Thank you so much to Tudor Society member Nancy for asking this question: “If the queen had to make a pottie stop between residences, how would that be accomplished? Does anyone know?”
Social historian and re-enactor Bess Chilver has answered Nancy’s question, taking into account what a king would do as well. Over to Bess…
Very interesting question. Our perception of a Royal, even now in these times of minimal deference, is that of a figure, remote and almost not human. Or at least, not subject to the usual human frailties and bodily functions.
However, even a King or a Queen needs to use the (Royal) Potty sometimes, so where did they use it?
Within their own properties, there were rooms specifically for their own private use. The Close Stool or Privy was the Medieval and 16th-century versions of the modern toilet. Mostly they worked in a similar way to a modern composting toilet except that the contents of the toilet would be removed by the night soil men. The effluent would be used for composting elsewhere – an excellent example of recycling.