The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Eight – Historical Tidbit

Our Historical Tidbit for today focuses on yet another moment in The Prince and the Pauper where Mark Twain throws out a reference and does not include any context whatsoever. Today’s Historical Tidbit is about…


Keep reading or watch the video below to learn more.

Edward finds out that he was going to be whipped for speaking out on Miles’s behalf. The paragraph excerpt below breaks down what is going through his mind in that moment.

“The King was seized.  He did not even struggle, so paralysed was he with the mere thought of the monstrous outrage that was proposed to be inflicted upon his sacred person.  History was already defiled with the record of the scourging of an English king with whips—it was an intolerable reflection that he must furnish a duplicate of that shameful page.”  (p. 172)

So who was the king who was whipped in the past? King Henry II

Who was Henry II?

  • Great grandson of William the Conqueror
  • Father of Richard the Lionheart and King John
  • Duke of Normandy by age 18
  • Became king at age 21
  • Had many disputes with King Louis VII of France
    • Including marrying his ex-wife
  • Massively reconstructed royal government 
  • Changed the relationship between the church and monarchy
  • Makes Thomas Becket (his chancellor) the Archbishop of Canterbury
  • The two often quarreled

Why was he whipped?

  • Henry supposedly said “someone rid me of this turbulent priest” about Becket
  • Four knights misinterpreted his words and murdered Becket
  • The pope blamed the King for Becket’s death
  • As penance for his sin, he was whipped by every Monk

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