The story of the murder of Thomas Becket was one I learned at school and it's stuck with me. I was doing a little reading tonight and was surprised to find this paragraph on Wikipedia:
The king performed a public act of penance on 12 July 1174 at Canterbury, when he publicly confessed his sins, and then allowed each bishop present... to give him five blows from a rod, then each of the 80 monks of Canterbury Cathedral gave the king three blows. The king then offered gifts to Becket's shrine and spent a vigil at Becket's tomb.
80 monks with three blows each is 240 blows, and that's before we start counting the bishops. So Henry probably took 250+ beats from the clergy. My question is: how hard were these blows? Are we talking about ceremonial taps here? Because I imagine 250 of anything more than that is gonna leave a bruise. What are the rules when you're beating up your monarch? Are certain kinds of strike off-limits, or is it AOK to try and score a homerun with the royal noggin?