The Penalty for Insulting the Future King

(p. 390) Brummell’s fall from grace was abrupt and irreversible. He and the Prince of Wales had a falling out and ceased speaking. At a social occasion, the prince pointedly ignored Brummell and instead spoke to his companion. As the prince withdrew, Brummell turned to the companion and made one of the most famously ill-advised remarks in social history. ‘Who’s your fat friend?’ he asked. Such an insult was social suicide. Shortly afterwards Brummell’s debts caught up with him and he fled to France. He spent the last two and a half decades of his life living in poverty, mostly in Calais, growing slowly demented but always looking, in his restrained and careful way, sensational.

Source:
Bryson, Bill. At Home: A Short History of Private Life. New York: Doubleday, 2010.

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