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Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Eugénie, Empress of the French and her Ladies (1855),[n 1] which depicts Eugénie de Montijo, the wife of Napoleon III, surrounded by her ladies-in-waiting (sense 1)

From lady + in + waiting (attendance, service).[1]



lady-in-waiting (plural ladies-in-waiting)

  1. A lady, often a noblewoman, in the household of a queen, princess, or other woman of higher rank who attends her as a personal assistant, generally a role considered an honour.
    Synonym: court lady
    • 1751, [Frederick the Great], “Frederick III. the First King of Prussia”, in Memoirs of the House of Brandenburg. From the Earliest Accounts, to the Death of Frederick I. King of Prussia. [], Dublin: Printed by S. Powell, for G. Faulkner [], and Matt[hew] Williamson [], OCLC 833933702, page 100:
      [T]he electreſs [Sophia Charlotte of Hanover] was heard to ſay to one of her ladies in waiting, "that it vexed her to the very heart to go and act in Pruſſia the theatrical queen along with her Eſop.["]
    • 1796, “Chronicle. [February 1st.]”, in The Annual Register, or A View of the History, Politics, and Literature, for the Year 1796, volume XV, 2nd edition, London: Printed by B[uchanan] McMillan, [], for the proprietors of Dodsley’s Annual Register, [], published 1807, OCLC 880595708, page 5:
      This night, after eleven o'clock, as the royal family were returning from Drury-lane theatre, when the carriages had reached the end of John-street, Pall Mall, a stone was flung with such force as to break one of the glass pannels in the coach, in which were their majesties and the lady in waiting; which, after striking the queen on the cheek, fell into lady Harrington's lap.
    • 1883, Howard Pyle, “The Chase of Robin Hood”, in The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown, in Nottinghamshire, New York, N.Y.: Printed by Charles Scribner’s Sons [], OCLC 22773434, part seventh, page 250:
      Of a sudden a man leapt up to the top of the wall from the other side, and then, hanging for a moment, dropped lightly upon the grass within. All the ladies-in-waiting shrieked at the suddenness of his coming, but the man ran to the Queen and kneeled at her feet, and she saw it was Robin Hood.
    • 1920, J[ohn] O[tway] P[ercy] Bland, “[Exhibit G.] Three Palaces.”, in Administration of Immigration Laws: Hearings before the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization: House of Representatives, Sixty-sixth Congress, Second Session: [], Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, OCLC 19444224, page 373:
      The political influence wielded by many of the court ladies, and especially by the first lady-in-waiting (mother of the present Emperor), bears a certain resemblance to that which the eunuchs wielded under the later Manchus at the court of Peking. [...] And behind the 30 ladies-in-waiting there are the rank and file of female palace attendants, some 300, all of Kyoto stock—quite sufficient to keep any conscientious chamberlain on the qui vive.
    • 1986 September–October, Harold Courlander, “How Makeda Visited Jerusalem, and How Menelik Became King”, in Robert G. Forman, editor, Michigan Alumnus, volume 93, number 1, Ann Arbor, Mich.: Published by the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan, ISSN 0746-2565, OCLC 1002806227, page 37, columns 2–3:
      At last she [Makeda, the Queen of Sheba] was overcome by a desire to go to Jerusalem and see with her own eyes the things about which she had heard. [...] She chose as her companion on the journey her lady-in-waiting, and the two of them travelled in sedan chairs mounted on the backs of camels.
    • 2013, Joanne Mattern, “A Life at Court”, in Dona Herweck Rice, editor, Geoffrey Chaucer: Medieval Writer, Huntington Beach, Calif.: Teacher Created Materials, →ISBN, page 14:
      Young girls from wealthy families were often sent to the royal court to help the queen and noblewomen. After becoming a teenager, a girl could then be named a lady-in-waiting. These ladies assisted their mistress in any way and usually went with her when she traveled.



  1. ^ From the collection of the Musée du Second Empire in the Château de Compiègne, Compiègne, Oise, France.


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