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We are all familiar with agony aunts and problem pages but can you imagine what advice you would get from the 17th century ‘Pimp-master General’ of Charles II? Well, forget Dear Deidre, from 27 April 2012 you can find out on www.askchiffinch.com
Over the next eight weeks William Chiffinch, infamous for managing the King’s ‘backstairs intrigues’ and known as the ‘Pimp-master General’, will be giving his no-nonsense 17th century responses, not only to the period's most scandalous character’s dilemmas, but to 21st century dilemmas submitted by the public. What would Chiffinch think about someone cheating on their other half, lusting after an older man or having an illegitimate child?
The 17th century problems will be in the style of a photo-casebook using the characters featured in Hampton Court Palace’s new temporary exhibition ‘The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned’. These include;
- Nell Gwyn and Charles II: “I’m the King’s favourite mistress – but is this as good as it gets?” (Chiffinch: "… as royal mistress, it is not the King's mind you are supposed to stimulate")
- Samuel Pepys: “The Young Bucks at Court get the pick of the girls – does success count for nothing?"
- Carey Fraser: “HELP! I tried too hard to follow fashion, now my suitor thinks I’m mad”
Tim Powell, Digital Media Manager at Historic Royal Palaces, says, “This was a uniquely extravagant period in British history. Making the right decisions could transport you from rags to riches, but a bad decision could ruin you. We want modern audiences to experience these moments of dilemma, using the familiar problem page format. We hope the public will recognise the universal human stories of love, sex, friendship and ambition – but be shocked at how different the 17th century advice is from that we’d offer today.