marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

royal culture clash

Once upon a time -- in the nineteenth century -- a Danish princess went to the Russian imperial court to marry a prince.  Which is to say from a court where the princess spent their evening sewing their own clothes and doing their own mending to one of the most rigid and ceremonial courts in Europe.

And in the same era, a Russian princess went to marry a British prince.  When she had a fire lit in her room against the cold, Queen Victoria not only had the fire extinguished, but the windows opened to let off the heat from this foolish extravagance.

There's a lot of variety in the amount of pomp and circumstance that wraps around a king.  You sometimes get it in fiction as a short hand for the crude but vital and often noble barbarian king vs. the refined but listless and often decadent civilized king, but it can happen when everyone's the same otherwise.  In the high middle ages, French courts -- often noble rather than royal -- were structured on a sharp demarcation:  these people are noble, and we exclude all the other riff-raff.  English courts, where you had to have a title to be noble, had a long descent of degree, from the actual noble, with his title, through his supporters and hangers-on, down to the least servant; their dinners, where the noble might dine in the hall with all the people arrayed in proper order below him, or even with the lord and some other higher-ups in the great chamber and the lower sorts in the hall, would have been unimaginable in court.

Makes for all sorts of culture clash possibilities.  In one setting of mine, a woman inherited, through some convolutions, a whole slew of kingdoms.  She stuck to the customs of her natal court, mostly, where feasible, especially when not actually coming to court in her other kingdoms.  It leaves people very surprised at how few attendants one of her younger daughters will travel with.
Tags: conflict, world-building: courtesy, world-building: royalty

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