The honourable sisterhood': Queen Anne's maids of honour - British Library Research Repository
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The honourable sisterhood': Queen Anne's maids of honour

1993

Abstract

WHEN Sir Charles Sedley asked a new arrival among the maids of honour at the Restoration court whether she intended to set up as 'a Beauty, a Miss [mistress], a Witor a Politician', he was acknowledging, in his unregenerate way, that these posts could offer considerable scope for a woman. The more famous among those who took advantage of this, including Sedley's own daughter ('none of the most virtuous but awit'), have figured prominently in studies of court beauties and royal mistresses. But the experience of the majority of obscurer women, for whom the court was a social centre, a means of access to public life, a marriage market, or a source of livelihood, can be equally and more generally illuminating.

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