Summary: The agreement was made; Edward, the Crowned Prince of England would be wed to Isabella the Princess of France, upon her sixteenth year.
Word Count: 2,070
Beta: Lfcpam - Thank you for your help so far :)
OK, so this is new territory for me. I am a bit of a history nerd; it fascinates me, though I have never posted anything set in the past. This story is very lightly based on the love story between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (The Young Victoria) as I love that film and their story in general. There are very obvious differences of course, as Isabella and Edward barely know each other when they get married, they have to grow to love each other. It's not as romantic as The Young Victoria, at first, at least I hope I can write romance! Well, see :P Thanks for checking out the story, hope you enjoy it.
A light dusting of snow covered the dirt road. It made the journey border on hazardous but His Royal Highness had refused to cancel. Today was of vital importance to his kingdom and to that of his daughter's happiness. The girl child lay resting across from him, her stern governess clutching her tight; keeping her steady and safe from the carriage's sharp movements. She had fallen into slumber after they had embarked on the final leg of their journey. The child stirred, and her delicate brunette ringlets fell over her face. Her governess gently swept the girl's hair away from of her eyes. The carriage swayed and jerked as they trekked further north over the uneven terrain. His Royal Highness was honestly surprised that his daughter had slept through most of their journey, but he was glad that she had. She would be well rested when they arrived, which would work in their favour. They would be expected to meet their host almost immediately upon arrival. Although he knew his daughter was used to this particular hindrance, they had travelled far to be here and their journey had not been the most pleasant.
The sky began to change into an array of indigo and purple hues, the sun concealing itself behind the dense clouds. His Royal Highness noticed the imposing stone structure as the carriage trundled onwards. The estate stood strong against the vividly beautiful backdrop of the setting sun. Should his plan go smoothly, then this would be the place his daughter would live once she was grown. He had not tried to explain to Isabella, the reasons behind their visit; he had not seen the benefit. She would understand one day, that he had done everything in her best interest. His half-year old son, Prince Emmett, would inherit his titles, his lands, and fortune. The only thing that His Royal Highness could offer his daughter was a large dowry and a sensible husband; the young Prince Edward would serve as the latter.
His Majesty the King of England; Carlisle II had three children, two sons and one daughter. Prince Edward being the oldest at age six, his siblings; Prince Jasper, a year his brother's junior, and the Princess Rosalie who was still at her nursemaid's breast. His Majesty the King of England, and His Royal Highness the King of France had agreed upon a betrothal at the birth of his son Emmett to the babe Rosalie, but now he had to negotiate another; a promise of marriage between his daughter and Prince Edward. He had no doubt in his mind that his friend and ally would grant him his wishes, but he had thought it best to bring his daughter to the English court; show off her beauty to His Majesty the King of England and his son.
The carriage approached the wrought iron gates that lead to the estate. A guard called for the carriage to halt, and approached the driver. Words were spoken softly and the gates thundered open, much the young princess's distaste. She groaned an unladylike sound and stirred awake.
"Have we arrived, Papa?" she asked, gazing sleepily across the space at her father and King.
"Almost, my dearest," he replied, looking fondly upon his first born daughter. She rubbed at her eyes harshly, only for her governess to scold her for the display of unladylike behaviour. The Princess answered the reprimand with a tired scowl at the carriage floor. She was not best pleased at being told off in front of her Papa. The carriage jerked to a stand-still, and the child's governess grasped her firmly to prevent her from falling. Jostled but unharmed, the young Princess and her governess followed, His Royal Highness through the carriage entryway.
A line of His Majesty's guard awaited the French royal party. The leader of His Majesty's guard stepped forward to greet His Royal Highness the King of France.
"Greetings, your Highness, His Majesty the King of England awaits your company in his study," the man spoke with purpose and held himself in the posture of a nobleman. His Royal Highness was disappointed by this form of greeting, but swallowed his feelings of annoyance in the hopes of keeping peace with his friend and fellow ruler.
"He also requests, that Princess Isabella accompany you," the nobleman continued, glancing in the girl child's direction, "her charge may also attend."
His Royal Highness nodded curtly and motioned for the leader of the guard to show them the way. He had been to his friend's winter residence only once, and was glad of the escort, as the halls would have puzzled his travel worn mind. It took only mere moments to arrive at the intended destination. The leader of the guard announced the French party to their host. The King and Queen of England stood dressed in their finery, their young son; the miniature of his father, all but the colour of his hair, stood rigid beside his mother's full skirt.
"Your Majesty, His Royal Highness the King of France, the Princess Isabella of France and her governess; the Lady Claudette Bouvier," he introduced. His Majesty the King of England nodded at the leader of his guard, a signal for him to depart. The nobleman took three backwards steps before turning to leave, closing the door with a gentle snap behind him.
"My dear friend, I apologise for the formalities, please take a seat and we will discuss the matter that you have travelled far to bring to my attention," His Majesty apologised, turning to take a seat beside the roaring fire and gesturing for the rest of the party to do the same. Before he sat however, he turned to his son; "Why don't you show Isabella your marbles? I am sure she would be pleased if you showed her how to play the game." he suggested. The young prince sighed with displeasure; he had no interest in playing with a girl. He nodded however and said not a word in argument. The little girl stood almost hidden behind her governess's skirt and visually shrank away from the older boy as he approached.
"Madam, my father has requested that we play together, is this agreeable?" the Prince offered formally before taking the bag of marbles from his pocket. The little girl ducked behind her governess and the older woman chuckled at the shy child's reaction.
"Come now child, do not be afraid, he only wishes to play." her governess whispered encouraging in French. The timid Princess brought herself out of hiding and nodded gently at the other boy. He appeared as uncomfortable with the situation as she, but the children played as best as their language barrier would allow, while the adults in the room discussed their future.
"Your son is already betrothed to my daughter, if we go ahead with this betrothal, both of your children will be married to a child of the English throne, are you most certain about this decision?" His Majesty the King of England enquired. His wife sat silent beside him, she would speak to her cousin when the opportunity arose. She had many questions to ask about her sister's death, she knew the cause but that didn't make the blow any easier to digest. She studied her cousin's aged face and knew how much he was hurting; he loved his wife above everything else. The cost of a male heir had been too high of a price to pay in his eyes. She returned her attention to the conversation and focused on her cousin's reply.
"I am most sure, my friend. I am of the understanding that my daughter will find no better suitor than your son. When she marries Edward, she will have a kingdom and a chance to rule at his side, with Emmett's birth, this is the closest I can offer her to a succession." His Royal Highness the King of France explained, hoping his friend would agree to the marriage. He wanted Isabella to have everything she rightfully deserved. After several stillborn son's, he had given up the hope of a male heir. Isabella had begun training to succeed as Queen last year; this being the exact reason that a union between the Prince of England and the Princess of France had not been sorted before this day.
The King of England smiled warmly and glanced across the room where his son was tentatively trying to explain how to play marbles to his mute companion. The girl was a potential beauty, there was no doubt as to that fact and she would be an acceptable match for his son. There was not a single doubt in Carlisle's mind as he agreed to Charles' offer. The union between their two great countries would occur five years ahead of schedule.
"So, we are agreed?" His Royal Highness enquired, "Your son will marry my daughter when she is of age?"
His Majesty nodded, "I trust Isabella has a sizable dowry?"
"That she does, my good Sir. You will be pleased with all I offer, that much I promise." His Royal Highness replied, pleased with the result of their discussion.
"I will send for my scribe and then we shall draw up the terms of the betrothal," His Majesty told him while rising swiftly from the armchair. He was as eager as his companion to have their agreement in writing, and swept from the room to summon his scribe.
The Queen seized her chance at her husband's absence.
"You are hurting, my dearest cousin." she stated in her mother tongue.
Her cousin diverted his gaze, he did not like where this conversation was heading. His wife's death was still a fresh wound and he was not willing to discuss it.
"She was my wife, I miss her more with each passing day but there is nothing to be done. So forgive me, cousin, fore I know you share my pain but I cannot speak of it."
"I understand Charles. You must remember that I am here, should ever you need me." she replied, noting the now visible hurt in his brown eyes and deciding at the sight of it that she would not press him on the matter.
"You and your family have done much for mine already this night, I ask no more from either of you." he told her, meaning his words. He needed nothing more from his ally and friend, than the security of his daughter's future.
Esme paused in her reply as her husband returned, his scribe following obediently a few steps behind him. The men discussed the finer points of the betrothal, the most important being Isabella's virtue. His Majesty the King of England made his opinions clear that if the girl's honour was sullied in even the slightest manner, the betrothal contract would be voided. He had heard lots of rumours about the women of the French court and he would never allow his son to marry a woman who had already been bedded. The chance was slim, and His Royal Highness the King of France had the decency to look offended.
"I promise you, my daughter will be as pure on her wedding night as she is this very day." the King of France stated adamant that he spoke the truth, "I will personally make sure that Isabella has no contact with any man unsupervised until the day Prince Edward takes her to his bed."
"That is reassuring to hear, my good friend." His Majesty replied,
"My daughter remaining virtuous is a given however if you will allow it, I wish for your son to be the same." His Royal Highness suggested gently as he was not sure how this request would be received. He was surprised at his friend's reaction; as His Majesty began to laugh hearty.
"You wish to deprive my son of a little fun before his wedding?" He asked, his question almost lost in laughter. "I see no reason as to why he should remain virtuous, but if you request it my friend, consider it done."
His Royal Highness look appeased by this and after detailing the finer points of the contact; involving dowry and other such necessities, both men signed and sealed the parchment with their coat of arms. The agreement was made. Edward, the Crowned Prince of England would be wed to Isabella, the Princess of France upon her sixteenth year.
OK so that's the prelude, I've written about 3 chapters, and am working on Chapter 4 at the moment. I have bits of this story planned in my head, but not the whole thing mapped out, so bare with me.
In case anyone reading this is also reading Future on your Doorstep, I am so sorry that I haven't updated in a while, I seem to have a hit a wall with that story. I started writing Future when I was 18, and I'm now almost 21, I've grown up and I'm just can't easily get into Bella's head any more. There is only a couple of chapters left though, so I will attempt to push through it and end it. I apologise again though :(
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. There is more to come, I will try to update once a week, I'm hoping that should make me write fast :) *Fingers crossed*
If you're feeling kind enough to drop a review, then please be as brutally honest as you as can :) My critic, who I normally force my work onto, is without a computer, so any feedback would be a great help :) Thank you for reading :)