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Love, Madness, and Scandalous Women in Politics [timeline]

In Love, Madness, and Scandal, author Johanna Luthman chronicles the life of Frances Coke Villiers, Viscountess of Purbeck. Forced by her father into marrying Sir John Villiers; the elder brother of royal favorite, the Duke of Buckingham; Frances then fell for another man, Sir Robert Howard. While her husband succumbed to mental illness, she gave birth to Robert’s child. The scandal shocked the royal court. Despite her in-laws attempts to bring her down, Frances refused to bow to the combined authority of her family, her church, or her king. She fought stubbornly to defend her honor, as well as the position of her illegitimate son. Villiers joins a long line of women in history whose love lives have been forever tied to political scandal and their various aftermaths.

Featured Image Credit: 021 by Siddhesh Mangela. Public Domain via Flickr

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