Chapter

Introducing Palace Women

Barbara Watson Andaya

in Servants of the Dynasty

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780520254435
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520941519 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520254435.003.0016
Introducing Palace Women

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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This book offers a comparative view of the women who lived, worked, and served in royal courts around the globe. It discusses the importance of palaces in providing the setting for the theater of rule, as well as the relations between the monarch and the women closest to him. Most women who lived in palaces, even members of the nobility, worked as servants in one capacity or another, although servants could become relatives if they bore the ruler's children. Conversely, it can also be said that all women, including mothers, served the monarchy. Concubines were often privileged in art, literature, and the popular imagination, but unless they managed to bear children, they too are best classified as servants. This book highlights palace women's productive rather than reproductive roles, including their participation in the arts of entertainment and literature. It concludes with an chapter on the connections between popular culture and the royal family in France, just one example of how monarchs and their women have fared in the court of public opinion.

Keywords: palace women; palaces; royal courts; monarchs; monarchy; servants; entertainment; popular culture; France; concubines

Chapter.  8541 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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