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The Waiting Game

The Untold Story of the Women Who Served the Tudor Queens

Nicola Clark

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Weidenfeld & Nicolson
30 April 2024
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'Written in a lively, accessible style, The Waiting Game is full of insight' Suzannah Lipscomb, Literary Review
Every Tudor Queen had ladies-in-waiting. They were her confidantes and her chaperones. Only the Queen's ladies had the right to enter her most private chambers, spending hours helping her to get dressed and undressed, caring for her clothes and jewels, listening to her secrets. But they also held a unique power. A quiet word behind the scenes, an appropriately timed gift, a well-negotiated marriage alliance were all forms of political agency wielded expertly by women.

The Waiting Game explores the daily lives of ladies-in-waiting, revealing the secrets of recruitment, costume, what they ate, where (and with whom) they slept. We meet Maria de Salinas, who travelled to England with Catherine of Aragon when just a teenager and spied for her during the divorce from Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn's lady-in-waiting, Jane Parker, was instrumental in the execution of not one, but two queens. And maid-of-honour, Anne Basset, kept her place through the last four consorts, negotiating the conflicting loyalties of her birth family, her mistress the Queen, and even the desires of the King himself. As Henry changed wives, and changed the very fabric of the country's structure besides, these women had to make choices about loyalty that simply didn't exist before. The Waiting Game is the first time their vital story has been told.

Imprint:   Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 232mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 36mm
Weight:   520g
ISBN:   9781474622219
ISBN 10:   1474622216
Pages:   320
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Nicola Clark has a PhD in Early Modern History from Royal Holloway and is a Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Chichester. Her research focuses on women's dynastic and political roles across the late medieval and early modern period. Her first book was published by Oxford University Press in 2018 and she also writes for public audiences. She was the historical research specialist for the BBC's Six Wives series, presented by Lucy Worsley.

Reviews for The Waiting Game: The Untold Story of the Women Who Served the Tudor Queens

"All too often ladies-in-waiting are the extras of historical drama, a glamorous but silent backdrop for the starring queens. Nicola Clark's fascinating narrative shows that once allowed a voice, they have all sorts of tales to tell us about a history we thought we knew, upending the conventional stories of the Tudor court. * Catherine Fletcher, author of The Beauty and the Terror * A compelling read, Nicola Clark's The Waiting Game tells the story of Henry VIII's reign through the eyes of the women of his court, and gives a fresh new perspective on this most important and transformative period in English history. * Elizabeth Norton, author of The Lives of Tudor Women * A fresh, thoroughly researched, and empathetic journey through the Tudor court from the perspective of the fascinating women who served there. * Gareth Russell, author of The Palace * The Waiting Game is a meticulously researched, fresh and evocative tale of the women who inhabited the Tudor court. Nicola Clark reveals their intrigues, desires, ambitions and machinations as never before. The Waiting Game exposes the deadly game played by the women usually relegated to the background and proves that hell hath no fury like a lady-in-waiting scorned. A stunning, vivid read. * Joanne Paul, author of The House of Dudley * Written in a lively, accessible style, The Waiting Game is full of insight. * Suzannah Lipscomb, Literary Review * This well-researched new volume by Nicola Clark... provides fascinating insights into the roles of these women who ""were never not there"" * Country Life * Abounds with names and careers that will be unfamiliar to many readers, and dazzling little nuggets of court life. Clark's eye for detail, as well as her instinctive grasp of the 16th century's trecherous politics, makes The Waiitng Game a refreshing tonic to costume drama chiches of the early Tudor Court. * Dan Jones, Telegraph *"

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