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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This chapter integrates ladies-in-waiting into the master narrative of court studies, pulling together cutting-edge research from leading and up-and-coming scholars in the field. It provides evidence for the multitudinous ways in which ladies-in-waiting, the so-called 'women above stairs', shaped the early modern European courts and influenced the politics and culture of their times. The chapter brings together scholars who have detailed the courts of various European queens, queen-consorts, and other female regnants. Once the ladies-in-waiting of female rulers have been identified, their paper trails can be followed and the narrative of early modern European political history can be retraced and reconfigured. The Politics of Female Households clarifies the prominent but misunderstood role of ladies-in-waiting at the early modern courts of Europe in other ways too. One crucial way of achieving this is to address the concept of 'informal power'. The education of early modern elite women was quite expensive.

Keywords: early modern European courts; early modern European political history; female households; informal power; ladies-in-waiting

10.1163/9789004258396_002
/content/books/b9789004258396_002
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