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Henrietta Howard

King's Mistress, Queen's Servant
Narrated by: Julia Franklin
Length: 15 hrs and 16 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Summary

Henrietta Howard, later Countess of Suffolk, was the long-term mistress and confidante of George II. Orphaned at 12 and dragged into poverty by her brutal husband, Henrietta used her own ingenuity and determination to secure a role at the very heart of the royal court.

But she was far more than mistress to the king; she was a dedicated patron of the arts, a lively and talented intellectual, and a passionate advocate for the rights of women long before the dawn of feminism.

The mark that this enigmatic royal mistress left on the society and culture of early Georgian England was to resonate well beyond the confines of the court, and can still be felt today.__

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©2007 Tracy Borman (P)2008 WF Howes Ltd

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Henrietta Howard and the Georgian era

Henrietta Howard (1689-1767) led a long and full life spanning much of the 18th Century. It was a period of great change in England beginning with the end of the reign of Queen Anne and ending with her death in the reign of George III. She knew and corresponded with many of the great men of letters of her age like John Gay, Alexander Pope and Dean Swift as well as friends like Lord Chesterfield. This was a period of letter writing and diaries, as well as gossip, so was well documented and used to great effect in telling this story.

Harriet was Woman of the Bedchamber so moved in court circles. Her life, though difficult, not least because of her brute of a husband, was a fascinating account of this period. This book is well researched and also offers new material on the life of Harriet, Duchess of Suffolk, friend to many of the great men of letters of the age, of Whig politicians and a witness of an age.

The story is well told by Julia Franklin who has a pleasing and clear voice. She brings alive the story of an intelligent, brave and witty woman who, for the most part, steered a steady course through the reefs and shoals of court life.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Simone
  • 27-03-15

Better the Second Time Around

I first read this book in 2011 and only gave it 2 stars. I think that’s proof that you have to be in the right mood for a book because this time I would easily give it 4 stars if not 4 ½.

It’s all so interesting!! Not just the life of Henrietta, but the history of the Hanoverian Court, how King George I and II came to the throne, their acrimonious relationship, life in London in the early 1700s, the lifestyle of George and Caroline when they were still Prince and Princess of Wales… all of it!

It’s a very well written book; not dry or text-booky at all. I really feel like I learned something… I’m glad I decided to pick it up again.