Being a discussion of the modern Chivalric Tournament
The Ladies' Gallery should be an area where ladies can relax, have some refreshment, and view the proceedings. It is purposefully set so that there is an excellent view of the field and all types of combat (field, melee, barrier, etc.). There should be easy access for the combatants to approach the gallery, should their presence be required. This interaction between combatants and the gallery is encouraged! Royalty will normally be set in the center of the gallery, and I recommend that only one pavilion or attached pavilions be used for the gallery, so that All the ladies might hear and see what events unfold, rather than having the field surrounded by pavilions, but the Ladies too far apart to enjoy al that may pass.
Conversation in the Gallery could include the events of the tourney and medieval topics, perhaps the telling of tales and reading of poetry. If a minstrel is playing softly for the ladies, it is good and right. While modern references tend to detract from the courtly atmosphere, all speech given in a courtly manner is acceptable. All lords should beg the leave of the gallery when approaching, just as they should when approaching the lion's den, or any of royal status. All of the combatant's consorts, whether they are a Venant (visitor/challenger) or a Tenant (defender/host) should all be in the same gallery. If there is more room in the gallery, all ladies are welcome there, whether they are a consort or no.
The Herald King of Arms
The Herald King of Arms, or Marshall, or Herald, whatsoever he may be called, holds a special position. He/she has a duty to the gallery and also to the combatants. They are to keep the flow of the tourney going, watch out for safety issues, and they are the liason between the gallery and the combatants, and the gallery and the host whenever necessary. They are more than willing to explain the rules or some specifics on combat that the ladies have questions about. They defer to the hosting Company, knight, or individual for decisions regarding conduct of the tourney. They approach the gallery with impunity, for their responsibilities require them to have free reign of the field at all times.
Great deeds are done on the field of honour, and every nuance that you can understand about the combat arts will help you in knowing, appreciating and supporting your consort. Just so if your consort understands your role and challenges will he be better able to support and appreciate you. Sometimes ladies are asked to choose weapons or fighting style, or to match up opponents. To make this an informed decision, know your consorts preferences and fighting styles, speak with him if allowed. You will enjoy it all the more!
Also the combatantsor consorts may be speaking on chivalric topics or upon the views of our ancestors on these topics. His education and reading in these areas will show, as will yours. Some may have little book learning on these subjects, but rather take an intuitive approach. This also has great value and can be appreciated by a gentle lady. If a combatant arrives prepared to read a poem to the gallery, or sing a song, in my mind he is well armed and armored for that potential situation.
Even if you know little of these things, and have no interest in fighting, it is only courteous to pay attention to the combat when your consort is upon the field. While in many tournaments it is not uncommon for a combatant's consort to be absent from the field, inattention here is a different matter.
Your Consort's Array
He represents you, as he represents himself, his household, and his kingdom. He may need help preparing his array, and may not even know he needs help, or how to ask for it. Some lords take great pride in their gear and it shows. Others have not yet learned this art. Communicate with your consort, so that you might have a combined intent. Do you desire him to bear a certain favor or token? What heraldry can be displayed? Here coordination may be the key to your success. Heraldic display in every form is appropriate. Sometimes the consort and combatant first meet just prior to the tourney beginning. This can be awkward, but also wonderful, as new freinds are made and the magic of the day is meant to be shared.
Every combatant should bear a matching surcoat, shield and banner. While these are not requirements, they are the basic elements of the tournier's heraldry.
Your Consorts Opponent
Most tourniers find that they return to the simple joy of combat when fighting in a chivalric tournament, and may take risks they would not otherwise. In addition, some combatants have never fought at the barrier, and there might be other fighting styles or situations that they are unprepared for. This makes the pas d'armes unpredictable! Your consort will be sizing up his opponents abilities and assessing his strategy for the bout. The more you understand about his opponent's fighting style, prowess, armor type, favorite weapon, etc., the more you will know the mind of your consort.      I have heard of a time when two consorts called a halt to the final round of a tourney. Their lords had been fighting for some time and seemed equally matched. Impressive displays of prowess and skill were shown by both combatants. The ladies, who were standing together at the side of the field, decided to call a halt and declare a tie, so much were they impressed with their opponents.
Guarding Your Honor
A Lady of the Tenants (Hosts/Defenders)
Before the tourney ever begins, ensure venants and their consorts know where to set up, what time things will begin and end, make introductions, and point out where things are set up on the field (i.e. the barrier, the sign in book, the list mistress, the Herald King of Arms, the refreshment, water for the combatants, a list of the questions of chivalry, the Queen, etc.)
A Lady of the Venants (Visitors/Challengers)
All Gentlemen are Gentlemen
Also, it is fine to call upon any lord to attend you; as a member of the Gallery, your will & desires may be backed by the will of the Gallery, though it can be fickle. It is certainly acceptable to ask a lord about a previous fight, or to read you a passage of poetry, or other such dainties.
To Compliment or to Disparage
Please send me your comments or discussion on this topic!
Certainly there are other views than mine, so lets hear and discuss them.
This is not meant to be a rulebook on behavior, but a thought-provoking guide.
Lord Crispin d'Ardenne