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Three of the characters – ROSE, MARY and BESS – have their own narrator.
The narrator is given the number ‘2’ after her name.
The Shrewsbury Household
BESS (1 and 2), Countess of Shrewsbury; ‘Bess of Hardwick’, one of the richest women in England, after Queen Elizabeth I
ROSE (1 and 2), a young woman who has grown up in Tutbury, Staffordshire
GEORGE TALBOT, Earl of Shrewsbury; Bess’s fourth husband
CECILY, a servant working for the Shrewsbury household
Queen Mary’s Household
MARY (1 and 2), the former queen of Scotland, who has abdicated her throne and fled the country to England
MARY SEATON, a lady-in-waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots, who has been with her since she was a child
MARY LIVINGSTON, a lady-in-waiting to Mary, Queen of Scots, who has also been with her since she was a child
JOHN LESLEY, Bishop of Ross, Mary’s ambassador to Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth’s Household
ELIZABETH I, QUEEN OF ENGLAND, Queen for the last ten years; the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
LADY PARRY, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, who has been with her for many years
THOMAS, Duke of Norfolk, a nobleman who had once been close to Elizabeth; one of the richest men in England
LORD WALSINGHAM, an adviser to Queen Elizabeth
WAITING LADIES TO QUEEN ELIZABETH, women who attend the Queen at all times of the day and night
COURTIERS AND GUARDS
THE EARL OF HUNTINGDON, an English nobleman
VILLAGERS OF TUTBURY