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<   No. 4154   2019-12-26   >

Comic #4154

1 Higgs: Dinner be served! I be inventin’ a new dish.
2 Higgs: Filet mignon wrapped in foie gras, mushroom duxelles, parma ham, and pastry. I be namin’ it after a famous Duke!
3 Wendy: Psst! Bosun Higgs! Turns out that cut o’ meat be from a swine, not a cow.
4 Higgs: Er... I be presentin’... Pork York!

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I was all primed to do a Beef Wellington joke based on the Duke of Wellington, when I realised that the first Duke of Wellington was only made a duke in 1814, almost 200 years after the Pirates theme comics are set.

Since historical inaccuracy and anachronism are absolutely anathema in this arc of piratical comics, I was in a bit of a pickle.

So I did some research into what Dukes were around in 1652. The list is extraordinarily short: Buckingham, Richmond, Cumberland, and York. And Alice Dudley, Duchess of Dudley, who was granted the title of duchess in her own right by King Charles I as compensation for her husband Sir Robert Dudley abandoning her, running off into exile, and selling all of the family's English assets.

There was a hiatus in the title of Duke of Norfolk, after Thomas Howard, the 4th Duke of Norfolk was executed for treason against Elizabeth I in 1572, leaving the dukedom forfeit until Charles II restored the dukedom to Thomas's great-great-grandson, Thomas Howard, the 5th Duke of Norfolk.

There was similarly a hiatus in the title of Duke of Somerset, after Edward Seymour, the 1st Duke of Somerset was executed by King Edward VI (who was Edward Seymour's own nephew!) for felony in 1552, leaving the dukedom forfeit until Charles II restored the dukedom to Edward's great-grandson, William Seymour, the 2nd Duke of Somerset.

The Duke of York in 1652 was James, son of King Charles I, who as the second in line to the throne after his elder brother Charles (later King Charles II), was designated as Duke of York on his birth in 1633, and officially invested with the title in 1644, which he held until crowned King James II in 1686.

I did consider making some sort of joke about the dish being called a "Beef Dudley", but nothing particularly funny (or safe for work) came to mind. Beef Buckingham... Beef Richmond... Beef Cumberland...

And then one of my friends suggested changing the meat. He also supplied the following poetic inspiration:

The Grand Old Duke of York
Said as he raised his fork,
"This pastried meat
is rather neat.
Is it beef, or is it pork?"


Alec Cawley writes:

You are a bit early in 1652, but James Duke of York became Lord High Admiral at the Restoration in 1660, and would have been in charge of the Royal Navy and hence the English officers, and responsible for suppression of piracy. No wonder they wanted his head in a bowl.

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