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From blowing bubbles to blind goat: the games played by princes and princesses in the 18th century

27 Sept 2023

For many centuries, children were afforded little space to just be children. They were dressed like adults, forced to contain their emotions, and worked. In the case of the nobility, children assumed positions of responsibility at an early age. But that doesn't mean that, at certain times, there wasn't room for them to do what children love best: play.


And how did the princes and princesses of the 18th century play? The gardens of the National Palace of Queluz had (and continue to have) plenty of space for children to entertain themselves. It remains to be seen what games they used to occupy the little free time they had. Here are some examples:


- Hoop rolling: this consists of running along a track while rolling the hoop with a hook. Whoever reaches the finish line fastest without letting the hoop drop wins.


- Chinquilho: an activity similar to quoits, but with balls. The aim is to throw the ball towards a set of pins in order to knock them down.


- Blowing bubbles: an activity that still entertains kids and adults today.


- Battledore: a predecessor of badminton.


- Blind goat: a game in which one of the participants is blindfolded, taken to the centre of the playing area, and spun around several times. The aim is for the disorientated player to catch another participant and identify them. If successful, the player caught then becomes the 'blind goat'.