Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Question from Stefanie - Knight of the Body

I have been interested in Tudor history for awhile and I'm especially curious about everyday life at court at the time.

Then recently I stumbled over the term 'Knight of the Body', while browsing through Letters and Papers of King Henry VIII's reign and now I am wondering what duties a Knight of the Body had? It is apparently something different from being a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, but I can't find any good information on it. Does anyone know what a Knight of the Body actually did at court?

(I'm interested in the daily life of a Lady-in-waiting and the Gentleman of the Privy Chamber as well, so any book recommendations or further online sources on them are very welcome, too!)

[Ed. note - here is one previous thread kind of related to the last part of the question: https://queryblog.tudorhistory.org/2008/04/question-from-sarah-maid-of-honor-v.html]


Tracey said...

"Ladies in Waiting" by Anne Somerset and "Henry VIII, The King and His Court" by Alison Weir are excellent resources for your question. "Ladies" was re-released last year, so hopefully copies are still available.

PhD Historian said...

My understanding is that "Knights of the Body" were bodyguards to the monarch, though the title was apparently more honorific than actual. As with "Master of the Horse," other persons of lower status were paid to do the actual work associated with the title, while the titleholder enjoyed the prestige that came with the honor.

bpi said...

In "The Princes in the Tower" by Alison Weir, Knight of the Body is referred to in Chapter 13 with the details that the the Knight of the Body would sleep on a pallet outside the King's royal bedchambers.