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A lady's maid is a female personal attendant who waits on her employer. The role of a lady's maid is similar to that of a gentleman's valet.
Traditionally, the lady's maid was not as high-ranking as a lady's companion, who was a retainer rather than a servant, but the rewards included room and board, travel and somewhat improved social status. In the servants' hall, a lady's maid took precedence akin to that of her mistress. In Britain, a lady's maid would be addressed by her surname by her employer, while she was addressed as "Miss" by junior servants or when visiting another servants' hall.
A lady's maid's specific duties included helping her mistress with her appearance, including make-up, hairdressing, clothing, jewellery, and shoes. A lady's maid would also remove stains from clothing; sew, mend, and alter garments as needed; bring her mistress breakfast in her room; and draw her mistress's bath. However, she would not be expected to dust and clean every small item as that is the job of a housemaid.
Examples of lady's maids
- Catherine Bellier (1614-1689), Première femme de Chambre to the queen of France, Anne of Austria.
- Maria Molina (17th-century), Première femme de Chambre to the queen of France, Maria Theresa of Spain.
- Juliana Schierberg (d. 1712), lady's maid to princess Hedvig Sophia of Sweden.
- Nicole du Hausset (1713–1801), lady's maid to Madame de Pompadour.
- Juliane von Schwellenberg (1728–1797), lady's maid to Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, queen of Great Britain.
- Ingrid Maria Wenner (1731–1793), lady's maid to Sophia Magdalena of Denmark, queen of Sweden.
- Julie Louise Bibault de Misery (1732-1804), Première femme de Chambre to the queen of France Marie Antoinette.
- Maria Perekusichina (1739–1824), lady's maid to empress Catherine the Great.
- Jeanne Louise Henriette Campan (1752-1822), Première femme de Chambre to the queen of France, Marie Antoinette.
- Marianne Skerrett (1793–1887), the principal lady's maid (with the title "Dresser") to Queen Victoria of Great Britain between 1837 and 1862.
- Bertha Zück (1797–1868), lady's maid to Josephine of Leuchtenberg, queen of Sweden.
- Frieda Arnold (fl. 1854–fl. 1859), lady's maid to Queen Victoria of Great Britain between 1854 and 1859.
- Pepa Pollet (fl. 1870), lady's maid to Eugénie de Montijo, empress of France.
- Marie von Flotow (1817 - 1909), the lady's maid and influential favorite of the Russian empress Maria Feodorovna (Dagmar of Denmark).
- Anna Demidova (1878 – 1918), lady's maid to Alexandra Feodorovna (Alix of Hesse), Tsaritsa of Russia
Fictional lady's maids
- Susanna in Mozart's 1786 opera The Marriage of Figaro
- Martha Abbott, Mrs. Reed's maid in Charlotte Brontë's 1847 novel Jane Eyre
- Mrs. Firkin, Miss Crawley's maid in William Makepeace Thackery's 1847 novel Vanity Fair
- Joan Valentine in P. G. Wodehouse's 1915 novel Something Fresh, and Claire Lippett in Wodehouse's 1925 novel Sam the Sudden
- Hildegarde Schmidt in Agatha Christie's novel Murder on the Orient Express (1934), and Louise Bourget in Christie's Death on the Nile (1937)
- Clarice in Daphne du Maurier's 1938 novel Rebecca.
- Dora Moxton in Noël Coward's 1951 play Relative Values
- Rose Buck and Maud Roberts in the television series Upstairs, Downstairs (1971–1975)
- Jeanette Robbins in the television series Dynasty (1981–1989)
- Mary MacEachran in the film Gosford Park (2001)
- Brigitte, Brigitta, Olivia, and Priscilla in the 2004 film The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
- Sophie Collins, Jessamine's maid in Cassandra Clare's book trilogy The Infernal Devices (2010–2013)
- Anna Bates, Sarah O'Brien, and Phyllis Baxter in the television series Downton Abbey (2010–2015)
- Madri Visudharomn and Patravadee Varoprakorn in the Crazy Rich Asians franchise (2013–present)
- Gwynne in the 2015–2016 television series Galavant
- Helen Rappaport: Queen Victoria: A Biographical Companion, 2003