‘Outrageously scandalous, soaked in sex and money, aristocracy, adventure and grandeur…Catherine Ostler, accomplished storyteller, is the perfect writer to restore the Duchess Countess 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. A 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.
Now the Duchess’s biographer, Catherine Ostler, joins Simon Sebag Montefiore to take a fresh look at Elizabeth’s story 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.