It is no exaggeration to say that the addition of a Lady’s Maid to any household with a busy chatelaine can be transformative.
Also traditionally referred to as a Lady-In-Waiting, a Lady’s Maid is singularly assigned to the lady of the house. It is the female equivalent of a gentlemen’s valet. A typical female employer who might need a Lady’s Maid would lead a busy lifestyle, whether this be in terms of professional engagements, social occasions or a combination of the two.
The role provides her with lifestyle assistance, not dissimilar to a personal assistant, but dealing with the personal as opposed to more professional side of her employer’s life. This often includes style advice, personal shopping and in some instances dressing.
Typically, a Lady’s Maid will travel with her employer to almost all occasions, so that she is always on hand to be of assistance or offer advice. For this travel, it is not uncommon for the Lady’s Maid to organise the finer details of the voyage arrangements, from flights and transfers to dinner reservations and event tickets.
The role often involves the upkeep and cleanliness of her employer’s private quarters. Sometimes this means overseeing other members of staff, though can also mean she manages the upkeep herself.
As well as wardrobe-related duties, the role may involve running her employer’s bath, serving meals, keeping the immediate vicinity clean and tidy. This can also extend into washing and ironing clothes, as well as mending them (an aptitude for sewing and specialist cleaning is desirable) and preparing them for packing in the event of a trip.
Knowledge and training in spa or beauty treatments would be an advantage in this role, including yoga, pilates, manicures, pedicures, facials and massage. Similarly, a good eye for style and high fashion would be useful, and beyond that, an advanced knowledge of luxury brands and how to go about accessing them at a moment’s notice would be advantageous.
Being mindful of manners, formalities and etiquette is of great importance in this role, as is always being neat, tidy and dressed appropriately for both the weather and the occasion.
In keeping with tradition, the Lady’s Maid is on-duty from the moment her employer wakes, until the time she goes to bed, so this is a demanding role, for which it is best to go through a Lady’s Maid agency, whether as the employer or the employee.
Beyond traditional requirements, households today often want private staff with transferable skills, and a Lady’s Maid is no exception. Those with a PA background will be in great demand. An aptitude for administrative tasks, including Excel, Outlook and other communications platforms, is a positive.
Excellent diary management skills are required, as is the ability to be efficient and experienced with booking arrangements, with a good understanding of how to use social media platforms. Perks of the role often now include clothing, jewellery and private memberships to clubs and gyms.
But of greater importance than all this amalgamated is the art of discretion. A private Lady’s Maid holds a position of trust, in that she is privy to the personal lives of her employers. This puts her in a powerful position that she should never abuse.