Thursday, May 6, 2010

Queen Anne’s Royal Household - Then and Now

by Amery Boyer (Lady Sarah Churchill)

As part of Annapolis Royal’s 300th anniversary year, we have the 2010 Royal Household consisting of Her Majesty Queen Anne (Anne Crossman), her Lady in Waiting Sarah Churchill (Amery Boyer), Privy-Counselor Ken Nye, Chief Herald Peter Davies, Court Jester John Coker, and Footmen Wayne Currie, David Stairs, and Jon Percy. Most of these people made an appearance at the Queen’s birthday at the Annapolis Royal Golf and Country Club on February 6, 2010, and are expected to appear again at other events this spring, summer and fall.

Thanks to Google and Wikipedia, it is possible to get a glimpse of who the members of the Royal Household would have been back in 1710 when Queen Anne reigned over Annapolis Royal and other places.

Princess Anne was the youngest daughter of the Duke of York who was heir to the throne back in the 1600s. Sarah Churchill became her lady-in waiting. On July 28, 1683, Princess Anne married the Protestant Prince George of Denmark-Norway. Sarah Churchill became Anne’s Lady of the Bedchamber. Friends since childhood, the two ladies called each other Mrs. Morley (Anne) and Mrs. Freeman (Sarah). On March 8, 1702, Anne was crowned Queen of England and on May 1, 1707, Anne became the first sovereign of the Kingdom of Great Britain, the last Queen of England and the last Queen of Scots.

Soon after her accession, Anne appointed her husband Lord High Admiral and gave control of the army to Lord Marlborough, whom she appointed Captain-General and later on 1st Duke of Marlborough. Lord Marlborough was the husband of Sarah Churchill, who became Mistress of the Robes, the highest office a lady could attain.

A lady-in-waiting (also called waiting maid) is a female personal assistant at a noble court, attending to a queen, a princess or other noblewoman. A lady-in-waiting is often a noblewoman of lower rank (i.e., a lesser noble) than the one she attends to, and is not considered a servant.

Privy-counselors are made “by the King’s nomination without patent or grant” and apparently advised the King (or in our case, the Queen).

A Herald of Arms is an officer of arms who handles cases of heraldic or genealogical importance. Full time employees of the sovereign can be Heralds in Arms in Ordinary, or Heralds in Arms in Extraordinary for things like coronations, etc. This tradition dates back to 1364 when a “pursuivant” (or follower) of Edward 111, on bringing the news of a victory at Auray, was rewarded by promotion to the rank of herald with the title Windsor.

A jester was a person employed to tell jokes and provide general entertainment, typically by a European monarch. Jesters are stereotypically thought to have worn brightly colored clothes and eccentric hats in a “motley” pattern. Their hats were especially distinctive; made of cloth, they were floppy with three points, each of which had a jingle bell at the end. The three points of the hat represent the donkey's ears and tail worn by jesters in earlier times. Other things distinctive about the jester were his laughter and his mock scepter known as a bauble or “marotte.”.

The name footman derives from the attendants who ran beside or behind the carriages of aristocrats, many of whom were chosen for their physical attributes. They ran along with side of the coach to make sure it was not overturned by such obstacles as ditches or tree roots. They would also run ahead to prepare the destination place for the lord's arrival. Originally the term, also called running footman, applied to a non-mounted soldier, or foot soldier. Later, just as demobilized officers frequently kept on a good batman as private servant, the word got applied to a household servant, who usually serves—standing—at meals while the master and guests remain seated.