Shown is King Dickie II’s feast of 1387. A low-key affair of 1,200 pigeons, 11,000 eggs, 120 sheep’s heads, 400 rabbits, 720 hens, 210 geese and much more. What else did Dickie give us other than his disreputable pomposity? Proto-table-manners.
If you were a peasant, wearing your only set of clothes, and you needed to wipe your mouth after eating, you would do so on your grubby dishevelled sleeve. At the high table wiping your mouth on your robes of office would be insulting. Instead, you wiped your mouth or snotty runny nose on the tablecloth. That was what it was there for.
King Richard was a bit of a delicate fellow and didn’t like such vile behaviour in his sacred presence. Instead, a courtier would carry a square of cloth specifically to wipe the King’s mouth. Thus the napkin was born.
Thanks, Dickie my trousers owe you one.