Courtship of Lord William Milton, Duke of Somerset, and Princess Marguerite of France

Turnsheet 3


An extract from the turnsheet response of Lord William Milton, Duke of Somerset. Written by Ivan.

You go to visit the Royal Court of His Most Christian Majesty King Louis XIII of France and Navarre. You are treated with enormous respect there. You are after all one of the last remaining English Dukes after Queen Elizabeth found it necessary to remove the heads from the bodies of so many traitorous ones. The French therefore treat you as one step below a personal emissary of the King or a senior ambassador and you are seated at the right-hand of the King during the royal banquet held in your honour. It's also noticeable that you're sat within easy conversational distance of King's daughter, Princess Marguerite [NPC, Helen], a good natured and attractive young woman with either an interest in the politics and doings of England or able to feign interest masterfully.

Also visiting the Court from the Bourbon estates, though in truth you rapidly establish that he is seldom absent, is the Cardinal Rolland. He does everything in his power to ruin your visit. He is noticeably rude to you, but more dangerously he is influential with the King and attempts to rebut your every attempt at diplomacy. The Cardinal, as a senior Catholic, must be kept sweet by the King; the religious settlement in France is even more precarious than in England and Louis has survived several assassination attempts by those who suspect him of either being a secret Protestant or of being about to lead a Catholic massacre of Protestants.

Apparently the Cardinals influence also protects him from some disgusting behaviour around the Princess. His eyes appear to undress her whenever he looks at her and she tries to avoid his lascivious gaze and cloaked, but improper suggestions, whenever she can.

Cardinal Rolland is also essentially leader of the faction at Court that wishes France to ally with Spain and drive the English from the Continent and the Dutch into the sea. Fortunately the string of English victories in the war means that his influence in this matter is on the wane. You get the impression that Louis is leaning towards allying with the English but will need a firm push to actually commit. He does frequently mention a recent incident in which English Dragoons, lead by the Viscount Hertfordshire, were found conducting military operations on French soil to justify his suspicions of English intentions.

(OOC: You may imagine the Cardinal as having a goatee which he strokes sinisterly!)

You invite the Princess Marguerite to Court in Somerset and she leaps at the opportunity. You know that it's in part because she can escape Cardinal Rolland and, think, that in part it may be to accompany you.

Turnsheet 4


Duke Milton will seek out Colonel de Vries some time after the meeting (day after or something) to talk about a few things, starting off with the pleasantries…

“I'd like to thank you again for your help in dealing with the Hatstand, although it is quite possible that it was not a threat it seemed by far the most sensible thing to assume it was.

“I'm afraid I've sought you out to talk about a different matter though. I recently visited France for diplomatic purposes and made some strong inroads in our relationship. However, one incident cropped up recurrently that was a matter of you having been caught conducting military exercises in France. I am not here to condemn you for this matter, just to try to find out all that I can about how you came to be in France and what the circumstances of your discovery were. Unfortunately Cardinal Rolland is trying to twist the presence of armed English troops on French soil to keep the distrust of the English high and thus the French relations with Spain stronger.

“I feel that if I am armed with the truth of the matter then it may make it easier to dismiss the matter and if the truth is not palatable then I at least know the framework around which the lies of diplomacy must be fitted.

“My thanks for your time in helping me with my enquiries…”

“I am not surprised that the Cardinal has attempted to put such a light on my conduct. The matter was with regard to the missing Hellfire, which was stolen by the former Major of the Dragoons, Robin Bellsby. I had managed to locate the castle in Normandy where the Major was holding up with the stolen item and stormed it with my Dragoons. Before doing so, however, I made contact with our Captain in France, to ensure that our presence would not be misinterpreted as an invasion. The Captain I believe was quite happy to order the French troops not to intervene, however, the Cardinal circumvented this order and sent in his own men.

“We were given no choice but to hand over the stolen item to Cardinal Rolland but we did manage to capture Bellsby, who is soon to stand trial. What is more from my interrogation of Bellsby and a number of papers and letters I managed to intercept it has come to my intention that the original intended buyer for the stolen item was Cardinal Rolland. King Louis is reluctant for the Hellfire to be taken from the Cardinal, as it is his belief that as a man of the cloth he will keep it safe. I have been making my own endeavours to discredit Cardinal Rolland. It is my belief that this will also aid our efforts to get France onside in the war, as Cardinal Rolland is strongly in favour of France joining in on the side of Spain.

“Furthermore my investigations have revealed that the Cardinal seems to have an unhealthy obsession with the Princess Marguerite and I believe that this may aid us in drawing out information from him. I believe the Earl of Doncaster, along with myself and Captain O'Keefe are involved in some sort of plan to disguise the Captain as the Princess in order to try and get the evidence we need to incriminate him. Obviously this is a highly dangerous task that needs to be undertaken by a woman who can handle herself, as I have reason to believe the Cardinal is not a kind man when it comes to the fairer sex. Bellsby recounted how he got a young Lady of negotiable virtue, who bore a resemblance to the Princess, to attend to the Cardinal and came back to find her badly beaten.

“Anyhow I hope this clears the matter up somewhat. If you have any suggestion how we might best coordinate our endeavours on this, I would be eager to hear.”

“I had thought that the truth of the matter might be more along these lines. I can confirm the Cardinal's obsession with Princess Marguerite though. In court he exhibited disgusting behaviour around her looking at her with a clearly wicked intent in his eyes. She has taken something of a liking to me though whether that is just because I am able to in some way protect her from the interests of the Cardinal to a certain extent I do not know. The most obvious thing that I can do to help you in your endeavour is to co-ordinate matters with the Princess. If you seek to impersonate her then you will clearly need her out of the way. I am more than willing to help ensure she is not going to appear at an inopportune moment and reveal a traitor and I suspect she will be more than willing to co-operate if she knows that you are acting against the Cardinal.

“I would be interested in having a copy of the papers and letters that you intercepted. It is possible that an opportunity may arise which would allow me to present them as part of something else to the king in order to sway him against the Cardinal. For my own part I had intended to visit the French Court over the next few months and try to erode some of his influence. I was also considering having agents of my own work on discrediting him. An attempt to find out about any more subversive links with Spain that he may have and to embarrass him in some way.

“These plans are not yet formed and would seem to overlap to a certain extent with your own. Is the disguise an attempt to infiltrate his quarters or is it designed to provoke a situation to discredit him?

“There are also some other cards I have available to help turn France in our favour but I will hold them off a little longer until they are truly needed.

“Let me know if you need help with Princess Marguerite. And it occurs to me that another item I was intending to see to that you should know is that I have heard rumours that there will be an attempt on the life of the Princess in an attempt to destroy the good relationship that she has with England. Her protection is important but if the captain is to be disguised as her then she may well be vulnerable to the attack, and indeed she might be a person who would be able to spring such a trap safely if her capabilities are sufficient.

“I will of course also keep you informed if I am to make any secret moves against the Cardinal so that we do not step on each other's toes.”

“That is helpful to know. I had before been reluctant to inform the Princess of our intentions, as I feared that she may share her father's naivety with regard to the Cardinal. If you believe that she can be brought in on our plans, then I believe it would be useful to do so.

“My primary aim with regard to the Cardinal is to gather the evidence we need to discredit him. The papers I have gathered are not enough in and of themselves to sway King Louis from the Cardinal's side.

“The most important thing is the recovery of the Hellfire and that it is removed from the hands of this maniac. The Baron of Daresbury seemed to be under the impression that it may be a sorcerous token to summon the Adversary. Of course, getting France on side in the war effort is of utmost importance to England at this time and I suspect the two aims will largely coincide.”

“I am not sure it is fair to say that her father is naive - the Cardinal is a powerful man and his influence is such that the King cannot have him dealt with as perhaps he should. The king is favouring the English currently after our successes against the Spanish and it is possible that he only needs the irrefutable excuse to have the Cardinal dealt with. We can hope this is the case, at least. I will do what I can to bring the matter of the hellfire to the attention of the king. I am sure that if he can be convinced the cardinal has it that he will be able to get assurances that he will guard it with his life and stake his reputation on being able to protect it. This would mean that if it were used for nefarious means that the Cardinal would immediately lose his reputation and with luck his protection from the king. We would of course rather it not be used, but covering every eventuality would seem prudent.

“This exchange of information has proved most useful, I thank you very much for all that you have shared with me.

“A request has been made of me by a colleague - if you could get something personal of the Cardinals, preferably something that has touched his face, then this could be most useful for future endeavours. If this would cause a risk to your plan then please don't worry, it is just a secondary objective.”

“I'll see what I can do.”


Unfortunately it appears the plans of Colonel the Viscount Hertfordshire and Captain Glory to impersonate the Princess Marguerite don't really work out. Edward confides in you that he'd probably be able to pass for the Princess about as easily as Captain Glory, though at least she can speak French. Instead they'll see what other dirt they can discover to incriminate him.

You re-enter the influence battle with the Cardinal in the Court of King Louis. The reports from the battlefields of the Low Countries are very encouraging, at least for you. Since the Cardinal has publicly linked himself to the fight against the Dutch and with the Spanish, every victory by the allies is a blow to his prestige. And you make sure to make each blow a wound. You've become much more loved in France in general, and the King himself smiles upon you. And possibly the union between yourself and his daughter.

You also steer the Cardinal into pledging to protect the Hellfire. If he misuses it or it's stolen you're confident it will destroy him.

When you are home in Somerset you are still playing host to the Princess Marguerite. She is grateful for you keeping her away from the Cardinal and his lecherous gaze and she seems to regard you with genuine affection.

Jesuit Briefing

Written by Gareth.

[…] The Duke of Somerset seems likely to marry Princess Marguerite of France if things go to plan. This would not be beneficial to us; she was one of our possible candidates for the King’s bride, since she is at least a baptised if not a practising Catholic. If we can do anything to sabotage this match, and do something about the appalling Scots Puritan harridan’s wedding to King Henry, we must do so forthwith. Both weddings must be prevented. […]

Princess Marguerite

Email from Helen in answer to query.

Princess Marguerite is a bit blushing and nervous and giggly around you [,the Duke of Somerset], but after a lengthy conversation it does seem clear to you that he's very happy to marry you. She's always known that her marriage would be a political matter, and she's delighted, for the first time in her life, to have the chance for her husband to be a genuinely good man as well.

Your viability study indicates that the marriage would be exceedingly viable, although her English isn't great she's working very hard to improve it, she seems very happy in Somerset, and in general - while she may be marrying largely because 'it's the right thing for France' - she seems to think she's getting a pretty good deal.

Turnsheet 5


An extract from the turnsheet response of Lord William Milton, Duke of Somerset. Written by Ivan.

In Paris, you continue your courtship of Princess Marguerite and provoke Rolland at every turn, gently needling him. Rolland reacts very badly to this, and finally suffers an apoplectic fit of some sort during a state dinner, hurling a goblet in a dramatic fashion. (It hits King Louis and ruins his favourite shirt.) By the time the Duke of Somerset is ready to present his dossier, the cardinal is already mostly in disgrace; the dossier convinces the King to declare him an exile and gives him a month to quit France entirely. In return for your help, he asks you to present to King Harry the offer of an alliance.

You propose. Marguerite accepts. It is very romantic. There is dancing.

Later, while you are preparing to leave Paris for your own estates, you hear that in Bourbon a force of “Spanish” raiders has sacked the countryside, destroying all in their path, and levelling Rolland’s compound. The army are briefly alerted, but then note where in Bourbon the disturbance is and decide they couldn’t care less as long as the “raiders” are quiet about it on the way out and wipe their feet before entering Normandy. Rolland is killed outright, as are all of his important men. There are a lot of winks directed your way over the matter though you think you managed to convince the King that you genuinely don't know what happened.

By the time you reach England once more you learn that the Hellfire is now at Canterbury Cathedral, where it is placed in the Tabernacle. The Viscount Sefton is somehow involved in the handover and gains great glory.


The Engagement of the Duke of Somerset and Princess Marguerite of France

A note is presented to all the most prestigious and important nobles of the country announcing the engagement between the Duke of Somerset and Princess Marguerite of France. It has been known that they have been courting for some months but her father has now blessed the marriage during the Duke's recent visit to Paris. The couple have not yet set a date for their wedding but it is believed to be imminent.

The main opponent to the marriage, the Cardinal Rolland, was disgraced in mysterious circumstances and sentenced to exile from the Kingdom of France. Cardinal Rolland was known to be an ally of the Spanish and to have pressed for France to take their side in the recent war in the Low Countries. Nonetheless the Cardinal was killed by what were believed to be Spanish raiders before he could leave for exile.



An extract from the eternity of Lord William Milton, Duke of Somerset and Prime Minister. Written by Ivan

The first wedding of the Duke of Somerset and Princess Marguerite of France proved a hurried affair. Though most of the nobles of England and the Queen herself were in attendance, and the marriage ceremony was performed by no less a cleric than the Archbishop, it should not be forgotten that many attended in dented armour still clad in the smell of spent powder. Though all remarked on the love and devotion that shone so clearly from the Princess as she stood in front of the altar, and of the passion of the marriage kiss that raised such a mighty cheer from the grizzled host, the marriage was still a powerful political statement. For the King of France granted his permission and blessing for the marriage in the middle of the Civil War when the Royalist victory seemed less than guaranteed. At the time most considered this an expression of confidence in the Realm and its young Queen but at the Court of King Louis it was interpreted as confidence in the Duke of Somerset. It was, indeed, rumoured that the King had set aside estates in Bourbon for the young couple should Somerset be lost…

… by the time of the Duke's appointment as first Prime Minister in 1609 his doting wife had already borne him a son and twin daughters. With the kingdom at peace a second marriage ceremony was performed, the King of France himself attending to give his daughter away…

bonus.marriage_of_milton_and_bourbon.txt · Last modified: 2008/04/05 19:51 by ivan