Henrietta Howard, later Countess of Suffolk, was the long-term mistress and confidante of King George II. She was also, as Tracy Borman's wonderfully readable biography reveals, a dedicated patron of the arts; a lively and talented intellectual in her own right; a victim of adultery; a passionate advocate for the rights of women long before the dawn of feminism. Above all she was a woman of reason in an Age of Reason. The mark that this enigmatic and largely neglected 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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