Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(967 words)

1. Functions at court

The term governess, borrowed from French, originally denoted a woman who presided over the nursery of a royal couple or was responsible for the care of one royal child. In 15th-century France, the governess also appears as part of the queen’s retinue; in this context she was responsible for the court ladies as a group.

As supervisor of the nursery, the governess had to ensure the physical well-being and education of her …

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Helbig, Annekathrin and Kolk, Caroline zum, “Governess”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 05 February 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_020384>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180915

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