The waiting game

£22.00

Who taught Catherine of Aragon English, helped Anne Boleyn get dressed in the morning, discussed sex with Anne of Cleves, or pushed religious revolution with Kathryn Parr? Every queen had ladies-in-waiting. Her confidantes and chaperones, they are the forgotten agents of the Tudor court. Ever present and yet hidden behind the scenes, these women held the secrets and the hearts of some of the Tudor period’s most powerful men and women. Experts at survival, negotiating the competing demands of their families and their queen, the ladies-in-waiting of Henry VIII’s wives were far more than decorative ‘extras’: they were serious political players who changed the course of history, and four of them became queen themselves. ‘The Waiting Game’ is the first to tell their story.

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‘Written in a lively, accessible style, The Waiting Game is full of insight’ Suzannah Lipscomb, Literary Review

Every Tudor Queen had ladies-in-waiting. They were her confidantes and her chaperones. Only the Queen’s ladies had the right to enter her most private chambers, spending hours helping her to get dressed and undressed, caring for her clothes and jewels, listening to her secrets. But they also held a unique power. A quiet word behind the scenes, an appropriately timed gift, a well-negotiated marriage alliance were all forms of political agency wielded expertly by women.

The Waiting Game explores the daily lives of ladies-in-waiting, revealing the secrets of recruitment, costume, what they ate, where (and with whom) they slept. We meet Marìa de Salinas, who travelled to England with Catherine of Aragon when just a teenager and spied for her during the divorce from Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn’s lady-in-waiting Jane Parker was instrumental in the execution of not one, but two queens. And maid-of-honour Anne Basset kept her place through the last four consorts, negotiating the conflicting loyalties of her birth family, her mistress the Queen, and even the desires of the King himself. As Henry changed wives, and changed the very fabric of the country’s structure besides, these women had to make choices about loyalty that simply didn’t exist before. The Waiting Game is the first time their vital story has been told.

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Weight 0.651 kg
Dimensions 23.6 × 15.8 × 4.4 cm
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