His Royal Rhymeness: Author can’t wait for Chalke Valley History Festival… after learning list of kings and queens in lockdown
- Author and comedian Charlie Higson’s regular at Chalke Valley History Festival
- Fast Show star is one of several speakers at the event which starts tomorrow
- Festival going ahead despite last week’s delay to lifting of lockdown restrictions
It will be one of the first major festivals of the summer – and for Fast Show star Charlie Higson it can’t come quickly enough.
The author and comedian, a regular at the Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival for many years, is among the speakers at the event which starts tomorrow.
He said: ‘It’s such a lovely place and such a lovely festival. I’ve been stuck at home wishing things were happening. It’s really exciting – it’ll feel like a return to the good old days.’
Author and comedian Charlie Higson has been a regular at the Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival for many years and is among the speakers at the event which starts tomorrow
Thanks to careful planning, the festival is going ahead despite last week’s delay to the lifting of lockdown restrictions.
Higson, 62, said at the beginning of the pandemic last year he thought, like many, he’d be ‘learning Russian and reading Proust’. But because of all the uncertainty he found it difficult to concentrate – so he decided to teach himself the list of English monarchs from William the Conqueror to now.
He said: ‘I learnt the rhyme “Willie, Willie, Harry, Stee, Harry, Dick, John, Harry three…” as a child, and I relearnt that. It was a useful distraction. I thought it’d be good to do a talk based around that, and narrowed it down to how they all died and why they wanted to be kings and queens.
‘When I learnt about monarchs at school, it was all about wearing nice crowns. But it was a terrible job in the past and you ended up dead quite quickly with everyone trying to kill everyone else.’
Thanks to careful planning, the festival (pictured) is going ahead despite last week’s delay to the lifting of lockdown restrictions.
His talk at the family-friendly festival this Saturday is titled The Death of Kings: A history of the British monarchy in 41 endings.
Given some of its more gruesome aspects, it’s likely to appeal to children – and is set to include the infamous story of Edward II, a trumpet and a red hot poker.
On Friday, Higson will host the Histrionics Quiz Show, joined by guests including his old comedy partner Harry Enfield, historians Dan Snow and Alexandra Richie, and comedian Al Murray.
He said: ‘We’re all fed up of doing things on Zoom. It’s strange thinking you’re going to be there with all these people watching again. I’m thrilled it’s happening and really looking forward to being there.’
Festival organisers had always planned for restrictions not being lifted on June 21 and have been working strictly to government guidelines and with the local council to ensure all Covid safety protocols are adhered to.
Many of this year’s events are on the new outdoor stages and across the six-acre site at Church Bottom, Broad Chalke, near Salisbury, Wiltshire.
There will be talks by historians including Antonia Fraser, Max Hastings, Earl Spencer and Tracy Borman, joint chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces.
Children can enjoy a vintage fairground, sword school and events like Could You Be A Spy? with author Robert Hutton. A new feature is Speaker’s Corner – a chance to pose questions to the likes of Dominic Sandbrook, Philippe Sands and Michael Wood.
Dan Snow and his History Hit team will present a range of highly interactive and fun-filled events – including audience re-enactments of some of history’s most famous battles and also late-night storytelling around a fire.
The festival runs to Sunday. Many events are sold out, but some tickets are still available. For tickets go to www.cvhf.org.uk or call 01722 781133.
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