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Publisher's Summary

Ladies in Waiting chronicles the lives of famous and infamous ladies who served royalty, casting a fresh, intimate angle on 400 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.

©2020 Anne Somerset (P)2020 Quercus Editions Limited

Critic Reviews

"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

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  • Deb
  • 12-10-20

excellent book

really enjoyed the book. very well narrated and full of interesting historical stories that were interesting and informative. highly recommend if you like historical gossip.

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  • G Oakley
  • 15-03-21

Amazing research

I have really mixed feelings about this book. First of all I would like to point out the amount of research gone into this book is phenomenal. Its an area which history textbooks don't cover yet these ladies were integral part of royal life. It's a fun way to refresh some of my history knowledge. However at places I did find the story more of an encyclopedia with all the names and dates, sometimes wasn't easy to follow. I did feel disappointed that by the time I got to the 20th century, which we are most able to relate to, the book wasn't as detailed, in fact it was positively brisk.

1 person found this helpful