Someone who always gets the blame and dates in this sense from the 1600s. The original whipping boys were the companions of princes and nobles during the 1500s and 1600s. These young companions were punished if princes or nobles transgressed but it was not as barbaric or sinister as it sounds. The reality was that young princes or nobles tended to be better behaved rather have their friends and companions punished. When Prince Charles, later Charles I, was growing up, he had such a whipping boy or companion of the Royal Bed Chamber, as they were more formally known. He was a commoner named William Murray. Murray became such a good friend and adviser to Charles that in 1626 Charles granted him the lease of Ham House and in 1643 made him the first Earl of Dysart. All in all, that was probably well worth a few whippings.