Henrietta Maria, queen consort of Charles I of England, is known to literary and performance scholars primarily for her sponsorship of court masques and plays, spectacles through which she functioned as an “exigent mediatrix of her native [French] culture” (Peacock, 155). Bringing such general insights to bear on the question of material practices involving women actors, this essay focuses on French precedents for Henrietta Maria’s English appearances, alongside her female companions, in private stage plays. In London prior to Henrietta Maria’s arrival in May 1625, women’s voices had rarely been heard on the stage. During her queenship this changed, however, particularly at court, where amateur women’s theatricals became a regular pastime. Critics and biographers have often taken the queen’s acting as a seemingly obvious consequence of French expectations that women acted on the professional and court stages. 1 But there was never any question of Henrietta or any other elite woman appearing on a “public stage” in the sense that uninvited individuals could pay to come in and view her. Further, early seventeenth-century French attitudes toward professional actresses were more complicated and ambivalent than English scholars have tended to assume. To better comprehend what precedents, precisely, enabled women at the court of Henrietta Maria’s childhood to fashion their own amateur theatricals as socially acceptable, and to what ends, we must look more closely at that court’s dealings with professional women actors, including actresses from Italy. The most logical influence on Henrietta Maria’s own acting in England, I argue, was a cosmopolitan French court milieu deeply sensitive to international fashion and in which, under the aegis of Henrietta Maria’s mother Marie de Medici, elite young women actively participated in amateur private theatricals by modeling themselves on traveling professional actresses.