During the power struggle for the Imperial Throne, she claimed that she was the natural successor to the late Emperor Hengist Duval due to her direct blood descent. However, Arissa Lavigny-Duval revealed that she was the illegitimate biological daughter of Hengist Duval, and Aisling eventually supported Arissa Lavigny-Duval's claim; Arissa was subsequently elected emperor by the Imperial Senate.
Despite her youth, the "People's Princess" enjoys considerable support from the people and also from elements who would benefit from shaking up Imperial society. Unlike other representatives of the Empire, she is against Imperial Slavery, and founded a non-government charity named Stop Slavery Stupid, which later merged with another anti-slavery charity and rebranded itself Unchain. She also has a strong dislike of narcotics, and believes that they should be made illegal in the Empire, at least partially because her mother died from narcotics use.
Meet the Powers – Aisling Duval
In this new series, exclusive to GalNet, the popular political commentator Marcus Macmillan looks at some of the movers and shakers in 3301. In this first article he examines the life of the popular darling of Imperial politics: Princess Aisling Duval.
Aisling Duval is Prince Harold’s eldest child, but has gained a substantial following on her merits. She appears to be a canny operator, although many would argue that her advisors provide her with a veneer of acumen. She is young at only 25, and very visible in the media. Her claim to the throne is technically nullified by the fact that her parents were not married, but her claim is no weaker than some of the other contenders.
The people’s princess (as she is sometimes known) is extremely popular with many citizens, clients and patrons. She regularly appears on lightweight chat shows, but tends to avoid anything where she might have to face tough questions.
At heart Aisling is a populist, taking many of her views from the public mood. She splits her time between managing her brand from Cemiess, and spending time with her father in Achenar. Her mother died of a drugs overdose when she was young which, combined with her father's unfortunate legacy from a hedonistic life, has left Aisling with a passion for helping those whose lives have taken a turn for the worse.
Despite her youth, she enjoys considerable support from the people and also from elements who would benefit from shaking up Imperial society.
Aisling Duval dated Senator Denton Patreus in 3301. At the time, they were only rumored to be dating and had not publicly confirmed that they were in a relationship. At some point, Aisling broke up with Patreus, presumably concluding that the Senator was only pursuing her in a bid to one day gain the Imperial throne.
On 20 March 3301 Aisling and Denton were spotted together on Facece. They walked hand in hand and went shopping for three hours in the Facece fashion halls. They were accompanied by a big entourage of followers and protected by security. Afterward they retired on Patreus' ship for a light dinner.
During the week of 12 March 3301, Senator Patreus and Aisling Duval were spotted together at various popular nightspots in Capitol. They refused to confirm their relationship to reporters thus far. If true, the association could potentially secure Senator Patreus’s bid to become the leading voice of the Empire. While Aisling herself is not currently considered a serious contender for the Imperial Throne, her pairing with the Senator could provide the leverage he needs to secure support from a large portion of the Senate, particularly from those who are currently throwing their weight behind Chancellor Blaine.
13 April 3301 "Denton Patreus and Aisling Duval were spotted grabbing dinner in Capitol late last night at the very exclusive pop-up restaurant, Fodder. The Empire's favourite power couple appeared to have a good time, with the pair polishing off several bottles of Chateau De Aegaeon during the course of their three-hour meal. Aisling looked stunning in a lace red dress with matching accessories. Senator Patreus was his usual dashing self, although he had chosen to go for a more casual unbuttoned look for his dinner date with the people's princess. After dinner the pair are believed to have retired to the Senator's ship, the Imperial Freedom, which departed Capitol for Eotienses this morning."
22 April 3301 "Denton Patreus and Aisling Duval were spotted in attendance at 'A Dinner to Defeat Dementia' in Capitol last night. The Empire's favourite power couple spent several hours mingling with Senators, CEOs and a few of the charity's lucky patrons, before dazzling the crowd with a rather energetic display on the dance floor."
Jordan Rochester and Jarl Toredo
On May 25, 3304, entertainment journalist Solomon Helios speculated that Aisling may be dating once more given that she had been spending more time in the company of three influential figures: Senator Caspian Leopold, Jarl Toredo of the anti-slavery organisation Universal Liberty, and Federal Ambassador Jordan Rochester. Aisling has attended numerous meetings with Senator Leopold, noted to be a gifted orator with enormous wealth and influence, and the Senator has spoken warmly of Aisling in interviews. Toredo has been spotted visiting Aisling at the Imperial Palace, and a relationship would give Aisling's charity a significant PR boost. Ambassador Rochester has been stationed on Aisling's home moon of Emerald, and recently took a private tour with Aisling of the Prism's Shades empathic art installation.
On June 6, 3304, Solomon Helios reported that Aisling had hosted an exclusive diplomatic function the previous weekend, with Federal Ambassador Jordan Rochester attending as the guest of honor. Unusually, Aisling also invited Ambassador Rochester's staff, including the captain and crew of his ship, the FNS Pioneer. Since the ship's commander was Vice Admiral Juno Rochester, one of Jordan's sisters, Helios speculated that Aisling may have been using the opportunity to meet a future in-law. Aisling and Jordan danced together before the ambassador formally thanked the princess on behalf of the Federation. The next day, Senator Caspian Leopold arrived on Emerald for official business, but Helios noted nothing had been scheduled on his calendar.
On June 13, 3304, after announcing the merger of Universal Liberty with Stop Slavery Stupid to form Unchain, Jarl Toredo briefly responded to rumors about his romantic connection to Princess Aisling, saying only "I suspect Her Highness's attention is focused elsewhere."
On June 21, 3304, Princess Aisling publicly announced her engagement to Federal Ambassador Jordan Rochester, who also released a statement via a special edition of The Federal Times. Solomon Helios expressed his surprise at the sudden development, and questioned whether Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval and Federal President Zachary Hudson would allow such a union.
By June 27, the announcement had garnered a mixed response from the galactic community. The Imperial Palace and the office of Alliance Prime Minister Edmund Mahon offered their cordial congratulations, but Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval and Federal President Zachary Hudson did not issue statements of their own. News agencies on Capitol reported that Princess Aisling had not discussed the marriage with the Imperial Family beforehand, and the Emperor had not given her consent. Senator Zemina Torval voiced her blunt disapproval of the marriage, while Senator Caspian Leopold was much more supportive. Ambassador Rochester's mother, Congressman Isolde Rochester, also supported the marriage and was optimistic that it could usher in a new age of cooperation between the Federation and Empire.
On July 13, the date of the wedding ceremony was set for August 25, 3304 at the Imperial Palace on Emerald, Cemiess. An honour guard of vessels from both the Federal Navy and the Imperial Navy would be in attendance, and the couple expressed their wish that the galactic community would join together in celebration of their union. Senator Zemina Torval continued to criticize the marriage as a publicity stunt that would directly undermine the Empire's policies, but former Federal President Jasmina Halsey, now an advisor to the Alliance, expressed her approval and noted that the union would likely present new opportunities for peace among humanity.
The wedding was cancelled on August 22, only three days before it was set to occur, following Jarl Toredo's public confession to Solomon Helios that he and Aisling Duval had been romantically involved for several months, and that the planned marriage between the princess and the ambassador was purely a political matter. Neither Princess Aisling nor Ambassador Rochester issued a response to the sudden turn of events. Pundits noted that because the announcement of the cancellation was made by Ambassador Rochester's mother Isolde, it was likely that Toredo's claims had some truth to them and the Rochester family matriarch no longer trusted Aisling. The scheduled date of the wedding passed without comment from either Princess Aisling or Ambassador Rochester.
29 AUG 3304
- The date of Princess Aisling Duval's wedding to Federal Ambassador Jordan Rochester passes without comment from either party. Entertainment journalist Solomon Helios commented: "Public reaction to the cancelled wedding has ranged from outrage to delight. Jasmina Halsey expressed regret at a 'lost opportunity for long-term peace', while Senator Zemina Torval called it 'the mercy killing of a catastrophically bad idea'. With no word from the Imperial Palace or the White House, it's easy to imagine both Emperor Arissa and President Hudson breathing sighs of relief. But the silence from Aisling Duval and Jordan Rochester rings loudest. What might they be feeling? Was their relationship terminated against their wishes? Did it ever really exist? Naturally I invited the princess to tell her story, but her previous openness is apparently a thing of the past. The Rochester family is also shying away from the media. Jarl Toredo, whose alleged affair with Aisling apparently derailed the marriage, has vanished from public sight. Was this a tragic love triangle, or just a political chess game? We may never know. But what's certain is that, before long, Aisling Duval will put these failures behind her and be back in the spotlight where she belongs."
22 AUG 3304
- Congressman Isolde Rochester announces the cancellation of the wedding of her son Jordan and Princess Aisling Duval. The announcement follows anti-slavery campaigner Jarl Toredo's confession that he and Aisling Duval were romantically involved for several months. Toredo also claimed that the planned marriage was purely a political matter. The cancellation was confirmed by the Imperial Palace on Emerald, but there has been no direct response from Princess Duval or Ambassador Rochester. Political journalist Cassia Carvalho of The Imperial Herald commented: "The fact that this news comes from Isolde Rochester gives weight to Jarl Toredo's claims. If the marriage was a political scheme, that may explain why the Rochester family matriarch is the one to call it off, no longer trusting Princess Duval to play her part. Or perhaps this is simply the reaction of a mother, enraged at her future daughter-in-law's infidelity. Had the marriage taken place, would it have initiated an era of Federal-Imperial cooperation, or triggered a new wave of conflict? It seems we will never know."
17 AUG 3304
- Jarl Toredo disclosed to entertainment journalist Solomon Helios his reasons for resigning from Unchain. According to Helios, "Following Jarl Toredo's resignation from Unchain, I offered to tell his side of the story. Although he declined a formal interview, he did disclose that he could no longer bear working alongside Princess Duval. He admitted that he has been romantically involved with the princess since their first meeting several months ago. It seems they both felt it wise to keep the relationship a secret. According to Toredo, the princess claimed not to have any romantic feelings for Ambassador Rochester, and insisted that the marriage was merely a means to advance her political plans. Initially Toredo accepted this, but it seems that after her engagement the princess became unreachable. Toredo says that his and Aisling's love has been sidelined by her political schemes. Quite simply, he feels betrayed." Princess Aisling firmly denied the accusations: "I am shocked that my good friend Solomon could believe such lies. It's obvious that Mr Toredo is being used by those who want rekindle the hostility between the Empire and the Federation. My relationship with Jordan Rochester is entirely genuine."
08 AUG 3304
- Co-CEO Jarl Toredo unexpectedly resigned from Unchain, with Princess Aisling Duval remaining CEO. Observers speculated that the recent assassination attempt against the Princess may have caused Toredo to regret aligning himself with her, or that there was substance to rumors that he was a rival for Aisling's affection and her engagement to Federal Ambassador Jordan Rochester caused a falling-out. Princess Aisling did not comment on Toredo's departure.
02 AUG 3304
- An assassination attempt against Princess Aisling Duval was foiled by the Imperial Internal Security Service during a fundraiser being held in the Zhao system for Unchain. IISS Captain Takio Diomedes stated that the Princess's personal security detail had detected and disabled a number of explosive charges that had been placed at key locations in the event centre. The investigation into the explosives' origin was ongoing. Princess Aisling did not address the incident and continued her fundraising duties for Unchain.
18 JUL 3304
- Princess Aisling Duval discusses her forthcoming marriage in an exclusive interview with entertainment journalist Solomon Helios. The princess addresses many topics, including the impact of the announcement of her engagement, her relationship with Ambassador Rochester, Senator Zemina Torval's criticism, and her hopes for the future of her marriage: "Jordan and I see this marriage as an opportunity for change. Imagine a galaxy where both superpowers work hand in hand, and support each other in times of hardship. Now that's a true marriage."
13 JUL 3304
- The wedding of Princess Aisling Duval and Federal Ambassador Jordan Rochester is scheduled for August 25, 3304 at the Imperial Palace on Emerald, Cemiess. An official proclamation was published in both The Federal Times and The Imperial Herald: "Her Imperial Highness Princess Aisling Duval and the honourable Ambassador Jordan Rochester are pleased to announce the occasion of their wedding on Saturday 25th August 3304 at the Imperial Palace on Emerald in the Cemiess system. Invitations have been extended to representatives of every strata of society. An honour guard of vessels from both the Federal Navy and the Imperial Navy will be in attendance. The couple's wish is for all citizens of the galaxy to join together in celebration of their union."
06 JUL 3304
- Responding to public interest in Princess Aisling Duval's fiancé, Federal Ambassador Jordan Rochester, political journalist Cassia Carvalho compiled a profile of Jordan and the Rochester family for The Imperial Herald.
27 JUN 3304
- Reactions from the galactic community to the announcement of Aisling Duval and Jordan Rochester's marriage ranged from joy to cordial congratulations to outrage.
22 JUN 3304
- Princess Aisling Duval announces that she and Federal Ambassador Jordan Rochester plan to marry: "It's no secret that Jordan and I grew close during his official visit. The time has come to let you know that we are to be husband and wife. I'm aware that some will see this as unorthodox, even controversial, but love knows no borders. It's our wish that our marriage will build lasting bridges between the Empire and the Federation."
13 JUN 3304
- Princess Aisling Duval's charity Stop Slavery Stupid merged with Jarl Toredo's independent charity Universal Liberty. The unified organisation was rebranded Unchain. Toredo issued a statement on the merger: "There's no shortage of poverty and suffering within the Empire, however much some may try to hide it. Few have the courage to face the truth, but Princess Duval has been an inspiration. So I'm very pleased that we're joining forces with her campaign to end slavery. I was born into slavery. My parents were still slaves when they died. It is for them, and for all human beings treated as less than human, that we demand legal slavery be abolished. I'm proud to be part of Unchain, which will spread our message across the Empire."
06 JUN 3304
- Solomon Helios reports that Princess Aisling hosted an exclusive diplomatic function the previous weekend, and Federal Ambassador Jordan Rochester was the guest of honor. Senator Caspian Leopold also made an unofficial visit to Emerald the following day.
25 MAY 3304
- Entertainment journalist Solomon Helios speculates on Princess Aisling Duval's love life. Aisling had dated Senator Denton Patreus three years earlier, but ended that relationship, presumably concluding that Patreus was primarily interested in the Imperial throne. Recently, Aisling has been spotted in the company of three potential suitors: the wealthy and influential Senator Caspian Leopold, anti-slavery firebrand Jarl Toredo, and Federal Ambassador Jordan Rochester.
12 APR 3304
- More prominent figures across the galaxy, including Imperial Senator Pal Vespasian and Commodore Riri McAllister of the ADF voice support for Princess Duval's criticism of Aegis. Chief Editor Jast Fernández said "We know that Aisling is widely seen as the stereotypical heiress – materially prosperous but intellectually deficient – but could this have been a public mask that she is now discarding? Or perhaps the young princess is finally maturing, and developing some genuine critical faculty?"
05 APR 3304
- Aisling Duval criticizes Aegis. In a public interview, Princess Aisling Duval levelled criticism at Aegis in relation to the ongoing Thargoid conflict. "The people are scared," she said. "They fear that their way of life – their very existence – might vanish unless more is done to protect them. I’m not convinced Aegis is capable of doing so. The Empire has invested heavily in the organisation. Are we sure the other powers have done the same? It has taken far too long for Aegis to determine why the Thargoids are attacking, and it’s not clear what their strategy is now. If we are to trust them to defend humanity, we need to see more obvious progress."
25 JAN 3304
- Aisling Duval's anti-slavery campaign in Guuguyni is a success. In an official statement, the princess says, "I am immeasurably grateful to those who supported this campaign. You have saved hundreds of people from a life of misery."
18 JAN 3304
- Aisling Duval announced plans to fund a peacekeeping operation in the Guuguyni system. The operation's primary purpose is to neutralise an illegal slave-trading ring in the region.
28 OCT 3303
- A number of the galaxy’s most powerful figures have commented on the current galactic landscape, addressing issues such as the return of Thargoids and the recent discovery of outposts formerly occupied by the Intergalactic Naval Reserve Arm. At a society event in the Cubeo system, Princess Aisling Duval said: “I read the INRA records, and frankly I was sickened. How could they treat living creatures that way? I’ve heard of governments inventing threats to support their military programmes. Maybe that’s what the INRA was. A smokescreen.”
27 OCT 3303
- Aisling Duval commented on the discovery of multiple abandoned Intergalactic Naval Reserve Arm outposts, saying she was sickened by the way INRA experimented with weapons on live Thargoids, and further claiming that INRA may have exaggerated the Thargoid threat to garner support for its military programme.
04 MAY 3303
- Terrorist Salomé Killed. Imperial dispatches have confirmed that Commander Salomé, also known as Kahina Tijani Loren, was killed in the Arumclaw system on the 29th of April by a bounty hunter known as ‘Besieger’. “She was a force of evil who attempted to sow the seeds of conflict among those who strive for peace,” said Princess Aisling Duval. “Her warmongering is at an end, and the galaxy is now a safer place. It’s just a shame that so many innocent lives were lost before she was brought down.”
25 NOV 3302
- Prisoner Convoy Destroyed. A prisoner convoy has been interdicted and destroyed in the Daibo system while en route to Koontz Asylum. It has been confirmed that the convoy was carrying various political dissidents, convicted murderers and terrorists. Among them was the infamous Kahina Loren, recently found guilty of the attempted assassination of Admiral Denton Patreus. Plans to hold a memorial service for Loren in the Prism system have already generated angry responses. Princess Aisling Duval was quoted as saying, "A service for her? She was a murderer and a convicted felon! Her name should be struck from the record and never spoken again."
06 OCT 3301
- Aisling Duval offered her support to the Senate decision to declare Senator Arissa Lavigny-Duval the new Emperor.
04 OCT 3301
- Agents of the Imperial Guard and IISS arrested several members of Chancellor Anders Blaine's staff. Blaine said that Princess Aisling Duval's accusation that his staff had links to Emperor's Dawn were true, that members of his staff had been involved in slander against her, and that he took all responsibility and apologised.
02 OCT 3301
- In Aisling Duval's own investigation into her advisor Patron Damon Clarke's links to Emperor's Dawn, she revealed that some of Chancellor Anders Blaine's past advisors were connected to the same members of Emperor's Dawn. She did not release her evidence, and Blaine denied all knowledge of any connection.
28 SEP 3301
- The Imperial Herald's report of connections between Princess Aisling Duval's office and Emperor's Dawn had a severe impact on her rating, and may have had an impact on her standing with the Senate.
21 SEP 3301
- Following remarks by Senator Denton Patreus the previous day, Chancellor Anders Blaine confirmed there would be an investigation into the claimed links between Princess Aisling Duval's office and Emperor's Dawn. The hunt for Patron Damon Clarke, believed by some to have fled the Empire, continued, with some of his associates arrested and questioned.
19 SEP 3301
- Aisling Duval released a statemant, saying it came as a "bitter surprise" to learn that any of her "trusted advisors could have conducted business with the animals that murdered the Emperor." She said she would undertake her own investigation into the matter. The whereabouts of Patron Damon Clarke were unknown.
18 SEP 3301
- The Imperial Herald published details of alleged links between backers of Aisling Duval and those funding Emperor's Dawn, the rebel group behind the assassination of Emperor Hengist Duval. Patron and industrialist Damon Clarke's company D and C Shipping, Inc. apparently funded and shipped weapons to people now known to be members of Emperor's Dawn.
11 SEP 3301
- At a charity event where several dozen slaves were freed, Aisling Duval spoke out about the succession, and claimed to be the natural heir. Her attempt to gloss over the legality of her claim sparked angry rebuttals from legal experts and the camps of the other likely candidates.
15 AUG 3301
It seems peculiar that as the closest living relative of our beloved Emperor, I am not involved in the process of selecting his successor. It is even stranger that there is a process at all - after all, I am the natural heir.
— Princess Aisling Duval
- Aisling Duval Reviews her Security. The personal security for Princess Aisling Duval is under review as yet another private conversation has been leaked to the press. Much of the audio is undistinguishable but at one stage Aisling can be heard saying: “Denton would never do something like this. He’s far too up tight and strait-laced. Besides, he’s a nobody now. That Lavigny bitch – she’ll get the sympathy vote from this and she knows it.” A spokeswoman for Princess Duval stated: “This is clearly a fake intended to discredit the princess. To think that someone would stoop to this type of low politics in our time of grief is repulsive.”
29 JUL 3301
- In an alleged secret recording of a conversation with one of her aides, Princess Aisling Duval questioned the convenience of the Emperor's recovery and the motives of Senator Anders Blaine and others close to the Emperor. An aide of Senator Blaine said an investigation would be carried out. Aisling Duval said the recording was clearly a fabrication and that she would never say "the despicable things portrayed in this horrid fantasy."
22 May 3301
How is this possible? Am I not the most beloved person in the Empire? This is clear manoeuvring to make sure that Arissa becomes the heir. I can see her annoyingly haughty expression now. That Blaine thinks she will let him carry on doing what he wants.
— Alleged recording of Princess Aisling Duval
- The People’s Princess made an appearance in Cemiess late last night to attend the opening of Emerald’s newest art installation, ‘Prism’s Shades’, a multi-sensory experience that uses experimental light and sound projection technology to stimulate a series of empathic responses from its audience. Aisling dazzled crowds by dressing in a long-sleeved ruby red evening gown, adorned with painite sparkles. She accessorised with an equally stunning tinted visor, fashionably stamped with Aisling’s personal crest.
08 APR 3301
- Stop Slavery Stupid and Aisling Duval lost the slavery public support challenge to Senator Zemina Torval's pro-Imperial slavery side. They managed to free 1,149,756 Imperial Slaves, but the Imperial Slavers Association received 2,387,567 Unregulated Slaves for retraining.
01 APR 3301
- Stop Slavery Stupid and Aisling Duval's idealogical differences with Senator Zemina Torval came to a head with a public support challenge. Zemina Torval and the Imperial Society would buy unregulated slaves to turn them into Imperial slaves. Stop Slavery Stupid would accept donations of Imperial slaves with the intention of freeing them. If Aisling won, Torval would free all the slaves bought in the course of the challenge. If Torval won, Aisling would take on a personal contingent of Imperial Slaves for no less than one year.
06 MAR 3301
- On the Empire’s most-watched reality stream show, Celebrity Pets, Aising Duval made a passionate outburst on the topic of Imperial slavery. She said that the animals on the show, and those in Senator Zemina Torval's personal zoo, were better treated than Imperial slaves. In support of her rhetoric, Stop Slavery Stupid announced a new temporary program of Imperial Slave emancipation and rehabilitation.
08 JAN 3301
- Aisling appeared on the popular show “A fireside chat with Serena” and talked about her views on narcotics, and why they should be banned. Her mother died of narcotic use before Aisling was old enough to remember her. When asked about her father, she spoke out against Emperor Hengist Duval and the network cut the broadcast.
Oh Serena. He was led astray in his youth, but Dad is a lovely man, and would make a great Emperor if his controlling father wasn’t so spiteful.
— Princess Aisling Duval
19 DEC 3300
- Her father Harold Duval was declared "not sound of mind" by his father, Emperor Hengist Duval. This removed his claim to the throne, and hence Aisling's after him, meaning there was no clear successor.
18 DEC 3300
- Appeared to speak for her father, the heir of the Emperor, against Imperial Slavery.