Meanwhile, last night at trivia - "Sweet William is: a) animal; b) mineral; or c) vegetable?"
Boynton said it was a plant with some connection to Culloden, but I was adamant it was a fish. Thus I wrote down animal. Wrong!
Many legends purport to explain how Sweet William acquired its name, but none are verified. It is variously said to be named after Saint William of York, William the Conqueror, or Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. Another etymology is that william is a corruption of the French oillet, meaning little eye. Sweet William is a favorite name for lovelorn young men in English folkloric ballads.
Don't ask me why I thought it was a fish. That's a long story involving Captain William Frederickson and several crossed wires.
Concentrating on the Duke of Cumberland:
A flower was named after him to mark his success at Culloden. In England it is known as the Sweet William but in Scotland it is known as the Stinking Billy. He remained in Scotland for three months after the battle, rounding up some 3,500 men and executing about 120. The English soldiers killed everyone they found, regardless of age or gender.
Only the Scots would get upset at Cumberland's putting paid to local bandits. Typical redheads. However, I would never have mentioned that to the large Scotsman who happened to be sitting at the bar where I'd just ordered a drink. "One black tea, please, in a glass. That way I can fake my hard drinking credentials." The barman laughed, anyway. But as he plonked the drink down in front of me the Scottish cove - yes, drinking whisky - gave me a dubious eyeball and, in English, piped up* "The tea bag gives it away, don't you think?"
* Scottish gag circa 1325.