The grey eminence of British publishing, Alan Sutton, has taken on my biography of Lady Anne Clifford through Fonthill Media. Another publishing house, Amberley, founded by Alan, expressed interest but were too late. It's a fairly Spartan contract but it will be a first-class production to come out middle of next year.
The First Feminist
The real life of Lady Anne Clifford, 1590 - 1676, is a story of feminine victory in a man's world, the men including King James I & VI, Charles I, Oliver Cromwell and two husbands: the Earl of Dorset, gambler, waster and womaniser, and the Earl of Pembroke, gambler, waster, womaniser and the richest man in England.
We have lots of glamour, intrigue in high places, danger, period detail and, eventually, triumph in adversity.
From the age of ten, Anne was a handsome, virtuous and highly regarded figure at the Courts of Elizabeth I and King James. Her two brothers died in infancy, leaving her sole heiress, but her father, Earl of Cumberland, made a fresh will, leaving his estates (large parts of Westmorland and Yorkshire) to his younger brother, Anne’s uncle. When father died in 1605 Lady Anne (aged 15) objected to the will and, rightfully, claimed the estates herself.
Kings, archbishops and wastrel husbands spent years trying to persuade her that she, a mere female, should think of the greater good of society as God and men had ordered it, give up her claim, and let the men have what was properly theirs.
By shrewd moves, sheer determination and faith, Lady Anne outlasted and defeated the lot of them, restored her castles and became the grande dame of the north.
At her funeral Bishop Rainbow said: "Thus died this great wise woman, who while she lived was the honour of her sex and age, fitter for an history than a sermon".
Lady Anne was the third child of George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, Elizabeth I’s Royal Champion and a colourful character. Some of the earlier Cliffords are on stage in Shakespeare's history plays. Anne was cousin to many of the great figures of the day and a great-grandniece of Henry VIII. Locally, she is revered to this day as a folk heroine.