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"I see it now. Padmé is dead. But you wear her face. Speak with her voice. You're the queen's shadow… A handmaiden from Naboo."
―Darth Vader to Sabé[src]

The Naboo Royal Handmaidens, or simply handmaidens, were a group of young women chosen as aides to the Queen of the planet Naboo. Responsible for assisting the Queen with everyday tasks, they also served as her bodyguards and those chosen to join the entourage often closely resembled the current queen, allowing them to function as decoys should the need arise. The tradition of using handmaidens as protection and security for royal leaders originated generations prior to the Invasion of Naboo, during more uncertain times.

Overview[edit | edit source]

"As her handmaidens, sometimes protecting her also means protecting her secrets."
―Dormé, to Moteé[src]

The Naboo Royal Handmaidens assisted the sovereign with everyday tasks including hair, makeup, and clothing. However, the handmaidens often became trusted by the queen, and a close friend of hers, as well as playing an important part in the safety of the queen and serving as her bodyguards, working closely with the Royal Naboo Security Forces. Each handmaiden was trained in self-defense and marksmanship and would carry a small blaster pistol. Additionally, handmaidens were often chosen for their close appearance to the queen allowing the handmaiden to take on the role of queen as a decoy while the true sovereign would hide disguised among the other handmaidens.[3] The handmaidens were trained in defense and security by Captain Panaka,[4] the protector of Queen Padmé Amidala during the Invasion of Naboo.[5] They wore matching hooded outfits in order to conceal their identities, with billowing cloaks that allowed them to conceal weapons used to defend the queen in case of an attack.[6]

History[edit | edit source]

"This is my decoy, my protection… my loyal bodyguard."
―Padmé Amidala, to Boss Nass[src]

The handmaiden Sabé is disguised as the sovereign while Queen Amidala is dressed as a handmaiden to Sabé's right.

The tradition of royal leaders using handmaidens as bodyguards and protection originated generations before the Invasion of Naboo, during more uncertain times.[7]

During the Invasion of Naboo, Queen Padmé Amidala frequently changed places with her handmaiden, Sabé. This allowed the queen to escort the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn into Mos Espa in the guise of a stranded traveler when her party was stranded on Tatooine, while her decoy remained on the royal starship. Two other handmaidens, Eirtaé and Rabé, also escorted Amidala to Tatooine as well as Coruscant, and watched as she plead Naboo's case to the Galactic Senate. Another two, Yané and Saché, remained behind. On Coruscant, Rabé helped to deceive Anakin Skywalker into thinking that Padmé was out on an errand, when her mistress was actually present in the room, as Queen Amidala. Later on the queen's return to Naboo, Sabé, Rabé, and Eirtaé took part in the mission to re-capture the Royal Palace from the Trade Federation. Sabé stood in as the decoy queen, playing a major role in the success of the operation after Amidala was captured.[1]

After Amidala became a Senator representing Naboo in the Republic Senate, handmaidens continued to assist her and serve as decoys when needed, though not to the same extent as when she was queen. Prior to the start of the Clone Wars, the handmaiden Cordé served as Amidala's decoy but was killed along with the handmaiden Versé in an assassination attempt aimed at the senator.[2] Amidala shared private tears with a handmaiden named Duja over Cordé's death.[8] A handmaiden named Dormé witnessed a second assassination attempt on her mistress, and expressed concern when Amidala was ordered by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine to return to Naboo under Jedi protection.[2]

During the Clone Wars, following a Separatist terror attack on Coruscant, a handmaiden named Teckla Minnau spoke with Amidala about the effects that the Republic's military spending were having on her family and other families like hers. Shortly after, Amidala delivered a speech to the Senate inspired by her words, which defeated a bill to increase military spending and order more clone troopers.[9] Later, escorting Senator Amidala on a mission to Scipio, Teckla was killed by the bounty hunter Embo while detonating a charge to grant Amidala access to the InterGalactic Banking Clan's Main Vault.[10]

Shortly before the end of the conflict, another handmaiden named Moteé was present in the Galactic Senate Chamber when Palpatine declared himself Emperor.[11]

Amidala's successor, Réillata, was an older queen who brought with her several handmaidens around her own age, as well as a younger handmaiden, her niece.[12] Her eventual successor Jamillia, was also attended to by a cadre of handmaidens,[2] and Queen Apailana was escorted by her own handmaidens during Amidala's funeral.[11]

Shortly after the death of Emperor Palpatine, two royal handmaidens were present in a meeting between Queen Sosha Soruna and her guest, Princess Leia Organa.[13] They later helped Soruna dress into her flight suit as she prepared to pilot an N-1 starfighter to protect the planet from an Imperial attempt to render Naboo inhospitable, code named Operation: Cinder. When Captain Korro suggested one of the handmaidens take Soruna's place, the queen replied that she could never ask her handmaidens to make a sacrifice she would not make herself.[14]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

The Naboo Royal Handmaidens first appeared in the 1999 film Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, the first installment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy.[1]

The concept of a handmaiden decoy originated in George Lucas's rough draft to Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, where two handmaidens named Alana and Mina accompanied Leia to the Chatos Academy.[15] Mina took the princess' place to mislead the Empire when Annikin Starkiller spirited her to safety as the Empire's Space Fortress arrived at Aquilae.[16]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Non-canon appearances[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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