Mistress Blanche: ElizabethI's Confidante by Ruth Elizabeth Richardson

Blanche Parry – Chief Gentlewoman of Queen Elizabeth I’s Privy Chamber and Keeper of Her Majesty’s Jewels – was born in Herefordshire’s Golden Valley to a noble family connected, via the Herberts of Raglan, with the House of York. She lived to the great age of 82, and for 56 years was a constant presence in the future Queen's life, from infancy, when Lady Troy was Elizabeth's Lady Mistress, until 31 years into her reign.

Blanche was discreet, meticulous, trustworthy, elegant, respected and well-liked; her responsibilities at Court more varied and far-reaching than previously supposed. This book brings to life the day-to-day realities of Elizabeth’s Household, throwing new light on the Court, with all its hierarchies and intrigues, and revealing the selfless and influential role played for so long by the previously overlooked Blanche. Her family background, upbringing, education and religious influences are explored, together with the effect that Blanche’s views may have had on Elizabeth. The book draws extensively on original documents, many never previously transcribed, including a ‘revelatory’ corpus of bardic poems concerning Blanche’s family. 

This revised edition includes the results of recent research on the Bacton altar cloth, proving it to have been part of one of Elizabeth’s dresses – the only known part of more than 1,900 of her dresses to have survived. The motifs and embroidery shed fascinating new light on Elizabeth’s Court. This edition also includes a lost portrait of Elizabeth, rediscovered as a result of the first edition of this book. The whereabouts of another lost portrait, this one of Blanche herself, remain tantalisingly unknown.

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