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I was feeling very lucky. I had been chosen as a lady in waiting to the Queen. As I traveled in the carriage to the castle, I remembered how pleased my parents had been for me to be chosen.

When I arrived at the castle, I was led to a small chamber that was to be my bedroom. Lady Elizabeth knocked on my door and came in and explained that she was the head lady in waiting and had been sent to give me instructions regarding the duties of a lady in waiting. ?You are very beautiful, my dear. You must be sure to play down your beauty. The Queen is a very jealous woman and the King is often unfaithful.? ?My suggestion is that you dress very plainly and always keep your beautiful hair covered.?

I took Lady Elizabeth?s warning to heart taking great care to dress plainly, wearing no jewels, and always binding and covering my long, thick black hair. My hair hung down below my waist and was very thick so covering it was a challenge.

Court life was very exciting. I met the Queen and soon was waiting on her. I took great care with her hair each day. She had the most beautiful auburn hair and took great care in always having it dressed. She was the only one in court with her hair uncovered.

One night, as I had just finished my bath and was brushing out my hair, there was a knock on the door. The King?s man came in and announced the King. I had only my nightgown on but I rose and kneeled. The King came forward and asked me to rise. He then dismissed his man and asked me to sit at my dressing table. He picked up my brush and began brushing my hair. ?My dear, you have the most beautiful hair.? He brushed for seemed like an eternity. Each night, for the next week, he arrived about the same time and took up the brush. It always felt heavenly. One night, he took out a scissor and proceeded to lift up a lock and snip it closed to my head. He told me that it was to keep as a reminder during the day of my beautiful hair and how it felt to brush it.

The next night, I sat waiting for the king when the door burst open and the Queen?s guard burst in and dragged me to my feet and carried me to the Queen?s Chamber. I was made to kneel down before the Queen. The Queen showed me the lock of hair and asked if it was mine. I replied that it was and the King had taken it. The Queen then said ? I cannot abide any woman in the castle with more beautiful hair than mine.? She then said ? I am sorry my dear but you are going to have to lose your hair.? I started to struggle and scream and my hands were tied behind my back and I was gagged. The royal barber came forward and as I struggled he started to grab a hand full of my beautiful hair and cut it away. The guards held me down while he continued this forced shearing. I felt hair falling down on my shoulders and my head and neck started to feel cold. I was past the point of crying and screaming and was resigned to my fate. At last, the barber pulled out a razor ? the type he used when he shaved the men of the court and started to run it across my scalp. The guards held me very still ? one holding my head. The Queen came over and ran her hands over my scalp and told me that my beauty was gone and that I must walk through the court with my symbol of shame. ?The King will not want you now? The Queen ordered the guard to gather up the hair on the floor and take it to the King.

The Queen then told me that I was to serve with my head uncovered as a symbol of what would happen to other women who attracted the King?s attention.

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