Sir Harry Parkes (1828 – 1865) was a British diplomat who served as the Consul to the Qing Empire of China, the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, and the Joseon dynasty of Korea over the span of three decades.
Parkes was the British Consul to the Qing during and after the Second Opium War from 1841 until 1864. In 1865, he was selected to replace Sir Rutherford Alcock as the Consul to Japan. Two years later, Parkes gained an assistant named William Lloyd, who unbeknownst to him was secretly a member of the British Rite of the Templar Order. Thus, he became an unwitting Templar pawn in their goal of re-establishing the power of their Japanese counterparts and the Imperial Court in Kyoto led by Crown Prince Mutsuhito. Parkes also dealt with the Icarus affair as the British Empire's top negotiator.
Parkes became a high-profile target for the Japanese Brotherhood of Assassins, due to his association with Lloyd. One night, the Assassins sent a shinobi named Issa to kill the British consul. Issa had dispatched several British soldiers and attempted to assassinate Parkes. Luckily for him, Lloyd stopped Issa and cut off his hand before finishing the Assassin off with a firearm.
During the Boshin War, Parkes opted to remain neutral in the struggle between Imperial and shogunate forces. After the Battle of Aizu, which ended in a decisive Imperial victory and sealed the fate of the Tokugawa shogunate, Parkes was invited to meet French Army officer Jules Brunet, a member of the French Brotherhood of Assassins. After congratulating the Consul for the victory of his allies, Brunet warned Parkes that "they won a battle, but not the war". Parkes was oblivious to his statement and was unaware about the larger conflict between the Assassins and Templars, remarking that Britain and France were not at war.