Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

"Gentlemen, you may smoke"

THE LONG BAN ON SMOKING mercifully came to an end with the demise of Queen Victoria in 1901. During that long reign - the longest ever - smoking was frowned upon and not allowed at court. The Empress encouraged an anti-smoking society throughout Victorian England, even while chimney sweeps and gentlemen clubs cluttered the imperial capital. That all changed overnight when Edward VII ascended the throne at the beginning of the 20th Century, and after dinner on his first day as King pronounced, "Gentlemen, you may smoke".

King%20Edward%20Imperial%20CigarsPerhaps that is why a fine cigar is a guilty pleasure for an English gentleman - it goes back to that day when eminent men in their black clad awe were mourning the passing of an era, and then that moment of embarrassed exhilaration arrives when the new King enters the room and declares that men should characterise their gravitas by puffing away! Oh, what sad and strange elation is this, the Edwardian era has arrived!

2 comments:

Beaverbrook said...

Let's not be too hard on Queen Vicky. Remember, she was fond of whisky, and was quite partial to Canadian Club.

Also note that smoking was not banned anywhere, except at court. It was merely discouraged, which is a far cry with what heavy handed government does today.

J. A. Crisp said...

Here in the land of the disobedient children of the British Empire (the USA) I often marvel at a few things every Fourth of July. The first is why we here in Texas celebrate it at all (our independence day is March 2 and we have never fought the British) and also how ironic it is that we are celebrating "independence" while the government tells us we have to drive OUR cars on OUR roads at this speed or with these safety features etc, where we can use fireworks to celebrate our "independence", in some places how far we have to be from our homes to celebrate with a BBQ and of course when and where we can smoke. I have often doubted seriously whether King George III ever would have cared what time of year someone killed a deer on their property or how much water their outhouse used.

Unhealthy as it may be I stubbornly continue to smoke (King Edward's on occasion but not often) and at least one of the reasons is the principle of the thing. I have also tried to make mental note of all the monarchs who have been smokers just to add a little lustre to my own habit.