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The Waiting Game

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781474622202

Price: £22

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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 María 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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Reviews

All too often ladies-in-waiting are the extras of historical drama, a glamorous but silent backdrop for the starring queens. Nicola Clark's fascinating narrative shows that once allowed a voice, they have all sorts of tales to tell us about a history we thought we knew, upending the conventional stories of the Tudor court.
Catherine Fletcher, author of The Beauty and the Terror
A compelling read, Nicola Clark's The Waiting Game tells the story of Henry VIII's reign through the eyes of the women of his court, and gives a fresh new perspective on this most important and transformative period in English history.
Elizabeth Norton, author of The Lives of Tudor Women