The "Old Man"
"All I say is, kings is kings, and you got to make allow
ances. Take them all round, they're a mighty ornery
lot. It's the way they're raised."
Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
THE DIGNITY AND HONOR of the dead King, the Princess Mary had said, was "ripe in mine own remembrance," and, as the new reign broke into a babble of discord and dissension, that memory began to sharpen and emerge as the mirror of those things "that are worthy a prince." 1 The members of the council of regency had been unanimous in their determination to project their colleague, Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, into the seat of authority, on the grounds that a protectorate was "the surest kind of government and most fit" for a commonwealth, 2 but in doing so they learned something about their late master: unlike the Earl, he had known to perfection the role of kingship. With that lesson before him, Sir Anthony Browne drew the inescapable conclusion that "princes with their majesty may be oft envied and hated; without it they are always scorned and condemned." 3 Desperately Sir William Paget urged the new Lord Protector to recall that he was no longer a private subject but a man who supplied the "place of a king," and he offered the gratuitous counsel: "Then, sir, for a king do like a king." 4 The admonition was sound, but the application hazardous.
Paget could point to a perfect model of monarchy: the massive Holbein fresco of Henry which dominated the Privy Chamber at Whitehall Palace. Here was the shrine before which subjects worshiped, for the entire Tudor dynasty--Henry, his father, his mother, and Jane Seymour, the only wife to bear him a legal son--were clustered around a central monumental pillar in the traditional style of the