The Queen's Ladies and Household
It is not men alone who serve her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at court and on progress. She is flanked by an extensive retinue of Ladies drawn from the wives and daughters of the highest peers to gentlewomen of the gentry all honored to tend to the Queen’s every need and whim. Some Ladies are newly graced with favor and are learning the ways of court and the subtleties of serving a Monarch with no equal. Others have served the Queen since she was a princess at the court of her father the great Henry VIII. Each lady must attend the Queen in all things from selecting and caring for her numerous gowns and jewels, helping her to dress, setting her great table, and joining in her revelry of dance, song and sport.
These Ladies are more than mere paid servants but are honored to perform the most mundane of tasks. They are the Queen’s closest companions and as ladies of the Presence Chamber, the Privy Chamber, and the Bedchamber each have the Queen’s confidence and ear in ways unlike any other. While these women have no seat on her council, or official role to advise the Queen their mere proximity to the Monarch is both a boon and a vexation to all those that might seek influence on policy; thereby, making these ladies as influential as any man on her Majesty’s Privy Council.
It is not all service and intrigue for the Queen’s Ladies and her household as they attend her Grace so do they attend all of her Majesty’s functions, and entertainments. Furthermore, Queen Elizabeth was fond of education so to these women benefited from a wide range of opportunities to better themselves than many others of their day. From courtly dancing, hunting, gaming, masques, and other entertainments these ladies enjoy the very best alongside their Queen and charge in exchange for their service.
This service is born out of their love, respect and duty. For some the Queen is family, others serve out of duty to their sovereign, others for hope of some future advantage for their children. All love their Queen and in turn she loves them. For it is through their service, love and devotion that she is Gloriana Queen of England.