen commanded, Sarah saw that she was gesturing to a shorter armchair, one which was plain. Did that mean anything?

Sarah walked to the chair and sat down.

A moment passed in silence, then another, Sarah resisted the urge to fidget. The Queen was not looking at her, but rather at something just to her right. Sarah resisted the urge to look at it, and she was thankful that she had, for the Queen spoke suddenly.

“You are quite well, Lady Marlborough.” It was phrased as a question, but Sarah had been at court long enough to know that it was not.

“I am, Your Majesty.” She replied.

“And you have settled in at court?” The Queen asked. “You have been here for two years now.”

Again, it was phrased as a question but Sarah knew that it was not. “I have, Your Majesty. Everyone has been most welcoming.”

The Queen nodded, then caught Sarah unawares with her next question. “What do you know of the Duchess of St Albans?”

Sarah blinked, she had not expected that question. Not at all. “Nothing much, if I am being truthful, Your Majesty.” The new Duchess was many years younger than her after all.

The Queen nodded again, then said. “She will be joining our household soon enough, once she and her husband have returned from their travels to Scotland. As such, when they return, I want you to assist the Duchess in settling into her new role.”

Sarah blinked. She had not… she did not know how to respond to that. This was not a request, but a command, but it was also an insult and an honour. The Duchess was a young woman, naive in the ways of the world and court. Sarah could ensure that she toed the line that Sarah wanted her to. She could ensure that the Duchess became her creature, and as such could ensure the Queen followed her guidance, discreetly.

At the Queen’s raised eyebrow, Sarah realised she still hadn’t replied so she said. “Of course, Your Majesty, it would be my honour.”

The Queen smiled. “Good, I shall tell the Duchess to meet with you first thing upon her return.”

“Of course, Your Majesty.” Sarah replied.

“That is all, you may go.” The Queen said, dismissing Sarah with a curt nod.

Sarah rose, curtseyed and then departed, as she walked back to her rooms in Whitehall, she found herself wondering if this was a sign of greater trust from the Queen, and if it was, how she could exploit it.
 
Chapter 8: Negotiations
Chapter 8: Negotiations

August, 1694


William shifted slightly in his seat, the thing was damned uncomfortable, a sign of Spanish priggishness more than anything else he assumed. But, it would do. For this it would do.

Six years of war, and a throne, was coming down to this discussion today. The entire continent was exhausted. France’s greed seemed to have been sated, but William was cautious, as always. One could never trust the French, not too far at least.

He nodded to the herald, who turned and nodded to the guards. The guards then opened the doors, and the herald cried out. “His Serene Highness Prince Louis, duc de Bourbon, duc d’Enghien, Ambassador of His Most Christian Majesty King Louis of France.”

The herald fell silent as the man he’d announced entered the room. The man was short, with long dark brown hair, and piercing eyes. He seemed odd from where William was sat, but that could’ve been the distance.

William nodded as the man bowed.

“Ambassador.” He said in perfect French.

“Your Majesty.” The man answered.

“Welcome to Brussels.” William said, as the commander of the Allied army, he had taken up the role of chief negotiator as well. At least when it came to meeting with the French ambassador. One could hardly have a mere diplomat with him after all.

“Thank you, Your Majesty.” The man said.

William knew that normally there was a whole routine that needed to be followed and observed, but if he were being honest, the sooner he heard what terms the man had come to offer the better.

“We would hear your terms.” He said simply.

If Bourbon was surprised, he did not show it. Instead, he answered smoothly. “It is His Most Christian Majesty’s pleasure to present the following terms.”

The man took a breath then continued. “In return for renouncing any claims to the Palatinate and returning it to the Elector and agreeing to recognise the Dutch claim to Pondicherry, he requests that his claim to Lorraine and Strasbourg be recognised.”

William took a breath, he was surprised that that was all that the man wanted recognised. He would’ve thought that there would be a mention of the Spanish inheritance. “And what of the Spanish Netherlands?” William asked.

“His Most Christian Majesty wishes for those fortresses that he has taken to be recognised as belonging to France, anything else, he will leave to Spain, including Steenkirk.” Bourbon answered.

William took a breath, he did not think Madrid would agree to that, nor did he think would the States General, the English might though, they were desperate for this war to end. And William was their King, he had to listen to their concerns.

Steenkirk being returned was a surprise, though he supposed Louis wanted to show he had no intentions for a quick march on Brussels.

Then of course, given that France did not have the means to keep fighting, following Texel, they were perhaps desperate to end this war as favourably as possible. To William this suggested he could get something from them.

He took a breath and kept his face expressionless. “Thank you for presenting the terms, Ambassador. We shall need some time to think on them. Please, take the time to enjoy our hospitality.” And whilst the man did that, William would have him watched.
 
Chapter 9: Getting Started
Chapter 9: Getting Started

August, 1694


“The Earl of Morton, Your Majesty.” The guard announced.

Mary looked up from the papers she had been reading, Carmarthen seemed to be doing even more work now that he’d been told he would become a Duke. “Show him in.” Mary commanded. The guard bowed then turned and did just that.

Morton entered, he was a man over average height, greying in parts. He bowed low. “Your Majesty.” He said without the trace of an accent.

“Lord Morton.” Mary acknowledged. “Be seated.” The man took the seat on offer, and Mary looked at him. William had agreed that another pair of eyes looking through everything that had happened at Glencoe was necessary, he said he didn’t trust Dalrymple anymore, though he didn’t say why, and so, Mary had gone over the records of Huntly, Morton and Buchan, seen how they had voted in Parliament and what they’d said, and she’d settled on Morton. He seemed a reasonable fellow.

Mary decided to get right to it. She had a lot to do after all. “Tell me, my lord, what do you know of the Highlands?”

Morton’s lands were in the lowlands in Lothian, he did not have many ties to the region where he would investigate, which was a good thing. It would keep him free from any potential bias.

“I know that it is a fractured place, Your Majesty. Where clan loyalty trumps all else.” Morton said.

“And do you think it is a place that could boil over if its concerns are not addressed?” Mary asked, since her conversation with Hamilton, she’d received reports that things were not all good in the Highlands, contrary to Dalrymple.

“Yes.” Morton said. He did not elaborate, so Mary did it for him.

“It has come to our attention that there is much that is changing within the Kingdoms and there are many hurts that must be answered. Foremost amongst them is what happened at Glencoe two years ago. It is our wish that this be investigated thoroughly and seen to so that justice might be given.” Mary said.

Morton did not say that it had already been investigated, indeed, he said nothing he merely remained seated, waiting for her to say more.

“We have therefore decided that you shall lead this investigation.” Mary said. Morton remained expressionless.

“You shall have access to all materials that were in the government’s hands at the time and since. You shall be able to speak with those involved in setting the terms for the deadline and the oath, and of course, to those who were involved in taking the oaths. And those who were affected.” Mary said.

Morton finally spoke, and Mary was unsure if she detected a hint of satisfaction within his tone? “Thank you for this honour, Your Majesty. I shall endeavour to ensure that justice is delivered for all involved.”

“Good.” Mary replied. “You shall report directly to me, and nobody can interfere with your work.” She leaned to the side and pulled out a paper, and handed it to Morton. “Here is the official warrant for your work.”

Morton took it, looked at it once then at her. “Thank you, Your Majesty.”

Mary nodded, she simply hoped that she was making the right choice.
 
Chapter 10: The Austrian Perspective
Chapter 10: The Austrian Perspective

January, 1695


Leopold read the document that had been sent from Brussels where the Treaty to end the war had been negotiated. He read it and read it again, then threw it onto the table. He exhaled, his father had always told him that when angry, it was better to take a deep breath before speaking, and so he took several.

“This treaty.” He said, his voice barely showing any anger. “This treaty solves nothing.”

The treaty in question, which he had been forced to agree to when William-that whoreson-had made it clear that he would not continue to use his Kingdom’s resources for war, and when he had convinced the Dutch to agree. Leopold looked at the paper and wanted to spit.

“This treaty will merely serve as the prelude to the next war.” He said, the war that would come when his incapacitated cousin, Karl of Spain, died, which he would soon.

Matthias von Auersperg, his chief minister, spoke then. “But it does give the chance for something more, Your Imperial Majesty.”

Leopold looked at the man, intrigued. Auersperg was always scheming and plotting something. “Such as?” He asked.

“A chance to bring new allies together and to remind old allies why we are together.” The man said. Leopold gestured for him to continue and so the man did. “The treaty grants Lorraine to France, it also grants them significant land within the Spanish Netherlands, that is something that may have been acceptable to the English at the time of the negotiation, and it may be acceptable for them now, but when things get increasingly tense, I do not think they will like it. Especially if King Louis does as I think he will and try and free Antwerp.”

“That would certainly hurt the Dutch.” Leopold agreed.

“Indeed, and what hurts the Dutch hurts the English.” Aurseperg said. He continued. “But not only that, my friends in Savoy tell me that the Duke is unhappy with Versailles.”

Leopold snorted, the Duke was always unhappy with something or the other, but he waited to see what Auserperg would say before he commented.

Auserperg did not disappoint. “I believe that the offer of a marriage could well bring the Duke onto Your Imperial Majesty’s side.”

“Between our son Karl and his daughter?” Leopold asked, that was not a bad idea, especially if he could give Milan to Karl.

“Yes, Sire, exactly that.” Auserperg said. “I believe that if I can get my friends in Savoy to wreak enough chaos within court, then the Duke will be amenable.”

“Do so.” Leopold commanded, bringing Savoy back under Habsburg influence was not a bad thing.

“Then there is Bavaria, Sire.” Auserperg said. “I believe that the Elector is unhappy with how the French have been trying to court other members of the dynasty.”

Leopold snorted, the Bavarians were a tricky lot, he knew that his son in law desired a throne, and that he had wanted to become King of Spain through Leopold’s daughter, Maria Antonia, her death had left him needing their son Josef Ferdinand to inherit. Leopold had his own ideas there. Still he said. “Let us see where Bavaria goes.”

Auserperg nodded, then said. “Then there is of course Portugal, who are proving to be amenable to a marriage between Her Imperial Highness and the Prince of Brazil.”

“Good.” Leopold said. He took a breath, perhaps all was not lost then.
 
End Of Part 3 Note
And this is the end of Part 3, thank you to everyone who continues to read and follow along.

Part 4 will focus on some pretty big changes for France and Austria in 1696, and we will finally get a resolution to the Scottish issue ;)

Until then x.
 
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