Tuesday, March 22, 2016

From the Archives: King William III's Private Place

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Loretta reports:

State apartments are all very well, and I can be easily awestruck by, say, a magnificent painted ceiling, or candle stands that tower over my head.

But the most fun for me in touring a historic site is looking into the less public spaces:  kitchens, for instance.  Wine cellars.  Bathrooms.

Previously we looked into Queen Caroline’s (Caroline of Ansbach 1683-1737) bathroom at Hampton Court Palace.

Nowhere in my perambulations, however, did I come upon the King’s bathroom.  I did find his lavatory, though.

King William III (1650–1702) was not an extrovert.  He liked to be alone or with small groups of friends.  One of the places where he could have some privacy was what’s called the King’s Closet.  Here he’d meet with the privileged few and work at his modest-looking walnut desk.  His long-case clock nearby needs to be wound only once a year—highly advanced technology for the time.

And in this private area, not far away, and in plain sight between the jib doors* is King William's own actual close stool.  According to the brochure, “the Groom of the Stool was a senior courtier who not only ran the Bedchamber department but also had to personally attend the king on his ‘stool.’”

I leave you to surmise what attendance entailed.

*"In Architecture, a door so constructed that it stands flush with the adjoining face of the wall on both sides, and without dressings or architraves. Thus it appears to form part of the wall, the intention of a jib door being simply to disguise the aperture." —A Dictionary of Science, Literature, & Art, 1875


Hels said...

I know King William loved home, wife, garden and a few close friends, far from the usual pomp and ceremony of most royals. But was King William's close stool any more private than any other member of the royal family? Did other royals normally pee in privacy?

Karen Anne said...

Going over to the old link, I was surprised that the bathtub was made out of wood. Somehow I assumed they were metal. Now I am wondering just how difficult it is to make a metal bathtub. Not that easy, I guess.

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