The town I live in was named after preposterously entitled Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, 1st Duke of Cumberland, 1st Earl of Holderness.
aka Prince Rupert. Look, there he is. ->
When I mentioned this (just the short handle, not the full throw-down) to a couple of elderly Brits I met while traveling, they clucked with delight. How delightful, they exclaimed, isn’t that a charming name!
They’d never been to Rupert.
Neither, for that matter, had Rupert himself. In fact, he never set foot on the actual continent, despite his titular responsibilities as 1st Governor of that venerable colonial powerhouse-cum-fashion hotspot, the Hudson’s Bay Company… an honor that you’ll notice, does not make the above list. Still, he managed to assemble a pretty impressive c.v., principally through a long career of naval warfare, wheeling and dealing in the name of the King, and general colonial-era skullduggery. What’s a Prince to do?
Prince Rupert died. Pleurisy. Now his bones and ghost abide in Westminster Abbey. All this, years before this wet and broken feeling corner of the continent was named for him. I wonder, does his ghost in Westminster Abbey harbor images of something grander?
Boye (aka “Boy”) was a magnificent hunting dog that accompanied Rupert throughout his military exploits, and was said to be endowed with magical powers, not the least of which was certainly his ability to catch bullets from the air with his teeth! Hmm…
And if woodcuts don’t lie, he also looked a scruffy little poodle. This all leads me to suspect that British historians are funny lot. Either that or the Royalty back in that era guzzled absinthe all day long. Or more likely, the editors at Wikipedia (where I get all my information) have a lot of time on their hands and a penchant to just make stuff up.
And I’m pretty sure none of them have been to Rupert.
Sometimes when the camera says click I think – yeah, that’s for Rupert – and at some level I’m convinced that if I just nail the right shot, then somehow the history books will all be re-written, the bones of Prince Rupert of the Rhine will wriggle off with the worms and we’ll be rid of that idiot bulletproof poodle once and for all.
All in the tradition of historical revision. The rest is just photos. This is not Prince Rupert. I don’t know what it is.
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