Born during the reign of Elizabeth I, Lucy and Dorothy Percy came to prominence at the court of Charles I. Lucy, the Countess of Carlisle, dominated the royal scene. Her beauty was immortalized in magnificent Van Dyck portraits, her political skills attracted many famous lovers, and her talent as a gossip ensured her inclusion in the queen's inner circle— until civil war and its machinations led to her imprisonment in the Tower of London.
Her sister, Dorothy, Countess of Leicester— wife of a diplomat and an ancestor of Princess Diana— managed the family estates and raised twelve surviving children. Though brilliant, with a keen eye and special purview of European politics, she had a reputation as a shrewish wife and, when her husband rebelled after thirty-five years of marriage, it caused a public scandal.
Viewing a tempestuous era through the exceptional lives of Lucy and Dorothy Percy, Lita-Rose Betcherman's "Court Lady and Country Wife" offers a perfect window into a remarkable world.