Elizabeth in the Garden

Trea Martyn

Elizabeth in the Garden: A Story of Love, Rivalry and Spectacular Design by Trea Martyn is the beguiling story of how Elizabeth I’s two great courtiers fought a lifelong duel for her affections – with their gardens.

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Lord Robert Dudley, Queen Elizabeth I’s lover, and Sir William Cecil, her chief political adviser, were the most powerful men in the country. As their rivalry intensified, they competed by creating ever more fabulous gardens for their queen. Dudley’s aim was to woo her; Cecil’s, to stop Dudley in his tracks. Dudley set out an intoxicatingly romantic garden, and threw spectacular outdoor parties for his queen; Cecil countered by building a sumptuous palace with amazing gardens overseen by the most famous gardener in the country, John Gerard. This is the beguiling story of a lifelong duel. For Elizabeth, these gardens were places for love and intrigue, power play and spectacular design.


Trea Martyn read English at Trinity College, Cambridge and completed a PhD in eighteenth-century literature at University College London. She has taught history at Birkbeck College, University of London, and landscape history at Central St Martin’s School of Art. Elizabeth in the Garden is her first book.

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