Personal to intothebassment

I was so intrigued by that quote you mentioned that I had a friend in Cambridge (thanks de_gustibus!) track down the article to put it in context. Here’s a longer quote:

‘Love knows no superior or inferior’
Princess Anne, the future queen (1702-14), and her friend and Lady of the Bedchamber Sarah Duchess of Marlborough, used to refer to William of Orange as ‘the monster’ and ‘the abortion’ (Field 2003, 72). They had little more time for his wife and Anne’s sister, Queen Mary. The dislike was mutual and when Mary asked Anne to dismiss Sarah from court, Anne seems to have grabbed the opportunity to show the strength of her feelings for Sarah and to carry out the classic ‘test of friendship’. She wrote to Sarah,

“I’d rather live in a cottage with you than reign empress of the world without you’

(Field 2003, 70), and answered Mary that she would sooner move away from court than dismiss her friend. Anne indeed left court with Sarah, and the two women and their husbands moved into a house together. Although the house they moved to was certainly not a cottage, this reference is important. Although it is of course the case that friendships to a large extent followed class divisions (as they generally do today), true friendship at the time was believed to recognize no rank or status and the cottage encapsulated this idea. By concealing their respective ranks (Princess Anne and Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough used the nicknames ‘Mrs Morley’ and “Mrs Freeman’ for each other) they further promoted the idea that friendship had made them equal.

Ronnes, Hanneke. The architecture of William of Orange and the culture of friendship, Archaeological Dialogues (2004), 11: 57-72 Cambridge University Press.

Oh, and the Field of Field, 2003 is the author of The Favourite. Sarah Duchess of Marlborough, which sounds pretty intriguing too.

For those of you who are not intothebassment: she’s doing a paper on Empress, which I find cool and frightening in equal proportions. She ran across that “empress of the world” quote online, and asked if I’d known about it when choosing the book title. I hadn’t! Hence the above quest.

Conclusion: there are always more references in a book than the author knows about!

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  • badfaggot
    March 23, 2007 at 2:34 pm


  • intothebassment
    March 23, 2007 at 2:51 pm


    I cannot even begin to say how flattered I am to see this post! I’m so glad you were able to find information about that quote, I think it’s really cool.

  • intendent
    March 24, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    I really love that quote!