Lucy Russell, Countess of Bedford

Lucy Russell, Countess Of Bedford

Lucy Russell, Countess of Bedford

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Lucy Russell, Countess of Bedford (née Harington) (1580–1627) was a major aristocratic patron of the arts and literature in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. Sidney Lee called her "the universal patroness of poets."

Parentage and marriage

She was the daughter of Sir John Harington of Exton, and Anne Kelway; well-educated for a woman in her era, she knew French, Spanish, and Italian. She was a member of the Sidney/Essex circle from birth, through her father, first cousin to Sir Robert Sidney and Mary, Countess of Pembroke; she was a close friend of Essex's sisters Penelope Rich and Dorothy Percy, Countess of Northumberland (the latter named one of her daughters Lucy after the Countess).

Lucy married Edward Russell, 3rd Earl of Bedford, on December 12, 1594, when she was thirteen years old and he was twenty-two. She had a reputation as a beauty, and "for getting her own way." Lucy's husband, the Earl of Bedford, got himself into serious trouble in 1601 when he rode with the Earl of Essex in Essex's rebellion against Queen Elizabeth. The Bedford fortunes revived when the reign of James I and Anne of Denmark began in 1603; The Earl and Countess were among the first English aristocrats to go to Scotland to pay court to the new monarchs.


The Countess became a Lady of the Bedchamber and confidant of Queen Anne; she performed in several of the masques staged at Court in the early 17th century, including The Masque of Blackness, Hymenaei, The...... ...
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