Thursday, May 06, 2010

Question from Lucy - Duties and positions in the Queen's household

Were the Queen's Apartments just like the King's in everyway? Did she have a Master of the Stool, Lord Chamberlain and everything else.

How many of the Queen's "people" were women? Was the Master of the Stool a woman or was it different title? The Queen had Ladies in Waiting and Maids of Honour but what's the difference?


kb said...

Hi Lucy,

Is this a research project?

The queen's apartments were slightly different depending on whether she was a queen-regnant or the wife of a ruling king.

If the queen was the sole monarch, she was head of the royal household. If the king was the ruling monarch, he was head of the royal household.

A lord chamberlain was a royal household appointment, not an intimate servant within private royal apartments.

Maids of honour were usually, although not always, young women around age 16 from elite families who performed light service in the queen's apartments but were essentially at court to make a good marriage.

Ladies in waiting were generally married, from elite families, who served the queen.

If you can tell me more about your project, I can answer you more fully - especially if you are interested in Elizabethan ladies in waiting.

Anonymous said...

Hi kb!

Sorry I never got back to you. Yes I am doing a project about Royal households. I am thinking more in the capacity of a Queen Regant...

I assume that most of the people serving in a Queen's household were women but I don't think a Treasurer, Lord Steward ect. were women. We're these men husbands to ladies that served under the Queen? And were they appointed by the King?

Now thism may sound kind of silly but was marrying some kind of promotion in a Queen's household? If you arrived as a Maid of Honour did you become a Lady In Waiting after you were married?

kb said...

These are all good questions.

Ruling queens, queens-regnant like Mary I and Elizabeth I, made their own household appointments. They were head of the royal household and therefore in charge. There were both male and female offices within the household of a ruling queen. Under Elizabeth I her vice-chamberlain and household comptroller was Sir Francis Knollys. He was married to one of her favorite ladies-in-waiting Katherine Carey Knollys.

Katherine's brother, Henry Carey baron Hunsdon at first was Master of the Hawks. He later became Lord Chamberlain. His wife, Anne Morgan Carey was also a lady of the court.

Several of their sons and daughters also held household appointments. The sons were grooms, a position that involved a lot of fetching and delivering. Their daughters were maids of the court, maids of honour and ladies in waiting.

It was traditional in Elizabeth's court for a favorite maid of honour to be promoted to lady-in-waiting once she was married. But marriage wasn't always the event that triggered the change in household status.

For example, Elizabeth Knollys was promoted to Lady of the Privy Chamber by at least 1565 and she was not married until 1578.

There were quite a few couples providing service to the Tudor queens-regnant. I know less about Mary's women. However Susan Clarencieux a great favorite of Mary's was married to Thomas Tonge Clarencieux King of Arms.Frances Baynham Jerningham, lady-in-waiting, was married to Sir Henry Jerningham who was a privy councillor and served as Master of the Horse.