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Queen Amidala's stand-in for the majority of the film is constantly negotiating with senators, Trade Federation leaders, and even Jedi. How did she know what Padme's wishes were, and how did she know what to say in order to avoid a more costly situation? I know Padme is considered a political genius who was good at diplomatically avoiding chaos, but how did her decoy also manage to pull this off so well?

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6 Answers 6

I need to find the reference, but basically, she was trained to be a bodyguard/double for a long period of time and was personal friends with Padme.

Also, Sabe wasn't exactly speaking too much when acting as Queen.

Here are the Amidala/Sabe lines I was able to find so far, up till the whole group arrives on Coruscant:

AMIDALA : I will not co-operate. (To Nute Gunray)
...
AMIDALA : Thank you, Ambassador, but my place is here with my people. (To Jedi)
...
AMIDALA : Either choice presents a great risk...to all of us...
PADME : We are brave, Your Highness.
QUI-GON : If you are to leave, Your Highness, it must be now.
AMIDALA : Then, I will plead our case before the Senate. (to Bibble) Be careful, Governor.
...
AMIDALA : It is to be commended...what is its number? (about R2D2)
...
AMIDALA : Thank you, Artoo Detoo. You have proven to be very loyal...Padme!
...
AMIDALA : (Cont'd) Clean this droid up the best you can. It deserves our gratitude...(to Panaka) Continue, Captain.
...
BIBBLE : ...cut off all food supplies until you return...the death toll is catastrophic...we must bow to their wishes, Your Highness...Please tell us what to do! If you can hear us, Your Highness, you must contact me...
AMIDALA looks upset...almost nervous. [ DVK EDITORIAL: When it's an important decision, she IS nervous about what to say/do ]
...
AMIDALA : I am grateful for your concern, Chancellor.

[Edit: removed the scene with Palpatine, as that is clearly the real Amidala, not Sabé. --Martha]

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I'm pretty sure she was replaced by that point in time. There is a slight difference between Amidala and Sabe, and it's pretty clear at least to me that when they are on the capital, that Amidala is herself, the whole time. –  PearsonArtPhoto Feb 7 '12 at 13:33
    
@Pearsonartphoto: Yes, the two actresses look similar but different enough that you can tell it's Portman at that point, despite the elaborate make-up. –  Jeff Feb 7 '12 at 14:12
1  
@Pearsonartphoto - that early in the morning, I wouldn't remember which scenes Portman was in even if the reward was a kiss from the actress :) –  DVK Feb 7 '12 at 15:13
    
The scene on Coruscant with Palpatine is definitely the real queen, not Sabé: shortly before it, there's the Anakin-Can't-Count scene where Ani goes to the queen's apartment to say goodbye to Padmé, but is told by Rabé that she isn't there. Of course, she is there, but is already half-dressed as queen. (So there's the queen, the handmaiden who speaks to Anakin, plus two handmaidens helping dress the queen. That's three handmaidens, the same number as there have always been. Doesn't leave much room for Padmé, does it?) –  Martha Feb 7 '12 at 18:16

Sabé was, as DVK said, a close friend of Amidala's and highly trained.

That said, if you can stand repeated viewings of the non-combat, non-podrace parts of The Phantom Menace you'll notice that the false Queen says as little as possible, and tends to be non-commital. She also has a noticable pause before she responds to questions or statements that she wouldn't encounter in the normal course of her duties.

In short, she doesn't always know what to say - she has to stop and think about it, buy time, and confer with Padme as to what she should do afterwards.

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5  
-1 for unpleasant reminder that there were non-combat, non-podrace parts of The Phantom Menace –  DVK Feb 7 '12 at 15:13
    
@DVK Well then -1 for editing in a far superior answer while I was busy typing in an answer that was better than your initial 1-line one. :-P –  Jeff Feb 7 '12 at 15:27
    
You mean there are people who like the non-costume-porn parts of TPM? –  Martha Feb 7 '12 at 18:18

I love this little exchange:

AMIDALA : Either choice presents a great risk...to all of us...
PADME : We are brave, Your Highness.
QUI-GON : If you are to leave, Your Highness, it must be now.
AMIDALA : Then, I will plead our case before the Senate. (to Bibble) Be careful, Governor.

Because while rewatching it, a thought came to me: Sabe wasn't sure what to do here either, because both choices are dangerous. So she turns to her handmaidens in an unsuspicious manner and Padmé says "We are brave, your Highness". Now after rewatching and knowing who is who, it seems like Padmé was nudging her into one direction here, saying that "We are brave" means that she should decide to go and plead before the Senate.

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+1 for pointing out the importance of this exchange over all the others quoted. Sabe is fine with routine diplomatic duties, but when there's an important decision to be made, she hesitates. But she hesitates in a way that lets Padme cue her with an answer, without breaking cover. –  Tynam Sep 28 '12 at 11:44

From Wookieepedia entry for Sabé:

Thinking ahead, Panaka devised a scheme to ensure the Queen's safety in times of crisis. Sabé, who bore a striking resemblance to Amidala, would adopt the role of the Queen, while Amidala herself would pose as a handmaiden.[5] The pair developed a set of signals they would use, while in disguise, to convey messages without arousing suspicion.

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Sab%C3%A9

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I agree, double speak would play a large roll in what Sabe says and does. Things like body language would also be called upon in a situation such as this. Sabe and the Queen would have been so close, that only they would pick up on these little things that nobody else noticed. Not even the Jedi!

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While bluffing and extensive training are likely cases, I'd also suggest a good possibility of the high-tech variant of an earprompter much like what many politicians wear these days so that they can get updates and corrections as they go. Add in the ability to subvocalize, speak without moving one's lips or sound, a common technological enhancement in sci-fi, and Padmé could prompt her decoy at any time that she's present.

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