Furniture for the Truly Special Occasions

Queen Elizabeth II throne room
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s thrones (upper left), the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace (upper right), and the only time the Queen’s throne has been used (lower right).

To be a monarch means that you have a throne. Most traditional concepts of kings and queens are indelibly connected to the throne, the ultimate seat of power. Queen Elizabeth II has a Throne Room in Buckingham Palace. Appropriately enough, the focal point of the room is her throne. Right beside it is the throne for Prince Phillip. Curiously enough, the Queen has used that throne only once, Continue reading

Be It Ever So Humble Freakishly-Massive…

Istana Nurul Iman Brunei Palace

They say home is wherever you hang your hat. If you are the Sultan of Brunei, your home has enough space to hang the hats of a sizeable percentage of the human race.  Continue reading

Wearing the Crown Takes a Lot of Heart

Robert the Bruce Coat of Arms

Robert the Bruce (1274-1329) reigned as King of Scots from 1306 to 1329. He led a ragtag bunch of Scottish farmers to defeat England’s Edward II’s professional army that was four times the size of Scotland’s. He unified the Scots and secured their freedom from England and is remembered as the greatest of Scotland’s monarchs. Such a man would have to have a lot of heart.

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When Scottish Independence Hung By a Spider’s Web

Robert the Bruce and the Spider

The winter of 1306 found Scotland’s Robert the Bruce on the verge of giving up. Having just been crowned King of Scots on March 25 (and again on March 27) of that year, his fortunes had turned. Instead of sitting on a throne in a castle, he was hiding in a cave on the Island of Rathlin off the coast of Ireland.  Continue reading

Late Language Learner

Queen Victoria learned Hindustani

Queen Victoria (1819-1901) took her responsibilities as Empress of India quite seriously. On her 70th birthday she undertook lessons in Hindustani and got to the point where she wrote in Hindustani in her diaries.

Queen Victoria diary Hindi Urdu Hinu
Queen Victoria’s diary from January 11, (actually, it was January 14), 1892, written in Urdu/Hindi and English: “Today I and my family were almost in greater sorrow and grief than they had ever been before as my young grandson Prince Albert Victor of Wales died this morning at nine o’clock.”

Royal Rent Controls

rent for Isle of Sark has not changed since 1565

If you have ever been a renter, you know the value of finding good, low-rent property, especially when you can be confident the rent won’t increase any time soon.

Perhaps the best testimony to such an arrangement could come from the Seigneur of Sark, who cornered the market in low-rent property.

The Isle of Sark, located in the southwestern English Channel, off the coast of Normandy, France, was settled in 1565. Queen Elizabeth I saw the island as a strategic outpost to guard against pirates and any future expansion attempts by France. Seigneur Herlier de Carteret, a nobleman from the neighboring island of Jersey accepted the Queen’s request to settle the island. In exchange, he was given the island as a fiefdom, directly responsible to the crown.

The rent was established at £1.79 ($2.27 / €2.12). It has not been changed since 1565.

With the isle’s area consisting of slightly more than 2 square miles, that comes out to 0.18 cents per acre.

Good Manners Overrule Royal Privilege

tipping hat to queen

According to often-repeated legend Lord Kingsale retains a royal privilege that allows him to keep his hat on in the presence of the sovereign. This right allegedly was granted by King John in the 13th century. The problem with the story is that it doesn’t appear to be based on any historical fact.

Another who is supposed to hold that right is the master of Trinity College, Cambridge. Whether this is true or not, it would seem that the better practice is to go ahead and remove the hat. When Queen Victoria visited the university, the master of Trinity retained his hat and reminded the queen that he could do so by decree of royal privilege. Victoria responded, “In the presence of the sovereign — yes. But not in that of a lady.”

source: Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineer’s Monthly Journal, Volume 36, page 706.