Has a naughty word exposed Charles I ? Times (London ) Jan 20 2007
- Has a naughty word exposed Charles I?
Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent
Historian cracks code in lover's letter
View of 'stuffy' Charles will change
A British historian has cracked the code in a letter written by Charles I
and discovered a secret affair that overturns his centuries-old image as a
devoted husband and morally upright monarch.
Sarah Poynting has found that the King used the word “swiving” — an obscene
word used in the 17th century for sex. It was concealed within a letter
written in cipher to Jane Whorwood, stepdaughter of one of his former courtiers,
which was smuggled out of Carisbrooke Castle where he was imprisoned in 1648,
the year before his execution.
Deciphering its contents, Dr Poynting discovered that in urging Whorwood to
visit him, the King had written: “I imagine that there is one way possible
that you may get a swiving from me.”
She said that earlier attempts to decode the letter had failed as
researchers did not realise that the King had used it to conceal his attempt to arrange
a sexual liaison. They believed that the crucial line had a very different
meaning: “Yet I imagine that there is one way possible that you may get
answering from me.”
Historians now must revise their image of Charles I,...