Mar 21, 2014

What's in a Name, Whipping Boy

This term is still used, but did you know there really were whipping boys? Whipping boys were created, because of the divine right of kings, which stated that kings were appointed by God, and implied that no one but the king was worthy of punishing the king’s son. Tutors to young princes found it difficult to enforce rules or learning.

A whipping boy was a young boy who was assigned to a young prince and was punished when the prince misbehaved or fell behind in his schooling. The idea was that seeing a friend being whipped or beaten for something that he had done wrong would be likely to ensure that the prince would not make the same mistake again. Whipping boys were established in the English court during monarchies of the 15th century and 16th centuries.