Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Queen's Household

The Queen's household (in French La Maison de La Reine) counted not just servants but a large number of noblewomen. The positions of the Queen's ladies were highly coveted by every noble family who desired to place a woman of their kin as close as possible to the Queen; though the French Queen had no political power she did have direct access to the King. But - as always with Versailles - there was a strict hierarchy within the group of the Queen's ladies, each position was rewarded according to rank. The evolution of the Queen's household followed that of the King but remained significantly smaller throughout the 17th and 18th century. These are the places in the Queen's household in their proper ranking:

Ladies of the Bedchamber

Here is a clear image of how the Queen's household developed by year and number of people in service - this is just for the reign of Louis XIV:

1663 - 443 people
1674 - 562 people
1683 - 609 people

As stated the Queen's household was far greater than just the ladies surrounding the Queen. Here are some of the other posts in the Queen's household:

Ecclesiastic Officers
Superintendent of Finances
Doctors, Surgeons and Apothecaries
The Queen's Musicians
The Queen's Gendarmes  
The Queen's Guards
The Queen's Light Cavalry
Stables of the Queen
Male-servants and Controllers
Valet of the Wardrobe


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