Good Manners Overrule Royal Privilege

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... Continue Reading →

Toast Topper

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... Continue Reading →

Don’t Kill the Messenger — Especially if He Comes from Genghis Khan

Haven't heard of the Khwarezmian Empire? You can thank the unbelievably bad decisions of its leader, Shad Ala Ad-Din Muhammad II (1169-1220). The Khwarezmian Empire stretched from the Sea of Oman to the Oxus River and encompassed what sociologists refer to as “Greater Iran,” incorporating parts of modern-day China, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Genghis Khan... Continue Reading →

If Only There Were A Backspace Button for Speech

When Crown Princess (later Queen) Louise of Sweden visited Uppsala Cathedral, the Archbishop conducted the tour in English. His use of the language was good, but he got tripped up at a very inconvenient time. As they approached a chest of drawers holding priceless items, the Archbishop said, "I will now open these trousers and... Continue Reading →

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