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Yours, Chiffinch

Who was Chiffinch?

 Sketch of William Chiffinch

William Chiffinch (c.1602–1691) was Charles II’s Page and Keeper of the Closet, cialis buy a role in which he became one of the King’s closest and most trusted servants – and yielded great power and influence.

The closet was the room off the royal bedchamber where the King attended to his private business.  Chiffinch was responsible for handling large sums of money for the King – including the secret pension that the court of Louis XIV paid to Charles. He was often first to receive royal correspondence, cialis canada and even responded on the King’s behalf.

As a ‘Page of the Backstairs’, Chiffinch was also responsible for admitting courtiers into the closet or bedchamber for a private audience with the King.

According to his contemporary Roger North (1651-1734), Chiffinch:

‘had a lodging at the backstairs which might have been properly termed the spy office; where the King spoke with particular persons, about intrigues of all kinds: and all little informers, projectors etc., were carried to Chiffinch’s lodgings’

North also recorded that Chiffinch was an expert in uncovering people’s true natures – and secrets :  

‘ [an] impetuous drinker, and, in that capacity, an admirable spy for he let none part from him sober […] and so fished out many secrets and discovered men’s characters which the King could never have obtained the knowledge of by any other means’

According to contemporary satirists, Chiffinch was also responsible for bringing Charles’s many mistresses to his bedchamber:

“It happen’d in the twilight of the day
As England’s monarch in his closet lay,
And Chiffinch stepp’d to fetch the female prey”

In 1666, when Chiffinch ushered in the Duchess of Cleveland, the Count Gramont commented drily, ‘This way was not new to her’.  Knowing this, some referred to him as the Pimpmaster general’.  Within a court ruled by secret policies Chiffinch was ‘the King’s go between in every kind of backstairs intrigue’.  This gave him considerable influence within networks of patronage and politics.