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The Vestry Conference was a meeting that took place on 7 March 2010 between Crown Prince Jonathan, Princess Caroline and Lord General William in the Choir Vestry of Carshalton Methodist Church. Discussions about Princess Caroline's claim to the Throne broke down, and ended with the declaration of the Austenasian Civil War.
After the Terry I abdication crisis, Esmond III had become Monarch. Princess Caroline objected to this, stating that Act 105 was in her eyes unlawful and that Parliament should not be able to change the line to the Throne.
A conference was thus arranged to see if there was any possible compromise before the matter was brought before the Emperor.
Transcript of Conference
CPJ: HIH Crown Prince Jonathan
PC: HIH Princess Caroline
LGW: Lord General William K., 2nd Duke of Royton, KOR, KCA, DSC
- CPJ: This is the Vestry Conference, starting at 11:48, Sunday 7 March 2010. Discussing the claim of HIH Princess Caroline against the Throne of HIM Emperor Esmond III, who acceeded 16 February 2010. I will start by giving an overview of the situation, then HIH Princess Caroline will state her claim to the Throne. His Grace Lord General William will be an independent adjudicator. On 15 February 2010, HIM Emperor Terry I announced his intention to abdicate. HIH Crown Prince Jonathan, myself, was first in line to the Throne, I refused the Throne to remain Prime Minister. It thus passed to the second in line to the Throne. On 25 October 2009, Dark Lord Esmond, 2nd Duke of Highland, SCH was made second in line to the Throne by Act 105, the Supreme Companion Act. He was therefore second in line to the Throne at the time of the abdication, and acceeded the Throne at roughly 2:40pm, Sutton town centre, 16 February 2010. HIH Princess Caroline states that she should have been next in line to the Throne after I refused it, seeing how she was scond in line to the Throne before the passing of Act 105. So, Princess Caroline.
- PC: I want to be Empress because I was second in line to the Throne, and when Terry I abdicated I wasn't second in line, but I think I should have been consulted before Esmond was changed to second in line because it involved me, I went down [in the line to the Throne]. I have my rights, and it should be fairly done. I should have been consulted about it, and I would have said no, and you can't just do that. I don't care about the Act.
- CPJ: So you're saying that you should have been second in line because you're the daughter and second eldest child of the Emperor, and despite the Act being passed you're still related to him whereas Esmond isn't.
- PC: Yes, because I'm blood related and Esmond isn't, he's just someone - as Joe said: "you just picked up off the street to be Emperor".
- CPJ: OK, William, your thoughts?
- LGW: I think that she, Caroline, is wrong, because there is nothing in the Constitution or any Acts, or anything, that states that anybody [in line to the Throne] needs to be notified.
- PC: Yes, but my Dad said that he never even read the Act anyway, he just signed it, and he should be made to read it before -
- LGW: But that's his fault!
- CPJ: It is his fault.
- LGW: If he dislikes an Act and he signs it that's his fault for signing it.
- PC: But you should have made him read everything, because otherwise he could be saying that he'll let the house be taken over by bunnies!
- LGW: But then that would be his fault for saying that the house could be taken over by bunnies!
- PC: So I think you should make an Act saying that the Emperor needs to read everything [before giving Imperial Consent], and if I was Empress I would read everything so that I know what's going on and what's happening, and seeing if there should be any changes made and if I should actually sign it or not.
- CPJ: Would we be able to reach a compromise on this matter? How about you become something else, instead of Empress?
- PC: Well what else is there you can offer?
- CPJ: When Terry I abdicated he lost all Austenasian titles, so I became 2nd Archduke of Inner Austenasia. How about I relinquish that title, it would then pass to you. So how about instead of becoming Empress, you become 3rd Archduchess of Inner Austenasia?
- PC: So it's just a title, I wouldn't have to do anything? I want to do something, and I want to be Empress, then I can actually do something instead of just sitting there.
- CPJ: The only chance you have of becoming Empress is if Esmond III abdicates and I refuse the Throne again.
- PC: Well that's not fair on me, is it?
- LGW: OK, now, does anyone have any further things to say?
- PC: I want to be Empress.
- LGW: Anything else?
- PC: I would like to be Empress?
- LGW: But any further reasons why you should be?
- CPJ: Actually, I've thought of another thing! If you became Empress, you wouldn't be able to sign anything yet because you're under 13 so you'd have to have a Regent. So if you became Empress, I - well no, it wouldn't be me because I want to remain Prime Minister - William, as Deputy PM would become Regent.
- PC: What would I do if I were Empress?
- CPJ: Nothing until you're 13 - William would have the powers of the Emperor. You'd have the title, but you wouldn't be able to do anything until you're 13.
- PC: Well I don't mind that. I'm 13 next May, so that doesn't really matter.
- LGW: OK, does anyone have anything else to say?
At this point, Vicereine Margaret (the mother of Crown Prince Jonathan and Princess Caroline) entered the room and removed the Princess so that she could make her JMA collection (a weekly subscription-based collection for charity that a lot of the church's children did).
Crown Prince Jonathan and Lord General William followed them out of the room into the main church, where they started discussing Esmond III's accession to the Throne. The dictaphone used to record the Conference was still playing, and the following was recorded:
- CPJ: [You're saying that Act 113] does not count?
- LGW: Because Cabinet, the Parliament, did not vote for it.
- CPJ: Well you weren't there, and I hold the deciding vote.
- LGW: Yes but our Parliament meetings are held every Sunday.
- CPJ: There wasn't time, he abdicated on a Monday.
- LGW: So?
- CPJ: So, I have the deciding vote, it counts for 51%. You're not siding with her are you? Trying to become Regent?
- LGW: No, Act 105 states that Esmond would become Emperor. But the fact is that Act 113 does not count.
- CPJ: So you're saying that Esmond is not Emperor?
- LGW: No, he isn't.
Lord General William realised that the dictaphone was still recording, and tried to get it from Crown Prince Jonathan. The Crown Prince refused to give it to him, realising that the Lord General was in fact against the new Monarch. The Crown Prince ran into the nearby Lower Park Hall (adjoining the church), followed by Lord General William, still trying to get the tape. The Lord General, in his capacity as Chief Inspector, ordered Crown Prince Jonathan to give him the incriminating tape so that he could "review the minutes". The Crown Prince, in his capacity as Home Secretary, removed the office of Chief Inspector from Lord General William.
Princess Caroline ran outside to join them. Crown Prince Jonathan, sensing hostility from both of them, demanded to know if she was going to try to remove Esmond III from the Throne. The Princess said yes, and Crown Prince Jonathan arrested her for High Treason.
Interrogation of Princess Caroline
The three went into another room, the Park Annexe, and Crown Prince Jonathan told Princess Caroline to sit down. He then tried to record a confession from her on his phone, but before he could do so, Lord General William told him that if he did not get back his position of Chief Inspector, there could be a civil war.
The Crown Prince enquired as to whether that was a threat, but Princess Caroline escaped into the garden, followed by the other two.
Declaration of War
Lord General William declared civil war on Emperor Esmond III and Crown Prince Jonathan. The Crown Prince informed Lord General William that he was under arrest for rebellion and high treason. This arrest automatically removed Lord General William from the office of Representative of South Kilttown, and Crown Prince Jonathan in his capacity as Prime Minister announced that the Lord General would be replaced as Acting Representative by his father, Lord John. The following day, after the Prime Minister met with Emperor Esmond III, Lord General William was removed from the office of Minister of Defence and lost all of his honours and titles of nobility.
The Austenasian Civil War had begun.