Albion Rising: A Henry Frederick Timeline

Chapter 298: Update

Chapter 298: Update

March, 1649




Felipe rolled his shoulders. His body was telling him he needed to rest, his mind was telling him he needed to rest. Everything was telling him he needed to rest, but he could not rest. Not yet anyway. There was just far too much that needed to be done. His Kingdom was bleeding. There was money leaking out to pay soldiers, to pay governors, to pay merchants, to pay all sorts. The income that the state was making was less than it should be because of all these people that needed paying.



And yet, the process to change all of that could not be implemented all at once. Instead, it had to take time. There had to be a gradual shifting of views and a subtle nudge in the direction that Felipe wanted to go in. Otherwise, there would most likely be war within Spain and that would ruin everything.



It was why he ignored his body and his mind and spoke. “We wish to hear how progress goes.”



His treasurer Cristobal spoke then. “Progress is happening, Sire. Slowly but surely, it is happening. The merchant communities of Castile see the benefits in what Your Most Catholic Majesty wants to happen and they are slowly working to get others into the same mindset.”



Castile didn’t surprise him; the Castilians would support anything that lowered their own burden. “And the others?”



Cristobal frowned, a sure sign that he didn’t have quite as much good news on that front. “Progress is slower elsewhere, Sire. The Aragonese and Catalonians are suspicious of change, as Your Most Catholic Majesty knows and as such are trying to find ways to get around what must be done.”



“How?” Felipe asked. That they were trying to do this did not surprise him at all. What he wanted to know was how they were trying to do it.



Cristobal sighed deeply, a clear sign that the methods they were using were stretching even his methods of patience. “They are looking for old charters setting out their rights financially, and they are trying to induce the nobles to support bringing those charters back into being. This is despite the fact that most of these charters were invalidated by acts during the reigns of Your Most Catholic Majesty’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather.”



“So, they are being obstinate.” Felipe mused. That didn’t surprise him too much he supposed. It was a pain, he could admit to that, but not completely unexpected.



“Yes, Sire.” Cristobal said.



“And we suppose you have a way of undermining them in this view?” Felipe asked.



“I do, Sire.” Cristobal said.



“We would hear it.” Felipe commanded.



“One way is through using His Royal Highness the Prince of Asturias. The man has proven quite popular as has his wife. They are charming the commons, and the nobles listen to them and the commons when pressure is exerted in the right method. If we can keep His Royal Highness in the field for a little longer, I am sure we can bring them all through.” Cristobal said.



“And the other method?” Felipe asked. He had no doubt that his son could work his charms on the merchants, the boy was far more charming than Felipe had ever been, and far more charming than any of their family, that was for sure. But leaving it all to that didn’t sit right with him.



“The other method is that we bring in two changes to the taxation system. One slowly reduces the burden on the common people and merchants owning less than a set amount, whilst the second would increase the burden on the wealthier merchants in return for seats on the council.” Cristobal said.



“How many seats?” Felipe asked. He wasn’t against having merchants on the council in principle, but if that meant giving up power? Not a chance.



“Five. They would nominate candidates for the seats and Your Most Catholic Majesty would choose the final representatives.” Cristobal said.



Felipe supposed that that could work. It allowed the merchants to feel as if they had some say and influence whilst also giving him ultimate control over who got to represent them. A fair enough compromise he supposed. “Very well, put the proposal forward, let us see how they react.” If there was some arm twisting that needed to be done, he would do it.
 
Chapter 299: Reminisces

Chapter 299: Reminisces

August, 1649


Anna Maria stretched, sighing as she did so. Age was catching up with her. There were aches and pains that had never been there before, and sometimes she lost hearing in one ear before it returned suddenly. Wladyslaw had said that their father had experienced something similar before he’d died, and so she wondered whether her time was coming. She hoped not, she had a lot more to do still.



She looked at her husband of nearly forty years and smiled. Henry was frowning at a paper that had come from their ambassador in Paris, and it seemed that whatever it was concerned him greatly.



“What is it?” She eventually asked after a moment.



Henry looked up and sighed. “I think the King of France is preparing to go to war with Madrid.”



Anna frowned. “Really? Why?”



“He’s been arranging men on the border with Spanish Navarre for some time now, and the talk in Paris is that he fully intends to lead those men himself.” Henry said.



“Do you think he will actually go through with it?” Anna asked. She hoped not, if there was a war, then Henry would need to get involved per the terms of the peace agreement and alliance that he’d signed with Spain at the end of their war.



“I do not know.” Henry said. “I am trying to find out what his weakness is.”



“To use that to convince him invading would be a terrible idea.” Anna said. After forty years of marriage, you tended to understand your partner’s thought patterns.



“Yes.” Henry agreed smiling.



“Could our Anne not be of assistance?” Anna asked. Their daughter was married to the Duke of Orleans, the King’s influential uncle, and they all knew that Orleans did whatever Anne told him to.



Henry shook his head. “She seems to be in favour of the King’s actions and as such, the Duke seems to be as well.”



Anna sighed. “Well, at least she’s now working within France rather than without.” Earlier in her marriage their daughter had tried to keep her husband tied to British interests, something had happened-what she didn’t know-that had changed that. Which in a way was a good thing, it meant they had less to worry about.



Her husband laughed. “Indeed, that is true.”



Thinking about Anne made Anna think about their other children. “I was talking to Henry Sigismund today.” Anna said. “He said that he and his wife want to marry their Henry to someone from within the nobility.” She could see why her son and his wife wanted that. They were quite far down the succession now, with Arthur’s children, and grandchildren (that Anna was herself a great-grandmother was still something she struggled with.)



“Who were they considering?” Henry asked.



“Well Anna wants to marry their son off to the Earl of Exeter’s daughter.” Anna said, referring to their daughter in law.



“Exeter’s girl?” Henry mused. “I suppose it does make sense. They do know one another after all, and seem to like one another.”



“I thought so too, but there is that business with the previous Earl of Exeter.” Anna pointed out. The scandal that had nearly brought down that branch of the Cecil family.



“True, though this current Earl had nothing to do with that. And do we really want guilt by association.” Henry said.



“Perhaps not, but we must consider the possibilities.” Anna answered.



“Very true. Who else would you consider?” Henry asked.



“We could look to Salisbury, or perhaps Norfolk.” Anna said.



“True.” Henry agreed. “Let us see what Henry Sigismund and Anna present first before we make any decisions though.”



“Of course.” Anna agreed.



“Then there’s that business with George.” Henry said referring to their grandson, George had been carrying on with a woman named Bess before his marriage, and though they’d all thought he’d abandoned the woman before he had gotten married, it had appeared that he had not. George’s wife had complained to Henry, who’d then mentioned it to Arthur, and Arthur said he’d sorted it out. The girl was married to some Welshman in Jamaica now, whilst George seemed to be trying to make an effort with his wife.



“He’s trying.” Anna said. Not all of them were able to find what she and Henry had found.



“He must try harder.” Henry said firmly. “We cannot endanger the family by having liaisons with people like that Bess woman.”



“I know.” Anna said taking her husband’s hand. There had been too much of that in the Royal Family before, especially during that oaf, Henry VIII’s reign.



Henry sighed. “At least Edward has stopped mourning over his woman.”



Anna nodded. Their son had fallen for a woman who claimed to be an actress, and had wanted to marry her before Henry had put a stop to it. The woman had been sent away to the New World, and Edward had sulked before eventually getting to grips with it. Now he was better.



“Such is life.” Anna said eventually, which caused Henry to snort.
 
Slow change in Spain, I don’t think this is going to be complete in Felipe’s lifetime. Man is working himself too hard.

An Edward wanting a life on stage? Who’d have thought! :)

Perhaps Henry can call a ‘Summit of Kings’ in the Channel Isles with France and Spain to try and hash things out before war breaks out, then history will record he at least tried to prevent it.
 
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Slow change in Spain, I don’t think this is going to be complete in Felipe’s lifetime. Man is working himself too hard.

An Edward wanting a life on stage? Who’d have thought! :)

Perhaps Henry can call a ‘Summit of Kings’ in the Channel Isles with France and Spain to try and hash things out before war breaks out, then history will record he at least tried to prevent it.
Oh indeed, it’s going to be a long long process.

aha

and he may well do.
 
Chapter 300: Marriage

Chapter 300: Marriage

November, 1649


George took a few halting steps to the door, then knocked, ignoring the guards who had moved to open it for him.



“Come.” The voice on the other end said. George nodded to the guards who opened the door for him. He stepped into the room and took a breath.



A tall woman, with dark hair done into intricate curls was stood hovering over the two cradles in the room. Both of which contained his children. A daughter named Anne for the Queen and now a son named Henry for the King.



George took a breath. “Anne.” He said.



His wife, Anne Catherine of Denmark turned around and looked at him. “Yes?” She asked, her voice not exactly cold, but not exactly warm.



George took another breath. He had left Bess, the woman had cried and screamed when he’d done it but he’d done it. He’d tried to talk with Anne Catherine but she’d refused to hear him for a time, and so now he’d decided to go for this opportunity. She was always more willing to listen when she was with their children.



“I wanted to apologise.” He said, he’d practised the words for days before this moment.



Her eyes widened but she said nothing.



George continued. “I have not been a good husband to you.” That was an understatement. “I have treated you terribly. I have dishonoured and humiliated you. I have not listened to you, and I have not done you the justice that you deserve, that our vows demanded I give you. And for that I am terribly, terribly sorry, and I hope that you can find it within yourself for us to start again.”



He had thought very carefully about what he wanted to say and how he was going to say it. His wife was a proud woman, someone with a fierce temper and a fierce sense of right and wrong. He had seen her cut noble women to pieces with a word. He knew he had to phrase things right or there would be a lot worse going on.



His wife looked at him, not responding, and as the silence dragged on, he started worrying that he’d got it all wrong. He was so surprised when his wife spoke that he almost jumped. “Why?” She asked softly.



“Why?” George asked unsure if his wife meant why was he saying this now or why he had treated her this way.



“Why did you treat me this way? If you knew it was wrong, why did you do it?” His wife asked.



George took a deep breath, there was a part of him that did not want to admit that he’d done something wrong. Even now! Even now when he knew that he had, that he wanted to try again, a part of him resisted.



He fought that part of himself and took a deep breath before answering. “Because I was a fool.” He answered honestly. “I thought that what I had with Bess was something real, when it was nothing more than a passing fancy. It was something that happened and then I refused to let it go. Like a child.”



His wife’s expression did not change, instead she continued to look at him as if demanding more.



George continued. “I…I treated you the way I did because I was a fool. I did not know how to act, like a child I thought that I could treat you dishonourably and get what I wanted.”



“And now?” Anne asked.



“And now I know how wrong I was. I admire you, Anne. You have come away from home, had to put up with an idiot for a husband and you have never lost your dignity.” George replied. Apart from when she’d complained to his grandfather, a treacherous voice argued. He pushed that voice down. “I wish to get to know you, properly.”



A long time passed in silence. George refused to shift from side to side, despite the strong urge within him that was demanding he do so. Anne simply looked at him as if she was assessing him. When she did finally respond, her tone was soft but commanding. “You are serious about this?”



“I am.” George said. He’d never been as serious about anything in his life before.



“And you and this Bess woman are finished?” Anne asked.



“Yes.” George said. “On our children’s lives we are.”



Anne nodded then she said. “Then I see no reason for why we cannot start anew.”



George exhaled and smiled. “Thank you.” His wife smiled as well, and then turned to look at the cots as their children woke up.
 
Chapter 301: Toast

Chapter 301: Toast

February, 1650




Henry smiled as he saw his grandchildren running around, the younger ones anyway. They were a happy lot, never really complaining and always doing what they could to make sure that they had things to do. Their parents kept an eye on them whilst speaking with one another. Arthur and Henry Sigismund were discussing something quite keenly, whilst Edward and Mary (who’d come with her husband and eldest child for a visit) were talking about something or the other.



Henry’s eldest grandchildren, George and Henry were also talking animatedly about something. Henry Essex was due to marry Exeter’s daughter in April, and that promised to be a fine wedding ceremony. Henry had met the girl the other day and approved of her. She was made of firm stuff. Something that would be needed to survive at court.



His eyes drifted down the table to where his brothers Charles and Robert were talking. They had come with their families as well, and everyone was mingling together. The only people missing were his sisters Elizabeth and Mary and their families and his own Elizabeth. She had died years back, giving birth to a son for the Elector of Brandenburg. That man had refused to come for this event, and though Henry understood a part of him resented the man for that. For denying him the chance to get to know his grandchildren by Elizabeth.



A little bell being rung made him blink and he turned to follow the sound, seeing the Archbishop of Canterbury standing to his right, the man held a glass of wine. Thomas Morton, the Archbishop was a good man, a friend of Henry’s and someone he trusted. The man took a deep breath and said.



“Your Majesties, Your Highnesses, thank you all for attending today. And thank you, Your Majesties for giving me the honour of opening this feast today.”



That had been Anna’s idea, to have Morton speak, she’d suggested it as a way of showing Henry’s continued affinity with the Church and the power that he held. Plus Morton was a very good speaker.



The man kept his attention on Henry then. “Your Majesty, when you ascended the throne thirty-one years ago, you were a young man filled with hope, passion and energy. Your Majesty has faced challenges that would break a lesser man, and you have met them with a smile and determination. You have defeated those challenges and brought the Kingdom into a new world.”



There were murmurs of agreement there.



“Your Majesty has overseen peace within the Kingdom, harmony amongst the constituent parts, a Parliament that has been devoted to Your Majesty’s desires, and the expansion of the Empire in a manner that most befits the heir to Gloriana.” Morton said.



Henry felt his cheeks heat, he never really did that well with such compliments. Morton raised his cup. “On this, your birthday, I wish Your Majesty a long life, everlasting peace and a continuation of greatness. God Bless you, Your Majesty!”



“God Bless His Majesty!” Came the cry, Henry raised his cup in acknowledgement and drank.



Morton sat down and Arthur, as Prince of Wales rose to speak.



His eldest son looked at him, and Henry felt a rush of pride for the man. Arthur was soon to be thirty-eight, he was tall, handsome, a dedicated father and a hard-working Prince. Henry was incredibly proud of the man his son had become.



“Your Majesty,” Arthur began. “I have always, always admired and respected you. And today of all days, I think it is right that I tell you just how much.” His son shifted slightly before continuing. “Your Majesty is a man who all should look to when wanting to know how to balance the Kingship with being a father. You have always been there to provide good advice, good sense and a firm hand. As His Excellency the Archbishop has mentioned, you have guided this Kingdom through numerous storms, and we have emerged stronger for your leadership.”



Henry felt something well in his eyes, he blinked rapidly to force them down. Arthur continued. “You are the model of what a King should be. You are the model of what any honest man must be. I am proud to call you my King and I am most proud to call you, my father.” Arthur raised his cup. “God Bless you, Your Majesty!”



“God Bless His Majesty!” came the cry again, Henry raised his cup to his son, fighting the wetness in the corner of his eyes. Arthur sat down.



George, his grandson stood up then. Henry was proud of George as well, the boy was young yet, but he had made significant strides recently. From finally growing up and abandoning that Bess woman, to reconciling with his wife and continuing the dynasty. The boy seemed to finally understand what it was he was to be.



“Your Majesty,” George said. “I…I…I have always looked to you for guidance on how to handle many issues. As His Highness the Prince of Wales said, you are a man who every man should look to, to know how to handle the various issues and situations that emerge when ruling as King. Your Majesty has been a beacon of light and sense throughout difficult times.”



George took a breath and Henry listened. “To Your Majesty, I say God bless you, and thank you, for always being there.” George raised his cup, Henry smiled and acknowledged what his grandson had said before the boy sat down.



Anna rose then, it had been her idea to have their son and grandson give their speeches. Henry would’ve been happy to just be in their company, but Anna had insisted. And as had happened lately, when Anna wanted something, she pushed and eventually Henry gave way.



She looked at him then and he looked at her, and it was as if there was nobody else in the room but them.



“Your Majesty.” Anna said. “My love, you are the most extraordinary man I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. You have fought for the Kingdom, for your people and for your family the entire time we have known one another.”



“You have never complained and have never stopped trying to ensure that we were protected and safe. As the father of the Kingdom, you have done a fantastically well in your duty.”



Henry felt the wetness emerge again and quickly tried to suppress it. Anna continued. “My love, you are Britain to me, and to many others. We cherish you; we love you, and we are so happy to know you and be with you.” Anna raised her cup. “God Bless the King!”



“God Bless The King!” came the cry.



Henry smiled and leaned forward as Anna sat down and kissed her, before moving back and standing up.



He took a breath. He looked at his wife, then his son, then his grandson, then took in everyone else and said. “Thank you all for your kind words. Truly. To be a King is to know one’s duty is greater than oneself. It is to strive toward an idea and an ideal that must be left for future generations. I have long tried to make sure that my work ensures that there is something for my successors to work with. “



He took another breath. “My task has been made far easier thanks to your help.” Here he raised a hand and swept it across the room. “You have all contributed in measures both great and small, and for that I thank you.”



He raised his cup then. “Now, enough talking, let us get on with the feast. God Bless!”



There was a mighty cheer then, followed by others cheering. “God Save The King!”



Henry took a sip of his wine and sat down. He smiled at Anna and his family; everything was right with the world.
 
Final thoughts
So, after eight months and roughly 300 thousand words and 301 chapters, this mammoth story is done.

I thought ending it here was the right place to go, given that I've addressed everything that I set out to, and it felt natural.

I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has read and commented and liked the story, your feedback and just knowing you were reading kept me motivated to keep going.

After spending years wanting to write something on Henry Frederick, to know that I have done and that you felt it good enough to get a Turtledove (thanks btw!) means a lot to me.

So, thank you.
 
So, after eight months and roughly 300 thousand words and 301 chapters, this mammoth story is done.

I thought ending it here was the right place to go, given that I've addressed everything that I set out to, and it felt natural.

I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has read and commented and liked the story, your feedback and just knowing you were reading kept me motivated to keep going.

After spending years wanting to write something on Henry Frederick, to know that I have done and that you felt it good enough to get a Turtledove (thanks btw!) means a lot to me.

So, thank you.
FUCK words spoken too soon.


ALSO, I fucking said you seemed to he finishing it. And you were like "Oh what makes you think that?"
 
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