Outrageous Women: The Remarkable Lives of Elizabeth Chudleigh and Caroline Norton

Books covers of The Case of the Married Woman: Caroline Norton by Antonia Fraser, and The Duchess Countess by Catherine Ostler

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  • Full Price: £5.00 Member: £5.00 Other concessions available

With Lady Antonia Fraser and Catherine Ostler in conversation with Hallie Rubenhold

This is an online event hosted on the British Library platform. Bookers will be sent a link in advance giving access and will be able to watch at any time for 48 hours after the start time.

The stories of two women who refused to be defined by society’s expectations.

Award winning historian Antonia Fraser introduces Caroline Norton, a 19th-century poet and pamphleteer who became a pioneering women’s rights activist at a time when married women and their children were considered their husband’s property.

Having fallen victim to a botched court case brought by her husband, the MP George Norton, alleging her adultery with the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, she fought back against multiple injustices as a campaigner. The Infant Custody Act of 1839 was a landmark achievement.

A few decades earlier, in 1776, Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston, Countess of Bristol, went on trial at Westminster Hall for bigamy. The event was a sensation, but Elizabeth refused to submit to public humiliation and retire quietly.

Rather than backing gracefully out of the limelight, she embarked on a Grand Tour of Europe, being welcomed by the Pope and Catherine the Great and joined the Hanoverian court, where her exploits delighted and scandalised the press and the people.

In an evocative new biography of Elizabeth, Catherine Ostler revisits her story.

Buy a copy of either The Case of the Married Woman: Caroline Norton by Antonia Fraser, or The Duchess Countess by Catherine Ostler and attend the event at no extra cost. Either book is £25 (with free UK postage)*

Presented in association with HistFest

Antonia Fraser is the author of many internationally bestselling historical works, including Love and Louis XIV; Marie Antoinette, which was made into a film by Sofia Coppola; The Wives of Henry VIII; and Mary Queen of Scots. She is also the author of the memoirs Must You Go?, about her relationship with and marriage to the playwright Harold Pinter, and My History. She has received the Wolfson Prize for History, the Medlicott Medal awarded by Britain’s Historical Association, and the Franco-British Society’s Enid McLeod Literary Prize. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2011 and a Companion of Honour in 2018 for services to literature.

Catherine Ostler is an author and journalist who has been editor-in-chief of Tatler, the Evening Standard magazine, and Editor of The Times Weekend. She has also written for a wide range of publications, including Vogue, Daily Mail (London), and Newsweek. She read English at Oxford University, specialising in 18th-century literature.

Hallie Rubenhold is the Number One Sunday Times bestselling and Baillie Gifford Non-Fiction prize-winning social historian whose expertise lies in revealing stories of previously unknown women and episodes in history. As well as The Covent Garden Ladies, Rubenhold's works of non-fiction include the award-winning and Number One bestselling The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper and Lady Worsley's Whim, dramatized by the BBC as 'The Scandalous Lady W'. Her latest work of non-fiction, Bad Women, the story of the disappeared wives and partner of Dr Crippen, is due to be published in 2022. She has also written two acclaimed novels Mistress of My Fate and The French Lesson which are a feminist homage to the literary tropes of the Eighteenth Century.

*Please note. An additional postage charge of £5 applies for orders from outside the UK. Books purchased will normally be dispatched within 7 days after the event. Please ensure your address is up to date on your British Library account.

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Name: Outrageous Women: The Remarkable Lives of Elizabeth Chudleigh and Caroline Norton
Where: British Library St Pancras
When: -
Price: Full Price: £5.00
Member: £5.00
Event plus The Case of the Married Woman book (UK Orders only): £25.00
Event plus The Case of the Married Woman book (Non-UK Postage): £30.00
Event plus The Duchess Countess book (UK orders only): £25.00
Event plus The Duchess Countess book (Non UK postage): £30.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546