Bess of Hardwick
First Lady of Chatsworth, 1527–1608
Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury (1527–1608) struck some as rapacious and social-climbing, but is nowadays seen as an astonishingly shrewd and accomplished woman who successfully managed four husbands and four monarchs in a particularly complex and dangerous era. Mary Lovell's biography charts every aspect of Bess's long life, including her time as minder of Mary, Queen of Scots for Elizabeth I and the building of Chatsworth, Hardwick and Oldcotes, which still stand as testimony of a remarkable Tudor figure.
The Lady Penelope
Passion and Intrigue at the Heart of the Elizabethan Court
A muse to poets and descendant of royalty, the golden-haired Penelope Devereux was celebrated in the court of her godmother, Queen Elizabeth I, for being as quick-witted as she was beautiful. This biography charts Devereux’s political ascendancy in the court, her unhappy marriage to nobleman Robert Rich, her involvement in the rebellion to overthrow Elizabeth, led by her brother, the Earl of Essex, and her doomed love affair with Charles Blount, which ultimately led to her downfall.
Sisters to the King
The Tumultuous Lives of Henry VIII's Sisters – Margaret of Scotland and Mary of France
Much has been written about the six wives of Henry VIII, but less attention has been paid to his two sisters. This groundbreaking volume restores these two women to their rightful place at the crux of European history. The book describes how Margaret became Queen of Scotland at 13, how her younger sister Mary was married to the ageing king of France, and how both, defying convention, chose their second husbands for love.
The King's Bed
Sex, Power and the Court of Charles II
Charles II was obsessed by women, and his conquests ranged across the classes, from the actress Nell Gwyn to the aristocrat Barbara Villiers. For the first time, this revealing book places the king’s compulsive philandering at the centre of an account of his reign. Taking us behind the scenes, it introduces a colourful cast of court favourites, politicians and a parade of mistresses fighting for influence over a king ruled – and ruined – by his passions.