Trevor Barry is a case of a character who wasn’t meant to show up in Dancing King. He was originally destined for the next novel in the series. Somehow, he broke into line.
Trevor and his wife Liz live in the northwestern suburbs of London. They have two children, Jane, 16, and Andrew, 12. Both children attend International Christian School, which is where Jason and Jim, the two adopted sons of Michael and Sarah Kent-Hughes, will also attend.
It’s not through school that Trevor and Michael meet. Born in Yorkshire, Trevor is an attorney, or barrister. He works in chambers with several other barristers on Essex Street in the Temple area of central London, near the Royal Courts of Justice. He handles a variety of legal cases, but his specialty is constitutional law. And Trevor’s hobby is the monarchy – the hobby is so serious that he’s known as something of an expert on the monarchy, its history, its legal standing, and even the various coronations. He’s also an avid amateur cyclist, and he can often be found on weekends on the Northwest London trail (a fictitious biking trail invented for the story).
It’s the hobby that brings Trevor to the attention of Josh Gittings, Michael’s chief of staff, and what gets him hired as a consultant. But it’s his knowledge and understanding of constitutional law that becomes just as valuable to Michael. Michael needs tutoring in constitutional law and the history of the monarchy, and Trevor happens to be able to do cover both.
Gittings meets Trevor at the palace security station and escorts him to his first meeting with Michael. The two are the same age, 41 but it would be difficult to find two more different people. Gittings is the former political shark for the prime minister; Trevor is quiet, something of an introvert, and wondering how someone with Michael’s reputation could have aligned himself with someone like Josh Gittings. Gittings doesn’t wait for Trevor to ask, and he brings it up himself.
Michael is so impressed with Trevor that he asks him to join the Coronation Committee. Afterward, Trevor asks Gittings is his lack of enthusiasm – meaning faith – will hurt him with Michael. And Gittings says Michael is hiring him for what he knows. Michael is intrigued by Trevor’s neutral references to church and faith, but he recognizes that the man knows what he’s talking about.
At 26, Michael is almost a generation younger than both men. He has come to rely heavily on Gittings, and he will come to rely equally as much on Trevor. Because of the challenges presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury and his political consultant Geoffrey Venneman, Trevor finds himself called repeatedly to the palace, including to help Michael deal with the protestors who have demanded a meeting. Trevor uses his courtroom experience to prepare Michael for what will be an intense discussion with the protestors.
The character of Trevor Barry injected himself in the Dancing Priest stories earlier than planned. The reason was that, in the rewriting and redrafting that went on, I needed an expert on the monarchy earlier than expected. So, I moved him up a book.
Trevor’s role in the Dancing Priest stories will grow and assume a greater importance. While he gives the appearance of a successful attorney, one who becomes connected at the highest levels of British government and society, Trevor has a history, unknown even to his own family. And it will be Michael Kent-Hughes who unexpectedly stumbles into it.
Top photograph by Ryan Holloway via Unsplash. Used with permission. I’m not sure if I would give Trevor Baryr a beard and mustache, but the man’s expression suggests something to me of what Trevor would be about.