Skip to main content

Regency Toys and Peppa Pig

The object of many a 3-year-old's affection

I recently discovered that the mothers of the adorable bridesmaids and page boys at Harry and Meghan’s wedding (a group that included 3-year-old Princess Charlotte) bribed their kids to behave with candy (Smarties) and promises to watch the Peppa Pig show after the wedding.

I’m proud to say that I know what, or rather who, Peppa Pig is, though I had to look up the difference between American and British Smarties

British Smarties are filled with chocolate, like American M&M's.
They're not the fruit-flavored candy tablets we know as Smarties in the U.S. 


But my Peppa knowledge is fairly new, due to the influence of the 3-year-old in my life, my granddaughter.

Peppa Pig is currently her favorite thing in the world. She watches episodes of the British animated television series on the Nickelodeon channel and video clips of it on YouTube. She also has Peppa Pig storybooks, Peppa Pig t-shirts, and two Peppa Pig dolls.  

And I know for a fact that my son and daughter-in-law, like Prince William and Kate, have found Peppa Pig useful as a bribe. 

I won’t argue with my granddaughter or Princess Charlotte, but I’m not sure I trust Peppa Pig and her hog family. They snort when they talk and pronounce “zebra” as if it rhymes with “Debra” and not “Libra.” That’s the difference between British and American pronunciation right there, and also why I’ll never pass for a Brit, no matter how much I learn about British history and culture. As George Bernard Shaw is supposed to have observed, the United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language.


 
We're zee-bras, dammit

Children have been drawn to toys and dolls and candy since the beginning of time. I’m not exaggerating all that much; thousands of years ago Egyptian kids had dolls with moveable arms and legs and wigs. In 2004 archaeologists digging on an island off the coast of Italy unearthed the head of a stone doll, along with a set of tiny kitchenware, believed to be 4,000 years old.

Here’s a photo of an ancient Greek child’s toy that was made almost a thousand years before the birth of Christ:



In Regency times children played with dolls and toys, too. Rolling hoops was a popular pastime, so much so that by the end of the 18th century children rolling hoops through the streets of London were considered a nuisance.  

Girl with a Hoop by Pierre Auguste Renoir


Dolls were in demand as well. Here’s little Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria’s daughter, with her doll when she was almost the same age as Princess Charlotte. That doll must have been important to her to be included in her portrait. In fact, I can imagine the little princess refusing to cooperate with the painter unless she could have her doll. 


Princess Beatrice, age 2, painted by
Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1859

And here’s an 1820 drawing showing upper-class Regency kids in their family schoolroom, clearly playing with toys instead of doing their schoolwork. All, that is, except for the poor girl on the right who's doing her best to do her lessons while her brother tries to distract her by putting the family cat on her back.




If only their parents or governess had Smarties or a Peppa Pig show to bribe them with! But alas, chocolate candy wouldn't be invented for another couple of decades, and they'd have to wait almost two centuries for Peppa. (For more on the development of the chocolate candy we know and love today, see this post.)


If you'd like another look at Princess Charlotte and the other little bridesmaids and page boys at Harry and Meghan's wedding, here's a 3-minute clip from ET:



Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay

Comments

  1. I too have used bribes to get children to behave! It's a tried and true measure for parents who prefer that to yelling and threatening, which never really works anyway!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What you say is so true! Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  2. Seems like the children who are in love with Peppa Pig must be in Hog Heaven!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Hog Heaven" - that's a good one, Tom! Thanks for reading!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Macaroni Men and Yankee Doodles

The Spirit of '76  (original title Yankee Doodle ) by Archibald Willard, painted in the late 1800s November is a month that here in the United States is defined by food, culminating in a huge Thanksgiving Day feast. It's also the month we honor our military veterans. So I'm going to focus on both food and patriotism - especially an Italian pasta product that became synonymous with a controversial English fashion and developed uniquely American associations. "The Macaroni"- 1773 During the 18th century, it was all the rage for young men of the English nobility to take a trip through Europe to soak up its art and culture. It was called the Grand Tour. In Italy, these privileged lads discovered a pasta dish far removed from their usual British fare. It was called maccaroni , and they raved about it when they got back home. The travelers became known as the Macaroni Club, though there is no evidence an actual club ever existed. But it

The Cato Street Conspiracy

The Cato Street conspirators getting arrested Conspiracy and treason go hand in hand. Throughout history, conspirators have huddled in back rooms and dark corners in secret, concocting schemes that are both dangerous and illegal. So it’s no surprise that their plans often spiral out of control and end in disaster.  A good example of a conspiracy plot gone wrong happened during the Regency. It’s been dubbed the Cato Street Conspiracy because of where the conspirators were caught. This is a tale that, according to historian J.B. Priestley (author of The Prince of Pleasure and his Regency) “begins in absurdity and ends in horror.” The year was 1820. Though the Napoleonic Wars were over, Britain had paid a heavy price for its victory against the French. The costs of the war had strained the country’s economy. The working classes were hit hard by periods of famine, rising food prices due to the Corn Laws, and high unemployment, the latter driven by soldiers returning from th

The end of the Holy Roman Empire, or what happens when the Empire doesn't strike back

This is the way the world ends Not with a bang  but a whimper T.S. Eliot wasn't actually describing the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire when he wrote those words in his poem, “The Hollow Men.” Nonetheless, his words are an extremely apt way to describe the end of the Holy Roman Empire, which ended quietly with a stroke of a pen exactly 212 years ago in August of 1806. That’s when the last emperor decided it was his duty to abdicate, letting the ancient dominion under his protection dissolve rather than allow Napoleon to usurp the role of Holy Roman Emperor and everything that came with it. Francis II, the last Holy Roman Emperor By that August the end of the empire had become inevitable. Napoleon’s victory over Russia and Austria at the Battle of Austerlitz in December of 1805 and his formation of the Confederation of the Rhine the following July (after he convinced 16 German princes to renounce their allegiance to the Holy Roman Empire and join him)