Penguin Press has launched its new Monarchs series, promising to take a provocative look at the life of every king and queen of Britain.
The series has unearthed some surprising facts…
Henry VIII may have treated his wives badly, but he loved his dogs. He spent – in today’s money – £250 a month on dog food, £10,000 on collars and muzzles – and offered £500 for the return of a lost pooch.
One of the only possessions not taken from Charles I before his execution was a golden toothpick. He gave it to one of his captors, Colonel Matthew Tomlinson, for showing him kindness during his final imprisonment.
As we all know from The King’s Speech, George V resisted making Christmas broadcasts until 1932. A lesserknown fact: the words were written by Rudyard Kipling, but the King was deemed to have made the delivery his own.
George VI had to dissuade Churchill from personally going to the D-Day landings – by saying that, if the Prime Minister went, then the King should go too. He knew that the PM couldn’t put the King in such a dangerous situation.
As well as this Solomon-like diplomacy, George VI was also a keen hand at sport: being the only royal to have played at Wimbledon. He appeared in the Men’s Doubles with Louis Greig – but lost.
Although surrounded by treasures, Edward VI was hoarder of the highest order. He was known to keep a selection of trinkets in his desk drawer: a brooch, buttons, coins, metal tags, an iron stamp and boxes for ink.