Elizabeth's Rival: The Tumultuous Tale of Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester Paperback – 10 Jan 2019
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The first biography of Lettice Knollys, one of the most prominent women of the Elizabethan era, also examines the relationship between Elizabeth and Lettice's husband, Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, within the context of his third marriage.
About the Author
Nicola Tallis is a British historian and researcher. Her debut book, Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey, was published to wide praise. She has previously lectured at the University of Winchester and worked with Historic Royal Palaces and the National Trust.
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However, relationship broke down over time as Lettice, in one of her widowhoods, became close to Elizabeth's other great favourite, Robert Dudley the Earl of Leicester. Dudley was the queen's great love and if she had married anyone, it would have been him. To have to accept the secret wedding of these two and the subsequent birth of their son, was excruciating for the queen and although Dudley was eventually returned to favour, Lettice was never again welcome in her cousin's presence.
The two most famous Knollys children, Penelope Devereux ( Lady Rich) and Elizabeth's last male favourite, the Earl of Essex both caused her great pain towards the end of her reign; failed military efforts in Ireland and a failed rebellion forced her into another awful decision, which mirrored the tribulations she had endured around the execution of Mary Queen of Scots.
This is highly competent biography, which places all participants fully in their time and place and does not ignore the human elements of this long and event filled life. Absolutely recommended and an excellently paced read.
Michele's review Jun 19, 2018 · edit
it was amazing
This is a really interesting and easy to read biography of an extraordinary life in Tudor England. The author has conducted extensive research (my Kindle edition finishes showing 65% read so the remainder is references!) and, most importantly, has written in style that is interesting and engaging. I had studied Tudor history at school, many years ago, and this book brings the court of Elizabeth to life, adding a lot more detail about the lives and legacies of characters with whom we are familiar. Queen Elizabeth 1 was certainly a difficult woman to know, especially for the ladies around her - censoring their relationships and banning them from court if they married or crossed her. Being her favourite as a man wasn't much easier, it must be said!
Lettuce Knollys was a remarkable woman who was related to Elizabeth, became her friend and foe, marrying three times and dying at over 90 years old. Her resilience in the face of the Queen's anger against her and those around her was truly amazing, and her bravery for marrying the Queen's favourite (the Earl of Essex) was astounding. A great read that I would recommend.
P.S. The only problem with a Kindle edition is that there are no illustrations and the family trees are so small as to be illegible!
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