This pioneering survey of court cultures in the age of the High Baroque through to the age of Enlightenment uses the role of the queen consort as the principal means of inquiry. The principal themes explored are the consort's formal and informal power, her religious role, and her cultural patronage. The book reveals the dynamics of dynastic politics as courts used their family linkages to advance themselves in the hierarchy of European powers, and suggests how women sometimes formed their own networks. The courts surveyed include those of France, Spain, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, the Imperial court at Vienna, and the three German electorateS linked to monarchies: Brandenburg-Prussia, Saxony-Poland and Hanover-Great Britain. Also included is the duchy of Wurttemburg, which achieved royal status by the end of the period, and Savoy, which attained it through acquiring Piedmont at the beginning.