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John Evelyn (1620-1706), a founder member of the Royal Society, was a horticulturalist and author, best remembered for his diaries. Throughout his prolific writings he exhibits a strong distaste for the corruption of life at court. The beautiful and pious Margaret Godolphin (1652-78), a courtier more than thirty years Evelyn's junior, with whom he struck up an intense friendship in 1672, was maid of honour in the household of Queen Catherine, wife of King Charles II. To Evelyn she represented the antithesis of the corruption he despised. Written as 'a record of her perfections' following her death in childbirth, this hagiographic biography reflects the extent of Evelyn's devotion. Left among his unrevised manuscripts, it was not published until 1847, nearly two centuries after its composition. Edited by the bishop and orator Samuel Wilberforce (1805-73), the work includes helpful notes and genealogical tables that elucidate the text.