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Ladies-in-Waiting at the Imperial Court of Vienna from 1550 to 1700: Structures, Responsibilities and Career Patterns

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Chapter Summary

The permanent shared residence of the prince and princess led to an ever-closer connection between their households; the female Hofstaat became a part of the larger Imperial Hofstaat. At the same time, it was increasingly shut off from the external world, as reflected, for instance, in the increased supervision of access to the Frauenzimmer, the areas of the court designated for female activity and of the moral behaviour and respectable presentation of the aristocratic women within the Frauenzimmer. The court maiden's official responsibilities in Vienna in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries can only be described in very general terms, not only because of the lack of sources on everyday life at the court but also because of the nature of the office itself. The example of Margarita von Herberstein vividly illustrates how opportunities could be exploited both with respect to one's own career and in support of one's children.

Keywords: court maiden's official responsibilities; Frauenzimmer; Hofstaat; imperial court; Margarita von Herberstein; Vienna



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