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Advertising a royal muddle

Posted by Jan Freeman, keep until April June 25, 2008 10:05 PM

I came across this ad for a Fifth Avenue jewelry store in the New York Times last month, when The Word blog was still dormant, so I sent a note about it to Nancy Friedman, who blogs about words, naming, and branding at Fritinancy.

But I see its a recurring ad, this delightful mashup of English royal history, so now that the blog has been revived, I thought Id share it with my own readers. Heres the comment that I e-mailed and Nancy published:

The headline is "My Kingdom for your Old Jewelry," from, of course, Shakespeare's libellous* play about the last of the Plantagenets, Richard III. The picture is a portrait of Henry (Tudor) VIII, son of the Henry whose rebellion killed off Richard and his line. The name of the store is Windsor Jewelers Inc.-- and though Windsor is old, it wasn't a royal name till the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha royals decided WWI was a good reason for the name change.
Perhaps I was sensitive to this because I [had] just finished reading Josephine Tey's classic pro-Richard III mystery, "The Daughter of Time." But I would think many a Shakespeare fan would notice the odd juxtaposition. Or am I too optimistic?

*I should have spelled this "libelous" I must have been temporarily seduced by the British spellings in Daughter of Time.

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Rules and realities of English usage from Boston Globe Ideas columnist Jan Freeman.
Jan Freeman, a former Boston Globe editor, has been writing the weekly column The Word since 1997. E-mail her at

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