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text 2015-01-12 20:41
Reading in Progress: Ladies in Waiting From the Tudors to the Present Day by Anne Somerset
Ladies in Waiting: From the Tudors to the Present Day - Anne Somerset

Here's another bit you don't see in romances! Where did couriers urinate? Often in a very public area - sometimes in a corner (hopefully in a pot of some kind, but just as often directly on the floor) or behind a screen if there was one. There wasn't always a separate room. How much modesty was allowed depended on the particular time period and company.


Court of Charles II, the newly married queen is Catherine of Braganza. So far none of the foreign princesses bring ladies with them to the new court that the courtiers of that country like - and vice versa. (This has been true for all of the histories I've read so far.) Some grievances of Catherine's Portuguese ladies (sometime around 1662):


p 138:

"...They complained bitterly of English meat (too fatty) and English water ('so much poison') and caused difficulties by refusing to sleep in any bed which had previously been sullied by the presence of a man. They were also offended by their hosts' habit of  urinating in public, grumbling 'that they cannot stir abroad without seeing in every corner great beastly English pricks battering against every wall.' "

I'm still trying to figure out how the presence of a man in the same room as a bed automatically sullies the bed. Because it doesn't say that the man has physically been in that bed. That's a new one, maybe specific to Portuguese courtiers? (Because ladies often shared beds in these courts it could possibly mean that a couple had previously shared that bed and the Portuguese lady didn't want to sleep on er, messy sheets. Understandably. But as usual, this sort of thing is vague.)


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