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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.
Fictional lady's maidsEdit
- Susanna in Mozart's 1786 opera The Marriage of Figaro.
- Martha Abbott, Mrs. Reed's maid in Charlotte Brontë's 1847 novel Jane Eyre.
- Joan Valentine in P. G. Wodehouse's 1915 novel Something Fresh, and Claire Lippett in Wodehouse's 1925 novel Sam the Sudden.
- Lady's maids in Agatha Christie's novels include Hildegarde Schmidt in Murder on the Orient Express (1934) and Louise Bourget in Death on the Nile (1937).
- In Daphne du Maurier's 1938 novel Rebecca, Clarice is the heroine's maid.
- 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.
- Anna Bates, Sarah O'Brien, and Phyllis Baxter in the television series Downton Abbey (2010–2015).
- Gwynne in the 2015–2016 television series Galavant.