by the Grace of God King of the Archipelago of Albion, the Netherlands, Navarre, Lord of Gibraltar and the Colonies
Born from the blood of two great Elizabeths,
The noblest and most high-borne of the North and South,
Our young Prince Matthew to be crowned departs.
Emerging from that most holy house of God,
Anointed, crowned and blessed in hope,
King Matthew, our greatest lord
A coronation poem by Sir Winston Feathergill of Queen's College Oxford on the occasion of the King's Coronation in Oxford Cathedral on April 24th 1626
Matthew Tudor was born to Queen Elizabeth II on August 31st 1607 during the early months of strife in the First Civil War after his father, King Henry IX, was murdered. Though the Queen wished to devote all the time she could to her son, the problems of fighting a war, even with the help of many brilliant advisors, meant that she had to leave much of Matthew's upbringing to nurses, courtiers, churchmen and Lords.
Constant danger overshadowed his childhood as his existence meant that neither Rebels nor Scots could truly remove or replace the monarchy without the death of both his mother and himself. He often moved around from city to castle to city to island and spent three years abroad, briefly in the Netherlands and for longer in France.
By 1616, when he was nine, the strife ended and rebuilding began and Matthew's education almost began anew. The great men and women of the age took interest in the young Prince and with his mother's blessing he was tutored by them. The Earl of Hertfordshire, the Lord-General Edward de Vries, provided a sound military education, the Archbishop of York, His Grace William Frewen helped develop a knowledge of God and the Church and through the likes of the Countess of Reading and Prime Minister Duke Milton he gleaned political understanding.
Prince Matthew thus grew up with a composite and thorough (if not continuous) education that could be envied by any nobleman and even his Father. By the age of 20 he took a keen interest in all aspects of Albion and its government and like his mother dabbled in the philosophies and ideas of magics. He joined the Earl of Essex's Dragoons and as a Captain saw his first few battles in Ireland and Scotland where he developed an interest in the use of unorthodox tactics and took to the emerging practice of using beasts and applied magics in battle.
Through the insistence of Lord Thomas Wriothesley the King was reluctantly introduced to all aspects of Parliament and though more enthusiastic than his father, he never became as familiar with it as the Queen.
After his mother's death in 1626, Matthew quickly adapted to the necessities of running the Archipelago. Indeed, he had spent the previous years helping the affairs of state and engaging in the governance of the country and few could doubt his capacity to rule the whole country.
King Matthew is known to be competent, composed and intelligent but not without a rash and dashing side to him. More than anything perhaps he loves the sea and sailing and is known as an accomplished Captain of ships. To those around him he is charming, but appears to always be on his guard, listening and evaluating (unless it's really dull of course).
Yet he can be complacent and is often exasperated by excess courtesy and displays of false affection or friendship. He has been rude and curt in Parliament and once expressed his amazement at the complexity of a proposed law which he saw in simpler terms. The proposing MP and company refused to budge and invited the King to discuss the simpler subjects of literature and poetry with them later. The Prince had restrained himself then, but the coffee house those MPs were known to frequent soon burnt down and they failed to be elected to Parliament for the next sitting. Whether this can be attributed to Matthew is unclear but it was doubtless a royal retort to Parliament's sneer.
King Matthew was married to Princess Joanne d'Orleans of France almost against his wishes. The young princess, daughter of the French king, had met Prince Matthew as a young man on one of his visits to France and fallen for him. Matthew himself seemed to have taken no notice at the time but within years Joanne had persuaded her father, some suspect by arcane means, to demand their marriage in return for an alliance against Spain. Queen Elizabeth was in need for support for the continued tensions with Spain and their overseas colonies and happily accepted the offer seeing in Joanne a most excellent bride for her son.
It seems that the King may have warmed to her since their marriage, but nobody can quite be sure and despite the birth of five children (and another two stillborn) rumours still abound.
King Matthew's mother, now dead, and a monarch as beloved as King Henry IX, Matthew's father. Taking the reins of state very firmly after her husband's murder at the hands of the treacherous Catholic William of Arundel, she dragged Albion safely through its darkest years. Knowing her strengths and weaknesses she ruled, delegated and led the country through a decade of strife and then carefully rebuilt it island by island.
Though she never achieved a firmer peace in either the Scottish highlands or beyond the Pale of Ireland, she left to her son a greater legacy than English Kings could have dreamed of.
Born in 1624, not long after the Marriage of Prince Matthew and Princess Joanne, she is now the heir to the throne. And a large burden for the Monarchy. She is said to be spoilt, rude, and stupid, all of which are only made up by her incredible beauty, one coveted by the Lords and Kings across Europe.
Born in 1625, Richard is growing up to be a strapping young lad. He has perhaps an excess of love for women, drink and fighting, but these qualities make him a perfect candidate for a Dragoon or Army officer. Education of other sort has rubbed onto him a little and given him a healthy respect for books - though he doesn't want to read them, he knows not to burn them or use them as toilet paper either.
The royal twins of 1632 these are but young children yet but there is all hope that they might become great princes in time. King Matthew has devoted significant effort to their good education in all matters of state.
Born in 1633, she is a quiet girl and the opposite of her sister. Sometimes it's as if she is not there before she suddenly appears behind you. She has expressed little interest in anything but her own world she imagines to be in, chasing after ghosts, speaking with angels and seeing the world from unknown vantage points.
King Matthew, like any monarch, is no strange to rumours and various, of varying truth and varying sanity can be gleaned in the pits, taverns, lecture halls and staterooms of Oxford and beyond.
“The King's planning to take the continent by storm, he's been talking countries up to destroy Catholic Spain once and for all.”
“They ain't the King's children, bastards the lot of 'em. Queen Joanne might like the idea of queening in our lands but she only rides French stallion. Now that says something.”
“I've only ever seen the King in that ridiculous hat! It's all the rage in Italy but why would an Albion King wear such Catholic foppery?”
“See that nose, those eyes, I ain't fooled Sir Thomas, King Henry is alive and well thanks to Heaven's Angels and and living as his son. It's why the let Queen Elizabeth rule - with his blessing.”