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Penelope Rich

(1563—1607) noblewoman


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(c. 1562–1607),

sister of Robert Devereux, earl of Essex. In 1581 she was unhappily married to Lord Rich, and soon after provided the model for Sidney's ‘Stella’. The exact nature of their relationship can never be known, but details in some sonnets make it clear that she is the lady in question. After she had been legally separated from Lord Rich, she married Lord Mountjoy. She was a famous beauty and a good linguist, took part in masques by Jonson and Daniel, and was addressed by other poets besides Sidney.

Subjects: Literature.


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