It’s likely you don’t know the names and faces of more than one or two of Padmé Amidala’s handmaidens…and that’s how they prefer it. Completely loyal to the young queen and future senator, many of her handmaidens even took new names once they entered Padmé’s service as a way to honor her. Their outfits were always chosen to complement Amidala’s, often with hoods to obscure their faces.
The Naboo handmaidens hold a unique place in Star Wars lore as bodyguards, wardrobe attendants, and political aides. Their bravery is even more impressive once their youth is taken into account; the youngest handmaiden was all of twelve years old at the start.
For their loyalty to and love for Amidala alone, they deserve some time in the spotlight.
Spoiler warning: This story contains minor details and plot points from the book Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow.
While never mentioned by name in the films, Sabé is one of the handmaidens most well-known to fans given her prominent status as the decoy queen in The Phantom Menace. Padmé and Sabé worked together to develop a voice for Amidala to help add another layer to the deception begun by their resemblance and the elaborate dresses and traditional make-up. All six women also created a code (verbal and non-verbal) so they could communicate unnoticed. Sabé had a particularly close friendship with Padmé and was the only handmaiden to remain in Amidala’s service after she left the throne.
Out of Universe: Sabé was played by Keira Knightley and was such a close physical match for Natalie Portman that even the actresses’ mothers couldn’t tell them apart when dressed as Queen Amidala.
The only handmaiden to have lines as herself in The Phantom Menace, Rabé accompanied her queen off of Naboo on the mission to Coruscant. She served as the queen’s wardrobe mistress and an artist with hairstyles, ensuring that every piece of the queen’s wardrobe could protect her in addition to being beautifully crafted. Nothing in the wardrobe was without function. Her talents at reading body language and lips were equally useful to the queen over the years. She went on to study music at a prestigious academy in Theed after Amidala’s term as queen came to an end.
Out of Universe: Rabé was played by Karol Cristina da Silva.
With bright blond hair, Eirtaé was the easiest to distinguish from her fellow royal handmaidens especially during the rare occasion when they appeared without their hoods. She also accompanied Amidala to Coruscant, helping to maintain the decoy illusion even while the ship was on Tatooine. Eirtaé fought in the Battle of Naboo alongside Sabé, Rabé, and Padmé herself. After she left Amidala’s service, she pursued her love of art and science.
Out of Universe: Eirtaé was played by Friday “Liz” Wilson.
Although Saché was the youngest among the original handmaidens, her bravery was never once called into question. Left behind on Naboo, she helped protect the members of the Royal Security Forces at tremendous personal cost. It earned her their loyalty forever. After Amidala’s term ended, Saché followed in the queen’s footsteps and entered the political arena.
Out of Universe: Saché was played by Sofia Coppola. She’d asked George Lucas, a close family friend, if she could observe the set and he offered her the chance to observe while also playing one of the handmaidens.
Yané also remained behind on Naboo at the queen’s instructions during Amidala’s desperate mission to Coruscant. Alongside Saché, she helped the resistance there and did what they could to fight back against the droid invasion. She often volunteered her time to help Naboo’s orphans, devoting even more of her time after leaving Amidala’s service.
Out of Universe: Yané was played by Candice Orwell.
With Sabé assigned elsewhere, Padmé found herself in need of a new decoy even though senators traditionally did not have handmaidens. Of the three handmaidens brought into her service as a senator, Cordé was the closest physical match despite being slightly taller. She perfected Amidala’s voice to the point that even a voice identifier couldn’t tell the difference. Ultimately, Cordé gave her life when a bomb meant for Amidala blew up their starship in an attempt to stop the senator from voting on the Military Creation Act.
Out of Universe: Cordé was played by Veronica Segura.
Dormé had gone through security forces training with Gregar Typho and remained at the Academy to go through a modified version of handmaiden training. When Padmé accepted the Senate seat, he immediately recommended Dormé as a potential new handmaiden. She took over as wardrobe mistress and built upon Rabé’s past work to ensure Amidala’s wardrobe was both appropriate for her new role as senator and offered physical protection. Her duties also included applying Cordé’s make-up to make her an even closer physical match for the senator when she served as decoy. After multiple attempts on Padmé’s life forced her to return to Naboo accompanied by the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, Dormé remained behind on Coruscant with Typho in an effort to make her enemies think the Senator was still there.
Out of Universe: Dormé was played by Rose Byrne in one of her first roles.
Versé was the niece of Mariek Panaka who recommended her for the Senator’s new cohort of handmaidens. She was an extremely talented slicer who used her talents in Amidala’s service in more ways than one. Versé also lost her life to the same bomb that claimed Cordé right before the start of the Clone Wars.
Out of Universe: Versé was played by Avril Wynne.
The first of Amidala’s handmaidens to not take a name ending in é, Teckla Minnau was first properly introduced in The Clone Wars although she appeared as an attendant at the Lake House in a blink-and-you-miss-it moment in Attack of the Clones. She provided both moral support and perspective to Padmé, helping strengthen her resolve to fight a military spending bill. Later, she accompanied Amidala on a mission to Scipio where she was killed by a bounty hunter who was trying to stop them from discovering an embezzlement scandal.
Out of Universe: Teckla was voiced by Ashley Moynihan.
The newest addition to the list of handmaidens, Duja was first mentioned in Thrawn: Alliances. She entered Amidala’s service sometime after she joined the Senate as she and Padmé mourned the death of Cordé together after the bombing but left it prior to the end of the Clone Wars. She died on Batuu while investigating a Separatist factory on Mokivj, prompting Padmé to travel out to the distant planet to figure out what happened to her.
Even less is known about Karté who has so far only appeared in the Forces of Destiny episode “The Imposter Inside” and its supporting materials… and for the most part it wasn’t even really her! A clawdite bounty hunter stole her identity to get to Padmé at some point during the Clone Wars.
Moteé and Ellé
Moteé and Ellé served Senator Amidala during the final days of both the Republic and her life. Moteé accompanied her to the Senate for Palpatine’s speech in which he declared himself Emperor. Ellé’s scenes were ultimately cut from Revenge of the Sith, but she still appears in the novelization.
Out of Universe: Moteé was played by Kristy Wright and Ellé was played by Chantel Freer.
Bria LaVorgna is a writer who doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t love Star Wars. She also really loves Alderaan, Doctor Aphra, and Inferno Squad. You can follow her on Twitter @chaosbria.