Far from just being servants or decorative accessories in court, ladies-in-waiting competed for real positions of power. Many achieved both great success and great notoriety. Lucy, Countess of Carlisle, for instance, succeeded in acquiring the confidence of Charles I's French wife, Henrietta Maria, only to betray the Queen to her enemies in Parliament. Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, at one time Queen Anne's most intimate friend, destroyed herself by her relentless attempts to dominate the Queen. Other ladies-in-waiting became royal mistresses, such as the rapacious Lady Castlemaine, who amassed a fortune and flaunted her hold over Charles II; or the downtrodden Countess of Suffolk, mistress of George II, who was constantly humiliated by both her lover and his wife. Drawing on a wide variety of primary sources, this is the first full-scale study of its kind.