Xander gives you this interesting little conversation in Heroes….
But it’s kind of sad when you think about it??? Over in Hoshido, most of the royal retainers are either childhood friends, groomed from birth, or both, and clearly have stuck with them and known their charges for a long time. Meanwhile, we now know that Xander at the very least has lost multiple retainers/possible comrades and friends, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the others have as well. They don’t have close childhood friends that they know and trust to protect them/have already since lost them; heck they’ve grown up in an entirely different environment that probably prevented those kinds of bonds, given what Garon’s court was like. Maybe some of those retainers were lost through internal politics. I mean, Leo hires a guy that broke into his house(?). Camilla straight up hires the assassin who was paid to kill her. And the Awakening trio probably haven’t been around for long in context… Like, definitely folks you wouldn’t expect royalty to keep around and yet here we are.
Elise is an exception in that Effie is a childhood friend, but Elise is still young and hasn’t really been in major combat yet, so her retainers by extension haven’t been placed in life-threatening situations (well, before the main Fates game starts anyway.)
lmao this is all grabbing at straws but how I see it is that Hoshido retainers were more or less chosen from good backgrounds (ie Hana and Tsubaki are Sakura’s childhood friends, but are also nobles and were probably placed specifically to be Sakura’s friends?), but the Nohr royals chose their retainers purely on merit and I think that’s just neat.