Writing in the popular nineteenth‐century genre of queens’ lives, Charlotte Papendiek's memoirs, published under the title Court and Private Life in the Time of Queen Charlotte, chronicle both the life of the queen as well as that of Papendiek. Papendiek establishes her agency within the court of King George III and Queen Charlotte in the 1780s at Windsor by narrating the parallels between her life and the lives of the royals, the points of intersection between them, and the material exchanges with them that enhance her status in society and emphasize her centrality in her memoirs. She explores the bond between her family and the royal family: her father was one of three servants Queen Charlotte brought with her from her home when she came to England in 1761, her husband was page to the princess royal, and she herself was playmate to princes as a child and servant to the queen in her later years; she shows how this bond is represented by gifts given and received, by furniture and musical instruments bought from the royals and displayed or played in the Papendiek home, and by occasions upon which she stands proxy for the queen. Papendiek exploits her connection with the royals in her narrative, and, in particular, with Queen Charlotte, in order to solidify her own importance in her memoirs. She thereby achieves the centrality that the lives of queens insisted upon for their subjects and modeled for their female readers.
Capturing the Queen: Establishing Agency through Narrative Strategies and Royal Materiality in Charlotte Papendiek's Memoirs
Susan Kubica Howard; Capturing the Queen: Establishing Agency through Narrative Strategies and Royal Materiality in Charlotte Papendiek's Memoirs. Eighteenth-Century Life 1 September 2022; 46 (3): 30–51. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00982601-9955311
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