Morrell8: Why ever not?! It'll be fun!
Other Guys: I'm going to assume that Masters isn't having a drunken party with some French guy with some stolen claret. Now, if this was a parody or I wasn't running out of space in the story I might well have done it differently, but yeah, I'm gonna assume that his wild assumption is correct! I would love to do a parody though of this whole time traveller thing. That'd be kind of cool. I mean, imagine if some Valley Girl got sent back to 1399.
Chapter 43a – The Last Years of Henry VI
Summarised from Chapter 10 of ’Britannia Triumphant’ by Lady Mendenhall.
The last 19 years of King Henry’s reign was one of continued expansion and growth for the British Empire. As the King grew older he retired more and more from public life. Illness from his time in South America came back to haunt him later on in his life, with the result that his public appearances became fewer.
On the cultural and economic front, this era saw a rise in innovations. It was in this time that steam power was discovered to be a useful tool, the electrograph’s early prototypes were developed, and breech-loading cannons were first trialled aboard warships.
During 1777 the current system of currency was introduced, dispensing of many of the older forms of coins, and issuance of paper money for larger transactions. Though disruptive, this reform strengthened the economic viability of the Empire. From thenceforward the system of coins would be pence, shillings and pounds, also called crowns. With this went many of the old abuses of office and judicial grants.
In the military sphere, a series of strong Wheat Chief Ministers led to rapid expansion abroad. In India victories over the native princes doubled the British sphere of influence there. The massed armies of valiant cavalry which had once humbled Britain were now hopelessly outclassed by the rifle armed infantry and heavy artillery.
These campaigns, fought with a minimal amount of British casualties, were made possible by revolutions in supplies. Canning of food and purification of water enabled the armies to move further in harsh terrain than even their enemies.
In a war with the Spanish started by the short lived Barley Chief Minister John Dalton, British forces intervened to help the rebels in South America achieve independence. The slight contradiction involved in British forces helping rebels so soon after repressing their own was not lost on many. John Dalton furthermore was a Barley, and therefore not popular with his own party, and in the next election George Alten of the Wheats was swept into power, as the Barleys split on foreign policy.
On a more personal note, King Henry’s only failure was that his only heir to survive infancy, Prince William, died in 1778. The Prince had followed in his father’s footsteps for the most part, being stern, serious and sober. However, on his 38th birthday he was persuaded to go on a hunt, despite the fate of many British princes in this regard! Regardless the Prince’s horse reared and fell, the unfortunate William expiring soon afterwards.
The King had to turn to his brother James, a man not of the most brilliant intellect or military skill, but a gregarious and well liked man. Though already thirty-three he had married the beautiful and influential Caroline Adams, and she was pregnant already with their first daughter Anne. The succession was assured.
The King celebrated the marriage and pregnancy of his brother and Princess Caroline with a grand ball in the capital. However, the exertions taxed the seventy-seven year old King too much, and his health declined rapidly so that just two days over a year later King Henry VI died. He had been in almost every way an admirable king, and for fifty two years he had brought Great Britain to heights of power undreamed of before. When he died he left a powerful state, not knowing that a great crisis was just about to break.