Did You Know?


The Cost of the Crown

$300 million - $8.90 per Canadian   $5.3 billion - $176000.00 per American  $1.10 per Canadian per annum

During the election of the United States, citizens elect members to the House of Representatives, some of the Senators, various other officials, depending on the state, and their Head of State, the President, along with the Vice-President.  It is worth considering that the U.S. process of naming their Head of State is very, very long, counting all the primaries.  Also consider the cost of the elections!  The estimated cost of the 2008 election is  $5.3 billion. 

During federal Canadian elections, citizens elect members to the House of Commons.  The Prime Minister, running in his own riding, elected by his own constituents.  This approximate six week campaign in 2008 cost Canadians an estimated $300 million.

Since 1953, the year of Her Majesty's coronation, the United States has had eleven Heads of State.  Canada has had one.

When one compares the cost of our Monarchy, our Head of State, with the cost of the process of electing a Head of State in the United States, the U.S. President, one must admit that the cost is a small fraction.  We really have a good, economical institution in our Monarchy which is outside the political process in its working. In Canada's elections, it might be of some worth to ask candidates what their views are in terms of support of the Monarchy.  We need to have people in Parliament who understand and support the Monarchy and other fundamental institutions.


The Royal Connection to Nursery Rhymes

As the predecessor of the paparazzi, most nursery rhymes come from British politics, invented as a way of spreading gossip about royalty.  Almost every nursery rhyme has a story behind it.  Below are some popular rhymes with the probable background stories.

Mary, Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.
Royal Reference: Queen Mary, daughter of King Henry VIII
There are two possible theories:
1) Commonly called Bloody Mary, Queen Mary was a staunch Catholic who often had Protestants killed who refused to give up their faith.  The garden refers to the growing graveyards, while the silver bells and cockle shellsSilver bells were thumb screws which crushed the thumb and cockle shells were even more gruesome.  The maids, short for maidens, refer to the guillotine. refer to instruments of torture. 
2) Mary, Queen of Scots, was sent to the Court of France and raised Catholic.  When she returned to Scotland to claim the throne, she was a Catholic monarch in a Protestant country (quite contrary).  The garden refers to the court that she brought with her and the silver bells are the bells used in the Catholic mass.  Queen Mary was accused of being unfaithful to her second husband, whom she married to gain favour with the Protestants, which was  a shell of a marriage, to use the phrase of the day, he was cockled.  The pretty maids are her constant companions and her four ladies in waiting; Mary Beaton, Mary Seton, Mary Fleming and Mary Livingstone.

Jack and Jill
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after.
Royal Reference: King Louis XVI
Based on French history, Jack is said to be King Louis XVI who was beheaded in 1793 (lost his crown), followed by his Queen, Marie Antoinette, Jill (who came tumbling after).  This rhyme was found in print two years later in 1795.

Three blind mice
Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They all ran after the farmer's wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice?

Royal Reference: Queen Mary, daughter of King Henry VIII
A staunch Catholic, Queen Mary and her husband King Philip of Spain had massive estates (the farms).  The three blind mice were three Protestant noblemen who were convicted of plotting against the Queen.  For this they were burned at the stake (had their tails cut off).

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To get her poor dog a bone,
When she got there
The cupboard was bare
And so the poor dog had none.
Royal Reference: King Henry VIII
In this rhyme, Old Mother Hubbard refers to Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, the most important statesman and churchman of the Tudor period, the 16th century.  King Henry VIII was angered that Cardinal Thomas Wolsey refused to facilitate the divorce from his queen, Catherine of Aragon, to marry Anne Boleyn.  King Henry (the dog) went to Cardinal Wolsey (Old Mother Hubbard) of the Catholic church (the cupboard) for a divorce (a bone).  Henry did get 'his bone', but in doing so, broke away from the Catholic church and formed the English Protestant Church.

Little Boy Blue come blow your horn,
The sheep's in the meadow the cow's in the corn.
But where's the boy who looks after the sheep?
He's under a haystack fast asleep.
Will you wake him? No, not I - for if I do, he's sure to cry
Royal Reference: during the reign of King Henry VIII
This rhyme also refers to Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, reputed to be a rich and arrogant self-made man with many enemies in the court and unpopular with the people of England.  Little Boy Blue refers the fact that he obtained his degree from Oxford at the age of fifteen (little boy) and to the cardinal's Blazon of Arms on his scarlet robe which sported four leopards with blue faces.  By transferring an old manor into Hampton Court Palace, among other things, he was known to brag or "blow his own horn".  This was during a time when England was prospering through the wool trade (the sheep's in the meadow), but the break from the Catholic church of which he was cardinal (the boy who looks after the sheep), caused the countries under Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, to stop buying wool from England causing the markets to crash.  Wolsey maneuvered socially and politically in his own high circles (he's under the haystack, sound asleep) while his religious subjects wandered leaderless.

There was an old woman
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children she didn't know what to do!
So she gave them some broth without any bread,
And she whipped them all soundly and sent them to bed!
Royal Reference: King George II 
This rhyme refers to King George II who began the men's fashion of wearing white powdered wigs (old woman).  The Members of Parliament (so many children) were sent to Parliament (to bed).  The term whip (whipped them all soundly) is still used today referring to a member of parliament assigned to making sure that all members follow the rules and no one is out of line.

Ring-a-Ring o'Rosies
A Pocket full of Posies
"A-tishoo! A-tishoo!"
We all fall Down!
Ring-a-Ring o'Rosies
A Pocket full of Posies
"Ashes! Ashes!"
We all fall Down!

Royal Reference: during the reign of Charles II
This rhyme goes back to the plague in England in 1665.  The symptoms of the plague were a rosy red rash in the shape of a ring (ring around the rosy) and violent sneezing (a-tishoo).  It was believed that the disease was spread by bad smells, so people carried pouches of sweet smelling herbs (pocket full of posies).  With the death rate being over 60% (we all fall down), the bodies were cremated (ashes).  The plague was halted by the Great Fire of London in 1666, which killed the rats spreading the disease through water sources.

Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean
And so betwixt the two of them
They licked the platter clean

Jack ate all the lean,
Joan ate all the fat.
The bone they picked it clean,
Then gave it to the cat

Jack Sprat was wheeling,
His wife by the ditch.
The barrow turned over,
And in she did pitch.

Says Jack, "She'll be drowned!"
But Joan did reply,
"I don't think I shall,
For the ditch is quite dry.".
Royal Reference: Richard I & King John
This rhyme refers to King Richard I (Richard the Lionheart) and his brother, King John.  In 1189, John (Jack Sprat) married Joan, the ambitious and greedy daughter and heiress of the Earl of Gloucester (Joan ate all the fat).  When King Richard went on Crusade, John tried to take the crown of England.  Upon his return from the Crusades, King Richard was taken hostage by Duke Leopold, demanding a ransom of 150 000 marks.  John reluctantly had to raise the ransom, leaving the country destitute for years and reducing John's inheritance (they picked it clean).  The ransom was paid and Richard was released.  John was crowned King of England upon the death of Richard in 1199.  His marriage to Joan was annulled (he ditched her) and she was never acknowledged as queen.

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full;
One for the master,
And one for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.
Royal Reference: King Edward VI
This popular rhyme relates to a tax imposed by the king on wool.  One third went to the local lord (one for the master), one third went to the church (one for the dame) and a third was for the farmer (the little boy who lives down the lane).