TL: A Different Louis XVI

Non-noble French officers of OTL simply ain't gonna be officers in this timeline,especially if the wars aren't as intense and prolonged as they were like OTL.A lot of them probably won't join the army to begin with.I suggest they either make cameo appearances or if they are actually lower soldiers,have them promoted to junior officer rank at most.As for Napoleon,it depends on who Napoleon makes friends with.There's a good amount of patronage going around in the Ancien Regime.

Not so sure about that, Murat was extremely unhappy about ending up in the church, Ney was an unenthusiastic notary, Masséna as I recall was frustrated by the fact he could advance no further and turned to smuggling. Lannes will maybe stay as a dyer, I'm not sure if Jourdan had another career outlined for him before he joined the army,. But one of the things I have noticed that many of them have in common is that many started their military careers as volunteers in a ROTC-type situation and it took off from there.

I know the Termidorian Reaction changed a lot of how the army functioned and everything, but is it possible for them to decide to chuck the old system (nobility as officers, etc) or not? I guess Bonaparte could become associated with the an alt-Jacobin movement, or maybe somehow impresses the Prince de Broglie (or one of the other more liberal military nobles guillotined)?

The usual consensus about alt-Napoléon is to block his promotion in the French army and send him on an adventure abroad instead (the Ottoman empire and the USA are very popular, I remember seeing India or South America quoted once or twice as well). He could have played a delayed Lafayette-like role, but now that the USA are freedomed he could maybe play an alt-Bolivar? (I don't think the Bolivar-San Martin generation could exist without the Bonaparte example).

Except my plan is to keep the Bonapartes in France, perhaps with Joseph ending up as a bishop (before he switched to law he was destined for the church IIRC), Napoléon as a successful soldier rags-to-riches (or a mathematics professor, since he envisioned that career for himself if he hadn't been a soldier), and maybe an alt-Jérôme ending up climbing the rungs in the navy. I don't doubt Napoléon could be sent to the Ottomans as he contemplated OTL to reform their artillery, perhaps he'll do that, and come back with glowing reports from Constantinople.
 
Not so sure about that, Murat was extremely unhappy about ending up in the church, Ney was an unenthusiastic notary, Masséna as I recall was frustrated by the fact he could advance no further and turned to smuggling. Lannes will maybe stay as a dyer, I'm not sure if Jourdan had another career outlined for him before he joined the army,. But one of the things I have noticed that many of them have in common is that many started their military careers as volunteers in a ROTC-type situation and it took off from there.

I know the Termidorian Reaction changed a lot of how the army functioned and everything, but is it possible for them to decide to chuck the old system (nobility as officers, etc) or not? I guess Bonaparte could become associated with the an alt-Jacobin movement, or maybe somehow impresses the Prince de Broglie (or one of the other more liberal military nobles guillotined)?



Except my plan is to keep the Bonapartes in France, perhaps with Joseph ending up as a bishop (before he switched to law he was destined for the church IIRC), Napoléon as a successful soldier rags-to-riches (or a mathematics professor, since he envisioned that career for himself if he hadn't been a soldier), and maybe an alt-Jérôme ending up climbing the rungs in the navy. I don't doubt Napoléon could be sent to the Ottomans as he contemplated OTL to reform their artillery, perhaps he'll do that, and come back with glowing reports from Constantinople.
No.They won't be officers,unless they distinguish themselves a lot and the most they can achieve are probably junior officer ranks.
 
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1786



The year has an interesting beginning for France, to say the least. The ruffles of drumbeats are heard across France, and a fleet of transports is massing at Toulon with the intention of transporting troops across the Mediterranean in order to recreate the crusade of the sainted King Louis IX. At least, that’s what they think. However, current King Louis XVI sees things somewhat in a different light. He’s not going to war for religious reasons. That he’s going to war against non-Christians is simply a change of pace.



And besides, they’re not actually at war yet, per se. Despite France being in the grip of winter, and it’s usual appearance that all is dead, the king’s desk is certainly not. While the rest of Paris, and the queen dance each night away, as if seeking to hold back the day, the king is barely seen. Sure, he goes to mass daily, he makes his public appearances within the halls of the Tuileries (filled with the dust from building work), but beyond a two-hour period that he sets aside each evening for a game of cards with his latest mistress, he could be in hibernation.



Louis is not being idle, though. His ministers are keeping him up to date with the progress made on preparations for the fleet and the army. Surprisingly, in marked contrast to the Louis XV and Louis XIV, the dauphin is being included in this entire affair. Unlike his grandfather and ancestor, Louis XVI is not jealously guarding his power from the dauphin. The boy has been allowed to sit in on meetings of the conseil en haut since he came of age (a privilege that his father never attained, and which his great-grandfather only attained at age twenty, and Louis XIV’s son at age thirty). There are whispers from the king’s family (more the princes du sang than the old court, who surprisingly, while not supporting the plan, don’t discourage it) that this isn’t how things are done, but the king rounds on one of the princes when a polite objection is made “and what were Monseigneur le Dauphin called to the throne before he is ready? Would you prefer in him a roi-fainéant like those Merovingians Charlemagne replaced, so that you could rule like your grandfather le Régent?”



However, the preparations for war are halted when word arrives from St. Petersburg. The tsar is dead, long live the tsar! Pyotr III has expired in the night from a heart attack. And Grand Duke Pavel is now emperor of a realm that stretches from the Baltic to the Pacific.



It has already been noted that Pavel has attracted much criticism for his appearance at the vain and appearance-oriented French court, but what to say of the man? His father, Emperor Pyotr has mostly kept him from any real power. Mostly because Pavel is an uncomfortable reminder to him of his detested first wife. Pyotr was far closer to his children from his second marriage, Grand Duke Peter (who has now become duke of Holstein) and Grand Duchesses Maria (b.1767) and Yelizaveta (b.1770). Peter has been married to Princess Friederike of Württemberg since 1785, and will soon leave for their ancestral homeland in Germany. Both he, and Pavel are eager that the child Friederike is carrying is born on Holsteiner soil (though for different reasons).



Pavel has never had the easiest relationship with his half-siblings, since he was often excluded from his father’s affections, not to mention, when Pyotr went on one of his drinking benders, he often remarked that Pavel was not his child, but the son of the Anhalt whore. Empress Elizaveta was sometimes worse, sometimes better in her treatment of her stepson. She made efforts to include him in the little family circle, but she was no more a maternal figure than Pyotr’s own aunt-foster mother had been. Pavel’s highly strung nature in and of itself made him a difficult child to work with, who grew into a complicated adult.



And now that same highly-strung boy who had visited the European courts with his wife as the comte and comtesse du Nord was emperor of an empire larger than Charlemagne’s. Pavel’s own family was as if he had somehow resolved, as most children of troubled marriages do, to make up for his own parents’ flaws. But this is to perhaps look back with the eyes of the present at a situation two hundred years before such interpretations became commonplace. However, in attempting to right his father’s familial ‘wrongs’, he unfortunately sowed the dragon’s teeth. It is the perfect illustration, in many ways, of the road to Hell being paved with good intentions.



In Florence, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Pietro Leopoldo, unveils something that is nothing short of revolutionary: a constitution for the state. He and a confidant, Francesco Maria Gianni, have been at work, tinkering on this idea since 1779, it becoming a fully-fledged project in 1782 and now, the magnum opus, as Gianni will term it, is complete. Leopoldo himself makes the radical statement:

I believe that every country should have a basic law or a contract between the people and sovereign, which limits the power of the monarch; that if the sovereign does not keep this one law, his subjects are no longer bound to obey him. I believe that the exercise of power belongs to the sovereign, while the legislature belongs to the representatives of the people, for the sole purpose of both society and government is the happiness of individuals.”


That being said, Leopoldo has been in conflict with Vienna since he acceded in 1765. He found the state that he was to take over in a ramshackle condition. The last of the Medici had died in the 1740s, and in his father’s twenty-year tenure, the government had largely been neglected and placed in the hands of foreigners (like the Prince de Craon), that led one British visitor to remark: “The Florentines would give half of all they possessed to have the Medici back, and two thirds to be rid of the Habsburgs”. Which meant that Leopoldo was already starting with a disadvantage. Not to mention that the Italian countryside had been plagued by a famine that was only starting to come to an end at his accession.



But he, like countless Habsburg second-son governors before him, had been hamstrung by his older brother. Josef II’s demand for Leopoldo to publish the Tuscan Reserve was immensely unpopular with his younger brother, and led to a further deterioration of their already fraught relationship. It hadn’t helped that the late Queen of Hungary had made no secret of playing favourites with her large brood – she often criticized them unfairly in her letters to them, comparing them unfavourably to another sibling. And if the duchess of Chablais was her favourite daughter, Leopoldo was, without a doubt, her favourite son. And this earned the poor boy the resentment from eldest son, Josef.



However, Leopoldo is not coming up smelling of roses – he is not some innocent lamb going to slaughter. If he wasn’t in anyway responsible for the treatment before the queen’s death, he had no excuse for his behaviour since then. He had openly criticised Josef’s centralizing, absolutist tendencies, not to mention mocked his micromanaging tendencies. But in this case, Leopoldo was very much in line with Prince Heinrich of Prussia (b.1726), a younger brother of the king of Prussia who was said by Voltaire “that if he [the king] was the roi-philosophe of the Enlightenment, then his brother [Prince Heinrich] was the sort of man the Enlightenment by his deeds”.



It took five years before Leopoldo had managed to finally throw aside Vienna’s leading strings and return to Florence as sole ruler. And from 1770, his reforms in the grand duchy of Tuscany were nothing short of meteoric. The guilds and trade restrictions were abolished, he modernized the administrative structures, and emulated his sister, the duchess of Parma, by reforming the health care systems, and later adopted her models for schools as well.



But his reforms weren’t changes made for change’s sake. Leopoldo differed from Josef who included amongst his reforms, directions for things as insignificant as banning the baking of gingerbread or the wearing of corsets – he applied them to small test areas of his state first. If they were successful, they went on to be implemented throughout the grand duchy, if not, they were dropped or adapted and attempted again.



For a significant part, the reforms went through without too much trouble. Whether this was because the Tuscans were intelligent enough to realize that the improvements were being made for their welfare, or simply unable to stop things like this, is debated. But either way, Leopoldo was too German for his subjects, they commented on his “porcheria tedesca” (German piggishness), and not even improvements of their lot in life, like the abolition of the death penalty, the promulgation of the constitution or the draining of the marshes in order to improve the amount of arable farmland and reduce the frequency of malaria, could change this. They longed for the pomp and circumstance of the Medici, and what they got was someone who was the almost complete opposite.


On the other hand, the grand duchess, Maria Luisa of Spain (b.1745), seemed to be cast more in the mould of the Medici they had known (which is fair enough, since her descent from the Medici was closer than Leopoldo’s). She, by nature charming and kind, unpretentious and generous, had been forced to play the foil to her husband’s cold and aloof nature. And, like her sister-in-law in France, she was likewise obliged to put up with her husband’s mistresses, Lady Anne Gore, whose husband had been created Prince Auwekerque in compensation for his wife being borrowed, and now the ballerina, Livia Raimondi. She also had to put up with being near constantly pregnant, since by 1786 she’d given birth to fifteen children, of whom, most were boys, and all except two survived infancy.


Her marriage to Leopoldo was about as happy as an arranged marriage could be – she was loyal and supportive of him – even if their personalities were polar opposite. The grand duchess was more popular with the Tuscans, but only slightly. The native aristocracy found themselves more welcomed at the home of the English king and queen at the Palazzo Lung’arno than at the grand ducal Palazzo Pitti.


The grand duke and his wife were known for their preferment (or avoidance rather) for privacy over court events. Leopoldo’s time, that he spent shunning the court, was devoted to his politics and to his personal pleasures – like hunting and lovemaking (with his wife is she wasn’t pregnant, with someone else if she was), while Maria Luisa’s life revolved around her children. The grand ducal children themselves had an unfettered upbringing in comparison to some of their cousins, something that came up in Josef’s criticism in the description of their oldest two sons, Prince Francesco (b.1768) and Ferdinando (b.1769) – "stunted in growth", "backward in bodily dexterity and deportment", and "neither more nor less than a spoiled mother's child". Josef concluded that "the manner in which he was treated for upwards of sixteen years could not but have confirmed him in the delusion that the preservation of his own person was the only thing of importance”.
 
To all my readers:

Sorry it's taken so long guys. Busy with my thesis plus a bunch of office politics has kept me away.

Best
 
Bump back to the first page.

I can't remember but France still lacked a national bank, didn't it? What would be the chances of TTL's Louis XVI establishing one? Could he? Would he?
 
Bump back to the first page.

I can't remember but France still lacked a national bank, didn't it? What would be the chances of TTL's Louis XVI establishing one? Could he? Would he?

Of course he could.

Many of the reforms that were implemented mostly under Napoleon had been devised under the monarchy.

But he wouldn't. Because he was OTL Louis XVI. One of the first decisions he made as king was to cancel the judiciary reform that his grandfather Louis XV had finally decided to implement.
 
Of course he could.

Many of the reforms that were implemented mostly under Napoleon had been devised under the monarchy.

But he wouldn't. Because he was OTL Louis XVI. One of the first decisions he made as king was to cancel the judiciary reform that his grandfather Louis XV had finally decided to implement.

Have you read the TL? Cause OTL Louis Seize is still happily making locks as Monsieur and his older brother, Bourgogne survived his 1761 death to become Louis XVI.

But good to know that there's SOME wiggle room for when the Napoléonic reforms can be enacted.
 
Sorry this one has been taking so long. Hope you enjoy:

1786, Part Deux


In France, the king calls the parlement into session. The purpose of this is with regard to the abolition of serfdom. Serfdom proper – servéege – in France has been illegal since the 14th century. But a nasty little bastardized version of it known as servéege real, still exists. In 1779, Louis, as a relatively new king, passed an edict limiting the existence of this servéege real. However, this has proved rather ineffective, since under the law, the serfs are the rightful owner of the lands they work. And compensation is to be paid to the aristocratic owner who lives in Paris. Since the serfs cannot pay the compensation in most cases, the situation remains as is.


In London, King George III oversees the birth of his first grandchild from his favourite second son, the duke of York and his Prussian bride, Prince Frederick Christian Charles. It’s also going to be the last grandchild from said marriage, since the duke and duchess can barely stand one another. The child’s christening is accompanied by one of the family rows that have come to characterize the Hannoverians. The Prince of Wales – standing proxy for his cousin, the Prince Regent of Denmark – gets into an argument with his father about the heir’s correspondence with the king of Appalachia/duke of Gloucester. The princess of Wales and the queen try to separate the two bickering men, which, although mildly successful, only results in further repressed hostility. The duke of York ends up red-faced and angry, and the duchess in tears: add a screaming baby to the mix and its small wonder that the baby will wind up being neglected by both parents.


The young Prince Regent of Denmark also becomes a father. Though, unlike his British cousin, this is his second child. A daughter was born and died in 1785. Fortunately (or unfortunately if you’re Queen Juliana and her son, the Regent’s half-uncle) the baby is not only male, but healthy. And, due to the Danish kings having an extraordinary lack of originality when it comes to names (only the French Bourbons beat them), since every eldest son since the Reformation has been alternatively Christian or Frederik, nobody is surprised when the boy is named Christian, after his regal (and insane) grandfather.


But this is not all that’s happening in Denmark. The Prince Regent’s sister (since not everyone agrees that she is the king’s daughter), Lovisa’s marriage contract is finalized. Due to her brother going all domestic on his marriage, it was necessary that a foreign match be found. However, thanks to rumours about Lovisa’s dubious paternity, that has become more than a mite difficult. Few kings would be willing to countenance what they would see as a mésalliance, which means that Denmark has to settle for lower down the social scale. Now, thanks to their uncle George in London, Lovisa is marrying another George, the son of the Hereditary Prince of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (brother of Britain’s queen), Erberbprinz Georg Karl Adolf (b.1772). Of course, the duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz had angled for a match with a Danish princess for himself nearly twenty years ago, but the British king had stubbornly refused to assist his brother-in-law. Now, the same king that denied support then, answers his nephew’s appeal to help find a suitable match for Lovisa.


Princess Anton of Saxony, née Princess Sofia Albertine of Sweden, gives birth to a short-lived son, christened Friedrich Adolf August. Unfortunately the boy doesn’t live very long, leaving Prince Anton and his Swedish wife with only their daughter, Ludovika Antoinette (b.1785) as consolation. But, the good news is that Anton and his wife get along rather well. In fact, by the standards of an arranged marriage, they certainly are more ‘in love’ than merely fond of one another. Which comes as a surprise to many, but none more so than the couple themselves.


In the princess’ native Sweden, her brother, King Gustaf is looking at the newly crowned emperor of all the Russias, and liking the idea of rattling his sabre. Especially if the new emperor decides to get his war on against the Turks in the south. Since Peter the Great, Sweden has slowly been losing territory in the Baltic to the Russians – Hell, the Russian capital is built on ground taken from Sweden. But, fortunately, the so-called ‘Age of Liberty’ is over. Gustaf led a coup d’etat against the dominating Swedish estates and restored royal absolutism as the way his kingdom is governed. His young son will not have to bow and scrape to the estates the way Gustaf was forced to. And Gustaf would like to avenge what he sees as losses to Sweden by those same estates.


Rome is plunged into mourning. If the pope had not been willing to acknowledge Charles Edward Stuart as king of England during his life, now that the pretender has breathed his last, Pope Pius VI is willing to grant him that honour in death. Full royal mourning is declared throughout the city – an example followed by several other courts. Courtesy of his brother, the Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati, and wife, Charles and the pope finally made nice their quarrel. While the pope still refused to publically acknowledge Charles and Maria Josefa as king and queen of England, France, Scotland and Ireland, he did acknowledge them privately as ‘your Majesty’ and their children as ‘royal highnesses’. That, and the pope upping Charles’ pension, was enough to smooth the affair over. Little knowing that within three weeks of making up, Charles would breathe his last.


Queen Maria Josefa retires to her brother-in-law’s villa at Monte Albano as soon as all the formalities are over. Her husband designated in his will that their son would come of age at 18 (in 1791), and that until then, his mother is to be regent. Granted, this is a departure from English tradition since the regency powers were usually vested in the Privy Council, but the Stuarts haven’t ruled England for nearly a century, and besides, Mary of Modena was regent for James III – so the precedent is there. At first, Maria Josefa doesn’t want the job. She attempts to resign it over to her prelate brother-in-law, Prince Henry Benedict. But Henry is far too busy with his papal responsibilities (and he’s got quite a bit of those), and so, hands it back to Maria Josefa. And the once Bavarian princess takes to it with an unnerving knack of skill, causing one contemporary to remark ‘if only we had known sooner that the queen rules better than the king, we would’ve sent her to muster the armies of England and Scotland’.


However, there’s not much ‘ruling’. Especially since outside of the various Stuart residences, they are barely acknowledged as kings by anyone (unless that person’s got a grudge against Britain). Although, surprisingly enough, Friedrich II, King of Prussia (grandson, nephew and then cousin of successive British kings) offers his condolences to the queen on her husband’s demise. Even offering to take the now king, James IV and his brother, into the Prussian army. While this may sound odd on the surface, it’s not as strange as it sounds. Friedrich, der alte Fritz, has never really forgiven Britain for dropping him in the Seven Years’ War, which has led to him taking such anti-British stances as congratulating the duke of Gloucester on his elevation to the kingship – despite referring to him as the roi des Iroquois – and sending a gold sword to the Earl Washington with the inscription ‘from the greatest general in Europe to the greatest general in the world’. Plus, at one point, Fritz was willing to consider a match between his sister, Princess Anna Amalie and Charles Edward. Of course, the match went nowhere, but the mere fact that he was willing to consider allying with his uncle in London’s greatest domestic threat shows that there was no love lost between Berlin and London (and that was before the Seven Years’ War).


France’s clergy sees two interesting events occur. The first, and more important, is the retirement of the incumbent, Yves Alexandre de Marbeuf, from the bishopric of Autun. The king’s response is mixed. Marbeuf is a general opponent to anything smacking of the Enlightenment – which means that he tends to fall in with the Provence-Party at court. And if Marbeuf were to be retiring to his abbey at Bec, that would be fine. But, the pope has seen fit to promote Marbeuf. To archbishop of Lyons. At first, this might seem somewhat overdue, since Marbeuf has been a bishop for the last twenty years, but for the king, it’s slightly more headachy than that. The archbishop of Lyons is the Primate of Gaul (i.e. France). At the moment, the only thing that Louis has to be thankful for is that his Holiness didn’t send a cardinal’s hat alongside the promotion.


Well, not the only thing, since Marbeuf’s successor in the bishopric is none other than the king’s pet cleric, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand. This is one of the rare instances where the queen and Provence are in agreement, since both regard Talleyrand as little better than a viper. Provence remarks that ‘he [Talleyrand] will join you. As long as it will suit him’. But, the queen, despite what some of the wags say, is not entirely stupid. As she wrote to her brother, the Emperor, when he recommended she promote a certain pro-Austrian person at court, it would do no good, ‘since how can I take a position in which I know the king will not support me?’


But that’s the first interesting event. The second is admittedly far removed from the political scene. At the seminary in Aix-en-Provence, Joseph Buonaparte, eldest son of a Corsican nobleman, is ordained as a priest following five years in the seminary. How does this remotely factor into things? The same Marbeuf who has just become Archbishop of Lyons, is nephew to the French Governeur of Corsica, Charles Louis de Marbeuf, marquis de Cargèse (d.1786). Said governor is friends with several of the native nobility, including Joseph-Giuseppe’s now widowed mother, Maria Letizia Buonaparte, née Ramolino. The governor has been acting as protector/patron to Letizia and her eight surviving children. It is thanks to the governor that her eldest son was able to attend the seminary, and her second son, the strangely named Napoléon, is currently at the military academy at Brienne. Although, with her benefactor now deceased, Letizia needs to look to her other friends, namely the intendant, Claude François de Boucheporn.


Boucheporn would be high in favour with the king if only he could get to court. He is a man like Turgot, who has helped, over his tenure of the island for the last decade, to improve the development of agriculture, forestry and industry in Corsica through his ordonnances. Now (in 1785) he’s been replaced, and sent to become Intendant of the généralité of Pau, Auch and Bayonne. However, he is still able to pull strings – after all, it is thanks to his (monetary) vouching that Napoléon was accepted at Brienne, as much as it is thanks to the late Cargèse’s influence, and the eldest daughter, Marie Anne, at the St. Cyr School for Girls.


The French court is also seeing a change – though not so much in the political sphere. The king has been spending less time with la belle Polignac, who seems to have contented herself with serving the queen.


The king’s mistress, Gabrielle de Polastron (b.1749) had dark hair, very pale skin, big eyes neat nose, the expression of one of Raphael’s long-suffering Madonnas (as the painter Vigée-Lebrun described her). After meeting the king, the ruinous cost of maintain oneself at Versailles put la Polignac’s already dire financial circumstances under further strain. Enamoured and dazzled by the beauty, the king settled many of the outstanding debts, as well as finding an appointment for her husband. (Who fortunately had the good sense to follow the example of the Marquise de Pompadour’s husband rather than that of the Marquise de Montespan).


But the Polignacs were a large and rapacious family, and Gabrielle ensured that no one entered the king’s exclusive circle without her say so. Even the queen resented this (in spite of her friendship with Gabrielle), and remarked on this to her mother, that ‘a favourite has never seen such a meteoric rise in such a short time’. In 1780, the year of the queen of Hungary died, la Polignac’s cuckolded husband was raised to the rank of duke. When the Mesdames objected to this, the king reminded them that la Polignac spent less in her entire tenure as his mistress than what their father’s most famed – Madame de Pompadour – had spent in one year. In 1782, the prince de Guémené declared bankruptcy, and in the ensuing scandal, his wife had had to vacate her post as gouvernante des enfants de France (governess to the royal children). Despite Gabrielle not being of sufficient rank to hold the post, she was appointed to the position, with a dozen-room suite of apartments thrown in for free. Even by the standards of Versailles’ excessiveness this was considered scandalous. But, the pornographic pamphlets that accompanied this were the tipping point. La Polignac was accused of not only being the king’s mistress (her youngest two children, Julie (b.1780) and Camille (b.1781) were openly regarded as the king’s), but also the queen’s lesbian lover, engaging in ménage à trois with the royal couple.


So, in 1785, la Polignac was politely requested to sojourn abroad for a time. She went to England, where she was friends with the Tory circle surrounding the duchess of Devonshire. And in that time, a new favourite slipped into the king’s bed: the Princesse de Ligne, born Helena Apollonia Massalska (b.1763). The princesse de Ligne is the daughter of a Radziwiłł (through whom she is cousin to the king of Prussia) and a Massalska, married into one of the most prestigious families in the Austrian Netherlands.


And now she is mistress to the king of France. Even though the queen disparages her, remarking ‘there is a faint look of the farm about her’, she accepts the princesse de Ligne at the reception of the new favourite. Antoinette’s own friendship with Gabrielle is also seemingly reaching its denouement, although whether this is simply because the queen is following her husband’s lead, or because the queen herself is genuinely tired of la Polignac (quite possible, considering how she has spoken of the favourite to her sister in Parma), and returning to her friendship with the pious widow, the Princesse de Lamballe.


Spain sees yet another royal marriage and the creation of a new duke: the Infante Antonío Pascual (b.1755), fourth son to King Carlos III (since his retarded brother, Felipe, died in 1777). As a wife he gets the third daughter of Prince Xavier of Saxony – Maria Anna Violante (b.1770) – and he gets created duque de Montalban, conde d’Alcantara in a ceremony mimicking his brother’s a few years earlier.


But Carlos III also becomes the first Borbon king of Spain to visit his kingdom of Aragon. He stays for a month in the kingdom’s capital of Barcelona. However, his dad, Felipe V, having given the remains of the royal palace away to a monastic order, means that the king has no official seat in the town. Then again, considering that Aragon sided with the Habsburgs against the Borbons in the War of the Spanish Succession at the beginning of the century, it’s no surprise that Felipe had no real love for the place. So, for now, Carlos sets up shop in the Viceroy’s Palace while awaiting the arrival of the ship carrying his new daughter-in-law.


This is also his grandson and eventual heir, the Infante Carlos Clemente’s political debut. The prince and pregnant princess of Asturias and their children (including their two youngest boys) have been left in Madrid, whilst the king, the duke and duchess of Peñafiel, and his grandson travel to Barcelona to receive the new duchess of Montalban. The Aragonese go even wilder when the duke and duchess of Montalban get married in the city’s cathedral. But the king’s got other plans for Peñafiel and Montalban. Something he and his minister, Aranda, have cooked up. But they’re still working out the kinks in the idea.
 
I've been wondering, is it possible for Charles François Lebrun to make his way into government here? His wiki article says that he was at least consulted during Necker's ministry, but in a strictly unofficial capacity.

But, here's a snippet of '87


In France, the year starts with the unfortunate suicide of one Madame Auguié. In the grand scheme of things, this doesn’t seem like much. But her three daughters, Antoinette Louise (b.1780), Aglaë Louise (b.1782) and Adélaïde Henriette (b.1785) are remanded to the care of their aunt, Henriette Campan, née Genet. Madame Campan is a lady in waiting to the queen of France, and these three little girls end up in the royal family circle. Philippine Ernestine de Lambriquet (b.1778), the daughter of one of the queen’s femmes de chambre is already friends with the contemporaneously aged Madame Royal. And sure enough, little Madame Sophie finds a playmate in Aglaë, with the two soon becoming inseparable.



And that’s not the only benefit for the Genêt family. Madame Campan’s brother, Edmond Charles Genêt, is appointed as court translator for the visit of Comte Haga a.k.a. the king of Sweden. Basically the purposes of Gustaf’s visit to France is part of a tour he’s doing around the continent, but it’s more than that: he wants to know what France’s friendship with Russia means for her traditional alliances with Poland and Sweden. Of course, Louis XVI assures Gustaf that the whole thing with Russia is simply to for their war against the Turks. To Gustaf, this is hardly comforting, since the Ottomans are likewise a longstanding ally of France. But, in his train, come two people, the Fersen siblings: Axel (b.1755) and Sophie (b.1757). This is not their first visit to France. There were some whispers last time that Comte Fersen had bedded the queen or Madame during his visit, but despite her Majesty’s preference for the handsome Swede, these whispers were likely just that, the salacious sort of rumours that scurry from apartment to apartment in the rat’s nest that is Versailles.
 
I've been wondering, is it possible for Charles François Lebrun to make his way into government here? His wiki article says that he was at least consulted during Necker's ministry, but in a strictly unofficial capacity.

So, my plan for 1787 is to see the establishment of a Banque de France (on the model of the Bank of England and Banco de San Carlos). And I was thinking of getting Lebrun to be the first guy in charge of it? Possible? Doable? ASB?
 
This is a very good timeline, do you think you will go on with it?
However, it gets a bit complicated sometimes even when you know quite well the dynasties of the time: maybe you could post some family trees!
Anyway I hope this TL isn't dead, I really like it!
 
This is a very good timeline, do you think you will go on with it?
However, it gets a bit complicated sometimes even when you know quite well the dynasties of the time: maybe you could post some family trees!
Anyway I hope this TL isn't dead, I really like it!

Thank you for the compliment.
Not dead. I'm currently working on the latest update. As to family trees, I'll try and get to them.
 
1787

In France, the year starts with the unfortunate suicide of one Madame Auguié. In the grand scheme of things, this doesn’t seem like much. But her three daughters, Antoinette Louise (b.1780), Aglaë Louise (b.1782) and Adélaïde Henriette (b.1785) are remanded to the care of their aunt, Henriette Campan, née Genet. Madame Campan is a lady in waiting to the queen of France, and these three little girls end up in the royal family circle. Philippine Ernestine de Lambriquet (b.1778), the daughter of one of the queen’s femmes de chambre is already friends with the contemporaneously aged Madame Royal. And sure enough, little Madame Sophie finds a playmate in Aglaë, with the two soon becoming inseparable.

And that’s not the only benefit for the Genêt family. Madame Campan’s brother, Edmond Charles Genêt, is appointed as court translator for the visit of Comte Haga a.k.a. the king of Sweden. Basically the purposes of Gustaf’s visit to France is part of a tour he’s doing around the continent, but it’s more than that: he wants to know what France’s friendship with Russia means for her traditional alliances with Poland and Sweden. Of course, Louis XVI assures Gustaf that the whole thing with Russia is simply to for their war against the Turks. To Gustaf, this is hardly comforting, since the Ottomans are likewise a longstanding ally of France. But, in his train, come two people, the Fersen siblings: Axel (b.1755) and Sophie (b.1757). This is not their first visit to France. There were some whispers last time that Comte Fersen had bedded the queen or Madame during his visit, but despite her Majesty’s preference for the handsome Swede, these whispers were likely just that, the salacious sort of rumours that scurry from apartment to apartment in the rat’s nest that is Versailles.

In Constantinople, or Istanbul (whichever you prefer), things are getting difficult. The janissary corps (a motley Praetorian guard originally made up of former Christians, but now more along the lines of an elite politico-paramilitary organization) is getting restive at the sultan’s reforms. There have been various military changes that they…well, to say they don’t approve of is to put it mildly. They aren’t happy at being sidelined by the sultan in favour of his new French officers. And when the janissaries aren’t happy, the sultan’s days are usually numbered.

Although they are on a back foot regarding this. The new French-trained Ottoman army has actually defeated the Russians. And the Austrians. In separate encounters. More than once. They lost their battles against a combined Austro-Russian army, though. True, the sultan won’t be marching on Vienna and recapturing it soon, but the mere fact that the Ottomans could actually hold their own (they’ve been steadily losing ground to the Austrians in the Balkans and the Russians around the Black Sea for the last few decades), is a start.

Of course, Austria is going to soon be forced to bow out of this Turkish War, since there are rumblings going on in the Netherlands that bode no good for their master in Vienna. In the Prince-Bishopric of Liège (which sits astride the Austrian controlled territories of the Southern Netherlands), a rebellion has forced the prince-bishop out. Naturally, when the Brabantians hear about this, they are likewise up in arms and things just go steadily downhill from there.

A deciding factor is that Emperor Josef has been attempting to force the Empire out of the nebulous state which it has been left in since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, and into more of something more centralized. One of the things he’s insisted on is that all official documentation be done in German. Now, in the German speaking parts of the Empire this is pretty much already being done, so no one has much of an issue with it. However, when Josef, as king of Hungary attempted to push it through, the Magyars told him to politely go and perform the appropriate action. As overlord of the Southern Netherlands, Josef has likewise attempted to force it through there. He should really pay attention to what happened to his ancestor Felipe II the last time a “foreign” ruler tried to impose some sort of cohesion on that realm.

But it’s more than that, in the neighbouring Stadtholderate of the Netherlands, tensions have been growing between the Stadtholder, Willem V, his wife, Wilhelmine of Prussia (niece to the king of Prussia) and a faction of the population. The stadtholderate is long past its glory days, and Willem is a poor ruler (in all senses but financially). Wilhelmine agitates for a more active role in the government, and has, much like her aunt, the Dowager Queen of Sweden, made allies and friends amongst the elite. However, the middle class (always influential in Dutch politics), views this with suspicion. And when the alarm goes off in Liège and Brabant, the Dutch likewise rise up against their stadtholder. Who has to call in a favour from the king of Prussia, who sends troops to protect his niece.

In Modena, the estranged wife of the duke, Maria Teresa Cybo-Malaspina, Duchess of Massa dies of a heart-attack. The court in Modena (as well as in Milan, where her daughter and son-in-law rule as viceroys) is plunged into mourning. This death is followed by another, namely that of Duke Ercole III’s stepmother, Maria Renata, Countess von Harrach. The countess von Harrach’s death doesn’t get official mourning, since the marriage between Ercole’s father and Maria Renata, was morganatic.

Berlin gets a scandal all it’s own when the prince of Prussia, brother to the abovementioned Wilhelmine of Prussia, contracts his own morganatic marriage. Not his first, either. Some back story is needed. Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia, heir to his aging uncle, King Friedrich II, has been married to Friederike of Hesse-Darmstadt (cousin to the Queen of the Romans and sister to the Empress of Russia (among others)) since 1765. His original betrothed was his double first cousin, Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick (better known as Elizabeth Carlovna, the current Dowager Empress of Russia), but his uncle, seeing a chance to secure an alliance with Russia, broke the engagement and set about finding another bride. Enter Friederike, or, as her husband calls her ‘Hessiche Lieschen’ (Hessian Lizzie).

However, the Crown Prince is not the sharpest tool in the political shed. His uncle, the king, sent him on an embassy to Russia in 1780 to get a renewal of the treaty between Russia and Prussia. The Austrians sent Prince de Ligne, and it was a Russo-Austrian alliance that came home. Friedrich Wilhelm came home with the gift of a new Broadwood pianoforte (from the emperor) and a new music master (the Neapolitan Domenico Cimarosa) for Berlin. Needless to say, his uncle hasn’t trusted him with any diplomatic duties abroad, since.

So, while Friedrich might often complain that he ‘wish my nephew [Friedrich Wilhelm] were more like my niece [Wilhelmine], and my niece more like my nephew’, he realizes that this is the hand that he’s drawn. Another comment that he has made of his nephew, disparages both his hobby of carpentry and his sensuous nature: “The prince is good for nothing but making cradles and filling them”.

Which isn’t exactly true, since Friedrich Wilhelm is a fan of the arts, a good cellist (Mozart’s dedicated a bunch of string quartets to him), and while his uncle has gone to ban printing of books in German in favour of French, he’s far more in favour of German. Friedrich Wilhelm is not stupid, by any means, he’s just...well, he gets bored easily, and he doesn’t like hard work.

He contracted his first morganatic marriage with Wilhelmine von Encke (one of Friederike’s ladies in waiting). He raised the lady to Countess von Lichtenau, and the Kronprinzenpalais in Berlin has generally seen tandem births to both the Crown Princess and the Countess in 1774, 1777, 1779 and 1780. Of course, things got even more complicated in 1775 when the Crown Prince decided to marry the countess (bigamously) in a morganatic marriage.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Because now, the Crown Prince has had another hook-up with another of the Crown Princess’ ladies in waiting, one Julia von Voß. She’s now pregnant. And of course, the Crown Prince wants to do the right thing by her. So he creates her Countess von Ingenheim, and then marries her too.

Needless to say, the king of Prussia is absolutely disgusted, and removed the Crown Prince’s eldest son from his parents’ care. It’s not that the crown princess is a bad parent, it’s just that…well, she doesn’t object in the same way that say, Elisabeth Carlovna would’ve if her husband had been running three marriages.

Now, what of to say of the Crown Prince’s eldest son, named Friedrich Ludwig Ferdinand Wilhelm? Well, he’s shy and retiring, diligent, if not a braniac, quiet, pious (although he seems to have had imbibed much of his great-uncle’s agnosticism – as opposed to his father’s rather dreamy, mystical religiosity) and honest. He’s a good soldier, obtaining his lieutenancy in 1781 at age 14. He’d got his colonelcy in 1787 at age 19. But what really makes the king take a shine to him, is the fact that not only is he a competent soldier, he’s also a good musician. And not just good (like his father) at playing (his instrument of choice is the viola, but he’s also skilled at playing the violin, piano and clarinet), but also (like the king) at composing, with his works often being premiered by the royal orchestra. And now, his great-uncle is attempting to arrange a marriage for him.

There are four main candidates for the boy, and two, in spite of his great-uncle’s dislike for Britain, are with British-adjacent families:

The first option is to Karoline of Brunswick (b.1768). She’s both the niece of the king of England, and sister-in-law to the prince of Wales. Her paternal grandmother is sister to King Friedrich. So it’s not as though she lacks the connections in Berlin or abroad. However, King Friedrich’s main objection to her is her temper.

Option two is the queen of England’s niece, Luise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (b.1776). Of course, her being only eleven years old means that the wedding will have to wait, but she is certainly an option worth considering, since her brother’s just married the king of Denmark’s sister, and her uncle serves as King George’s viceroy in Hannover.

In an attempt to mend fences with Britain, King Friedrich offers his great-nephew for one of King George’s daughters. This plan was originally floated a few years earlier, when the duke of York married his Prussian bride, but the bride’s father-in-law insisted on the Princess Royal wedding Prince Friedrich Wilhelm. Of course, the young Hohenzollern prince preferred the next daughter, Princess Augusta Sophia (b.1768). To London this was unacceptable and the suit was withdrawn.

The last girl to be earnestly considered, although King Friedrich realizes the chances of this being accepted is close to nil, is the eldest daughter of the King of Poland, Auguste (b.1770). While the king himself has no objection to a Catholic queen, the Poles might be more concerned about her wedding a Protestant king, still more with the fact that said king would like a goodly slice of Polish territory.

However, it is late in August when the outrider leaves King Friedrich’s palace at Potsdam, Sans Souci, with the news, the king is dead, long live the king.
 
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