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Their Majesties Dinner Guests | Saturday early evening

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The King's Private Chamber

The Kings Private Chambers included a smaller, more modest bedroom, a parlour, and his dining room, places where he entertained the very elite of society. The ceilings contained mythological scenes of Jupiter seducing various maidens, except the dining room which represented a feast of the gods, with red lobsters, fish and fowl carved out of wood on the pillars around the room.




(OOC - the thread will start in the parlour with arrivals and then move to the dining room. Everyone invited will be shown into the parlour by one of the ushers.)


Their Majesties were already awaiting their guests in the King's pretty parlour adjoining his private dining room whilst holding glasses of wine. As the time came for the guests to arrive, the King had Kingston put his justacorps back on and fix his cravat, for he ever preferred to repose without both.


He spared a smile for his Queen, for whom they were holding this mostly German dinner to honour Ru's efforts in hosting everyone at Windsor, as his blond gentleman affixed his most opulent cravat pin. She, on the other hand, looked perfectly royal already.


"So, what do you think of this young German prince?" he asked her. "I do hope he can hold interesting conversation." For His Majesty so hated to be bored.

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"Well you must pay Lady Mountjoy’s opinion on that no mind, it seems that he upset her Lord Husband. So we need count her as biased." replied Karoline as she adjusted a bracelet that sat neatly atop her glove.  " I should have worn my blue gloves to compliment the sapphire." 

"Prior to that I never heard Dorothea say anything ill about him, why in fact she quite dotes upon him. Every week she sends multiple letters, though to be honest some might go to others abroad - she is quite passionate about correspondence."

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"Upset Lord Mountjoy so quickly?" Charles raised a brow. "Mountjoy is not one to rile easily, and Lady Mountjoy usually has impeccable taste. What was the upset about that it has cut so deeply?"


As to the comment about the gloves, the King said, "These are lovely, but if you wish them sent for, the rooms are adjoining. A page could easily be sent to fetch them quickly." His eyes shifted to Kingston ever so briefly as if to say to see it done if Her Majesty wished her other gloves.

The mention of Princess Dorothea had him nod. "Sister and brothers. The either are doting or despicable to each other in my experience, and sometimes vacillating between the two."

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The Mountjoys, on their way.

Charles had returned to their rooms a full hour before the required time to ensure that his toilette was impeccable. Strangely enough he was able to spend more time getting ready than his wife. Ursula, no doubt, had to supervise the Queen’s toilette and then quickly make her way here to quickly freshen up and then return as a guest. He was in a chatty mood but chose to wait outside her dressing room so as to allow her to concentrate on her own dressing.

Charles’ man had made a special effort cladding his master as he had chosen a coat in the German cut of longer sleeves and open front with matching breeches that had recently become fashionable at the Court of the Holy Roman Emperor. The coat was of dark Egyptian blue velvet with turnback cuffs edged with silver embroidery in the shape of acanthus leaves, an amaranth waistcoat of jacquarded silk in a floral pattern embellished with silver thread and sapphire chips which twinkle in the candlelight was worn with crisp white silk stockings, patent leather court shoes with silver buckles set with garnets and red heels. His white linen shirt had a Chelsea lace cravat held in place by a silver pin set with an ovel Taglimonte cameo in lapis lazuli surrounded by diamonds.

Ursula’s maid performed her task equally well for Lady Mountjoy emerged wearing an oval necked bodice of silk satin in Chefchaouen blue with a matching open overskirt. Her stomacher was of ruffled Chinese silk in a slightly darker shade of blue with gold darts and offset with ruby chips. Her underskirts were of China pink and all skirts were hemmed with extensive gold lace in a floral pattern. Her sleeves were puffed China pink silk with white lace bands and she had white lace edging along the neckline of her bodice. The lace was augmented with tiny pink silk bows. Her blond hair was parted in the middle and set in tight ringlets which framed her face. On either side a single long curl that draped down her neck to frame a single strand pearl necklace complemented by pearl earrings. In the center of her bodice she wore a gold filigree rosette on witch hung a large teardrop pearl.

Handing her her gloves, of pink silk batiste with chambray lace cuffs, he said “My do you not look lovely. If it were not their Majesties that awaited, I would undo all the labors of your maid but, I shall show resolve and be contented with kissing your cheek.”

He did so then stepped back and gestured with his hands as if to say ‘look at me.’ am I presentable enough to be worthy of being your escort or should I summon a pair Life Guards?” he said teasingly before becoming a bit more serious. “Do you realize this will be the first time we have been out together other than a few words here and there in the Queen’s chambers. I am cognizant of the honor done to us but in truth I would trade it away for a quiet dinner with just the two of us.”


[OOC; I hope it is Ok to post our pre dinner chat here. I wanted to make sure I secured the timeslot. If not, we can move to a side thread.]

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Carolus & Carola

"And not only.  I think it might be a language problem, German translates to Russian more favourably*." 

She did not want to be the one to provide Charles with the details, upon account of his being quite fond of Kingston. 

"Please, it is no bother." she smiled to her husband, whom was the consummate gentleman to a ladies needs. "What if the guests arrive and I am still getting changed, what might they think to see us in disrepair?" 

Which was a tease; while she was under no illusions of his habits, those nearing her were never scandalous.

"Well that you mention it..." his realist view of brother/sister relationships brought Karoline to admit, "That Dorothea is somewhat concerned that he might remove her from England at seasons end.  Which I would be sad of, for as you know I am very fond." 

"Oh look, here arrives Duke Buckingham, and Lady Kingston. Perhaps she has for us more news?"


* Wink



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The Mountjoys, on their way.


"Thank goodness for your self control Charles," Ursula practically giggled as she responded offering her cheek, "For we are near to late already - and it was with horror I discovered I have Her Majesties other earring still in my pocket!" 

In the rush to get the Queen ready, Ursula had somehow overlooked the second earring from Her Majesties Jewel box's placement. 

Fortunately Lady Mountjoy was more expedient in her own dressing, which was possibly helped by the lack of chit chat during. (The Queen had asked any number of questions of her.) 

"I am entirely aware of the precise same fact." She returned favourably upon her impeccably turned out husband.  He looked so very handsome.  They had both of them gone the extra mile tonight (Ursula had not worn so many bows since their wedding night, and the application of pink was practically girlish in it’s flirtatiousness) "Though this is the life we have chosen is it not? I remember the consensus of that last and terribly serious conversation." she moved ready to make their exit of the apartment, thee would be a swift walk to the Kings Parlour.  "Though I need admit to you My Lord, that there have been times when I have reconsidered that verdict."



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Internally, Francis had a lump in his throat and it was good he did not have to do any speaking; in fact, it was good nobody was expected to interact with him at all being that he was there as a servant of the King.


He had not been looking forward to this moment all day long. 


It was an honor, yes, to serve the King no matter what one was doing, but though he knew what he was doing, it was certainly not second nature for him to serve an entire dinner party for his royal master. Or orchestrate it since he would have help, obviously. 


And then there was the complication of the guest list which was what he contemplated as he fixed the King's cravat while he spoke to the Queen. He was, as yet, unaware that the Margrave not only heard all of his slanders and had seen the copious broadsheets but found him despicable without knowing him one jot. Even without that knowledge, Francis knew brothers were protective, and he knew the Duke of Cumberland had warned him off Dorothea, and he wished not one bad thing to happen to her, including needing to leave her close friend the Queen. 


Which brought him to Cumberland...who had warned him off Dorothea in a forthright and kindly way...and whose good opinion meant so very much to Francis.


And Dorothea. 


Who he stupidly realized under God's eye in the bloody chapel that he had affections for which weren't strictly brotherly or platonic. It had taken him that long to both know himself and admit to himself. That he had been sad that they wouldn't be able to have the same candid chats and witty games of Latrones. No matter how proper they had been, for Francis had never so much as flirted intentionally in the least bit. It had taken the Bishop of London making mention of her heart that had smacked him straight in the face. 


Then there was his own family. Buckingham, who could deport himself with princely grace - with his eyes closed - in any situation in which he deemed it worthy. Like it was not just second nature but inborn. The Duchess, who could do the same, and be entirely properly enviable at court and then lark around dressed as a man in private without a word being spoken against her or anyone being the wiser. 


His mother. His mother had hosted the Queen's ladies for lunch after the their trip to the Kingston market, and he was quite sure that his mother might have realized he had an attachment before he did, or at least might have suspected the lady did. Of course, one's mother always had critical eyes, and she had been raised at court before the war had scattered Charles I court hither and thither and she had birthed him. 


And whilst Lord Mountjoy was something of a friend, Francis had known Lady Mountjoy for some time in the absence of her amiable husband, in her role as ruler with an iron fist over the Queen's Household. She was a formidable figure who tolerated no funny business around her flock of ladies and would not hesitate to issue correction or edicts, especially when Her Majesty was pregnant. That she was also easy to converse with and seemed to like Francis well enough - and he her - was beyond the point. The broadsheets could have altered much of her disposition toward him. 


Those were the myriad of thoughts floating through his mind as the King and Queen spoke of blue gloves. And yes, he would have happily made sure Her Majesty had her blue gloves and sent a page off to get them, but it seemed not needed. He merely took up his spot behind the King's right side and waited. 


Buckingham and his lady mother were first to arrive. At least he knew what they both drank without needing to be told.


(OOC - sorry for Francis' long-winded contemplations. This thread might get quite a few of them 😆)

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The Mountjoys on their way

“Then we must not tarry for it would not do to be late or to leave her Majesty unbalanced with only one earing. He said as he offered his arm to escort her out. Fortunately, it was not very far to the Royal Apartments so it would not take very long. He kindly added “Please do not take my last comment as a complaint or as any expression of discontent. The Queen would be lost without you and her Ladies would be bereft of a calm and guiding hand. A desire delayed is all the sweeter so all the King’s candied fruits will taste bitter and plain as long as I am sitting next to you.”

They began to make their way down the hall. “I do hope the Margrave is in a better mood. I confess my first impression of the gentleman was not very favorable but one must be diplomatic and I shall try to be amiable and ascribe his acerbity as concern for his sister. As for the other guests there should be no issues. It has been years since I have seen Lady Elizabeth… or rather Lady Kingston as she is now so she would not have heard any of my recent hunting stories. Do you think I should tell the one about the heart and the thunderstorm or the one when the dogs confused the scent and lead the entire Hunt to a local farmer’s dairy cow?”  

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The King raised a brow as she declined to provide him any details. How cunning. He would ferret it out one way or another. 


"The ushers would not show anyone in if you had one finger ungloved, and if they did they would only think we were working on our second!" the King said with a chuckle. 


"Take your friend away at the end of the season! Pfft, the fellow thinks wrongly then. We shall have to find a reason to ensure that she stays. The King and Queen of England shall not be denied, my dear, not if the lady is desirous  of staying." He hummed in thought and winked at her.


When the arrivals began, the King gave a nod toward Kingston to provide everyone a drink.




The Duke of Buckingham was resplendent in his dress for the evening in a peachy mauve and gold brocade over cream-coloured breeches. In the back of his mind having his cousin on his arm made him think of his brother, but he kept any maudlin notions at bay as they entered the King's apartments and walked back toward the parlour.


Lady Kingston was wearing a brocade of light green pastel shimmering with yellow details. The locket she was wearing was the one His Majesty had gifted to her. It had a miniature of her Francis in it. Her first Francis. Her son's father.


Her son who was attending that evening. It would be difficult to not pay him attention but she knew she must. 


"It seems we are the first to arrive," Buckingham whispered just as they crossed the threshold. 


They were a handsome pair as he bowed and she curtsied. 


"A rare occasion that I am the first to arrive for anything," the duke observed with an unrepentant grin. "We ought mark the occasion."


He accepted a cognac from Francis and given that they were yet alone and not in mixed company, he gave the youth an encouraging pat on the cheek before the time came where he would have to treat him as an accessory of the room rather than as his nephew.

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The Mountjoy’s on their way

And so they set off in a mix of desire to arrive swift and wish to linger in each others sole company.  “I know you would not comment any such negative, but that is rather myself that discover my mood at odds, of performing duty I previously relished in, was even jealous of.  But these days, ever since… well my heart feels not in this anymore.  To dine just you and I together, is precisely my greatest wish.”

But they would not, could not, renege now.  So Ursula put brave face on, a pose she’d found far more need of lately, and they walked. 

“My dearest, though there is no finer narrator for hunting tales than you, I beg you to consider digestion.  Quickening hearts with such arousing tales, expecially that of cow baled up in stall with milk maid, shall do awful things to the bile we need treat gently.  It would be remiss to provoke a burp in the other guests, even if that tale of it being a Turkish compliment is true.”

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Karoline fell quiet at that, though with a private smile.   As soon as it had been permitted The King had been very intent upon working on a second!   But she was hardly going to speak of such things, more especially her receptiveness to such attention, while stood here in the parlour.  To her mind this was bedroom only conversation (and not even then if she could help it!) 

CR was teasing her of course, it was a sort of revenge for her holding out on details of Lady Mountjoy’s opinion (she did not want to shade the Kings opinion of anyone).  Although it seemed he was biased already, though she'd said so little. 

"You are right that I would hate to loose Dorothea.  But I hope that he shall come to that correct conclusion for himself, rather than it require our persuasion.  Still, I pleases me greatly that you consider my joy worth concerted efforts." she flushed, was she talking about Dorothea, or that other topic?  

Fortunate then that the arrival of the first of their guests broke the Queens budding sexual tension

Approaching the Royal hosts Lady Kingston offered the traditional curtsy and gracious greetings, before calling upon Buckingham’s topic into general conversation.  "I have deduced this might be a leap year, a year reserved for seemingly impossible things such as Duke Buckingham’s punctuality. Colour me surprised, and wondering what other marvels might unfold."  

Meanwhile Lady Kingston's eyes appreciated her son's fine form and manner, heart swelling with pride of him, and when the Duke touched his cheek she found it meaningful.   




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Charles listened to Ursula as she explained her internal quandary she was experiencing regarding her duty and desire to serve. He truly listened, those words imprinting themselves on his mind. She had had doubts before but never a lack of motivation and this concerned him. He wished to be supportive but he did not know if he should support her to carry on or not to carry on. He did not know how to answer or what to do to help her. She pulled herself together, like she always did, and put on a determined face, like she always did, but as they walked he moved his left arm, which he had held out for Ursula to daintily rest her own arm to face upwards to intwine his fingers in hers.      

“But My Dear, a dinner would be a tedious and boring affair without at least one hunting story. You know the King likes to be amused” He said in almost a whine but she knew he would heed her advice and refrain. “If the occasion comes up, I will tell the one about the Preacher, the well-trained horse and the cliff. I already told the story to Lord Beverly but I am sure he has not had the time to repeat it so it is still good to tell a few more times this season.” He added hopefully. “But, as His Grace of Buckingham will be dining, he can be relied to keep the conversation flowing in a lively manner.”

The Ushers were expecting them so they quickly navigated the anti-rooms and were shown into the Kings Parlor. “Oh my, we must be dreadfully late, Buckingham is already here.” He whispered to his wife as they entered and approached their hosts whereupon he released his Ladywife’s hand and bowed deeply to the King and Queen and as proper, less so to the other two guests. After the introductory pleasantries he ventured to comment, “Lady Kingston, we may have met many years ago but if we had I was young and inattentive and not recall. My Grand-Father always spoke very highly of Colonel Legge and oft recounted the stories of his bravery. As I look around, I see that the Margravia and I are but the second pair to arrive. When I observed His Grace had proceeded us I was convinced we were tardy but I see now that it must have been your good influence that has introduced his Grace to Punctuality.” He normally would not be so insouciant to a man such as Buckingham but he knew the Duke was gentlemanly enough to not be slighted by a compliment to a Lady.  

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The talk about Dorothea and the fact that her brother wished to bring her back to Germany impacted him, but he could not describe how. Cumberland, of course, had mentioned similar, but that was before his reflection on what he would miss of her even this season when she was still here but they could not be as they were. The thought of her being entirely gone and Her Majesty losing her friend made him swallow, thinking himself surely part of the cause. If not the entire cause. He took in a breath quietly when the King said he would find a way for her to stay if it pleased his wife.


But he could not dwell on Dorothea for long as his uncle and mother arrived.


Francis gave the briefest of smiles as Buckingham gave his cheek a pat. He knew, yes, what the Duke was saying: play your role well.


It was incredibly difficult to keep a straight face at the joke made of the Duke's punctuality or lack thereof, but he managed it as he handed his lady mother her favoured drink. As any mother might, she enjoyed his blood orange brandy that he had brought from Naples with his ships, for the mere fact that it was his. 


Straight after Lord and Lady Mountjoy made their appearance. Francis stood at the ready in the pretty, courtly fashion the Duke had drilled into him, waiting to hear what they would take to drink.



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"You receive all my diligent efforts, my Queen," Charles said with a hefty dose of double-entendre. "No doubt the youth will see how happy his sister is here and how much we care for her and will see fit to let her stay." He then smiled wryly. "But if he does not so conclude on his own, then we will open the doors of persuasion."


Their guests were all quickly arriving which put an end to such diliberations.


"Too true, George, too true!" he said of marking the occasion. The lady's comment, though, made him bark with laughter. "Oh dear Lady Kingston, what other marvels might unfold, indeed. Buckingham's punctuality is a portent!"


"I do not know whether to be pleased or threatened that she carries to wit of the family too. My cursed relations," Buckingham laughed. "I shall change the topic to Her Majesty's beauteous sapphires," he added with a smile for the young Queen. Sapphires were his favorite.


The Mountjoy's arrived and Buckingham could not help but shake his head and chuckle some more. "Yes, yes, it is entirely the lady. She tore me away from the mirror as if I were Narcissus and saved me from the ruin of my own devices."

As Lord Mountjoy was speaking of Colonel Legge, the Duke of Cumberland arrived with the Duchess of Richmond, the elder, though none would dare call her that. After offering their courtesies to the King and Queen, she put a hand to her lips and said, "Do my eyes deceive me! Is that really you, Bucks?" She poked her brother in the shoulder as if to ensure he was not an apparition. This set the King to titters once more. 


Buckingham rolled his eyes and ignored her, choosing instead to offer a bow to Cumberland and a comment, "I hear you are going to join us for a yacht race?" Was he attempting to distract from his punctuality? Perhaps. And they were yet waiting for one more pair to arrive.


His Majesty offered everyone to be given a drink as they waited for the other German Prince and Princess. Kingston wait patiently to be told from each what they would take.

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Mountjoys naring the Parlour:

"You don’t think that's a bit risqué for mixed company," Ursula troubled at the next tale her husband thought ripe for the telling, "but you are right, Duke Buckingham sets a high bar, and we are all grown ups here." 

There was no stopping him, and besides she had yet to hear anyone complain when Charles saw fit to launch into another of his hunting stories...


And in to the room they moved, to a gathering just growing, and after their entrance arrived others.  

The Gathering:

"Introduced, though I don’t think they shall become firm and fast friends." Lady Kingston returned to Lord Mountjoy, while accepting her drink from son with a smile. 

"Pray your promptness continues to first place crossing the finish line." Spoke lady Mountjoy, pleased to support the shift away from teasing of the Duke Buckingham and towards talk of the yacht race. 

Orders for drinks were given, and upon Lady Kingston's recommendation Ursula thought to also try the blood orange brandy.  Karoline stayed with a Riesling which was still far from needing a refill.

"Shall the yachting be visible from the Castle?"  the young Queen enquired, "My ladies and I are bound to enjoy watching the spectacle.  Where might be the best place for the viewing." 

Brandenburg-Ansbach arrives

John Frederick and Dorothea had held no intention of being last to arrive. Blame it upon the freshness of a eager new season that others who might usually arrive later, were already there in force.  It was hardly even a 'finally' moment that they arrived to the dinner party. The Margrave might assert, if anyone happened to quiz him directly, that he was actually On Time. And everyone else had just been early.

Dressed in matte tones; a dark green frock coat with cord in a paler hue, the turned back cuffs of jacket showed off lining of duck egg blue. A blue tourmaline stone was fixed to his cravat, while the rest of his costume, carefully applied trachten, might mean little to the English in the room, but to the Germans aptly identified his status in a very complimentary way. 

"Good evening fine persons, my sister and I thank you for this good invitation." he greeted those others, and there was the exchanging of names and identities for any still lacking. 

John Frederick for the moment failed to notice Francis.  

But his sister saw him. 

Unlike her brother, Dorothea wore English style garb tonight, an evening gown in peach with pale pink accents.  Her hair was plaited and woven though with ribbons, much to her usual preferred style, while her fingers toyed with a new trinket. A slightly too big ring in silver, currently worn on her right index.  She saw Francis and made the smallest smile to him.

Karoline smiled at the sight of Dorothea and extended her hand towards her, so that the younger lady crossed the space to be near her. "You are just in time to hear, Duke Cumberland has planned a yachting fete for us."


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“A blood orange brandy? I have never heard of such before but it does sound exotic. I believe I will try one if you please.”  The last was directed to Kingston in a pleasant routine manner. It was the height of bad manners to make someone uncomfortable (at least not intentionally). Kingston was there in the service of his King and there was no task more noble for a gentleman than that.

He greeted the Duchess and Cumberland when they entered and tittered along with the King as the promptness of Buckingham was commented upon yet again. He wondered if Buckingham would continue to be late out of principle or start to be more punctual just to deny the others the opportunity for jest.

John-Frederick and Dorothea arrived soon after. They were last but it must be admitted on time. Germans as a rule tended to be very punctual. He expounded upon the Queen’s statement.

“A yacht race will be most exciting. I find it most amazing how sailors are most adapt at climbing aloft scampering through the rigging like determined squirrels. It is astounding that they can decern, upon the myriad of ropes, which ones to heave. They also, as the Admiral of the Fleet could certainly tell us, have particular and peculiar names for all the ropes and other various nautical accoutrements.

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Francis provided Lord and Lady Mountjoy with the Blood Orange Brandy and listened with an utterly straight face as Buckingham was mercilessly teased, especially when the Duchess arrived and poked her brother. 


He poured drinks for the Prince and his aunt as talk shifted to the yacht race he was arranging. It was odd to be a servant spectating to such a conversation. There was a pause as Dorothea and her brother made their appearance. Her brother looked to be quite a serious young man as he caught sight of the prince while handing Cumberland his drink with a dip of his head and then Richmond hers. 


Though he caught Dorothea's smile, he could not return it in the situation, because it definitely was not his place. There was appreciation and warmth in his eyes thought that someone who knew him well could likely recognize. 


He prettily waited to be told what either wished to drink.

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His Majesty found Lady Mountjoy's quip equally as worthy of laughter and praise. 


"My, my, the witty ladies shall slay us this evening!" he delighted. 


His Majesty gave a pleasant nod to the German Princeling's greeting. "We are most pleased to have you after hosting your delightful sister. Do join us for a drink before we dine." As Dorothea joined his lady wife, he said, "Such close companions are a Godsend and a rarity. Jewels that shine more brightly from the presence of the other." Said wife likely knew exactly what he was doing. "Buckingham and I have shared such a bond, though I daresay neither of us is a jewel!"


The transition was successfully made to yacht racing and the new pair caught up on the topic of conversation. 


Cumberland nodded. "I have pledged to join the race, but I cannot claim credit for the idea, my dear niece," he said to Karoline. "It was Kingston who brought the idea to me and of using half the entrance fees for a Naval cause of my choosing and a portion of the gambling on the event as well. He is a credit to your raising and that of his grandfather, Lady Kingston." The lad put his talents and good fortune to use for his country and his King, as he had said to Kingston himself. Too few courtiers bothered with that duty. 


His Majesty said to his Queen, "It will be visible, but surely we will have a grand place for you and your ladies set up under a pavilion if you wish it? You should preside over the event as I will participate as well." He then turned to the younger German prince. "Do you yacht, Brandenburg?" Charles was thinking of ordering another of his yachts brought up the Thames if he did.


"It is most certainly a skill," Cumberland said to Mountjoy of the ability of sailors in managing the sails.


"It sounds like you should invest in a yacht, Mountjoy," Buckingham suggested with a grin. 

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Ursula was surprised that the King thought her witty, because shed not been trying to make a joke.  "Oh yes."  She darent say anything more than that while she got a handle on the situation, she was not accustomed to accidentally being a comic.  So she bit her tongue, and did not say anything she might have said about the slaying of gentlemen present.

Karoline understood her husband precisely, if she'd needed a reason to warm more to him this would certainly work. "I interject that you are surely both gems." her eyes were only upon CR as she said this.  Truth be told she didn’t really have much to do with Buckingham, so new him less than for instance his sister Mall.     

"Thank you." John Frederick replied, and then folk about were choosing their drinks, with Blood orange brandy proving popular.  His eyes turned to the attendant, having thought to choose a drink more traditional, "You have Kirsch?" when his eyes flared to see who it was.  And this was near enough to the exact time that Rupert explained to all that the idea for Yachting had not been his.  Instead, the notorious Kingston.

"Aha!" he needed to say something to release the surprise of this all. He had a sudden sensation of having been ambushed. These smiling faces all acting entirely unaware, or accepting of, the much maligned blonde Adonis waiting upon them!  Surely they did know however.  He, from Germany even, cant be the only one to have read the ghastly broad sheets.  It had been a friend of a friend who had sent copy directly to him abroad - and John Frederick was planning his trip to fetch his sister the very next day. It had only been politics that made him delay, staying for the much hailed christening. "Yes I Yacht." He did not mean to say that, and so quickly back pedalled, "Unfortunately I do not have a yacht with me."

Lady Mountjoy, upon hearing the Kings suggestion to her husband, blinked.  That was a new idea.  "Are yachts good things fr the whole family to enjoy?" she generally asked.  Perhaps, if Charles took up Yachting rather than Hunting, she'd get to see him more.  Perhaps he’d put painting of yachts on the wall, instead of boar, deer, and bear heads.

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He had to smile at Ursula. She was funniest when she did not mean to be so and he was glad that the King thought her amusing. “I have my barge at hand and that would surely be a closer platform to observe the action but I do declare that it might be more advantageous to join the Ladies upon some fine eminence for they would certainly have the finest view to observe the entire race. Perhaps His Grace of Cumberland would have a naval telescope or two to spare so the Ladies may scrutinize the action more closely.” 

Buckingham’s suggestion of him obtaining a yacht caused Mountjoy to think, he always had thought the sea romantic and adventuresome. Even Ursula appeared to be favorable of the suggestion. If he went out to sea, he would be able to add seals, dolphins and other sea creatures to his trophy room. He didn’t think it possible to obtain such a vessel before the race as, even in London, he had not seen a shop that sold yachts. “That is an intriguing proposition Your Grace. It would not help for the race at hand as, Like the Margrave, I do not have a yacht with me.’ He patted his pockets as if to make sure, “Yet the prospect is very tantalizing. We Blounts are a naturally seafaring race. My forefather was the Admiral of the fleet that carried William the Bastard to these shores.” Mountjoy often used this fact to validate his believed naval pedigree. “And at Athelhampton we have a very large pond, one might even call it a small lake, where, as a small boy, I often would adventure out upon it in a small sailing skiff to do battle with the numerous pirates that infested the waters. Well… the pirates were usually neighbor boys and we would throw rotten pears at each other. A sturdy Dutch yacht or a fast Xebec might be just the thing to occupy oneself between hunts.” Turning to Ursula he said. “Would not a narwal horn and a few seal skins be perfect to display next to the boar I took in Shropshire?” Convinced of his natural nautical ability he went on. This was almost like one of his hunting stories. “I could even equip it with some of Prince Rupert’s cannons and sweep the French from the Channel.” He reflected and thought his last statement was a bit ambitious and could be construed as boastful so he added. “But that might be an affront to our professional sailors and I would not wish to upstage our gallant Navy.”  

Turning to Charles Rex. “If Your Majesty was considering entering one of your own vessels, I would ardently offer my services aboard.” He then looked to the Queen. “That is, if the Ladies could spare my presence.” Buckingham may come to have cause to regret making such a suggestion.     

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Kingston wasn't rudely staring at the Margrave's face, so he missed the flare of the eyes. The shift with the "Aha!" seemed palpable to him, though, so he was loathed to have to relay the bad news.


"No, Your Highness," he answered with a dip of the head. He knew enough German from Sophia's tutelage and conversation, and then the German prince's sister's conversation, that he could say politely, "*Ich entschuldige mich," without much difficulty. "It will be stocked whilst you are here as soon as possible. In German spirits, His Majesty can offer **Bärenfang, Himbeergeist, or Kornbranntwein. There is also dry or semi sweet Rhenish wine."


Francis paid little mind to the conversation about the yacht race going on around them, but he was well-aware of the credit he was given for the idea and the compliment which likely made his lady mother beyond pleased.


(OOC - * My apologies  **left to right  'bear fang' a honey-vodka like spirit, raspberry version of Kirsch, and liquor distilled from grains.)

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His Majesty certainly had no inkling that any present would take issue with Kingston and it was, admittedly, beneath his notice to bother with such a notion. He would have any attend him that he wished. As he had told Arlington. 


It was certainly not a set-up ambush. Although, had he known, he might very well have done so. He was after all setting the princeling up to have a hard time removing his sister by emphasizing her closeness with his Queen. That was the ambush, and the Margrave walked right into that one.


"Aha is correct! I cannot fault you for having excitement over such a race," the King said. He paid no notice to Kingston explaining the drink offerings either but paused long enough for the German prince to choose another option. "In fact, I shall send for both my yachts, and you can have command of one so that you might compete," he declared jovially. "What say you," he nodded toward Dorothea, "Shall your brother be a formidable opponent?"


"I say the German princes shall run off with your coin," Mall said after Dorothea had provided her answer, saluting her cup to Ru and then the younger man.


Meanwhile, Buckingham replied to Lady Mountjoy, "Of course, so long as fair waters are chosen. You are no stranger to trips by boat. They can be exhileratingly speedy or can be used for leisure, as you prefer." He a sly grin he added to Lord Mountjoy, "I am sure I can aide you in the quest for a designer and purveyor of just the thing." 


Cumberland meanwhile provided, "Our naval ships have yet to be fully outfit with them, one of the potential places coin from the race could help. They are time-consuming and expensive to manufacture and since we have just left a period of war, materials are at a premium." He said nothing about the fact that it was unlikely he'd offer them to the public in fear of the design falling into the wrong hands. If he ever thought to offer them beyond the Navy in the future, it would be to those who had proven themselves with Letters of Marque used honorably.


As Mountjoy offered his services to the King, Buckingham barely kept back a titter but hid his smile carefully behind his glass. An inexperienced man would surely hinder the King's prowess, and the Duke was the one man without royal blood who could get away with that sentiment. He would probably be blamed for it too when he had actually played no part in it other than suggesting the marquess get his own yacht! George had said nothing about the King's yacht.


Since Mountjoy had looked to the Queen and Dorothea, so too did most of the others, waiting to see if the ladies could spare his presence!

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Karoline, attending to Mountjoys reply (though he was speaking particularly to his wife) snatched up on of his initial suggestions.  "Oh yes, we would love to watch through spy glasses." her gaze swung to Rupert of this. He as the recognised host, and being a life long naval man, was sure to be able to assist?  

Ursula meanwhile was surprised at how keenly Mountjoy took to this suggestion, but would he prove the fish to water that he thought? 

John Frederick sighed at the lack of his requested drink - even if Kingson then offered a range of alternatives. Even striking upon his favourite (though he was partial to it at the end of the day rather than prior to a meal.)  "I shall have the dry reinish." He maintained an air of disappointment for Francis sake... though mouth salivated for a a drop of Barenfang. Surely later. 

"Your Majesty keeps a fine bar." John F returned to the King.  Though he could not critique Kingston for his manners and expediency, it was not this role that he had concerns of the man over.  Then suddenly there was a Yacht offered.  "So kind, for I would enjoy nothing so much as competing.  But. I do not have my crew." He relaxed some as he figured to have gotten out of that one.  

Had the King meant to do that, for her certainly put Dorothea upon the spot with his question. "It would be a ungracious guest to gamble against the Host." she smiled towards Mall, "Though I have always admired my brothers abilities in most every sport, and will be thrilled to cheer him on." 

Meanwhile Ursula returned quietly to Charles B  "I wonder that they might be rather more slippery to spear." she could hope, adding all manner of water beasts to Charles trophy wall had not been her initial thought!   While to all eyes then then turned towards them with her husbands cheerfully made request she smiled, "We shall miss your blow by blow narration in the Pavilion, but relish the telling of this new adventure soon enough at the dinner table!"  

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Mountjoy was not closely following the ordering of drinks but he did catch the word Barenfang. “Bear fang? Who has a bear fang? I have a bear claw if anyone wishes to see it.” He said pulling out the chain of his watch which had a large bear claw mounted in silver as a fob. As bear fangs related to hunting, it was perhaps the only subject that Blount discussed with more enthusiasm that sailing and perhaps law but he did not expound on the law in the company of non-lawyers for, unlike like hunting, stories about the law could be tedious.  “I obtained it in Saxony in the hills east of Pirna. The Elector has a Jagdschloss in the vicinity that has an astounding abundance of bears of both prodigious size and ferocity.  Unfortunately, our otherwise fair isles, lack bears in such copious quantity but otherwise the game is quite good. I took the claw a trophy but did not think to take one of the fangs. I shall have to rectify this when I next find myself facing a particularly toothsome bear.” He exhibited the bear claw for any and every one to see in expectation of comparing it to the fang.

“That would be the challenge My Dear.” Charles replied to his Wife’s concern of the slipperiness of the creatures. Unlike fish seals and whales are not so unsportsmanlike to always hide under the water.” She acquiesced to him joining the race but did point out that fact that the Ladies would be bereft of his commentary during the event. He really had no experience in narrating boat races but it could not be that much different than a horse race so he did feel he might be letting the Ladies down with his selfishness in wanting to join the race in person. “I would not wish in any way to displease Her Majesty and place myself entirely at her disposal as to act as a participant or a spectator.” It was surely a dilemma weather to serve ones King or ones Queen.       

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It was incredibly difficult not to snort with laughter when Mountjoy perked up at the mention of Bear Fang in German, but he managed to stay silent. Apparently, he had never sampled the drink and went straight for the hunting!


Francis went about getting Dorothea's brother his wine and then poured Dorothea what he had observed she most frequently drank during their Latrones games. He handed the prince his first and then went around the outskirts of the group so that he could move to the Queen's side and silently hand Dorothea hers. Where he might have surreptitiously smiled or, if nobody was looking, given her a tiny wink, his mannerisms remained the same as they had for everyone else. 



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"And of course I will provide spyglasses. Lady Kingston's brother, Sir George, will be attending the official betting before the races, so you can always recruit him to commentate in Lord Mountjoy's place if such a thing is wished. He is an accomplished naval captain. Beverley will also be on hand."


The King saluted the prince's compliment with a raise of his glass. However, the protest of no crew made Charles chuckle. 


"Well I would not give you a yacht with no crew, of course. It will be arranged for you, and all you need to do is take command. One of my gentlemen will arrange for a crew and take you for a tour on the Thames so you will know the water well enough. I will not have it be an unfair event! Let the best captain win, even if it is not the King," he said, jovially.


"You might be right, dear Butterfly, but part of the entrance fee shall still benefit Ru and the Navy." Kingston could always be trusted for entertaining events of all types, even those sans ladies. He would have the cub provide a crew for Brandenburg and acclimate him to taking a yacht on the Thames. He couldn't very well do it himself or ask one of the princes - or Buckingham - to do it. None of his other men had races on the Thames before.


Meanwhile it was Rupert who chuckled about Mountjoy and the Bear Fang, eying the claw politely. He looked to the younger German prince and gave him a look as it to say, 'you explain it is a drink.' "I do miss a good bear hunt," was his only comment. "And a stiff drink afterwards." Was that a joke, from the oft over serious Cumberland? It was.


To his cousin, the King, Rupert said, "I will heartily attempt to divest you of your coin, Cousin." Rupert knew Charles took great enjoyment out of actual competition. Though only a certain calibre of gentleman could beat the King, even if Charles wished it, Rupert had no hesitation. This was especially true since he was mortified Peg was going to find a way to place bets and lose even more of his fortune!


Buckingham said with good nature and a straight face, "Fangs, claws...I daresay nothing is better than a good bearskin rug under one's feet with a strong drink." He then chuckled too. He whispered into Lady Kingston's ear to clue her in to the joke.

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"Beverly? Oh yes Lord Beverly of course." Karoline replied (for the briefest moments thinking of Lady Beverley).  "Then we shall lack none for narration, but enjoy cheering you on as you compete Lord Mountjoy."

CB had offered his services upon the Kings craft; but after the merry go round to get his wife’s and others permissions, the precise yacht he sail with might also be negotiable.  "I wonder if Cumberland's Beverly is narrating for us, then you might take his place Lord Mountjoy?"

Karoline discreetly gave Her Lord Husband a wink, it was not the first time she poked a tease at her uncle -  as she turned to do so she noticed Kingston as he gave Dorothea her glass, and there was a small look between them. A sweet look that made her feel sad.



"I am much obliged." John Frederick replied grimly, with a silent nod added to Kingston who served him his wine in a timely manner.  His solemn expression deepened further then, and he then asked directly, "I would request Lord Kingston to serve in that capacity."

The German Prince desired direct words with Francis, he had in fact promised his sister he would do so.  This then, would fulfil that.  

There was meanwhile jocularity over the Barenfang, a misunderstanding by Lord Mountjoy that did not amuse him at all. 


Lady Kingston

By and large was enjoying herself, though some detail went over her head - until Buckingham added in his hedonistic angle with bear furs and toes, then bent to whisper further explanation to her ear.  Goosbumps tingled her neck s he did so (barely from what he said, than of the closeness)  and she flushed at the inappropriateness of her response.     

"May I suggest a prize for the winning tickets, rather than money, their winning Yacht later host them a evening party on the Thames." she smiled defiantly towards Mall,  "so that all the funds might go direct to the Navy." 

Lady Mountjoy 

Since John Frederick blatantly ignored the joviality around Bear Claws and Fangs, along with an excellent Saxony hunting summary, Cumberlands prompt for a reveal somehow fell to Ursula.  It was difficult, for she was quite sure that nearly everyone knew her husband in his hunting enthuse had made a mistake, they might chuckle, but nobody wanted to correct him.  "Barenfang is a liquor." she said to Charles plainly, "a treasure that those persons without your hunting skills need console themselves with.  While I have no doubt that we shall have an actual Bear Fang in out main hall before too long.  It shall look stunning alongside the mounted seal."  

Ursula stood behind her man one hundred percent.  

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It was settled. The Ladies would be properly squired. Blount could have no objection to the knowledgeable Sir George providing narration to those on land. Poor Beverly might be a little tongue tied in the company of all those women. It only remained to determine which boat, or rather ship, to which he would be attached. “If his Majesty could bear the disappointment, I would have no objections at all of joining the Prince Rupert’s company. I would not wish to deny Lord Beverly the excitement of participating but I am sure he would be amply recompensed by the charming felicity of the Ladies.” He was puzzled when Brandenburg requested the services of Kingston for during their last meeting the German Prince left no doubt that he did not approve of the young Lord. He would obviously prefer to accompany the King but any of the other illustrious guests would be agreeable except for perhaps John Fredrick who still seemed not to have dislodged that stick.

“You are most discerning Duke.” He said to Buckingham. “An imposing bear skin is just the thing to set in front of a roaring fire on a cold wintery evening. There are even bears in Norway that are white if one’s décor clashes with brown or black.”

It was then that Ursula made him aware of his misassumption. “Oh, is that so?” He said as he chuckled for, he would never resent being gently corrected by his wife. “I beg everyone’s pardon for the misinterpretation. German is such a literal language but it does have the most colourful idioms. I shall have to try some of this Barenfang after dinner if it is suitable as a digestif. Is it, My Lady a liquor that you are fond of from your days in Saxony? If so, we shall stock a few bottles at home from now on. At least being a liquor, it will be easier to obtain than the real thing but if you wish an actual bear fang I will not deny you and will acquire enough for you to make a necklace like the did Vikings of old.” He said humorously in order to keep the conversation entertaining. He was not sure how a mounted seal would look in the Hall but as Ursula thought it would be stunning he resolved to get two.

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The King and JF

His Majesty said of Brandenburg's request, "Easily done, and he knows his way around ships." It struck the King as somewhat odd that the prince asked for Kingston by name. He was aware that Kingston played Latrones and such with the princess whilst he was seeing his Queen, and that she had been among those that went on the market excursion. It did not immediately cross his mind that the broadsheets had bothered the prince; instead he thought it likely that Dorothea had written or spoken of Kingston. 


Looking for Kingston, who he found delivering said princess her drink, he said, "You can arrange crew for my other yacht, Kingston, and be of service to His Highness in acclimating to the Thames and the yacht."


If he noticed the Queen's look at the young pair, he did not let on in the moment.


The Others

Rupert kept silent that Beverley might not be the best narrator, for the boy could be rather quiet and shy around the ladies, but Beverley was more man now that he had married. Maybe he had moved beyond his social impediments in the domains beyond his duties; he had grown out of reticence in those a long time prior.


The elder German prince then turned his eyes to his niece. Well, that was a calculated move and blunt. It reminded him nothing of her father and everything of her mother, for Rupert thought his second eldest brother - the eldest surviving - something of a Schafskopf. 


"Beverley has been tasked with aiding matters on land, with the betting, as my representative, so you are not taking him from his place aboard my craft," Rupert said to Lord Mountjoy. After a moment, he realized more might need to be said and added, "And you would be most welcome to join me and observe."


He was further shocked when Brandenburg outright proposed Kingston. He wondered if anyone else, other than Karoline and Dorothea, noted the abject oddity of that; Kingston shouldn't be known to a newly arrived German prince and had not - in their present circumstance - been introduced. 


Buckingham instantaneously noticed, for Buckingham did not miss much in the realm of Kingston. Behind his cup he stole a glance at the cub's reaction, only to see the Queen look..........sadly...........at straight-faced Francis and----


The German prince's sister. The cub did nothing other than give her the drink, but it was enough for the Duke to deduce a likely chain of events. Did they share a fondness? Ladies told their lady-friends many things, and a Queen was still a lady and still had friends.


Instead of paying attention to that, which would only call greater attention to the discussion between the little German and Charles, Buckingham turned his attention to the others and said of bearskin rugs, "How compelling would it be to have one of each color next to the other!" Lady Mountjoy was probably going to wish to murder him... "And a set of fangs would look excellent placed into the face of the mantle over the hearth above them." He might have to make a hunting room himself.


"And we should all sample this barenfang after supping. I approve of the idea," Mall said, agreeing with Lord Mountjoy, who was such a good sport for taking the men's sly and sedate teasing. Her brother must like him somewhat, for George could be brutal with poking fun and had been wittily kind instead.


Rupert the said to Lady Kingston, "A grand idea. I would be pleased for that to be a part of the wagers, a special bet for picking the winner with an undisclosed prize for those who choose correctly." He then added, "We will still have to allow for straight betting courtier to courtier or they will do it under the table, giving us no benefit at all. At least if is only done through our officials, we get a percentage of everything." Ladies did not always understand that men would bet about just about anything with other men. One bet was not enough. He would not be surprised if courtiers placed bets on how many audible curses and oaths they would hear from the competitors. Or who might throw their hat when they lost. 


(OOC - Idiot, literally sheepshead *snort*)

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Had Francis been holding a drink, he might have dropped it when Dorothea's brother proclaimed the request that he be the one to provide his service for acclimating the young man to the King's yacht and the river. His breath in might have been audible. He kept himself from looking at Dorothea, to whom he was still nearby, and made his way back behind off the King's right side. 


The King agreed.


Francis should have seen all of it coming, even if he had not expected it to be arranged right then and there.


Since he was addressed directly, he replied, "I would be honored, Your Majesty, to serve His Highness and make ready the yacht and put together a crew." 


That settled, he was almost thankful one of the ushers appeared to signal that everything was ready for the group to move to the dining room. He was going to need half a bottle of Barenfang after this once everyone had finally left and they were preparing for the bonfire!

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