[lit-ideas] Sunday Wotsit

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 18 Sep 2011 16:51:34 -0700

There's a scene in the t.v. production of "the Tudors," part three.  I'm 
out-of-date, I know; the series is new to me because we don't have cable.  (I 
borrowed discs from the library.)  The moments I have in mind demonstrate what 
it was like, in the aftermath of Jane Seymour's death from childbed fever, to 
be the King's fool.  (Oooh, quick quiz question: which of the other women in 
Henry's life died from the same cause?  Answer: his mother, also his sixth 
wife, Catherine, who herself was no slouch in the marrying department, having 
four husbands.)  In Shakespearean fashion Henry's fool treads a careful 
measure, now with a foot in wit, now wisdom, being entertaining while guiding 
and trying to preserve his own neck.  It's quite the act; "no wonder the 
profession died away," you may say.  

But no!  In 2004 English Heritage appointed a State Jester, the first since 
Muckle John, third jester to Charles I.  The National Guild of Jesters objected 
that English Heritage had no such right.  English Heritage agreed...and 
subsequently appointed a successor.

The Guild have a website: http://www.jonathanthejester.org.uk/guild.htm

Carry on.

David Ritchie,
Portland, 
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