No one is running the country. The Queen won't leave her tower. The Prince appears to have a wasting disease. The Chancellor appears in control but he doesn't seem to care. He is leaving the Dukes to their own devices. The Dukes feel free to expand their territories. The ensuing skirmishes leave them less responsive to the needs of their own lands. As the peasants have no one to protect them, lawlessness reigns. Many people are on the move. Widespread hunger.