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(CNRP40) Kingdom of England and Wales


Vedran
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Some years ago, on the State Opening of Parliament in 1934, the Westminster Palace cellars were ceremonially searched by the Yeomen Guards, as with every State Opening since the 17th century - to prevent a repeat of the Gunpowder Plot. The ceremony continued when the guardsmen came back up and, as with every year, reported that the cellars were free of evildoers. King George V arrived at the Palace to give his annual speech to Parliament. Near the close of his speech, something entirely unexpected happened.

 

Several dozen tons of TNT placed in the Palace cellars, underneath the House of Lords chamber was detonated. In an event that came to be called the second Burning of Parliament, the King, the government, the opposition, and over a thousand Lords, MP's, clerks, guests, and members of the public perished as a hellish orange mushroom cloud rose above Westminster. The people who "searched" the cellars were nowhere to be found, and the real Yeomen Guards supposed to be there that night were discovered floating in the Thames some time after. Nobody knew who the culprits were - anarchists, communists, fascists, the military, a foreign power. The only thing that was clear was someone with access to tons upon tons of TNT had wanted at least one person in attendance dead and didn't mind the collateral damage.

 

Present day, 194X

 

Years of chaos and civil war in Britain had finally passed, leaving Edward, Prince of Wales in charge of the country. His domain was much reduced. The colonies and dominions had drifted away, and he had abandoned them to their own devices, particularly the Africans whom he held in disdain. On his coronation day, he was crowned King of England and Wales. Apart from England and Wales, his kingdom held the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Orkney, and Bermuda. The Empire existed only in vestigial form, but Edward was determined not to let the sun set on it under his reign.

 

He had encouraged the press to blame the bombing of Parliament on communists and other leftist agitators, but it didn't really matter who had done it now. He had drastically cut back constitutional limits on the monarchy, and rather than the Kingdom being a parliamentary republic paying lip service to a monarchy like it had been in his father's time, it was now the other way around. Edward VIII was crowned alongside Queen Wallis, and not even the church complained. It was now his duty to form a proper government, and he issued a radio address some time after his coronation.

 

"We speak to you now on a matter most important, to address the proper governance of our land. In the difficult years since the passing of our king, you, our subjects, have wanted for a government which shall attend to your needs and the Kingdom's. The previous system, while noble in its goals, had miserably failed the people of Britain and its colonies and dominions across the seas. It allowed itself to be destroyed by traitorous elements which have yet to be brought to justice. It is because of this that we shall usher in a new age of a stronger government, selected and guided by the sovereign. We shall make our selection known in due time.

 

The sun has set on the old British Empire, and many of its dominions now lay free of England's influence. This is for the best. We do not need hordes of uncivilized peoples holding us back from our destiny of becoming, and continuing to be the greatest nation on Earth. A new day dawns on the Kingdom of England and Wales. God bless you all."

 

Edward did not appoint a prime minister for some time. Most of the people he wanted, including his first choice Lloyd George, had all perished along with his father. Edward continued to run the business of state and government himself, with a close knit group of advisors. His first act as king was to inaugurate Westminster Square. The ruins of the Palace had been razed to the ground and replaced with a square, dominated by a statue of Britannia that faced across the Thames and was even larger than Nelson's column. In the coming days, the military would be organized. A standing army was already in place in England and Wales, and much of the fleet still remained in Scapa Flow. Edward, being a supporter of air travel and a qualified pilot, intended to strengthen the RAF and build modern aircraft carriers to bring England into the modern age.

 

A telegram was sent to the heads of state of most nations - deliberately leaving out the communist ones - announcing the coronation and inviting them to establish embassies in London.

 

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Factbook - Kingdom of England and Wales

 

Head of State: Edward VIII

Head of Government: Ditto, for now

Form of Government: Absolute monarchy

Capital: London

 

Points breakdown:

 

  • 150 points - tech year 1940
  • 50 points - 500,000 soldiers
  • 10 points - 3000 artillery pieces
  • 15 points - 750 medium tanks
  • 10 points - 1000 light tanks
  • 15 points - 1500 fighters and bombers
  • 25 points - 50 destroyers
  • 25 points - 25 cruisers
  • 3 points - 1 battlecruiser
  • 50 points - 10 battleships
  • 40 points - 4 carriers
  • 20 points - 60 submarines
  • Everything else - industry
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Edward took the time out of his schedule to write back to the countries recognizing the new Kingdom, and thanked them for their support.

 

Now that he had legitimacy in the eyes of the international community, he could turn his attention to more mundane matters. The workload of government was beginning to get burdensome. He had to keep track of the citizenry's matters, and while he had never been one for tradition or convention, it was a hassle to formally receive guests at Buckingham Palace. He retired to his country estate at Sandringham House in East England, bringing the Guards along with him. Newly built Spitfires patrolled the skies often enough to provide security, but not so often as to interrupt recreation. Wallis came along, and they hosted a few parties for the benefit of the aristocracy - to let them know he had their interests in mind, and to keep them from getting too restless.

 

While Wallis entertained the guests with her typical American charm, Edward attended to more pressing matters. He brought over a slew of important figures for afternoon tea, wearing a suit and making the atmosphere only semi-formal, even as Spitfires buzzed overhead and he undertook discussions which no monarch could before, due to those pesky constitutional limits. Generals and Admirals filed in and out, the Coldstream Guards always on call with their newly minted M1 Garand rifles.

 

Eventually, he had to make the difficult decision of appointing a Prime Minister. All the important Lords and Members of the last several decades had either perished in the chaos of the last few years, or were too old or unsuitable for his consideration. Edward had to look to the Civil Service, which was left largely intact even as much of Westminster was damaged in 1934. He recalled something about civil servants not being allowed to hold political office, but this outlook would be "modernized" as many others were. No doubt he would catch flak from the family about breaking so strongly with tradition in recent years, but they were easily handled by Wallis' charm and his commanding presence. Edward simply made a note to give the more troublesome ones, like his stuttering brother, some insignificant commission or responsibility, then sent a letter inviting Sir Warren Fisher over for tea with the King.

 

Knowing that Edward was now in a position to give immense patronage to anyone who was competent and loyal enough, Fisher, the head of the civil service for over twenty years, drove out to meet Edward the next day. He found the King rather unorthodox. While Edward refused any incessant bowing or obvious deference while at Sandringham, he did have a quiet expectation for Fisher to know who was in charge. After a seemingly leisurely discussion of recent events and possible future events, Edward decided Fisher was the right man for the job. In the midst of a conversation about hunting prospects in the area, he said to Fisher: "We have decided to appoint you Prime Minister forthwith. Upon the formal appointment at the Palace, you are to form a cabinet and a government, the composition and size of which is to be of your own choosing. There shall be no input from politicians, but through the Ministries and the Civil Service you are to control local authorities in England, Wales, and our overseas dominions."

 

Fisher was taken aback, but after some thought, accepted. He knew that Edward was starting a new order of sorts, to be led by the civil service. He was also not a fool, and knew that Edward was forming the military command and Civil Service as his core supporters, along with the titled aristocracy. Edward briefed him and instructed him to administer new oaths throughout the civil service, pledging loyalty to the King of England and Wales. Anyone who refused was to be sacked or demoted.

 

Afterwards, Edward formed his Privy Council. While Fisher ran around trying to bring the established centers of civilian power into line with the King's new groove and ran the day-to-day affairs, Edward intended to build a close cadre of advisors to run the business of state. He chose from his closest and most competent allies from the previous years, coming up with several from each of his main groups of supporters. The sons of previous Lords were eager to take some measure of power now that the House of Lords was extinct, and Edward had to separate the wheat from the chaff. Apart from that, the selection process was easy and painless, since he knew who his friends were. Now that the House of Lords was gone, there weren't many places to put more influential political opponents to let them look pretty and be useless - and thus harmless. So, he had to concede to formality for once and place a few additional people on his Privy Council. Mainly Oxbridge professors, Bishops, his brother the Prince of Wales, and other assorted individuals who had no actual power in his regime. Of course, everybody knew that only the important people would be coming to meetings of the Council that actually dealt with serious business. The others would have to be satisfied with what they got, at least until the time came to give out knighthoods.

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Within a matter of weeks, the highly efficient Fisher had the government organized. Despite his large degree of influence over the commoners, he wasn't too close to Edward. He'd been sworn in by the King at a meeting of the Privy Council, but he dealt largely with the Council wherever his duties intersected matters of state. He had formed his cabinet, and nearly all of the positions were filled by the former permanent secretaries of the respective departments - mostly people whom Fisher had appointed. Edward approved of this, knowing that letting the civil service take over the government infrastructure would gain him their loyalty.

 

Edward continued to run things directly, being very much a hands-on ruler. His recognition of air power as the way of the future led to the RAF getting a big boost in funding from Fisher's people in the Treasury, along with the modernization of the fleet. Along with the aging Ark Royal, the Navy had three Illustrious-class carriers to beef up its air arm. Edward gave the admirals a free hand in fortifying Orkney, effectively placing the islands under military governance while security around Scapa Flow was increased. Radar stations were built, and redundant layers of submarine nets were placed around the mass of ships. An RAF station was built nearby, with air patrol duties alternating between RAF Spitfires and carrier-borne airplanes to keep crews sharp and low on fatigue. All the old dreadnoughts were scrapped, replaced by four brand-new King George V-class battleships, which he personally christened; supported by four of the modern Nelson class and two of the slightly dated Revenge class. He knew enough of the changing times to respect the battleship as a powerful asset, but not rely on it overmuch.

 

Since Parliament was gone, there wasn't much of a lawmaking assembly, so he ruled by decree, commandeering the Privy Council to be his personal legislature. Orders in Council came one after the other, mainly on major matters while Fisher's cabinet issued more mundane laws in his name. Edward was something of a dictator and it wasn't a terribly efficient system, so perhaps the country suffered a little - but he had at least established his authority and freedom of action. Delegations from the islands trickled in slowly, and Edward was named Lord of Mann. The Channel islanders offered to name him Duke of Normandy, but he had no particular ambitions upon the continent, so he refused them. He did appoint governors to Bermuda, the Channel Islands, and Man, who formed local councils and ironically made them more free than the mainland.

 

The farthest outpost of the Kingdom, Bermuda, was England's only dominion in the Americas, and as such it was fortified with a wing of fighters, plus a naval base housing ten of the Kingdom's submarines and a handful of cruisers and destroyers.

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