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Aristocratic Women and Political Society in Victorian Britain$
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K. D. Reynolds

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207276

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207276.001.0001

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‘A Busy and Suspicious “Cabal”’ or ‘Head Housemaids’? The Ladies of Queen Victoria's Household

‘A Busy and Suspicious “Cabal”’ or ‘Head Housemaids’? The Ladies of Queen Victoria's Household

Chapter:
(p.188) 6 ‘A Busy and Suspicious “Cabal”’ or ‘Head Housemaids’? The Ladies of Queen Victoria's Household
Source:
Aristocratic Women and Political Society in Victorian Britain
Author(s):

K. D. Reynolds

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207276.003.0007

This chapter begins with a discussion of the structure of the queen's female household, its office-holders, and the nature of their service. It then considers the changing significance of female court appointments. It notes the awe and veneration with which most of the female household regarded the queen in the last twenty years of her reign. The lack of explicit party ties among the ladies of the court enhanced their personal loyalty to the queen. Service in the royal household offers an intriguing and revealing counterpoint to the other activities of aristocratic women. Their social status was important for maintaining the prestige of the monarchy — the obeisance of the lowly could be taken for granted, but that of people of rank served both to inflate the honour of the monarchy and to remind the aristocracy of their inferiority to the throne.

Keywords:   Queen Victoria, female household, court ladies, royal household, court influence, monarchy, Victorian court

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