This is a series of essays giving a comparative view of the women who lived, worked, and served in royal courts. It is a welcome source given the power and influence of these women who lived in such high status environments. The life of maids, attendants, slaves, workers, concubines, and other figures, feature most prominently in the book. The diverse roles assigned to the women, who often numbered in the hundreds, give insights into the palace structure, the larger culture, and the politics of the period discussed.
Many of the essays provide a look into less known arenas, such as women in the Classic Maya and Aztec royal courts, the royal harem of Benin, Nigeria, the Song court, and the situation of the royal family in postrevolutionary France.