There are two examples I can think of when a monarchy was nearly turned into a democratic republic. The first example was when Simon de Montfort led England’s barons to overthrow King Henry III. This rebellion ultimately failed, but it gave rise to Parliament. The second example was during the English Civil War where King Charles I was overthrow and executed by his subjects. For a time, England was a democratic republic until King Charles II took back the crown, reestablished the monarchy, and executed all the rebels who were responsible for his father’s regicide even those who were already dead. In my third fantasy book, my main character will be spending three years undermining the authority and credibility of his regents. At the time, my character is in his minority and cannot legally rule under his own power. Despite that, he is able to weaken the power and influence of his regents. As a result, his regents decide to go to war with him by replacing the imperial monarchy with a democratic republic.
As I delve into my research on Louis XIV of France, I started to get a better understanding on his personal life, which includes his relationship with his family. His most complex relationship was with his kid brother, Philippe, Duke of Orleans. When they were children, Louis and Philippe’s mother took extreme measures to make sure Philippe was not a threat to Louis’s claim to the throne. She did this by having Philippe dress in women’s clothing from an early age. She did this to emasculate Philippe in order to augment Louis’s masculinity as king. She even called Philippe “My Little Girl.” This had a long term impact on Philippe all the way up to adulthood and he would frequently dress in women’s clothing. Also, even though he was married twice and had children, Philippe was homosexual and his true soul mate was Philip of Lourraine, who was a handsome, blond-haired noble of princely rank. Philippe’s relationship with his brother was understandably tense because it was no fun being the spare when you want to be the heir. Even though his big brother was the king, Philippe would surpass Louis in one particular area: war. While Louis was a politician and showman at court, Philippe was a warrior and military leader. During the Battle of Cassel, Philippe personally led the French army to victory against the Dutch and Spanish. His valor and courage was so immense that his men were inspired to perform miracles to achieve victory. Philippe’s victory was so great that he gained widespread praise from the French military, which made his brother fiercely jealous. Due to his jealousy of his kid brother, Louis banned Philippe from leading an army again. Over time, Philippe would found the House of Orleans, which is a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon that exists to this day. Through the children of his two marriages, Philippe’s descendants would marry into every monarchy in Europe. This earned Philippe the title, “The Grandfather of Europe.” Overall, if Louis XIV is the Sun King, then Philippe was the Moon Prince. They were two sides of a coin and a perfect double act when it came to brothers. Since I am drawing inspiration from Louis XIV’s life for my third fantasy book, I think I will include a character that is loosely based on Philippe.
Kings and noblemen always had their personal servants with them wherever they went. Easily one of the most famous royal servants would be Alexandre Bontemps, who was the personal valet of Louis XIV of France. Bontemps’s loyalty to his king was so absolute that he spent more time with the king than he did with his own family. As the king’s personal valet, Bontemps slept in the same room as the king, which was something even the queen consort was not allowed. Due to this, Bontemps was always available for the king’s needs at any time. Bontemps was not just Louis XIV’s personal valet, he was the king’s best friend and most trusted confidant. As the king’s personal valet, Bontemps’s duties involved overseeing all the day-to-day affairs of the royal household. I am planning on introducing a character who is the main protagonist’s personal valet and their relationship will mirror the relationship of Louis XIV and Bontemps.
Throughout medieval history, a considerable amount of the culture was influenced by religion. Some of the more extreme zealots wore hair shirts under their clothes as a form of penance. It scrapes their skin as a constant reminder to stay focused on God. Essentially, this is the tool of a fanatic. Simon de Montfort wore a hair shirt under his clothes and his zealotry was so extreme that when he made an oath before God, he was going to see it through no matter what. This was the case when he, Henry III, and the other English barons swore an oath before God in order to abide by a set of laws and if Henry III broke those laws the penalty would be civil war. Inevitably, Henry III broke the oath and Simon responded in kind. Simon may have had God on his side, but no matter how you dress it up he was still waging war against an anointed king, which made him a traitor to the crown. Eventually, Simon’s rebellion was quelled and Simon himself was chopped into pieces. I am thinking of having one of my future fantasy characters this piece of unusual clothing. I am thinking of making this character a pious zealot and an ambitious rebel at the same time like Simon de Montfort.
The Renaissance was a time when all of Europe underwent a series of cultural, artistic, and intellectual changes. It was when Europe transitioned from the Middle Ages to a more modern time. However, despite all of these changes, war was still a part of everyday life, especially the wars of religion between the Protestants and the Catholics. I am thinking of drawing inspiration from the Renaissance in my fantasy series. However, my world’s Renaissance will not be based on intellectual growth. Instead, it will revolve around magic coming back to the world after three hundred years. Some citizens of the Gradaian Empire will see this resurgence of magic to be a sign of the gods, others will see it as a bad omen, and the rest will be opposed to the return of magic altogether. The future conflicts will be between the last Druids and the anti-magic fanatics, which will mirror the conflict between the Protestants and the Catholics.
Next month, a new film will be released on Netflix called The King, which depicts the life and reign of King Henry V of England. Henry V is most famous for defeating the French in the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years War despite being outnumbered five to one. It looks like we will see the Battle of Agincourt in all its epic glory. Also, we will get to see a new version of Sir John Falstaff, who was Henry V’s famous companion in Shakespeare plays. Overall, I look forward to seeing this interpretation of this famous warrior king and I hope they do a modern version of the Saint Crispin’s Day speech, the best battlefield speech ever.
In some of my earlier posts, I mentioned the story of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, the Kingmaker. He was initially King Edward IV’s strongest supporter until he betrayed his king THREE times. The first time, Warwick was forgiven and the third time led to his death. This post will talk about his second act of treason against Edward IV.
Even though Edward pardoned Warwick for betraying him the first time, Warwick was banned from court. As a result, Warwick had no power or influence over the crown, which was the one thing Warwick wanted more than anything else. Warwick betrayed Edward and he didn’t think Edward would take it personally? With his control over Edward long gone, Warwick sought to kill or replace him with his younger brother, George, Duke of Clarence.
To achieve their goal, Warwick and Clarence orchestrated a rebellion in Lincolnshire with Sir Robert Welles serving as their proxy. However, this rebellion was swiftly quelled by Edward’s army. After the battle, Edward’s troops removed all the clothing from the rebel corpses that could identify them, which resulted in the battlefield being named “Losecoat Field.” Welles confessed working with Warwick and Clarence and even provided letters that implicated them in the rebellion. Welles was executed for his own treason shortly afterwards.
Utterly disgraced, Warwick and Clarence knew Edward would not pardon them a second time. Therefore, they fled England to France, where they formed an alliance with Queen Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI. This became Warwick’s third act of treason against Edward IV.
I am thinking of portraying a similar chain of events in my third fantasy book where one of the main character’s former supporters staged a proxy rebellion against them.