Monday, 3 April 2006

second weekend

Right then.

I don't normally subscribe to April Fool's day, but Rhys' post was so good that it was dead easy to join in.

We are having an extra weekend today and tomorrow, to make up for B missing LAST weekend.

We're going to do a bit of (Courtyard-)Garden Pottering and also, take Mrs Three Legs to the vet this morning, as she appears to have Cat Cystitis. This can apparently be quite serious, and both B and I can sympathise with her.

Ladies in WaitingSo, Ladies in Waiting.

I finished this a couple of weeks ago now and I really, really enjoyed it. It focuses on the ladies of the English court from the time of the Tudors onwards.

There is a lot about how the structure of the Queen's household changed over time; and a lot about ladies in waiting as mistresses of the King. Apparently it was pretty common for the King to reward his mistress with a place in his wife's household.

Some ladies in waiting were powers in their own right; Ann Bolyen for example; and Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough during the reign of Queen Anne.

There are some glossy photos of some of the women accompanying the text. I was particularly struck by a line drawing (I think by Holbein) of Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII. She was beheaded for adultery and it seems like she had had quite a racy past. The drawing really drew me in; much more so than some of the more formal portraits. She looks so sad and she was so young compared to him. She didn't really have a choice about marrying him once he'd decided he wanted her.

I felt that the book gave a real insight in to how the monarchy has changed over five hundred years - the power of the King was gradually eroded and at the same time so was the power of his household. It's an interesting perspective on the changes.

It's also an interesting perspective on how the personality of the different monarchs changed the nature of the court around them. Prudish monarchs resulted in a prudish court; and vice-versa.

And now, I go to take the cat to the vet.

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