King of Men: First thank you for commenting. As for kingship - Maurice is still English (by culture) and an English vassal so he feels more comfortable with the English title of Duke. An Irish (culturally) successor might think differently...
J. Passepartout: Well obviously.
I can see my transition to a more serious style hasnt been very popular. I'm sorry guys, but i wasn't sure if I could sustain a pure comedy AAR.
Part 5: To Court a Wife
Above: Maurice fixes his army payrolls.
Edward IV was heavily involved in wars. Quite apart from the tradtional fighting with France he somehow managed to find himself at war with the Prince of Novrogrod, who had the gall to actually sail up the Thames and sack London while the English armies were in Aquitaine, so to his great annoyance Maurice found incessant demands for levies arriving at his hall. Reluctantly he agreed, but spitefully ordered his Steward to cut there upkeep to the bone.
"He can have my men, but I'll be damned if I pay for them."
Unfortunatly this lack of men, accompanied by a lack of, ahem, "legitimate" claims in Ireland hampered any potential wars. Which was just as well really as Maurice was busying with something infinitely more dangerous: wifehunting.
The obvious candidate was the only child of a wealthy earl or duke. Unfortunately there was no such noblewoman in Ireland and Maurice had determined he would need to marry an Irishwoman if he and his family were to be fully accepted as rulers of Ireland. Still there were two potential brides: Ben Muman of Leinster and Gráinne of Tir Connail. Daughters of their respective native kings. After some hesitation Maurice asked Eleanor (now restored as Chancellor) if she had any advice:
"Well Your Grace," she said after some thought, "Gráinne is probably the better of the two. She's intelligent well educated and very regal and it will be easier to persuade Tir Connail to give one of several children the Leinster to give his one. Though to be fair she's also proud, cruel and selfish."
"Sounds perfect. Soft mothers make for soft sons. Is she pretty?"
"Fairly so Your Grace - certainly more so than the Leinster lady."
So it was that Gráinne O'Domhnaill became Duchess of Munster. Or rather, to her mind Queen of Munster: the O'Domhnaills of Tir Connail were very oldfangled culturally with little adoption of English culture. Her husbands famous Norman name and English titles meant nothing to her, the fact that he was a descendant of the O'Brien kings of Munster and now ruler of that ancient province meant everything.
Certainly despite potential cultural conflict the two experienced instant connection in one important respect: within a week Gráinne was pregnant. A passionate, ferociously proud young woman she had seen something within her husband that drew her deeply and he with her. A flame soon kindled between them.
To Eleanors dismay she followed this achievement by completing her education and revealing herself to be a first class diplomat (the phrase 'grey emminence' was used) and she found herself demoted back to Spy Mistress in favour of the Duchess (or Queen).
Above: Gráinne O'Domhnaill, Duchess of Munster (or Queen of Munster)
Though she had no English and very little French, she spoke beautiful and very pure Irish and considerable Latin (the only language she shared relative profiency with her husband, though she was teaching him Irish). Certainly when she wanted too Gráinne had little danger making herself understood.
In December of that year (1354) she gave birth to a son, whom she convinced Maurice to name Flaithbeartach. She was absolutely determined to raise this son and heir in the old Irish ways.
Above: Flaithbeartach Fitzgerald, future Duke... and perhaps Rí