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History of the Medieval Jester

After Henry VIII's death, Will Sommers remained at court, eventually retiring in the reign of Elizabeth I. Under Mary I, Will's role was mainly ceremonial, and as a sidekick to Mary's personal fool, Jane Foole. Will was reputed to be the only man who made Mary laugh, apart from John Heywood. Will's last public event was the coronation of Elizabeth I.He was probably the William Sommers whose death is recorded in the parish of St Leonards, Shoreditch, on 15 June 1560.


Princess Alexandria. A meek, slightly freckled face, wavy brown hair that tumbles down around her and chocolate brown eyes, and gentle but wise words falling off her rosy lips.


Detail of a miniature of Henry VIII as David and his court jester, William Somer (or Sommers), at the beginning of Psalm 52.  Origin: England, S. E. (London)


A fool with a peacock feather on his cap walking to r; holding a staff with a fool's head. From a series of four engravings. British Museum Collections