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The Duchess Countess, EPUB eBook

The Duchess Countess EPUB


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A scintillating story superbly told... [Ostler] packs every paragraph with eye-opening detail Ysenda Maxtone Graham, The Times
A rollicking read... [Ostler] tells Elizabeths story with admirable style and gusto Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times
Fascinating. Magnificent.?Sensitively toldHallie Rubenhold, author of The Five and The Covent Garden Ladies
Catherine Ostler's superb, gripping, decadent biography brings anextraordinary woman and awhole world blazingly to lifeSimon Sebag Montefiore,author ofCatherine the Great and Potemkin
A Vogue Best Book of 2021

When the glamorousElizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston, Countess of Bristol, went on trial at Westminster Hall forbigamyin April 1776, the story drew more attention in society than theAmerican War of Independence.

Aclandestine, candlelit weddingto 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 aGrand Tourof Europe,being welcomed by thePope andCatherine the Greatamong 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 toovercome personal tragedy and loss.

Now, in thisbrilliantly 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.


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