William Cavendish was a gifted horseman, prolific womaniser and skilled diplomat. Famously defeated at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, he went into a long and miserable continental exile before returning to England in triumph on the restoration of King Charles II to the throne in 1660. But this is not just the story of that one remarkable man and the courtly world of King Charles I and his Cavaliers. More than that, Lucy Worsley brings to life the complex and fascinating household hierarchies of the seventeenth-century, painting a picture of conspiracy, sexual intrigue, clandestine marriage and gossip. From Ben Jonson and Van Dyck to a savage, knife-wielding master-cook, Cavalier is a brilliant illumination of the stately home and all its many colourful inhabitants.
Dr Lucy Worsley is Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the charity which looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, the Banqueting House in Whitehall and Kew Palace in Kew Gardens. (Yes, this is a fabulous job, but no, you can't have it. Bribes have been offered, and refused.)
Her first paid employment after studying history at Oxford was at a minor stately home called Milton Manor, near Abingdon, where she fed the llamas. After that she became an Inspector of Ancient Monuments at English Heritage, doing historical research at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire: this led to her first book, 'Cavalier', about a dissolute Royalist duke. Her work as a curator at Kensington Palace led to 'Courtiers', and taking part in a BBC TV series on the history of houses resulted in her most recent book, 'If Walls Could Talk, An Intimate History of the Home'.
Do please visit www.lucyworsley.com for lots more information, and for Lucy's blog.