Lettice Knolly's father was Francis Knolly's he was a gentleman pensioner of Henry VIII. Her mother was Catherine Carey, daughter of Lady Mary Boleyn. She grew up on her father's country estate at Greys Court in Rotherfield Greys and at his town house in nearby Reading. The family fled to Switzerland when Queen Mary I of England ascended the throne. Her firm Catholic stance would earn her the nickname bloody Mary for all the 'heretics' she burned which was anyone not catholic. The Knolly's family returned home to England when Elizabeth I ascended to the throne after Queen Mary's death. Her father was named Treasurer of the Household and her mother Chief Lady of the Bedchamber and Lettice was now lady in waiting to the new Queen.
Young and vivacious Lettice from the beginning was the who who was an explicit the big "B". She was selfish, vain, and what men of today would call high maintenance. I had read many novels that have explored more of the rumor that Catherine Carey was actually King Henry's daughter. This rumor never came into play, which gave a chance for more of a tangible reason why the Lettice and Elizabeth had friction prior to Robert Dudley. Her mother would compare her and the other children to that of "their scholar cousin Elizabeth, who speaks already three languages". Being compared to Elizabeth her whole life and then going to court to be a servant was too envious for her. She was jaded on life and wanted attention, the bad girl who does things just because they can. The scariest part of her was she was wicked smart and able to not get caught unless she wanted to. She first saw Robert Dudley, Elizabeth's new Master of the Horse in the accession parade through London. Robert a glittering diamond of manhood beside her. Lettice was enchanted. I personally have always pictured him as a playboy who was dashing, daring, and in the category of Gone with the Wind, a lost breed of man. It all came down to plain ol' jealousy, Lettice had the case of the green envy.
She sought to seek and destroy, all the while she married another, peeved at the thought Robert had never bothered to notice her. She went to her new husbands estate and bore two daughters. She returned to court and after that is where is got juicy between her and Robert, the queen's favorite. The queen taking notice of the lustful eyes at court she ordered her home, she quickly had two more children, settled into family life and began to forget about Robert Dudley. That of course could not be the end of Robin. Lettice returned to court and reunited with robin to their lusty love affair, she liked it because it was dangerous and thrilling.
They say that Carma is a "B" and you get what you put out there. Lettice had it coming and bad, Elizabeth had commonly refereed to her as "the she wolf" and with good reason. She had snatched up Robin in the midst of scandal and now was banished from court after marrying him in secret. You have to reap what you sow and a selfish person such as herself was bound to still be a constant thorn in the queen's side. Not to mention the scandal that her son would cause later in the Queen's heart and court.
I was lucky enough to find this book at a used book store for 1.25$, dang lucky dog. I really enjoyed this book it was a bit more lusty than say a queen of England series book. Or maybe it was just Lattice's character. A defiant must read with a view point of Elizabeth's whole rein from a arch enemy perspective.
"She was the beautiful impetuous Lettice Devereux. It was Lettice who married the Earl of Leicester, who Elizabeth I loved. And it was Lettice who was the mother of the Queen's beloved Earl of Essex. That young Earl would one day break the queens heart. It was always Lettice, the constant spoiler in the triangle of love surrounding Elizabeth...."