I'm really glad you brought this up, Julianne, because this is an understanding basic to my view of labor history and something novels frequently miss. Except for court, you'd rarely get a concentration of nobility much before 200 years ago. Industrial revolution and accompanying social revolution. Travel being what it was, nobility couldn't be each others' best friends and confidants rather than the servants with whom a noblewoman spent most of every day. Along with this goes the change that made the upper classes feel free to let their servants go with age or sickness and not feel responsible for generation after generation of the same family--on both sides of the class divide. I see this struggle going on with new twists with health care today.
> Not really. Servitude didn't become that sort of relationship until
> the modern era. A noble lady's maid (who was almost invariably also a
> noblewoman) was more of a friend who did things for you than a servant
> of lesser status. That's why the queen of Charles II was so upset when
> he insisted his mistress be part of her household. When I was writing
> about Catherine of Aragon, she treated her ladies more as friends than
> what we today would think of as servants. Serving someone of higher
> status than one's self was considered an honor. While the duchess could
> be that sort and treat her ladies that way, it wasn't the hard and fast
> thing it later became when those jobs were filled by commoners.
> "The Great Household in Late Medieval England" by C.M. Woolgar
> explains it more thoroughly than I care to here.
> Julianne Lee
> "The Opening Night Murdre"
> writing as Anne Rutherford
> Berkley Publishing, January 2013
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]