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Elizabeth's Rival

The Tumultuous Tale of Lettice Knollys, Countess of Leicester

Extent: 448pages

Size: 198x129mm

Publication Date: 15/11/2018

Price: £9.99

ISBN: 9781782439240

Categories: Biographies, Science - History - Philosophy

About the Book

'Nicola Tallis, one of our great popular historians.' Alison Weir

The first biography of Lettice Knollys, one of the most prominent women of the Elizabethan era.

Cousin to Elizabeth I – and very likely also Henry VIII’s illegitimate granddaughter – Lettice Knollys had a life of dizzying highs and pitiful lows. Darling of the court, entangled in a love triangle with Robert Dudley and Elizabeth I, banished from court, plagued by scandals of affairs and murder, embroiled in treason, Lettice would go on to lose a husband and beloved son to the executioner’s axe. Living to the astonishing age of ninety-one, Lettice’s tale gives us a remarkable, personal lens on to the grand sweep of the Tudor Age, with those closest to her often at the heart of the events that defined it.

In the first ever biography of this extraordinary woman, Nicola Tallis’s dramatic narrative takes us through those events, including the religious turmoil, plots and intrigues of Mary, Queen of Scots, attempted coups, and bloody Irish conflicts, among others. Surviving well into the reign of Charles I, Lettice truly was the last of the great Elizabethans.

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.


  • 'Stunning … Nicola Tallis brings this remarkable woman out of the shadows and dazzlingly to life. It is a story of love, loss, intrigue and betrayal, and is told with customary finesse by one of our most talented historians. Not to be missed.', Tracy Borman
  • 'A fascinating insight both into Lettice herself and into the wider stories and life of the age.', The Spectator
  • 'Beautiful and thought-provoking ... Elizabeth's Rival stands as a testament as to why the figures that are cast aside in history should be explored.', All About History
  • 'Nicola Tallis brings us into a complex, compelling world, suffused with intrigue, betrayal, love and heartbreak, centred around the fascinating figure of Lettice Knollys. She is well deserving of such a biography.', History Today
  • 'Wonderfully written and researched ... I couldn't put it down.', Tudors Dynasty
  • 'A lively, colourful ride through the Tudor years and their Stuart postscript.', The Bookbag
  • 'Expertly researched and beautifully written ... Elizabeth's Rival is a tour de force.', Adrienne Dillard Blog