Modern Inventions in Medieval Life

From the Palace: Day in the Life of a Medieval Princess
By Princess Katie (of Princess Katie & Racer Steve), HF Guest Writer

Well met, Lords and Ladies!

Whenever I return to medieval society after my performances in New York City, I am completely bombarded by queries from the townsfolk, “What do they dress like?” “What are they eating?” “Has J Lo given birth?” Okay, so maybe not the last one, but they are very curious about life outside of medieval life.

So desperate are they to modernize and be like you, that in their haste, they often fall short. Take for instance Henry Brickenden, the newly appointed 16 year-old Town Crier. The main reason we hire youth is because quite frankly, who else but a 16-year old boy has the energy to scream their lungs out all over town reciting such banal “news” as “Lady Baker’s gate is broken, so enter ‘round the back”?

Anyway, Henry is very interested in what 16 year-olds in New York City are up to. One day I made the big mistake of telling him about rap music. As expected, he was enthralled and wanted to know every detail, “How clever to rhyme to music, not by singing, but by common speak.” Zzzz….

A few weeks later I’m in my parlor contemplating Trickle-down Economics (or String Theory, I can’t quite recall) and I hear Henry, as Town Crier, “rapping” his lungs out in his thick British accent, “Hark Now! The Town Butcher has got fresh meat, make your way there as you check out my beat!” Oh nay! I’m totally going to hear it from the townspeople. He continued…”The Ashe family has fallen very ill, it’s poisoned, so don’t serve today’s dill.” I ran outside and carefully explained to him that perhaps we medievals aren’t quite ready for rap just yet. I think the Ashe family is still not speaking to me…ho hum.

Not all of the modern inventions fell flat. In fact, some of your ideas did translate quite nicely into medieval society. For instance, having portable music. Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t even attempt to explain ipods, but I did say that you’ve got contraptions here that allow you to have music with you wherever you go. I had to smile to myself as I saw Lady Elspeth Reeves just last week wheel past me in her carriage with an out-of-breath traveling troubadour running up next to her attempting to play his flute whilst she made her way into town. She was beaming. He was sweating.

Oh, and some situations were just plain amusing. One day I was telling a group of maidens how you have “hand” polish here, whereas I should’ve been more specific and said, “nail” polish.

So, there I am, working in my medicinal herb garden when I hear townspeople screaming, “Stigmata! Stigmata!” Clearly not something I hear being shouted every day, I quickly made my way over to the crowd like my hair was on fire. And that’s when I saw it…Maiden Maerwynn Webb being gently carried through the cobble-stoned streets as if she were a rare piece of China, whereas just yesterday she was scrubbing public water closets with a sagebrush.

I immediately knew exactly what had happened: Maiden Maerwynn had put red paint all over her rough and work-worn hands, in an attempt to be like the glamorous women of modern times! As I moved in closer, our eyes met. She looked at me as if to say, “I’m loving this, so please keep your pie hole shut until I get caught.”

I’m proud to say that I did keep my pie hole shut, and even managed to shout a few straight-faced, “Stigmata! Stigmata!” along with the crowd. Unfortunately, Maiden Maerwynn is back to scrubbing toilets, but she’s a heck of a lot more popular.

Princess Katie is the sole tiara-wearing member of the kiddie rock band, Princess Katie & Racer Steve. Their new CD, Fast & Feisty is revved up and ready to rock. She’s proud to announce that she and the band will be performing in Northampton on March 8th for a costume concert! She will not be rapping, nor will she be sporting “hand” polish.

To be continued …

Princess Katie & Racer Steve on March 8thUPCOMING PERFORMANCE MARCH 8th @ 1:30pm Princess Katie & Racer Steve will be whoopin’ it up at Lyman Hall at the First Churches in Northampton, MA. Come in costume if you’d like! PK&RS just released a new album too, Fast & Feisty. Performance is co-presented by Hilltown Families & Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child. GUEST DJ – PK&RS will be doing a Guest DJ set on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child on Saturday, February 16th, from 8-10am on WXOJ-LP 103.3FM (Valley Free Radio).

Princess Katie head-shot

Princess Katie

Princess Katie is the singer, songwriter and sole tiara-wearing member of the kiddie rock band, Princess Katie & Racer Steve. Residing in an often damp, yet gigantic castle, she spends her days writing songs, chasing her ever-escaping unicorn, Pointy, and wondering how to get in on the whole “Princesses don’t do chores” thing. She’s thrilled to be guest writing for Hilltown Families, but wonders if anyone has ever thought of somehow putting the ink into the quill itself. She’s finding the whole, “write two words, dip dry quill into inkwell, write another two words, dip dry quill into inkwell” a bit tedious.


  1. Buster said,

    January 22, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Princess Katie,
    Lady Elspeth Reeves would do well to outfit her troubadour with another modern invention: roller blades. That would markedly improve his flute playing as well as raise the bar in terms of quality of sound. Best, Buster

  2. GBK Bwyneth said,

    January 18, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Excellent insights, Princess Katie! I have to wonder what your countrymen would think of the bluetooth cellphones that has so many people looking like they are talking to themselves??

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