Which absolutist monarch is your college?

Since all Cambridge students have egos large enough to rival Charles I

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‘Finally!’ we hear you cry. 

‘The what X is your college feature we have all been waiting for! Now I can, at long last, know for certain which absolutist monarch of the sixteenth to early-twentieth century my college bears the most resemblance to.’

These, I am sure, are the words on everyone’s lips. Your patience has been rewarded, dear readers. The most anticipated article of the year (more so than the BNOC competition, no doubt) has arrived. Read on for #relatablecontent, hackneyed stereotypes and the same crappy Girton joke we’ve been whipping out since 2008.

All that follows is also empirically accurate, of course, by virtue of the fact that I wrote it in the Seeley Library.

St John’s: Louis XIV

John’s students think the whole world revolves around them and refuse to ever stray further than the Maypole for a drink. The King of France from 1643 – 1715, Louis was also an utter narcissist, hence his self-styled title of the ‘Sun King’ and his famous statement of ‘L’état c’est moi!’ (‘I am the state’).

Much like people at John’s, this probably stems back from the fact that his doting mother (Anne of Austria) told him incessantly what a divine gift he was, and that his opinion was infallible. Similarities abound.

The face of a John’s student when you ask them for May Ball tix

Trinity: Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette, though not an absolutist monarch herself, was married to one as Queen Consort of France (1774 – 1791). She was infamous for being a very spenny gal, as we all know from the VERY historically accurate Sofia Coppola film where she swans around eating infinite numbers of expensive macaroons.

Trinity is also filthy rich and seems to make a point of spending obscene amounts of money on frivolities (ahem, the yearly budget for their Wine Tasting Society). They haven’t a clue about how normal people live, unlike the rest of Cambridge’s student population, who are all totally grounded and super down to earth.


Tit Hall: Anna of Russia

Empress Anna of Russia (1693 – 1740) isn’t particularly well-known nor highly regarded.

But she was extremely well endowed in the chest region. Kudos.

Ding dong

Peterhouse: Charles I

Charles I of England (1625 – 1649) had a hugely inflated sense of his own importance, due to his belief in the Divine Right of Kings. Peterhouse thinks it’s a much bigger deal than it actually is. Why do they have porters bothering to guard the entrance? And charges for ‘corkage’ at formal? It’s cute, really.

However, what was not so cute for Charles was his eventual deposition and bloodcurdling execution by beheading. The bigger your head is, the more likely someone will chop it off.

Smug git

Magdalene: Louis XVI

Magdalene seems to be going down a similar path as Louis XVI of France (1774 – 1791) – bankruptcy.

Louis splashed out on French involvement in the American Revolutionary War and the War of Spanish Succession, leading to a massive national debt, which I’m sure is of similar scale to the financial problems Magdalene is constantly facing. They can’t even afford to turn the lights on at their formals.

Girton: Sobhuza II of Swaziland

Swaziland is far away. Girton is far away. Lol lel lül!!!!!!!!!! FUNNY.

Sobhuza is squinting to try and make out the speck in the distance that is Girton College

King’s: Amatey Doku

King’s is the ultimate, postcard-worthy Cambridge college, the only equal to Our Dear Leader.

Amatey is no tyrant, but he’s the absolute ruler of our hearts. A charismatic leader, he channels the Weberian ideal of leadership, winning us over with his velvety voice and dazzling smile. What a treasure.

Long live the king xx

Christ’s: Kaiser Wilhelm II

On the surface of things, Christ’s looks quite aesthetically pleasing. However, right at the back, hidden out of sight, is Christ’s architectural monstrosity: the ‘Typewriter Building’. Obscured from view, like Kaiser Wilhelm’s shrivelled arm which he tucked into his jacket for all state portraits and occasions, this never features in the prospectus.

I would feel bad about mocking this aspect of Kaiser Wilhelm if he wasn’t such an unpleasant person, but he used to turn his rings around so they would cut into the skin of everyone he shook hands with, so I feel pretty much fine.

A selfie masterclass – note the subtle concealment of the left hand

2015 Pembroke: Tsar Alexander III

A couple of years ago, Pembroke had a pretty decent reputation, as broadly popular as Tsar Alexander III of Russia (1881 – 1894). A pretty college, slightly conservative, everybody’s second choice.

Alexander III was seen as a leader of strong stature who managed to avoid any major conflicts or wars – he was nicknamed ‘The Peacemaker’. He rarely caused controversy in the national press, and fulfilled expectations by fathering several sons to ensure the succession. 10/10 very good guy well done nice 1.

A solid bloke, in spite of the receding hairline

2017 Pembroke: Tsar Nicholas II

Unlike Tsar Alexander, who came before him, Nicholas II of Russia was an absolute disaster.

He made stupid mistake after stupid mistake. His unpopular and inflammatory behaviour regularly caused scandal in the press – Bloody Sunday, humiliating defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, the 1905 revolts. Uncanny parallels with Pembroke’s regular features, of late, on the front page of The Times for some other PR cock-up.

Get ready to see some dire application statistics for 2018, a year which will be as bad for Pembroke as the same year a century before was for poor Nick and his family – you guessed it, more executions.

A pale imitation of what came before, though admittedly with more hair

Corpus: Joffrey Lannister

In spite of its small size and apparently cute face, Corpus is utterly draconian. Being at Corpus is equivalent to living in a mediaeval-themed police state reminiscent of Westerns when it was ruled by this total bastard.

Under archaic policy procedures, Corpus students have to register their overnight guests and have limits on the amount of times people are allowed to stay over per term. Even in the sex-starved environment of Cambridge, this takes it to a whole new level. It is, of course, unlikely that anyone is having sex in Cambridge in exam term anyway, so this is a grievance that can be postponed until at least next October.

(Credit: HBO)

Homerton: Emperor Puyi

Homerton is the newest college, the baby of the group. It was only granted full college status in 2010.

Emperor Puyi of China (1908 – 1912) was crowned as a tiny child, when he was just two years old. He allegedly cried for the entire ceremony when he became the Xuantong Emperor of all of China, because he found the music too loud.

Jesus: Henry VIII before he got fat

Jesus is super sporty, and surprisingly good-looking. As was Henry VIII when he was young, before his body started to punish him for treating it like utter shit. Before he became severely obese (with a waistline of 54″), bed-ridden by gout and potentially even syphilis, he was really quite fit.

He loved a bit of jousting, had loads of hair, and was considered to be extremely eligible.

Here is a photo of a random nice-looking man. Alas, there are no sexy portraits of Henry VIII

Robinson: Henry VIII after he got fat

Posh, red-faced, red-chinoed and red-bricked. Sorry, Robinson.

Red chinos not pictured, but undoubtedly present

Catz: Louis XV

Louis XV of France (1715-1774) doted on his lovely white angora cat, who was allowed into meetings with the Councils of State, where he liked to sit on the mantelpiece.

The cat, called Brilliant, was considered to be so important that he had his own carer, Louis Quentin, the Marquis de Champcenetz, who was expected to attend to his every need.

An original Velasquez portrait of Louis XV, complete with Pusheen etchings from the eighteenth century

Churchill: Charles II

Churchill is not endowed with dazzling good looks, there’s no skirting around it.

Charles II of Spain (1665 – 1700) was the ugliest king ever. His prominent jaw (‘the Habsburg jaw’, as it was known) was the result of inbreeding within his family to keep the bloodline pure and maintain their control over Spain.

Wouldn’t pull in Cindies

Fitzwilliam: Empress Wanrong

Empress Wanrong of China was Queen Consort from 1922 until 1924. She was known to regularly take opium. This was originally intended as medication for an unidentified mental illness, however she gradually became addicted to it. She was reportedly smoking up to two ounces daily by 1938, doubling her weekly spending to finance the habit.

A Turf attendee if I ever saw one

Emma/Queens’/Clare/Downing et al: Elizabeth II

Just a lovely gal really. Not absolutist, just maybe a little bit stern occasionally. No bad rep. Just nice, kind and inoffensive.

Aye Liz you go hun. Look at that lovely smile

That’s a wrap – remember not to try enlightened despotism on your friends. It worked for Voltaire but your pals will hate you.