I rather like this print, published by Henry Kingsbury in 1787, and which appears on the Lewis Walpole Library website:It is entitled A Milliner’s Shop and is a dig at the miserliness of the Royal family – suggesting that the King (George III) and his wife Queen Charlotte go shopping in Windsor with their entourage of Royal Princesses, and then haggle over the pennies charged by the local tradesmen. The verses underneath end with the lines
“And why in Gods name should not Queens and Kings
purchase a comb or corkscrew; Lace for cloaks,
Edging for Caps, or tape for apron-strings
Or pins or Bobbin, cheap as other folks?
Reader, to make thine Eyes with wonder stare,
Farthings are not beneath the Royal Care!”
In a way nothing has changed – look at the fuss made by the British Press if a member of the Royal family pops in to order a take-away pizza. We like to blame our royals for being extravagant (“Air Miles Andy”) but we also like to ridicule them if they appear less than ‘regal’ in their everyday actions. George III was often mocked for his miserliness because it was in such marked contrast to the wildly opulent lifestyle of his son, the future Prince Regent.