Skip to 0 minutes and 21 secondsMy name is Thomas II Lord Onslow. I'm a personal favourite of the King, our George I and of his son, George, Prince Of Wales. I'm also a politician, a whig. We've been in power some three years now, but let us not talk of politics. I made my money, incidentally, through insurance, Onslow's bubble, in case you need some. And I have a reputation here at court for being something of a good drinker which does come in handy at court for in vino veritas, but, of course, discretion is the better part of valour. So, enough about me. Where are we?
Skip to 0 minutes and 59 secondsWell, we are in this rather magnificent public drawing room, called a drawing room because one can withdraw here from the even more public rooms in other parts of the palace rather than because one draws here. Although, if pictures are your thing, take a look at these magnificent specimens. No, not them, them-- the paintings. They are by Antonio Verrio and the designs of the room done by our very own Sir Christopher Wren, no less, yes. Now we come here to share stories and scandal and gossip of which, regrettably, there has been quite a lot of late because of the rather tempestuous relations between our good King George and the Prince of Wales but enough of that.
Skip to 1 minute and 47 secondsAs if this isn't excitement enough, we also like to gather here at the gaming tables and play cards. And, of course, because we are at court, the stakes are always high. Well, of course, the mainstay of the English diet has long been meat, often in sauces that are sweet and sour, heavily spiced, and somewhat medieval, one might say, in taste. But, of course, with the expanding of empire and the farther reach of trade, so our tastes are broadening and we now have imported many fantastic new ingredients. One might see, for example, on tables, macaroni, ice cream, parmesan cheese, and of course apricot fritters - oh and lest I forget, my own personal favourite, chocolate.
Skip to 2 minutes and 39 secondsI like mine flavoured with spices-- cinnamon, nutmeg. In Italy, I've been told, they flavour it with citrus zest, musk, and even ambergris. And if you don't know what that is, I suggest you look for the answer inside a whale. But we like to take it at any time of day and pretty much any room of the palace, but particularly it is a favourite at breakfast time. We find it stimulates the system and gets one ready for the day. And because of this and because of the myriad other benefits and delights, it is a very, very popular drink here at court and I recommend you all come around here, assuming you are important enough, for a good cup of chocolate.
In this video, get a personal account of life at court with politician, Lord Onslow. Find out where and how he likes to take his chocolate.
The board game shown in this video is called ‘The game of the Courtier’, a modern interpretation of 18th century games. Similar to Goose or Snakes & Ladders, the players go through steps on how to become a courtier.
If you’d like to find out a little more about 18th century games, you can view this blog post: The Game of Love on the V&A website.
© University of Reading and Historic Royal Palaces.