Continuing from where we left off last month, meet two more characters from this title that started the series, but ended up second in line.
“I am the crown prince of Langdon. I can do whatever I want.”
Heir to the throne of the mighty nation of Langdon, Prince Albert is accustomed to having his own way. When his father demands that he take a bride, Albert is more interested in the woman’s appearance than her benefit to his nation. The rumors of the Rose of Caledon’s beauty have piqued his curiosity. Although an alliance with Zandor would be militarily advantageous, Albert insists on the Caledonian princess, and his father sends a peace treaty to Caledon after nearly 400 years of war.
Birthdate: March 1574
Age at the time of this story: 28
Physical Characteristics: 6’1” tall, 178 lbs, brown hair, blue eyes
Titles: Crown Prince, His Royal Highness
Albert is an accomplished horseman, fond of dancing, gambling, and reading, and accustomed to every comfort and convenience. He has a reputation among the palace staff, and the female servants avoid him at all costs. A notorious playboy, Albert chafes under the knowledge that he must marry to ascend the throne.
“I do not like plain women. And plain women are everywhere. But I have heard rumors about the beauty of the princess of Caledon—she is known as the Caledon Rose. I will have her.
I persuaded my father to offer a peace treaty to Caledon in exchange for her hand. He was not pleased; we have been at war with Caledon for eighty years, and off and on for another three hundred before that. Father would have preferred a treaty with Zandor, a much stronger ally.
But I wanted the Caledon Rose. So the peace treaty was drafted and sent, and promptly accepted. King Edward promised his daughter’s arrival in a fortnight.
My palace bustled with preparations for the princess and the wedding, and I waited in eager anticipation of bedding the Caledon Rose.
But thus far, she has not come, and it has been more than a fortnight. We sent soldiers to seek her entourage, and scouts to inquire of her whereabouts, but no one had heard or seen anything of her.
This is an insult not to be borne! Caledon will pay dearly for this snubbing of Langdon's offer of peace…”
Background Information—Langdon’s Royal Marriage Law:
The son of Langdon’s founder was married to a Caledonian princess, which justified Langdon’s claim to a throne in the eyes of the citizens. From Langdon’s inception, the law required the inheritor of the throne to marry a person of royal blood before ascension. But since the thirteenth century, Bramston royals would not marry a Caledonian (supporters of pagan rites), nor a Zandorian (a rebel nation with no legitimate royal claim). So over the centuries, numerous princesses from the continent joined the Bramston line. In 1602, due to the king’s failing health, time was running out to find a princess from far away, so the two neighboring nations were considered. Prince Albert’s demand for the Caledon Rose displeased the king. Zandor's princess was preferred because of the enticing alliance she offered.
If the king of Langdon died before his heir was of age and wed, a married Regent would rule until the heir reached an age where he could marry a suitable partner. If a king died without offspring, the throne would pass to the closest relative who could marry, or was already married to, a princess. If a close relative had married anyone less than royal, he was passed over for the throne entirely. Therefore, it was in the best interests of younger siblings of a royal heir to seek out a princess for themselves.
The Royal Marriage Law was abolished in 1603. From that time, a prince could select a bride of any social rank he wished, or ascend the throne without a wife if he so desired.
“I am not in the habit of betraying people’s confidences.”
Age at the time of this story: 53
Physical Characteristics: 5’5” tall, 160 lbs, light brown hair, blue eyes
Mrs. Hadley serves the Langdon royal household as the head housekeeper. She is an educated woman from a middle-class family, and started work at the palace in her mid-teens, serving as a housemaid. She worked her way up over a decade and married one of the head gardeners.
Sensible and straightforward, Mrs. Hadley is short on imagination, but generally long on patience as she supervises the kitchen staff and chambermaids. She is known for her skill at manipulating the king and queen while making them think they are acting of their own volition. She holds the reins of the Langdon palace, and little escapes her notice.
“Secrets. This palace is full of them. I am in charge of the household staff and the secrets; no one knows as much as I do about everything that goes on around here.
Prince Albert stalks the halls like a raging thundercloud, claiming that a would-be assassin gave him the gash on his face and the lump on his head. The entire city is on the lookout for an assailant who does not exist.
The younger prince lurks, avoiding his brother and the suite upstairs, his shoulders slumped with the weight of the secret he hides. He comes and goes furtively from the palace at all hours, and never breathes a word about his business.
But the scullery maid's secret is perhaps the biggest one I know. Her secret twists all the rest together into a complicated knot. The only one who can unravel it is the maid herself, though she cannot be persuaded to speak. Yet if she does not soon reveal the truth, the knot will become unsolvable, and the resulting disaster will throw three nations into chaos.
Who would have thought a scullery maid would hold the future in her hand?”
Next month, character sketches from Myrhiadh’s War!
Check out my interview with blogger Fiona Mcvie! https://wp.me/p3uv2y-75n