14 June 2020

Book Review: Elizabeth's Rival: The Tumultuous Tale of Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester, by Nicola Tallis


Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

The little I knew of Lettice Knollys created a picture of her as reckless, perhaps even foolish, in how she knowingly provoked the legendary fury of her friend, (and half-sister?), Queen Elizabeth, but of course, the truth is more complicated.

Lettice can be admired for her courage, risking everything for Robert Dudley, although she might have sensibly avoided travelling with such an entourage that people mistook her for the queen.

I'm also fascinated by her children, who all have amazing stories in their own right. Lettice's story could have ended in the Tower of London, but instead she outlived three husbands, her brother and sisters, and of her six children (that we can be sure of), to die on Christmas day, 1634, at the age of ninty-one.

Nicola Tallis explains she was inspired to research and write this book after visiting Lettice's tomb. Amazingly, for such an important Tudor woman, this is the first full biography of Lettice Knollys, and I think she would have been pleased to know her life is finally explored in the context it deserves. Highly recommended.  
Tony Riches

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About the Author


British Historian Nicola Tallis graduated from Bath Spa University with a first class BA Hons. degree in History in 2011, and from Royal Holloway College, University of London in 2013 with an MA in Public History and her PhD from the University of Winchester. Nicola also worked as a historical researcher, most notably for Sir Ranulph Fiennes whilst he was working on his 2014 book, Agincourt: My Family, the Battle and the Fight for France. Find out more at Nicola's website http://nicolatallis.com/ and find her on Facebook and Twitter @NicolaTallis

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