Salik

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Portrait: Margrethe of Great Britain

250px-Annasophiereventlow.jpg

Margrethe of Great Britain

That Margrethe of Great Britain is one of the first names that come up when people are asked to name a prominent person of the Imperial Era is not surprising. It was during her reign that the tradition of provincial festivals was started, the splendour and lavishness of which are a staple in any depiction of the period. It was she who made a friend out of Great Britain, with all the benefits and sorrows that would follow from that alliance. It was she who took the council of men of the enlightenment, accepting as one of the first European nations the idea of physiocracy, the basis of Smithian Economics, and sponsoring the diverse sciences which would establish the empire as a standard bearer of reason and of the scientific revolution. It was she who finally brought the last of the Christian Russians under Danish rule, when her armies conquered the beautiful Novgorod, which would take such a prominent position in the mythos of Scandinavia. Meanwhile, her apparently close relations with Franz Scholten, the draconian spymaster of Frederik IV, has been a source of speculation and rumours for more than three centuries.

But the real Margrethe has faded somewhat from memory, even to the point where many of the people who mention her probably have her confused with her daughter Margrethe Gyldenstierne.
It might therefore be advisable to give a short recount of her life and unusual ascend to power.

Margrethe was born Henrietta Margaret as the youngest child and only daughter of Henry VIII of Great Britain and Anne of Brunswick in 1669. She spent most of her childhood outside of London, at Windsor Castle, where the royal children were allowed a great deal of freedom compared to those in other countries. Henrietta Margaret had her own plot of land with tame rabbits and vegetable gardens, which she apparently tended to herself. Being the younger sister of three princes, she became the favourite of the entire household, and her parents gave her anything she desired. It was therefore that she first came to Copenhagen in 1687 for the 25th anniversary of Frederik IV. She had insisted on following her brother George (IV), who was attending the celebrations as the first step on his grand tour of Europe, and her parents had given in, sending their 18 year old daughter out to test her wings on the great scene, which they probably suspected that she would one day be part of as queen consort in one of the European courts. What her own motives were are not clear, but the young woman with her great appetite for life probably just wanted to get away from her parents and their bland court at Windsor, to see the splendour and pomp which the new Emperor was known for throughout Europe.

Frederik IV had been a widower for three years, since the death of his first wife Louisa of Baden. He had not remarried, even though he still lived in a morganatic marriage with Helene Vieregg, the daughter of the Brunswickian ambassador. When the king met the young British woman, he showed such an interest in her, that Helene Vieregg is said to have exclaimed “that one will be my successor!” Henrietta Margaret on her side, was so flattered by the king’s interest that her brother had her placed under guard in their rented mansion in order to avoid scandal.

There followed a heavy three-way traffic of letters between Frederiksborg, Windsor and the Ulfeldt mansion on Gråbrødetorv, which the princess and her brother rented from the king while they were in Copenhagen. Frederik had his diplomats put all their attention to securing the approval of a marriage from Henry VIII, who on his side was busy sending strict instructions to his son not to leave Copenhagen under any circumstances until Henrietta Margaret was safely out of the country, and to his daughter to coerce her to come home immediately. Meanwhile, the king and the princess managed to carry out a correspondence through more or less hidden means. Even though Prince George had every reason to be suspicious of the 50 year old man courting his sister, he could not prevent the sovereign king and emperor of Northern Europe from accessing his own house in his own capital.

However, after two months of courting, Prince George finally managed to get his sister out of the country and back to London, and the king went on his big tour of the realm and of Europe (see Chapter XLI: The Billy Goat). The correspondence between him and Henrietta Margaret continued throughout the journey, and on the way back from Italy, the king made a stop in London, where he personally approached the king and asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Faced with such a prominent guest basically humiliating himself at his feet, and the insistence of his daughter, king Henry finally gave in on the condition that Helene Vieregg was to be sent away to a monastery, and that Henrietta Margaret would be allowed not to renounce the pope, as otherwise required for anyone living within the Empire.

So when Frederik IV returned to his capital, he brought more than just new plans and enthusiasm, he also brought a new queen and empress, who was already pregnant with her first child. As queen, Henrietta Margaret went by the Danish version of her second name, Margrethe, and when her daughter was born, she was given the same name as her mother.

The happiness of the newlyweds only lasted for 20 months before Frederik IV died from the complications of a fall (see Chapter XLII: Up In Smoke), and the kingdom was put on the verge of chaos as the legitimate heir, Vilhelm (II) Gyldenstierne could not be found. It was then that the still very young queen came to the rescue of all those who had relied on her husband for their power and influence. At the death of her husband, she was five months pregnant. The child, if it was a boy, would technically be before Vilhelm in the line of succession, even if it had not been born at the time of Frederik IV’s death. Had Vilhelm been present, his being alive and grown up would probably have overruled this technicality, but in the absence of any male heir, the lawyers of the Statskancelli proclaimed, that the question of succession would have to wait until the child was born. Until then, Margrethe was literally seen as carrying the king of Denmark, Norway and Sweden etc., Emperor of the New Rome, and as such she was installed as a figurehead for a regency council consisting of Harald Danneskiold, Franz Scholten and Ditlev Reventlow.

When her son Frederik (V) was born in June 1690, Margrethe was proclaimed “All-powerful Lady and Regent”, the same title as Margrethe Valdemarsdatter had held in the 14th century (see Chapter I: The Adolescence of Erik VII, Chapter II: An Untimely Event), and as such, she is also known by the name Margrethe II, even though she never was monarch in name.
 
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Chris Taylor

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Salik, I'm not normally a fan of the narrative-heavy AARs (I like a lot of pretty pictures, maps or screenshots), but you've done a terrific job in weaving a believable story about the Union and Denmark. Although I'm an Anglophile at heart, I felt your pain at being unable to pre-empt or intercept a couple of those early 15th century amphibious invasions from England/Britain.

Well done! Looking forward to the next installment.
 
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Salik

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And Vilheilm will be...an uncle.
Cool segment, now lets see the Regency grapple with all the problems of Europe

Yes, with the Little King gone, a lot of people have an axe to grind with his empire.

Salik, I'm not normally a fan of the narrative-heavy AARs (I like a lot of pretty pictures, maps or screenshots), but you've done a terrific job in weaving a believable story about the Union and Denmark. Although I'm an Anglophile at heart, I felt your pain at being unable to pre-empt or intercept a couple of those early 15th century amphibious invasions from England/Britain.

Well done! Looking forward to the next installment.

I am glad that you like it. I enjoy your own excellent AAR very much too. I envy your graphic skills.

Cool.
Now just try to keep the baby alive.
Sun King of North?
He could rule quite long...

He could indeed. For now, his mother will have to rule in his place.
 

Salik

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Factbox: What The Star Shone Upon

Gyldenstjerne.png


Coat of arms of the House of Gyldenstierne

“Gyldne Stjerne, Himmelsøn
Stiger ned på Jord
Lyset fra den have skøn
Skinner på det høje Nord”

”Golden Star, son of Heaven
Descending to Earth
Light from the fair garden
Shines upon the high North”

Thus wrote Thomas Kingo, the psalmist and royal poet, at the birth of Frederik V in 1690. The birth of a prince was seen as a sign of divine favour for the kingdom, and the infant king to be was adored and spoken of almost as if he had literally descended from Heaven. This lavish praise was not lessened by the fact, that Frederik was the first son of a king to be born since Harald Gyldenstierne was born to Harald IV and Vibeke Kruse in 1615 (see Factbox: The Private Life of Harald IV), and the first one to be born first in line to the throne since Christopher III in 1606.

As seen in the previous chapter, the newborn child was born as king, and his reign is officially counted from his birth, though his anointment was put off till after his first communion, as per the requirements of Kongeloven. Most unofficial rosters of kings tend to include his mother Margrethe of Great Britain as reigning from 1690, and some even include his uncle as Vilhelm II, since he was theoretically king in the four months between the death of Frederik IV and the birth of Frederik V. Many learned discussions on this important and interesting legal issue have been written through the years, most notably Keiser (1902) and Frölich (1845), but we are getting carried away, so let it suffice to say, that this work chooses to include both Vilhelm and Margrethe as monarchs.

At this point, it would be prudent to take a look at the empire that Frederik inherited. This is most easily done by breaking down his title:

By grace of God king of Denmark-Norway-Sweden…

The core and heartland of the empire was, of course, the triple kingdom of Denmark-Norway-Sweden, which stretched from river Eider to Norrkapp , including the Scandinavian peninsula, the Danish isles and the Jutland peninsula.

… Duke of Pomerania, Mecklenburg-Ruppin, Lüneburg, Finland, Estonia, Kurland, Livland and of the Poles, Prince of Danzig, Bremen, Hamburg and Riga…
South of the Eider were the several duchies (Pomerania, Mecklenburg-Ruppin, Lüneburg, Finland, Estonia, Kurland, Livland and of the Poles) and free cities (Danzig, Bremen, Hamburg and Riga).

20101121130019.jpg

The kingdom, duchies and free cities.​
…Lord of Iceland, Greenland, Vinland and adjoining territories

This was a rather antiquated way to speak of what was by the late 17th century a vast empire in the Western hemisphere. Iceland and Greenland were ancient Norse settlements, which had been under the Norwegian crown since medieval times. Greenland had been resettled under Christian I in the 15th century.

20101121130029.jpg

Greenland and Iceland​

Later on, Danish claims had been laid to all the land from Vinland in the Northeast
20101121130035.jpg

Vinland​

along the Arctic coast to Ny Sverige, Ny Norge and Ny Finland in the West and south to the great plains of Arveprinsens Land, Sølandet and other still sparsely populated areas.

20101121130051.jpg

Sølandet​

These territories were somewhat cut off from each other by Castilian and British possessions. Furthermore, the two colonies of Skt. Knud Konge and Vor Frue on the Mississippi were still on Danish hands, the sad remains of the vast territories that had been claimed before the catastrophic Oldenburg War

20101121130058.jpg

Skt. Knud Kong and Vor Frue​

This constituted the first tier of influence. These were the lands in which Frederik was sovereign master and heir, the lands which he owned personally, including every man, woman and child, every house, every forest, down to the very last chicken, all of this was his personal property.

… High Lord of Ireland, Trier and Brunswick…

This constituted the second tier of influence. The dukes of these three realms had all acknowledged the king of Denmark as their feudal lord. They were required to assist the king in war and to pay annual taxes, but were otherwise free to organize as they wished internally.

… Emperor of the New Rome.

The emperor was chosen by electors, of which the Prince-Bishop of Trier and the Margrave of Brunswick were vassals of the king of Denmark, and backed him unconditionally. This made it possible for an infant to be elected emperor, since these two electors, along with Frederik’s second cousin Augustus, the archduke of Saxony, was enough to swing the electoral college of seven into voting for Frederik.
Apart from Saxony, Trier and Brunswick, the Empire consisted of the archduchies Brandenburg, Hesse, Anhalt, Cleves and Wurtemberg, the and Archbishopric of Cologne. In these territories, the king could position his armies, and he was obliged to protect them in case of war. In reality, most of them were heavily reliant on Copenhagen for protection against the aggressively Reformed southern German states led by Austria, and thus very much under Frederik, or rather, his mother’s thumb.

 
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Salik

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i'm amazed you've kept those two colonies in the Mississippi for so long.

I don't think Castille were interested in those colonies, and so, no war ever came about. I did concider selling them at one point, but ended up not doing it.

High time to re-expand there and regain access to a port along the Mississippidelta.

Well, that would mean taking on Castile, and I don't think I can do that at the moment, they are way too strong in North America.

I think you should work for better colonial borders.
Although your Canadian borders are awesome.

There will be wars in North America, and borders will change
 

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No need to face down the giant of Castille; if the Danes can best the British at sea you can expand eastwards into modern-day Alabama; and perhaps seize the shores of Lake Michigan.
 

Salik

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No need to face down the giant of Castille; if the Danes can best the British at sea you can expand eastwards into modern-day Alabama; and perhaps seize the shores of Lake Michigan.

Ah, but with the daughter of the British king as regent for her infant son, a war against the British is not around the corner
 

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Ah, but with the daughter of the British king as regent for her infant son, a war against the British is not around the corner
In that case, I'll just wait and see what the future brings. Clearly Denmark's ambition cannot be curbed, but who knows in what way it will look next?
 

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I am delighted to announce, that I have now played the game to an end, and that I can't wait to wrap up this story. Of course, there still remains 130 years in the AAR, but I will do my best to have an update ready early next week, when I'm back home from my parents place and have my notes with me.

Interesting times are ahead for Denmark, and for Europe
 

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Looking forward to seeing how it works out. Hope you enjoyed playing it almost as much as you will writing it. :D
 

Milites

Not a Sahib
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*Drools slightly*

What a wonderful colour the Baltic has acquired. Looking forward to just how you're going to wrap up this delightful alternate, and much much better, development of the Union of Kalmar.
 

blsteen

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I am delighted to announce, that I have now played the game to an end, and that I can't wait to wrap up this story. Of course, there still remains 130 years in the AAR, but I will do my best to have an update ready early next week, when I'm back home from my parents place and have my notes with me.

Interesting times are ahead for Denmark, and for Europe

Superb, I look forward to it
 

Salik

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Chapter XLIII: Silence Is Golden

Gyldenstjerne.png


Coat of arms of the House of Gyldenstierne

The Northern Empire, or the Empire of the New Rome, was a successor state to the Holy Roman Empire. Although several great reforms had been made in the wake of Frederik IV’s election as emperor and the subsequent secession of Austria and her minions, the basic constitutional framework remained. The Emperor was chosen by an Electoral College of seven princes of the empire. In 1690, those electors were the prince bishops of Trier and Cologne, the margrave of Brunswick and the archdukes of Saxony, Brandenburg, Wurtemberg and Anhalt. The laws of the Holy Roman Empire had stipulated, that the Emperor needed to be at least 18 years of age, but with the foundation of the Northern Empire, that condition had been somewhat stealthily written out of the Imperial Laws. So when the Electoral College assembled upon the death of Frederik IV in 1690 to elect a new emperor, the electors of Wurtemberg and Anhalt were scandalized to learn, that an alliance of the two Danish vassals Trier and Brunswick along with August of Saxony, a cousin of Frederik IV, and a somewhat queasy looking archduke of Brandenburg all cast their votes on the newborn son of the deceased emperor. The bishop of Cologne verged on disapproving of the election, but in the end stayed silent as the two archdukes, who had hoped to elect a weak emperor, protested loudly.

hre.jpg

The Northern Empire. In green the kingdom of Denmark-Sweden-Norway and the duchies, in blue the vassals of the Danish crown who voted for Frederik V as emperor, in yellow Saxony and Brandenburg, who also voted for Frederik. In red those electors who voted for Eberhard of Wurtemberg as emperor and in grey those areas of the Empire not ruled by electors.

In the months following the election, some of the princes who were not electors also protested, most notably the count palatine of the Rhine. The court in Vienna sent out a sour statement, deriding the fact that toddler was now a contender for the title of Roman Emperor, which title Franz III also laid claim to, and making an ill concealed invitation to those princes of the Empire who were opposed to Frederik V, to join the Habsburg sphere of influence in putting the upstart House of Gyldenstierne and their new British matriarch in their right place.

The response from Copenhagen was a swift and merciless display of power. In February 1692, Danish armies crossed the border to the archduchy of Magdeburg. Magdeburg was officially non-affiliated in the conflict between the Austrian and Danish empires, but was leaning heavily towards the Habsburg side ever since gaining its independence from Denmark in the Imperial War (1655-57). With the prospect of a former duchy under the Danish crown joining the Habsburg Empire, and with some murmuring about vote rigging and diminishing privileges among the princes of the Northern Empire, the regency council led by Margrethe decided to remind the quarrelling princes once and for all what military power they were up against. Eberhard III of Wurtemberg had hoped to be elected Emperor, and was eager to show his enthusiasm for the rights of the archduchies against the Imperial authority. Therefore he was the first to commit his full support for the cause of Magdeburg, no doubt expecting to win the moral leadership of a massive German alliance. However, no other German states, not even Austria, joined the war.

So in April 1692, when Magdeburg had been duly reincorporated into the Danish realm, now as its own duchy (for a more detailed description of the constitutional principles of the Danish state, please refer to Factbox: Rosekrantz and Gyldenstierne and Factbox: What The Star Shone Upon), the full attention of the Danish armies were aimed at Wurtemberg. In October archduke Eberhard surrendered his crown to Harald Danneskiold, the illegitimate brother of Frederik IV, uncle to Frederik V, and marshal of the Danish armies, and the Electoral College was firmly under Danish influence.

For a while, Franz III of Austria sat on his hands, choosing not to interfere, but in 1694, when the archduke of Brunswick died and the court in Copenhagen issued an Imperial bull installing the still infant Frederik V as the new duke, he had enough. In February the following year, he joined the count palatine of the Rhine, the Archbishop of Aquileia and the king of Bohemia in declaring war on the “usurper of Copenhagen”. In June an opportunistic and somewhat spooked France joined the war. The Danish expansion in Germany would no go uncontested.
 
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