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28 October 2014
Legacies - Berkshire

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Portrait of a young Fanny Burney
Engraving of Fanny by Edward Burney, 1784

© Mary Evans Picture Library
Fanny Burney: Royal Servant

The men and women who work in the royal households have long intrigued us for their intimate access to otherwise inaccessible royalty. Yet, as the life of Fanny Burney in the 18th Century shows, such service can be as much of a curse as a privilege. In July 1786 she became a Keeper of the Robes to Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, a position which could more humbly be described as that of a dresser. Fanny enjoyed the favour of royalty and the chance to be at the centre of events, but scarcely felt compensated by them for the rigid rules and regulations by which she had to live. Moreover it was a post she had neither sought nor wanted, but royal offers were not made to be refused. More...

Words: Hester Davenport

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