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The Royal honour of attending on the Prince of Wales was assigned to certain great noblemen in the kingdom and these offices were hereditary, that is, the post would be passed on from one genereation to the next and would remain within the same nobleman's family forever. In Ch.7, for instance, we read that the duty of tying the napkin around Tom's neck was assigned to the Earl of Berkeley : "my lord the Earl of Berkeley, who fastened a napkin about his neck; for the great post of Diaperers to the Prince of Wales was hereditary in this nobleman's family."
Obviously Mark Twain is being sarcastic and is mocking at the ridiculously lazy life style of the idle rich monarch.
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