Sather: Congrats. Yes, I meant half not double. I'll fix. Glad you liked it otherwise!
morningSIDEr: I think Benjamin's a lot more experienced than his son in many ways. Good to be prepared.
Dewirix: Nah. Her Ladyship has a thousand times his cash on hand. He'll need more than that. Besides, he's just going for a meeting. What could go wrong?
Loki: Glad you liked it! Loving your Ming AAR, as I've said.
And now...the first twist in this tale of the history!
Chapter 6a – The Burgundian King
Summarised from Chapter 2 of ’Britannia Triumphant’ by Lady Mendenhall.
Victory over France twice had bolstered the King’s reputation to almost unprecedented levels. However, the stress of campaigning and a minor wound he had sustained led to Edward’s health worsening. Over the winter of 1424-5 the King grew more and more ill, and it was clear that he would not survive the new year.
The King’s son Charles, who had avoided his future realm for almost five years was recalled from Burgundy. Friction with his father persisted though, leading to the designation of Calais as the staple port, the key trading and command post on the continent. This led to an open rift between father and son, and for the last few months of his life the King could barely stand to hear his son’s name mentioned. The fact that his son had rejected an English bride in favour of a Burgundian also did not help.
Into this time of uncertainly came Richard de Vere, Earl of Oxford. Richard was a man of considerable cunning and intelligence. Faced with an ailing monarch and an unpopular heir he started to manoeuvre himself and his family into a greater position. The fact was that his son was the most direct heir to the throne remaining, Richard having married Edmund of Langley’s daughter Constance. Their son, ironically called Charles, was thus the cousin of the heir, and the one with the best standing.
In November 1425 King Edward finally died after a long illness. In just over twenty six years he had rescued English fortunes in France, achieved something of a consensus with parliament, and laid the foundations for future greatness. However, he is not well remembered simply because his son Charles was not as English, warlike or sensible as he.
Charles I was crowned on December 1st 1425. With his accession the crown of Castille passed to him, and officially he gained control over more than half the Iberian Peninsula. This was, of course, a ludicrous situation, as the King in London could not control another kingdom as large in territory and people as his own. Therefore the King wisely delegated power to a cadet branch of the Trastámara family, allowing them to rule the Kingdom freely as long as they acknowledged the overlordship of the English. Incredibly this expedient worked, and Castille would be a loyal ally of England for nearly two centuries.
As a man Charles I had less to recommend him. While intelligent and personally charming he made little effort to understand his subjects, and even less to work with parliament. He also showed no inclination to continue an aggressive foreign policy, and may indeed have shirked from the responsibility. He was however able to provide fiscal and cultural renewal, and even while he was a Prince he had been an enthusiastic patron of the arts.
Despite these good points though his people never liked him, worse, they never respected him. Even when Richard de Vere spoke against him in Parliament he stayed his hand. Like his father he was a moderate when it came to enforcing religious uniformity. Although today this toleration would have been welcomed, in his day it was viewed with distrust and as a sign of weakness.
Furthermore, his marriage to Marguerite of Cambray was childless and unhappy, as Charles was much more interested in a stable of mistresses. After just four years on the throne the King took ill and died on the 27th of June 1429. Rumours he was poisoned are generally deemed to be false, as is the suggestion the King died of venereal disease.
Whatever the cause, the King’s death brought to power Richard de Vere’s son as King Charles II. The long and spectacular ascendancy of the de Veres had begun.
(For the record I didn't force the death of Charles I. This all happened by itself.)
(In case it's unclear I released Castille as an allied vassal. They helped me a LOT in the decades and centuries to come.)
(EDIT: Having written this before 'Anonymous' came out, I was amused that it featured a de Vere. It was quite a coincidence!)