What if Edinburgh Had Become the British Capital?
What Really Happened:
Cecil, one of Elisabeth Iís most able
advisors, had planned for her death by placing teams of horsemen along the route
to Scotland, where lived the heir apparent, James IV.
James, donning a ĎIí for English sensibilities, went at once to
England, where he was crowned king. He
only rarely returned to Scotland, and Charles I, his successor, only did a few
times. The distance between the
King and Scotland provoked some resentment, as did his attempts at long-distance
rule, and the result were the Bishop Wars.
Letís suppose that something happens to one
of the messengers sent to Scotland and he dies en route.
James had no idea heís needed in England.
In the coming week, rumours of Elisabethís death become believed around
the nation, as is the lack of any obvious successor.
Some nobles (Essexís heir is perhaps the most likely) see opportunity
to plant their behinds on the throne, forcing Cecil to fight several small
battles to prevent any of them gaining ascendancy.
James hears the rumours of Elisabethís
death in two weeks at most. Heís
also disturbed by the rumours of near civil war in England and concerned that
such weakness would invite the Spanish or the French to invade. James moves to Berwick, but is reluctant to move closer to
London. James nearness convinces a
few of the nobles that its time to strike and they do, fighting a mini-civil war
that Cecil quickly wins (combination of his high intelligence, control of most
of the regular army +trained bands). James
is invited to London and formerly crowned king.
So far so good.
Now, letís have James decide the England is not that safe a place for
monarchs and decide to rule from Edinburgh.
He confirms the English parliament, leaves Cecil as a viceroy, and heads
back to Scotland. Some of the more
enterprising nobles come with him or later to the court in Edinburgh, others
continue in England.
The most immediate effect is the Charles will
probably not woo either the Spanish infanta or Henrietta Marie (his OTL queen).
Charles is more likely to be married to some high ranking English noble,
or possibly a German protestant match. The
English Parliament would probably continue to run the nation without much royal
interference and at some point might consider the king more of a nuseinse than a
On Charles, however, the odds are high that
he would follow the Scottish religion (slightly harsher Christianity) instead of
being tempted by popery. This would
avert the Bishops Wars, as the king would not be trying to impose his version of
Christianity on everyone, although he might still try to muck around with the
English churches. Britain would
probably take little part in the Franco-Spanish wars, although colonial conflict
is inevitable. (There is some
suggestion that Charles impeded American colonising expeditions, as they would
be beyond his authority.) If so,
the Americaís would probably be colonised quicker.
Guy Fawlkes would have less opportunity for
the gunpowder plot in this TL. The
English Catholics would probably face less persicution, but not that much less,
The growth of British power would probably
push for a union of parliaments on a more equal basis.
(King not wanting the English to have domination, but scared of English
reaction to becoming second-best).