Winifred Duke was born in Liverpool, England, in about 1890. Her father Edward St. Arnaud Duke was an Anglican clergyman. She was educated at The Belvedere Academy, a private girls' school in Liverpool. She spent most of the rest of her life in Edinburgh, Scotland, and later in Colinton, Midlothian.
She served as the editor of a book series on English criminal law called Notable British Trials, and also wrote her own books on famous trials. She also wrote articles for the Juridical Review, a monthly Scottish legal journal. Miss Duke also wrote more than 30 historical novels and biographies, as well as books on Scottish history, including Lord George Murray and the ’45 (1927), Prince Charles Edward and the ’45 (1938), and In the Steps of Bonnie Prince Charlie (1953).