Dame d'atour

Dame d'atour was an office at the royal court of France. It existed in nearly all French courts from the 16th-century onward. The dame d'honneur was selected from the members of the highest French nobility.


At least from the tenure of Isabeau of Bavaria as queen, there had been a post named demoiselle d'atour or femme d'atour, but this had originally been the title of the queen's chambermaids and divided to several people.[1]

The office of Dame d'atour was created in 1534, and was one of the highest-ranked offices among the ladies-in-waiting of the queen and given only to members of the nobility.[2]

The dame d'atour had the responsibility of the queen's wardrobe and jewelry and supervised the dressing of the queen and the chamber staff of femme du chambre.[2]

When the dame d'honneur was absent, she was replaced by the dame d'atour as the supervisor of the female personnel of the queen.[2]

List of Dames d'atour to the queen of France

Dame d'atour to Catherine de' Medici 1547–1589

Dame d'atour to Élisabeth d'Autriche

Dame d'atour to Louise of Lorraine 1575–1601

Dame d'atour to Marie de' Medici 1600–1632

Dame d'atour to Anne of Austria 1615–1666

Dame d'atour to Maria Theresa of Spain 1660–1683

Dame d'atour to Marie Leszczyńska 1725–1768

Dame d'atour to Marie Antoinette 1774–1792

Dame d'atour to Joséphine de Beauharnais 1804–1809

Dame d'atour to Marie Louise 1810–1814

See also


  1. Caroline zum Kolk, "The Household of the Queen of France in the Sixteenth Century", in: The Court Historian; vol. 14, number 1, June 2009
  2. Nadine Akkerman & Birgit Houben, eds. The Politics of Female Households: Ladies-in-waiting across Early Modern Europe Leiden: Brill, 2013
  3. Catherine de Médicis
  4. Marie de Medicis and the French court in the XVIIth century
  • Mathieu da Vinha & Raphaël Masson: Versailles: Histoire, Dictionnaire et Anthologie
  • Anselme de Sainte-Marie & Ange de Sainte-Rosalie: Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la Maison Royale de France
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