King dresses as a commoner occasionaly and makes his way through the town. It is an unknown occurance so nobody expects it. This time he is mistaken for a thief and jailed. Not wanted to reveal himself, and always curious for the experience, he allows himself to be arrested. PCs also get arrested for something, probably guilty but pay a fine. How they act towards the 'king' could greatly change how their first meeting will be as the players always meet the king at some point.
There are those as rich as kings but dress as peasants and worry not about funding. To visit their true homes one would see wealth of untold value scattered as dirt is in a hut. They know the monetary value of their possessions but they have long lost any true value to their owners. Experience is their currency and their curse. They dispense secrets of the ages as if discussing the weather. Few things have they not experienced so that very little gives them joy. They are the lost ones looking for new life while humoring the mortals around them.
Patterns in surnames: There are many ways a surname could have evolved over centuries. One possibility is migration. A Roman name may have traveled to France and hence to England where it was later Anglicized. Case in point - the surname Lawrence went from Laurentius (Roman) to Laurent (French) to Lawrence (English) and then to Lowry (Scottish). There is also natural etymological evolution. For example, a Middle English spelling may have evolved to a modern English spelling (e.g. Stiward to Stewart). Where did your character's Surname come from?