Alternate History

The Bishop Royal

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The POD for this timeline is the ordination of Prince Augustus Frederick (b. 1773), son of George III of Great Britain, as a priest of the Church of England in 1794, something which he considered, then abandoned *here*.


August Frederick was a younger son of George III of England. As a young man, he decide to become a minister. At first his father opposed him, but later consented. August Frederick rose quickly through the ecclesiastical ranks, thanks to royal tutelage and ended up as a bishop by 1810. August Frederick became the 'conscience' of the House of Hanover, a role which its other members were all too ready to concede to him.

In 1820, the rise of the Plymouth Brethren and Methodists, which were Low Church evangelical movements, led to Augustus Frederick's initial support of the nascent Oxford Movement. Under royal patronage, the Oxford Movement grew more quickly and spread farther than in OTL. Augustus Frederick became a favorite uncle of his niece Victoria, and therefore influenced her thinking, pushing her further towards High Church thinking.

In 1829, Augustus Frederick spoke against Catholic Emancipation, but was unsuccessful in preventing its passage.

In 1831 and 1832, Augustus Frederick opposed the Reform Bill on the grounds that it would give more authority to the rabble.

In 1833, Augustus Frederick began to sponsor the reproduction of the 'Oxford Tracts' (1833-1841), which illumined the principles of the Oxford Movement.

In 1837, William IV died, and Victoria became queen. Augustus Frederick became the Queen's official spiritual advisor.

In 1840, there was an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria. The upsurge in nationalism was accompanied by an upsurge in enthusiasm centered around the Church of England.

In 1843, August Frederick died.

In 1845, Newman, one of the leading lights of the Oxford Movement, converted to Catholicism. This shocked the nation and wounded the 'new' religious credibility of the monarch. The branch of the Oxford Movement which opposed this conversion and tried to maintain credibility in the eyes of the public changed its name to the Sussex Movement, after Sussex College, Cambridge, where it made its headquarters. The fragile state of Catholic emancipation that had existed since 1829 began to deteriorate rapidly.

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