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How often did Queen Elizabeth I bathe?

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Although medieval and renaissance era society bathed less than modern society on the whole, their hygiene was held to a higher standard than that of the ensuing centuries. It's a common myth and misconception that the last few centuries "invented" regular bathing. Medieval society, particularly nobility, gentry, and even wealthy commoners probably bathed once a week, and washed their faces, hands, and private areas daily. There are records of heated bathhouses existing in London since the early middle ages. Soap was also manufactured and used commonly by those of means,


Dental hygiene in particular was of concern to respectable medieval society, and many people combined regular cleanings with herbs to ensure than bad breath was avoided. Queen Elizabeth was known to be somewhat vain about her looks and supposedly would not tolerate "smelly" individuals in her presence. She never specified the frequency of her bathing, but it can be estimated that it was at least once a week, perhaps twice given her interest in remaining clean. Bathroom hygiene was also quite good among nobles, and some were known to maintain in-house bathrooms with padded leather seats, ventilation systems, and stacks of linen cloths for wiping. The beds of the wealthy were often stuffed with cotton, which discouraged lice and bug infestations.



The author of this answer is unsure as to the origins of the "dirty middle ages' myth. Perhaps people took the living conditions of some serfs and applied them pan-society. Peasants, especially those located in heavily populated urban areas could be quite foul, bathing only a handful of times a year and rarely changing clothing. Some urban areas, particularly the poorer areas of large cities had very low quality waste and water management. Rural areas and villages were generally significantly cleaner.
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