Lita-Rose Betcherman


Court Lady and Country Wife

“ intimate view of Stuart England”
The New York Times

“This is popular history at it’s best.”
Jane Dunn

“The action really heats up during the English civil war, when both sisters made political and personal decisions that profoundly affected the course of their individual and collective futures.”

“Having reached adulthood on the eve of Charles I’s succession, the sisters lived through one of the most turbulent periods of British history…a fascinating introduction to two closely united lives—housewife and public figure—all the more interesting because of the contrast between them.”
Times Literary Supplement

HarperCollins Canada 2005
Morrow US 2005
Wiley UK 2005

Court Lady and Country Wife

Royal Privilege and Civil War: Two Noble Sisters In Seventeenth Century England

“Betcherman skillfully manages to keep the reader enthralled with the thriller-like pace.”
The Globe & Mail

The lives of these amazing aristocratic sisters, Lucy and Dorothy Percy, are a window into the world of political unrest, social intrigue, and women’s lives in 17th Century Britain.

The Percy sisters were born during the reign of Elizabeth I but came to prominence in the Court of Charles I in the 1630s. Lucy, the Countess of Carlisle, the court lady, dominates her circle through the position at the center of power.

Her beauty, captured in magnificent van Dyke portraits, and her political skill attracted well-placed lovers for whom she traded favors. Her charm and talents as a gossip kept her in the Queen’s inner circle.

Her sister Dorothy, the country wife, produced 13 children and managed the family estates while her husband, a diplomat, was immersed in scholarship.

Famously shrewish, she drove her quiescent husband to violently rebel against her strictures, causing a scandal (Dorothy is an early ancestor of Princess Diana.)

Lucy switched her allegiance from the Court to support the reformers. After the execution of King Charles she was imprisoned in the Tower of London for two years.

Lucy and Dorothy embrace a pivotal moment in the development of democracy. This was the beginning of the movement for parliamentary reform.

Lita-Rose Betcherman earned her Ph.D. in Tudor and Stuart history from the University of Toronto. She is completing Buckingham’s Man, about Balthazar Gerbier, art collector, spy and scoundrel.