The Duchess Countess

by Catherine Ostler

£10.99

Biography

Paperback

9781471172588

Published by Simon & Schuster Ltd

Published March 2022

Books > Biography

‘A scintillating story superbly told… [Ostler] packs every paragraph with eye-opening detail’ The Times
‘A rollicking read… [Ostler] tells Elizabeth’s story with admirable style and gusto’ Sunday Times
‘Terrifically entertaining: if you liked Bridgerton, you’ll love this…and her research is impeccable’ Evening Standard
‘Fascinating. Magnificent. Sensitively told’ Hallie Rubenhold, author of The Five

‘Catherine Ostler’s superb, gripping, decadent biography brings an extraordinary woman and a whole world blazingly to life’ Simon Sebag Montefiore

When the glamorous Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston, Countess of Bristol, went on trial at Westminster Hall for bigamy in April 1776, the story drew more attention in society than the American War of Independence.

clandestine, candlelit wedding to the young heir to an earldom, a second marriage to a Duke, a lust for diamonds and an electrifying appearance at a masquerade ball in a diaphanous dress: no wonder the trial was a sensation. However, Elizabeth refused to submit to public humiliation and retire quietly. Rather than backing gracefully out of the limelight, she embarked on a Grand Tour of Europe, being welcomed by the Pope and Catherine the Great among others.

As maid of honour to Augusta, Princess of Wales, Elizabeth led her life in the inner circle of the Hanoverian court and her exploits delighted and scandalised the press and the people. She made headlines, and was a constant feature in penny prints and gossip columns. Writers were intrigued by her. Thackeray drew on Elizabeth as inspiration for his calculating, alluring Becky Sharp. But her behaviour, often depicted as attention-seeking and manipulative, hid a more complex tale – that of Elizabeth’s fight to overcome personal tragedy and loss.

Now, in this brilliantly told and evocative biography, Catherine Ostler takes a fresh look at Elizabeth’s story and seeks to understand and reappraise a woman who refused to be defined by society’s expectations of her. A woman who was by turns, brave, loving and generous but also reckless, greedy and insecure; a woman totally unwilling to accept the female status of underdog or to hand over all the power, the glory and the adventures of life to men.

The Spy who was left out in the Cold by Tim Tate | 9780552177689

The Spy who was left out in the Cold

Tim Tate

£10.99

A Life on Our Planet by Sir David Attenborough | 9781529108293

A Life on Our Planet

Sir David Attenborough

£9.99

Essex Girls by Sarah Perry | 9781788167468

Essex Girls

Sarah Perry

£5.99

I Belong Here by Anita Sethi | 9781472983954

I Belong Here

Anita Sethi

£10.99

The Palace Papers by Tina Brown | 9781529124705

The Palace Papers

Tina Brown

£20.00

Napoleon by Ruth Scurr | 9781784704032

Napoleon

Ruth Scurr

£10.99