“Happy the man whom this bright court approves,
His sovereign favours, and his country loves!”

Court is held wherever the King happens to be. Made up of hundreds of courtiers and countless servants, it is a substantial affair. The Royal Court is in many ways an exercise in theatre: full of pageantry, expensively coiffured and dressed lords and ladies, and elaborate rituals. But the King's Court is also the nearest thing to a national government (barring the Parliamentary debates) and, as all water flows to the sea, all the power and money of Albion flows inevitably to Court. No-one who wants power, money, prestige or the highest privileges and duties of nobility can afford to be long away from it.

Everyone invited to Court is able to attend the Presence Chamber. In the Oxford palace this is a great hall capable of holding hundreds. Here the King holds his public audiences and the great banquets and entertainments of state. Most of the courtiers dine here at lunch and supper. Adorned with paintings and tapestries, lit by great windows and with golden and silver plates this is a mighty display of the King's wealth.

You, however, are a cut above even the powerful people who dine and plot and vie for the King's favour in the Presence Chamber. For whatever reason, you are permitted to attend the King in his Privy Chamber. These are the King's own private living quarters where he plays cards, passes his meals away from prying eyes and converses with his favourites. Only the Royal Bedchamber is more exclusive.


Court is normally held in the Royal Palace on The Isle of Oxford. The premium of dry land means that only the most elite and privalaged are put up in the Palace's chambers themselves and many are lucky to even find accommodation within the city. (Obviously at a sufficiently high rank, not being offered lodgings at court becomes a way of snubbing someone. This is an insult that the Spanish Ambassador must frequently stomach).

Court regularly changes palaces, often with a great deal of pomp and ceremony on holy days. The reason for this regular rotation is however less divine, in an age without sewers the palaces must be “aired and sweetened” frequently if they are to remain habitable. When the Court is not in attendance a warden and his caretaker staff maintains the palace.

But sometimes, particularly in the summer, the King will undertake a Progress. Leaving the city to visit one or more of his nobles in the countryside, everyone else in the court is expected to accompany him. This an immense undertaking requiring ships and boats to carry everything from the Royal wardrobe to archives of vital legal paper. Preceeding this procession is an army of servants required to make every reststop and port along the way worthy of the monarch. When it does finally reach its destination the lucky noble host must feed and house the King and much of his court at his own expense (and somehow find the land for it all). For the King to visit is amongst the highest honours a noble may recive but not even the richest can afford it for long, making it a very convenient way for the King to check such a noble's power.

If Court is not being held in Oxford, the GM team will announce it at the start of the session, and usually also during the news.

Cry God for Harry

No new physical harm may be fall anyone within the area of the Magical ritual known as Cry God for Harry, which is cast at every official Court meeting, no matter where it might be held. People can still die of old age, or commit an act of public treason that will result in their execution when they leave, but blades turn aside and poisons lose their sting. It should be noted that this extends to any beings within the influence of this ritual, no matter how corrupt. Anecdotal evidence from the Banquet We Don’t Talk About Any More suggests that this makes even exorcisms within the circle entirely impossible.

You should inform the GM team in advance if you expect to commit an act of violence at court. You should also inform in advance if you have come up with a fiendish - possibly literally - way of circumventing the ritual. We won't ban it out of hand but we will almost certainly need to prepare. Of course, sometimes your character will just be provoked out of the blue; in that case just find a free GM and we'll play it by ear.

The ritual is something of a mystery to the courtiers. It is well-known that it is performed prior to the Court's arrival at one of the palaces, and many courtiers have seen parts of it performed. The effect is even better known; some of the crueler courtiers delight in stabbing themselves or others in front of newcomers to the court. It doesn't matter that most will know in advance that nothing will happen, few truly believe in their guts till they see it occur. Fortunately this is seen as extremely gauche.

The nature of the ritual as a whole, however, is known only to the most senior Theurges of the realm. The Regicide of King Henry IX, following the subversion of the spell, led to the tightening of security for the ritual and very little information about it is allowed to slip out. Despite the numbers of times it must be perfomed every year, it remains an unpenetrated secret; even the magical Tokens, if any, are mere rumours.


The court of King Matthew is far freer than of many of his ancestors but certain protocols are observed.


In general, titled Nobles with whom one is not acquainted are referred to formally as follows, using the examples of John of Oxford and Mary of Cambridge. Referring to a noble within Court otherwise may be considered gauche, impertinent or a snub, depending on one's relative rank.

Friends sometimes refer to one another by first name and sometimes by family or land name.

Knight/Dame - “Sir”, “Dame”; more familiarly, “Sir John”, “Dame Mary”.
Baron(ess), Viscount(ess) or Earl/Countess - “My Lord”, “My Lady”; more familiarly, “Lord Oxford”, “Lady Cambridge”.
Duke/Duchess - “Your Grace” (no other form less familiar than first name).
Prince(ss) - “Your Highness”.
King - “Your Majesty”; more familiarly, “Majesty”.

Military, Academic and Clerical ranks should be relatively self-explanatory; except to note that clergymen are usually referred to as “Reverend” or “Reverend Doctor” below the rank of Bishop, and that Bishops, Archbishops (and Cardinals in the Catholic church) are known as “Your Grace”. Rabbis are generally referred to as “Rabbi”, though some prefer the Anglicisation “Teacher”.

Ambassadors are referred to as “Your Excellency” and more familiarly by first name or title in their home country.


Officially, the Monarch's subjects kneel when he enters a room and do not rise until he gives permission.

King Matthew has been known to quietly dissaprove of this ritual, but seems to prefer to keep up appearences.

court.txt · Last modified: 2007/10/02 01:51 by helen