A whipping boy was, supposedly, a boy educated alongside a prince or boy monarch in early modern Europe , who received corporal punishment for the prince's transgressions in his presence. The prince was not punished himself because his royal status exceeded that of his tutor; seeing a friend punished would provide an equivalent motivation not to repeat the offence. An archaic proverb which captures a similar idea is "to beat a dog before a lion". There is little contemporary evidence for the existence of whipping boys, and evidence that some princes were indeed whipped by their tutors, although Nicholas Orme suggests that nobles might have been beaten less often than other pupils.
But she's had to understand that I won't be her friend's whipping-boy. The most familiar example of whipping-boy is mentioned by Fuller in his "Church History. As a whipping-boy he was too spiritless to be satisfying, and Lady Barbara addressed herself to the invitation. When he went to school he was always the whipping-boy and always the object of his schoolfellows' mockery. He was no longer a mere excrescence on the face of the earth—a poor, puny Pincher who was everybody's whipping-boy. A scapegoat, as in This department's always been the whipping boy when things don't go well.
It seems an odd notion to us now that a royal court would have kept a child for the purpose of beating him when the crown prince did wrong. That's just what did happen though. Whipping Boy was an established position at the English court during the Tudor and Stuart monarchies of the 15th and 16th centuries. This may not have been quite as bad as it sounds.
Whipping boy first recorded A whipping boy was a young boy who was assigned to a young prince and was punished when the prince misbehaved or fell behind in his schooling. Whipping boys were established in the English court during the monarchies of the 15th century and 16th centuries.