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Living in the House of Power: Women at the Early Modern Swedish Court

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Chapter Summary

The presence of women at the heart of early modern decision making, the court, is far too often either forgotten or just remembered as a source of romantic intrigue. Women serving at court belonged to a few select aristocratic families. However, that statement needs to be modified. Foreign princesses would bring their own women in tow. The difficult job of controlling Princess Cecilia has provided with some unique snapshots of life among women at court in the 1560s. Accompanying the princess were originally five Swedish noblewomen. It was not only the maids of honour serving Princess Cecilia who can be seen as a collective group sharing an identity. It is clear that this group of related women living and working together fostered a group identity. The group of women serving at court were expected to display loyalty towards their princesses and receive loyalty back.

Keywords: collective identity; early modern Swedish court; Princess Cecilia; Swedish noblewomen



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