torsdag den 17. juli 2014

A Closer Look At: The First Ladies of the Bedchamber

The responsibility of the levée and coucher lay with the First Ladies of the Bedchamber - this post was occupied by two women. For the First Ladies of the Bedchamber time was of the essence. It was them that the Queen would inform of when Her Majesty rose in the morning, got dressed, went hunting etc. So far so good but this was the light weight of the job. The First Ladies of the Bedchamber were responsible for all pensions and payments going out of the Queen's Privy Purse - a heavy task indeed! To make it even more delicate the First Ladies were given responsibility of the Queen's diamonds. It also befell the First Ladies to make introductions to the Queen.

At the time of Marie Antoinette the yearly payment for the First Ladies of the Bedchamber was 12.000 francs which was not much considered the standard of the times. However, there was one other way of increasing their income and that was through candles. All the candles in the Queen's rooms - that is the bedroom, the closets and the card-room - belonged to these ladies. The candles alone could bring in 50.000 francs!

Madame Campan - First Lady of the Bedchamber
to Marie Antoinette

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