History of Canada
Middle Ages

Did medieval ladies in waiting get paid?


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No, ladies in waiting were not paid in the modern sense of wages for work, but they were compensated; in some courts greatly so. It is important to remember that the middle ages were not static, but changed at an accelerating rate as they drew into the early modern era. One of the great transformations in medieval European society that directly relates to the question of compensation for courtiers, was the change from Germanic notions of obligation and largess to a money based mercantile economy. A lady in waiting to the 13th century Duchess of

Avignon would receive food and lodging, a wardrobe, jewels, and sometimes grants of income from some estate or farm. In addition the lady in waiting had access to the source of power and could sell this influence to other parties as a sort of medieval lobbyist. The lady in waiting eventually grew into a salary position as the old Germanic bonds of reciprocal obligation dissolved, but by the time this happened the middle ages were long gone.