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Queen Anne and Sarah Churchill

Sarah Churchill

Anne Stuart, Queen of England between 1702 and 1714 and Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough were childhood friends that developed a close and intimate relationship. At that time romantic, and sometimes erotic, relationships between women were accepted and even encouraged as a form of preparation for marriage to men. However, their relationship lasted beyond Anne’s marriage to George, Electoral Prince of Hanover, in 1683 and Sarah’s to John Churchill.

Anne stood firm by Sarah when their relationship was labelled an ‘immoderate passion’ inappropriate and resisted the order of Queen Mary to end their relationship. When she became queen she promoted Sarah to the position of first lady of the bedchamber, ensuring unrestricted access to each other. Their relationship soured in later years when Sarah discovered that Anne had been spending time with Sarah's younger cousin Abigail Hill Masham.

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LGBT collections

Explore our LGBT collections researched by our Pride and Prejudice research project