Privilege and Scandal
The Remarkable Life of Harriet Spencer, Sister of Georgiana
By Janet Gleeson
(Three Rivers Press, Paperback, 9780307381989, 448pp.)
Publication Date: June 24, 2008
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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A revealing portrait of one of the most glamorous, influential, and notorious members of the Spencer family
Intelligent, attractive, and born into wealth, Harriet Spencer, ancestor of Princess Diana, married Frederick, Viscount Duncannon, at the age of nineteen. But it was her affair with Lord Granville Leveson Gower that resulted in the birth of two children and all but consumed Harriet’s life.
The first comprehensive biography of Lady Harriet Spencer, Privilege & Scandal gives readers an inside look at the British aristocracy during the decadent eighteenth century, while bringing one of the era’s most intriguing women to life.
Janet Gleeson studied English and art history at Nottingham University. She is the author of The Arcanum, a #1 Sunday Times bestseller in the U.K., and The Moneymaker, which was published in the United States as The Millionaire. She lives in Dorset with her husband, three children, and two dogs.
“Long before Princess Diana, another member of the Spencer clan lived a whirlwind life of high fashion, marital indiscretion, and harsh media attention . . . [a] page-turner.”
“Janet Gleeson’s book is a delight, shedding new light on the fascinating Harriet Spencer, sister of the famous Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, mother of Byron’s mistress, Lady Caroline Lamb, and distant relative of Diana, Princess of Wales. I found Gleeson’s intimate portrait of Harriet’s complex social, sensual and family life utterly absorbing.”
—Sarah Bradford, New York Times bestselling author of Diana and Elizabeth
“Harriet Bessborough, witty, beautiful and a fool for love, was a star of the Whig aristocracy, born at the epicentre of one of the most glamorous, the most powerful, the most indulged societies, the world has ever known. It is astonishing that her biography has never been written until now, Privilege and Scandal reads like a novel and I couldn’t put it down.”
—Julian Fellowes, Academy Award-Winning author of Gosford Park
“The right blend of well-told history and insight into the personal and domestic…smoothly and elegantly written.”
—Margaret Forster, author of Elizabeth Barrett Browning: A Biography
“A highly readable biography...(an) intelligent and wonderfully vivid portrait.”
—Daily Mail (UK)
“A truly absorbing window on a unique period of history-and an entirely unique woman.”
—Glasgow Evening Times
“An enthralling biography ... conveyed with style and brio.”
—The Good Book Guide (UK)