"the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting"

At her accession in 1837, Queen Victoria appointed 26 women as her first ladies-in-waiting. Throughout her reign, some 123 ladies filled the positions – not including nurses, dressmaids, housekeepers and the scores of other women who worked around the palace. Some ladies-in-waiting were titled women, such as baronesses or duchesses, and even those who had no official title were from noble families. Many were appointed as confidantes to the Queen, although she did not always have a say in who she could choose. The duty of a lady-in-waiting was to be a companion, taking part in embroidery, painting, music, dances, reading and writing correspondence and keeping the Queen up-to-date with news and court gossip.