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Ladies in Waiting

a history of court life from the Tudors to the present day

Anne Somerset



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John Murray
01 July 2020
An illuminating commentary on court life from the Tudors to the present day.

'Provides a wealth of juicy anecdotal material about five centuries of court life' New York Times
'Naughty Knickers version of our island story' Daily Mail

Ladies in Waiting chronicles the lives of famous and infamous ladies who served royalty, casting a fresh, intimate angle on four hundred years of monarchy.

For centuries, the most beautiful, able and aristocratic women in England competed for positions at court. Some who came to serve were remarkable for their learning and exemplary virtue, but others were notable for promiscuity and lack of scruple, drawn to court by a lust for money and power. Several ladies-in-waiting became royal mistresses, showing few qualms about betraying the queen consorts they ostensibly served. If bedding the King was not an option open to all, many ladies came to court in hope of finding husbands, only to succumb to constant assaults on their virtue or to find themselves denied permission by their sovereign to marry.

Drawing on an enormous variety of sources, Anne Somerset provides an illuminating guide to the character, profligate or pious, of each court.

Contained within the stories of the individual women is a consistently entertaining commentary on the manners, morals and shifting mentality of the royal, the rich, and the prominent throughout the centuries, resulting in social history at its most enjoyable and vibrant.

By:   Anne Somerset
Imprint:   John Murray
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   Digital original
Dimensions:   Height: 196mm,  Width: 126mm,  Spine: 42mm
Weight:   340g
ISBN:   9781529410662
ISBN 10:   1529410665
Pages:   496
Publication Date:   01 July 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Anne Somerset was born in 1955 and read history at King's College London. Her first book was published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 1980, since then she has gone on to write five further works on English history. Unnatural Murder: Poison at the Court of James I - an account of the sensational scandal arising from the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury in 1613 - was shortlisted in 1997 for the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger award for non-fiction. Her most recent work was awarded the 2013 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography. Until his death in 2011, she was married to the artist Matthew Carr. She lives in London with her daughter.

Reviews for Ladies in Waiting: a history of court life from the Tudors to the present day

Anne Somerset's gossipy Ladies in Waiting provides a wealth of juicy anecdotal material about five centuries of court life from Henry VIII to Elizabeth II - New York Times Extraordinarily enjoyable... Colourful and entertaining...A Naughty Knickers version of our island story - Daily Mail A pleasing account of the upper-class ladies who slaved, suffered and starved in royal service - Sunday Times An extremely informative and well-documented study that... because it is full of odd episodes and graphic portraits, will make admirable bedside reading - Sunday Telegraph Lady Anne writes with perception, wit, candour and a confident authority - The Spectator Well-written, well-researched and well-produced - Books and Bookmen From four centuries of courtly life and love, Anne Somerset has compiled a sparkling history, lucidly written and of impeccable scholarship - Country Life This delightful history of the distaff royal household is a perfect English set piece....This author has earned a lifetime post as a Lady of the Pen who can evoke the whisper of ruffled skirts on stone stairs and legendary candlelit faces through mullioned windows - Philadelphia Inquirer

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