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The Royal Marriage

Chapter Fifty-Three: Declaration of War

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce that Spain is at war,” Iker said standing before his throne, it hadn’t been an easy decision but with everything that was happening around them; he had been left with no choice.

The last thing that Iker had ever wanted was to enter a war, he knew how expensive they were and he wanted a peaceful reign after everything that Spain had been through in the past.

Charlotte was behind him, a hand rested protectively on her belly and Iker knew that there was every chance that he could miss the birth of their child.

Things had been going so well recently and Iker had been pleased with how quickly Queen Mary had settled into life at the Spanish Court; she was enjoying her time with Felipe and Margery in the royal nursery.

“As I lead our tropes… I leave my Queen as Regent in my absence,” Iker continued knowing that there would be few that would argue with his decision to do so.

The last thing that Iker wanted was a power vacuum starting in his absence and he trusted that Charlotte would be able to handle the responsibility while he was away.

If he was not back before she entered confinement to birth their third child then Iker had already installed a plan for who would take control while she recovered.

Charlotte tried to not let the panic that she felt appear on her face, she truly didn’t believe that she was ready for such a thing; she had no idea how to run the country while her husband was away.

The court whispered around them at the news that they were entering the war, they had all known it was coming and there was no ignoring what was happening around them.

France's fight against the Holy Roman Emperor could not go ignored and with Princess Elizabeth married to the Duke of Orléans; it meant that they would be linked no matter what happened.

Her children were Iker’s grandchildren and while he might never get to meet them, they were still family and there was no way that Iker would forsake his daughter and her children to whatever fate.

Elizabeth had birthed a second son that she had named for her own father since her firstborn had been named for the French King; she was thrilled that she had been able to produce two sons for her husband.

The same could not be said for Mary and her own marriage to the Duke of Bavaria, she had two daughters and her husband had lost interest in her in favor of his mistress.

Catherine and Isabella were apparently doing well from the letter that Iker had received and he knew that Mary was doing her best with the situation at hand.

Offering his hand to Charlotte, Iker offered her a smile as she took his hand and got to her feet; she was going to have to deal with him being gone for who knows how long.

Leaving the throne room, Charlotte knew that people would look to her to be strong for them and she wasn’t sure that she could do that; she had no experience when it came to anything like this.

Charlotte was sure that Katherine would have been much more prepared for something like this; she had always known what to do because she was always destined to be Queen.

Before she had meet the former Queen, the most that Charlotte could have hoped for given her father’s station was to be married off to some Lord.

Charlotte had never considered just how she would handle anything like this, she had always hoped that Spain would remain as peaceful as she had always known it to be.

***

“You’ll be just fine,” Iker told her as he prepared to head off to war with his men, he wasn’t going to ask anyone to do something that he wouldn’t do himself; he kissed his wife knowing that this could be the last he saw of her.

The last thing that Iker wanted to think about was what might happen should he not return from fighting; he knew that Kings had died fighting in wars for thousands of years.

Felipe was only four years old and was nowhere near ready to become King yet, it would fall to Charlotte and a series of advisors to run the country until he was off age.

“Promise me that you’ll come home to me,” Charlotte pleaded with him, she didn’t want to lose him and she couldn’t imagine what she would do if she was left a widow.

She hugged her husband for what felt like the last time and she prayed that God would return him to her safely; she would give anything for him to come back to her well.

Iker held her close for a moment and closed his eyes, he wished that he could make that promise and he knew that there was no telling how bad the fighting was going to get with everything that was going on.

“I love you,” Iker told her quietly, it was for her ears alone and he didn’t care that everyone was watching them as they prepared to leave the castle.

People had gathered to see their King leave and Iker was determined to do what he could to keep Spain safe; he knew if France fell then his cousin would turn his attention to his throne.

There was no telling what Charles would do and Iker could only imagine that invading Spain would become his crowning glory; he hated to think what Charles would do to his infant children.

Mary, Elizabeth and Margery were likely to be okay; they were daughters and weren’t likely to be a threat to Charles should he take the throne.

However, Felipe and the unborn child that Charlotte carried was likely to be an issue that Charles would deal with in a drastic way.

There was no forgetting the rumours about what had happened to the York princes when their uncle stole the throne; it was rumoured that he had them murdered since they just disappeared from the Tower of London.

Charlotte closed her eyes at those words, her heart pounding surer than anything that he actually meant them now and it wasn’t because she had birthed him a son.

“I love you too,” Charlotte told him, she looked up into his brown eyes and knew that this wasn’t going to be the last time that she saw him.

Iker swallowed at those words, he brushed some hair from her face and kissed the top of her head before stepping back knowing that he had to go; he stared at her for a moment taking everything in before he moved to get on to his horse.

Charlotte watched him go a lump in her throat, she held her head high knowing that she would not be the only wife that would miss their husband while he was away fighting.

Beside her stood her brother and father, Charlotte couldn’t bring herself to look at them as she watched her husband ride off to war.

Tomas slowly stepped up beside Charlotte, his eyes watching his King leave and he knew that this couldn’t have come at a better time; he glanced at his daughter knowing that she needed a second son now more than ever.

“We have much work to do,” Tomas mused knowing that as the Queen’s father, he would have quite a bit of influence now that King Iker was away at war.

The Earl of Arganzuela knew that people would flock to him more than ever now that Charlotte was Queen Regnant in the absence of her husband; it would also be a matter of time before she headed into confinement to birth her third child.
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So Iker is heading off to war and had left Charlotte in charge... what will happen next?

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