Bad Case of Harpies
Twenty years ago, the realm was plunged into civil war when its regent lay claim to the throne after the direct heirs had died under questionable circumstances. After the Duke was exonerated of all charges, he gained the support of the barons of the realm and was proclaimed Emperor. In choosing a Duke to fill the power vacuum, the newly crowned Emperor began consolidating power, beginning with increasing the military strength at the borders. This is the version of history in common memory.