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.

Toast Topper

Benjamin Franklin George III Louis XVI George Washington

While serving as U.S. minister to France, Benjamin Franklin attended a dinner in Paris shortly after the British surrendered at Yorktown in 1781. The French foreign minister, Vergennes, began the toasts, saluting his King: “To His Majesty, Louis XVI, who, like the moon, fills the earth with a soft, benevolent glow.”

The British ambassador rose: “To George III, who, like the sun at noonday, spreads his light and illumines the world.”

When it was his turn, Franklin offered his toast: “I cannot give you the sun nor the moon, but I give you George Washington, General of the armies of the United States, who, like Joshua of old, commanded both the sun and the moon to stand still, and both obeyed.”


Just Desserts for Treasonous Tarts

treason in sweden consists of throwing a strawberry tart

The first case of high treason in modern times came before the Swedish courts in 2001, and four traitors were identified. They were four boys, all aged 16 or 17. Their offense? They threw a strawberry tart at King Carl Gustaf, hitting him on the face.

The boys said they were protesting the monarchy and yelled “For King and Fatherland” as the king passed by. Although the king was surprised, he was unharmed. Queen Silvia, who was walking next to her husband, assisted in wrestling one of the boys to the ground.

The boys were fines between 80 days’ and 100 days’ income each (approximately $370).

So much for the days when treason against the crown cost the offender his head!

source 1  source 2

Royal Regalia and Highlander Honours

crown scotlands honours

The Honours of Scotland is the name given to the crown, sceptre, and sword of the Scottish monarchy. They are the oldest set of crown jewels in the British Isles, dating back to the coronation of Mary I in 1543. Continue reading

An Odd Bit of Odds

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II

In 2011 European bookies were putting the odds of Queen Elizabeth II abdicating and replacing Bruce Forsyth as the host of the popular BBC dance competition Strictly Come Dancing at 50,000 to 1. source

To put that in context consider the odds of the following:

  • Being struck by lightning in one’s lifetime: 1 in 12,000 source
  • Dying in a plane crash: 1 in 7,178 source
  • Dying in a car crash: 1 in 5,000 source
  • Being elected President of the United States: 1 in 10 million source
  • Being killed by a shark: 1 in 3,748,067 source
  • A well-shuffled deck of cards returning to the same order twice: 1 in 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766,975,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000 source


Even His Grandmother Wanted Him Dead

Emperor Elagabalus


Roman Emperor Elagabalus (ca 203 – 222; reigned 218-222) became emperor at the age of fourteen. During the four years of his reign, he chalked up quite a list of accomplishments, but not the kind most people want to be remembered for.

By the time of his death at age 18, he had been married and divorced five times, had a penchant for dressing in women’s clothing and generally did whatever he wanted, with no consideration of the administrative matters of state.

He was assassinated on March 11, 222, in a plot formed by his grandmother, Julia Maesa, and disgruntled members of the Praetorian Guard. They dragged his naked body through the streets.