Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Deborah Mitford

Deborah Mitford grew up with two goals, marry a duke and take care of her chickens. She succeeded in both goals. She married Lord Andrew Cavendish, the younger son of the Duke of Devonshire, whose seat was the great house of Chatsworth. Chatsworth is the epitome of English Country Estates and was used by Jane Austen as the model for Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice, which makes it no surprise then that they used the great house in several of the book's adaptations to the big and small screen. When the Duke's heir apparant, William, died in combat, Andrew became heir and the 12th Duke of Devonshire upon his father's death.

The youngest of the six sisters, Debo is sadly the only one still alive at 92 years of age. Deborah has put her life into the estate and the farm as the Duchess of Devonshire. When many people thought that the war would end the reign of the landed gentry, through tourism and other commercial avenues, such as signed books for sale on her website, (yes, I bought one, don't judge, because I know you're really just jealous), Deborah has ensured that Chatsworth will endure through The Chatsworth House Trust. She has even been known to run the ticket booth at the estate from time to time. Yet still of an artistic and literary ilk like Nancy and Jessica, she has continued to grow the estates art collection, filling out the old masters with modern artists such as Lucian Freud. That much criticized painting of Freud's of Queen Elizabeth... Debo was quick to snap that up once the Queen refused it. As for her literary side, she has written many books on Chatsworth as well as memoirs, and of course, one must not forget the chickens.


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