Miranda Seymour

The Real Donna Inez

Lady Byron and Her Daughters

By Julia Markus

W W Norton 384pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

In January 1815, Lord Byron married the clever, virtuous and unshakably high-minded Annabella Milbanke. In January 1816, Annabella left Byron’s London house, taking with her their baby daughter, Augusta Ada. Lady Byron never returned. Scandalous stories spread, tales of incest – Byron’s pregnant married sister, Augusta Leigh, was still living in the poet’s establishment when his wife left it – and sodomy (a criminal offence in Regency England). Invited to deny the rumours, Annabella calmly responded that she could hardly retract allegations that she had never herself made. [1pass]

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