The Chapter of Kings by Mr Collins (1818)

This week’s Random Book of the Week (see, I am trying to keep this up!) is a 200-year-old children’s royal history book that doubles up as an adult satire on the British Monarchy.

‘Mr Collins’, an unknown publisher, wrote The Chapter of Kings in 1818, during the Regency of the Prince of Wales. It tells the story of British history from the time of the Romans until the Regency period in the form of verse accompanied by beautiful hand-drawn pictures. Refreshingly, the witty rhymes do not flinch from landing humorous digs where they may be due, rather quashing the image of a load of Regency royal ass-kissers collecting early 18th century equivalents of Daily Express royal birth/wedding/death souvenir pull-outs. Instead, there are gems such as:

Sixth Henry…like a chick did pout

When Fourth Edward, his cousin, had turned him out.

It’s simply a complete delight. With credits to YouTube and Lucie Skeaping, here it is sung as all verse should be:

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The wonderful pictures
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