|Name||Johan Friedrich Alexander Van Draak|
|Birth/Death||11 July 1827 in Koningstad - 20 November 1894 in Turin|
|Consort||Caroline of Schleswig-Holstein|
Johan I (Johan Friedrich Alexander Van Draak, 1827-1894) was the 13th king of Brunant. Johan was the last of Brunant's absolutist monarchs, heavily involved in government affairs until being deposed and overthrown in the 1881 Liberal Revolution. He spent the later years of his life in exile, briefly in the United States and Lovia, and then in Europe.
Johan I was born in a hunting estate near Nieuw Helmond in 1827 to King Cristian I and Maria Francesca of Naples and Sicily. He was the couple's fourth child and second son, though their first to make it to adulthood. Born crown prince, he became his mother's favorite, and in turn would side with her against his father (his brother Ferdinand being his father's preferred).
Johan was made honorary captain of the 1st Infantry Company at the age of 13, in 1840. Johan and his father fell into constant disagreements by the mid-1840s. Johan showed little interest in a military career, and only rather reluctantly accepted a commission in the military. He showed little aptitude to learn the affairs of the state. He enjoyed hunting, drinking and womanizing. In 1848, he was romantically involved with Charlotte de Brienne, a divorced French countess whom he wished to marry, though his father forbade it.
Refusing several proposed brides, it was only until 1856 that he consented to marriage. In June he married Princess Caroline Amelie of Schleswig-Holstein after a brief courtship. They had three children:
There were many speculations on his marriage from the onset, considering there was no coming announcement of a pregnancy for his wife. Johan was never truly faithful to his wife, often being seen in the company of other women. He had at least one illegitimate child, a daughter named Emma (born 1852). Gossip among the elite in the period was leaning to a likely divorce or annulment forthcoming. There was much intrigue at the court over the succession, as King Cristian was fairly old, his youngest son (Ferdinand) was barred from succession and Prince Fabian had no children yet.
Eventually a pregnancy was announced in the summer of 1859, putting to rest the succession and speculations on the marriage.
While born crown prince in 1827, from the late 1840s he was not interested in taking a greater role in government. Despite that, he was very much of the idea of a greater, more powerful Brunant, and was instrumental in the acquisition of Berrio in 1856. His early detractors would name his ambitions as a "petty empire", and it is also likely he was hoping to acquire more lands.
Assuming the throne after his father's death in 1859, he did not initially change much in the government. He quickly became adamant in that President Gerd Duithers, a commoner, had to go. Duithers spent much (for early social programs) and Johan wanted none of that. His other ministers counseled against that, so Johan simply sidestepped Duithers and he essentially became a powerless minister after 1860. Duithers pushed against such heavy-handed royal intervention in congress, but enough congressmembers sided with the king to deny him control of it.
His mother (until her death in 1869) counseled Johan, and for the first decade of his reign, his wife was kept out of state affairs and isolated at court. Afterwards, his wife ran many of the day-to-day affairs of the nation. It was said he could have easily turned Brunant into an absolutist state (and abolished the constitution) were he not leaving his mother and wife in charge while he went to hunt and chase women.
In the 1870s he was courting Sweden to acquire Saint Barthélemy from them, and despite his president's (Pieter Van Neyt) misgivings about any success, the king sent his own cousin, Prince Alexander, as ambassador to Sweden in 1878 to further advance a deal before the island passed to France. He continued to have dreams of some sort of an empire (the petty empire), though he was unable to do so. Most Brunanters were opposed to his imperial ambitions and there was much ridicule for it in leftist circles.
Exile and deathEdit
In 1881, he was deposed in a bloodless coup by Pieter II. Uprisings by peasants, insurrections in Koningstad and the threat of republican rule saw much of the military abandon him before his two sons stormed the palace to force him out and save the monarchy. Johan was not detained and it is likely his sons gave him the chance to flee out of clemency. Popular stories of the time have Johan fleeing Brunant (or at least Koningstad) dressed as a maid.
Johan left for Paris, but moved to America in 1884. In 1887, he came to Lovia, seeking to perhaps drum up some support from the king there, but failed to get any support. He then left for France, settling down in Paris where there was a community of some émigrés, including several former congress members, among them Joseph Greene and Alfred Van Draak. The fact that he did not abdicate gave rise to a legitimist cause among more conservative figures, leading to the October Plot in 1913.