The Loyal Toast and Cotton Socks.

As we all know (or should know) the first and principal loyal toast, as approved by The Queen, is 'The Queen'.

After which, at Tot Time, we usually added “God bless her cotton socksâ€.

Old habits die hard. Sotto voce, I still instinctively add those words at every loyal toast at regular formal functions.

I was quite astonished and amused, therefore, her Majesty was photographed visiting some Temple no so long ago; devoid of footwear but actually clad in white cotton socks!!

To my shame I never learned the origin of the ‘cotton socks’ addendum but Google produced this dit:

<< Q Where does the saying - bless your cotton socks come from?

A George Edward Lynch Cotton, English clergyman and educator, assistant master at Rugby 1837-1852, the ‘young master’ in Thomas Hughes's "Tom Brown's School Days".

Bishop of Calcutta, 1858 where he did missionary work and established schools for Eurasian children. In requests to England he asked for donations of clothing, often emphasizing "warm socks" for the children. In fact he seems to have held the simplistic view that if the children had warm socks many of their problems, mal-nutrition, disease, racial prejudice etc. could be easily solved.

Little old maiden ladies all over England spent their time knitting socks for Bishop Cotton and sending them off to India.

He blessed all items used in his schools, and many shipments would arrive labeled " Socks for Cotton's blessing" and reportedly even "Cotton's socks for blessing".

Cotton's socks easily became corrupted to cotton socks,

The phrase is now a term of endearment for a child who has done something sweet. It is also a way of saying thank-you.......

But it didn’t explain how or when “God bless her cotton socks†was added to the loyal toast, soooo:

……Does anyone have an alternative explanation?

……Do many others still add “God bless her otton socks�

It was often used as a "thank you" in our household when I was a child, especially with reference to a third party, as in " He helped me carry the shopping, bless his little cotton socks.", but I've never heard it in association with the rum issue.



War Hero
Book Reviewer
Whenever the loyal toast is done in our mess, whenever the toaster says "The Queen", i always mutter "And all who sail in her". I have no idea why.

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