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The Goddess of the Household: The Masquing Politics of Lucy Harington-Russell, Countess of Bedford

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Chapter Summary

Lucy Harington-Russell (1581-1627), from 1594 Countess of Bedford, was First Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Anna of Denmark. This chapter argues that by securing a role as a lead performer from the moment Queen Anna arrived in England, Lady Bedford cemented her position as the Queen's First Lady of the Bedchamber from 1604 to 1619, a position that enabled her to neutralise rivals while brokering other offices for her family at court. In the case of The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses, the masque shaped and propagated the formation of Queen Anna's female household in England. Lucy pursued her masquing politics, performing in The Masque of Beauty (1608) in "robe of flame colour", reprising the persona of Vesta, goddess of the household, another indication that it is likely that she had danced this role in The Vision. The tasks of lady-in-waiting would press heavily on Lucy in later years.

Keywords: England; Lady Bedford; Lucy Harington-Russell; masquing politics; Queen Anna's female household; The Masque of Beauty



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