Penelope Devereux was one of the leading lights of the late Elizabethan and early Stuart courts. Her beauty and charm, coupled with her intelligence and education, led her to be the centre of the circle of soldiers and patrons of art around her brother, the Earl of Essex. Like Essex, however, she was impetuous and single-minded and could not resist flirting with intrigue and danger.Read Penelope's Life Story
Penelope led the life of a great lady, travelling extensively between the homes of both her family of origin and her those of her husband, as well as attending court in and around London.View Penelope's Footsteps
In an age when even aristocratic women, once they were married, tended to be confined to hearth and home, Penelope led a life of excitement and novelty. Far from the docile, submissive wife that was the Elizabethan ideal, Penelope was a force to be reckoned with.
Surprisingly, there are few biographies of Penelope – seen as a disgrace to her sex, she has been overlooked by writers for four hundred years. Sally Varlow’s extremely detailed biography is the first modern work.