The Court and Courtiers
The courtiers have started their day hours before almost as the sun has come up. Each courtier arises, if lucky from a bed in the host’s house, usually shared with one or two others due to lack of space. Many wake up in other homes miles from the queen or in pavilions set up on the lawn. Most will have a quick drink of watered wine or ale in the morning and perhaps some beef or porridge, but no matter what they will spend up to an hour or more dressing and attiring themselves and if necessary getting ready to travel to even get to where the Queen is staying.
They congregate in the audience room and wait for the Queen to enter. Each one is here to serve her majesty in some way. Some are in the highest strata, serving as Privy Counselors and advisors to her Majesty. Some are here to serve them acting as secretaries or information gatherers. Military men, ladies in waiting, secretaries are all here to serve the Queen, or serve others who serve the Queen. It all culminates in a highly organized dance of political and personal gain. Even on progress so far from London there is no stopping their pursuit trying to rise in the social stratus.
They primp and preen themselves in an attempt to catch the Queen’s eye, hopefully receive some public recognition, for that is the one true currency at court. The Queen’s favor means everything to a courtier. With it he can obtain a title perhaps, some lands, perhaps even better a job at court, even be brought to the influence of another courtier who can give them some patronage and help them get a leg up. They spend days learning dances, practicing for archery for any other pastimes that the Queen enjoys. And through it all stands the fellow treacherous courtier who will not only stab you in the back to gain ahead, but will court your favor if they can possibly gain from it, even in the same sentence.
Most are at Court because they wish to serve the crown, but there are also many here because the Queen has demanded it, their presence required so they can be watched at all times.
So they all wait, with their best clothing in array, the hawks in preparedness, hunting dogs already baying in anticipation should the Queen wish to go hunting. Counselors stand ready with writs and warrants and patents ready for signature. The musicians stand ready to play a spritely galliard to help lift her Majesties spirits. They part as the highest ranking courtier exits from her Majesty’s bed chamber and ask “Does the sun shine today,” wanting to gauge the Queen’s mood. “Aye, my Lords it does.” There is a palpable shift from the anxiousness of waiting to knowing that this day her Grace is of a good humor and the games are afoot…