Rick Fuller
5 min readJan 29, 2021

A brief history of headboards

The first headboard in recorded history comes to us from hieroglyphics in the Great Pyramid of Giza. The ancient Egyptians didn’t originally use headboards, however, when the Pharaoh Khufu’s wife Henutsen found out that he was building this massive pyramid replete with extravagant his and hers burial chambers, she insisted that the rough, oblique stone slabs were not conducive to a good night’s rest, and she insisted on having matching headboards. Below is the hieroglyph found in the burial passage of Khufu installing the headboard on Henutsen’s bed. It’s lost to history whether that is an ancient prying tool in his hand, a pry bar of course being an absolutely critical headboard installation/removal tool, or whether it represents a stream of blood coming from his head, a result of the nearly universal injuries sustained in all headboard installations.

Of course, we now know from ancient Arabic translations of the scrolls of Turin, that it was indeed the headboard that caused Khufu to kick Henutsen out of the Great Pyramid and have her buried in a much smaller, mostly unknown pyramid called G1.

We next find mention of the use of headboards with the emperors of Rome, starting with Julius Caesar. Caesar, of course, never used a headboard in his royal villa until Cleopatra started coming over from Egypt to visit. On her first visit, she was dismayed to find that Julius slept on a simple platform elevated off the floor on goat milk crates, and on her next visit, she brought from Cairo not just a headboard, but a full sleigh-style bedframe, much to Caesars dismay. It was this bedframe that caused Caesar to not really care about the consequences, throw caution to the wind, and cross the Rubicon, going to war with his compatriots.

Shortly before Caesars death, we know that Cleopatra began having an affair with Mark Antony, and that she also insisted that a headboard be added to his bedchamber. It was, in fact, this headboard that caused Mark Antony to rule that Cleopatra and Julius’ son, Caesarion would not take over as Julius’ heir after his assassination. When Cleopatra fled back to Egypt after the ascension of Octavion, she took both headboards with her. However, the damage the headboards caused to the Roman Empire was irreversible, and, as we know, it eventually fell from glory.

The next time a headboard was used was in England in 1327. Here’s what we know from this dark period in European history:

Edward II was deposed by his wife Isabella of France, and her lover, Roger Mortimer, after Edward II refused to install a headboard on the Royal Mattress, and Mortimer promised Isabella a headboard if they could rule England together. This of course, led to Edward II’s son, Edward III to lead a successful coup against Mortimer in the Hundred Years War, and to eventually lock both Mortimer and the headboard in the Tower of London where he starved to death after eating as much of the headboard as he could stomach. History lessons are short-lived however, as upon Edward III’s return from the brutal fighting of the Hundred Years War, he discovered that his wife, Philippa of Hainault had also installed a headboard on their bed. Edward III died of a stroke in 1377 while attempting to get the headboard to stop squeaking every time he shifted in his sleep.

The next Monarch to experience his lover’s insistence upon a headboard, was Henry VIII. Henry was perfectly content to sleep on a mattress pushed against the wall, and his first (and best) wife, Catherine of Aragon, was fine with that. It wasn’t until Henry shoved her to the countryside so he could hook up with Anne Boleyn, that things began to fall apart for him. Not only would the Catholic Church not allow him to divorce Catherine so he could marry Anne, Anne insisted on installing a headboard and a FULL BEDFRAME on Henry’s perfectly acceptable, completely comfortable mattress that was on the floor and shoved against the wall of the Royal Bedroom in Windsor Castle. Henry thought he was fine with it, but, like all men, he soon realized what a completely unnecessary pain in the ass it was to have to deal with a headboard and a bedframe, particularly when one has to move around to various castles and towers, and Henry had Anne beheaded.

Obviously there are numerous other people in history who have fallen victim to their wife’s insistence on using a completely unnecessary headboard. Emperor Hirohito attacked Pearl Harbor out of frustration after pinching his thumb while trying to adjust the headboard on his bed when it wouldn’t stop shifting. Hitler’s hatred of the Jews stemmed from the fact that they introduced the headboard to Bavaria, headboards being very useful for hiding their bags of gold. In Salem, Massachusetts, witches were identified by entering women’s bedrooms and arresting any who had a headboard on their bed. Joseph Stalin so hated headboards that he had murdered or sent to Siberia every general and politician in the Soviet Union who used a headboard, in what was originally known as The Great Purge of the Headboard Users, though it’s been shortened by historians to just The Great Purge. Osama bin Laden’s hatred of the United States and the western world in general, was not an effect of a difference of religious beliefs, but rather the United States’ insistence on exporting headboards to Muslim countries. In fact, the reason that Navy Seals were able to get the drop on Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad was because the CIA secretly dropped headboards around Pakistan with a note to please deliver to several of bin Laden’s wives, one of whom accepted delivery and had it installed without bin Laden’s knowledge. That headboard had a GPS tracker that led the Seals right to the compound.

As I sit here in frustration after the arduous task of removing the headboard from my own bed in preparation for a move, a task that has led me to have numerous malignant thoughts, I can’t help but wonder when we’ll learn the lessons of history and finally rid this society of the evils of the headboard. We know that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, and I worry for future generations of men who will have to install and remove these unnecessary and burdensome beasts.

Can’t we just end the madness, once and for all?