26 September, 2014

"The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire . . . "


Thought I've been traveling for the past few days . . . I was greatly saddened to read of the death of the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire - known in her younger days as Deborah Miford.  The Mitford sisters have always fascinated me . . . in fact, I've been reading Deborah's own memoirs "Wait for Me" over the last few months.  It's a bit heartbreaking that just as she's becoming SO real to me . . . that she passes away at the age of 94.

"Born in 1920, “Debo,” as she was widely known, was the youngest of the six 
celebrated Mitford sisters. She became a duchess through a twist of fate. 
After her marriage in 1941 to Andrew Cavendish, the younger son of the 10th 
Duke of Devonshire, the newlyweds expected a life of genteel poverty. 
But three years later, Andrew’s elder brother, William, who had married 
Kathleen Kennedy, a sister of J.F.K., was killed in action in World War II. 
In 1950, Andrew inherited both the dukedom, and Chatsworth, 
a 297-room house on 35,000 acres that is arguably 
England’s grandest non-royal home."

- from the New York Times 

At her marriage to Lord Andrew Cavendish in 1941.

Celebrating her 90th Birthday at Chatsworth House. 

Chic beyond words . . . ! 

The Duchess with her quite famous, prize-winning chickens at Chatsworth House.
(photography by Bruce Weber)
In the amazing gardens at Chatsworth House.

"Palatial as the property is, the Cavendish family carved out a large 
private section for themselves where 
they were blissfully domestic.

At the time, however, it was "a fabulous mess," as Debo later recalled.
In grave disrepair, it was also saddled with
reportedly up to $20 million in taxes and death duties.
Rolling up her sleeves, the Duchess brought
the estate back to its glory days."
- from Vanity Fair



Karena Albert said...

An amazing woman Scot. I must admit I have not read enough about her and her sisters, and their story is right up my alley!

The Arts by Karena

Merlin said...

She started a beauty and ended a beauty. franki

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

May she rest in peace, and we'll always remember her through the gardens and that particular blooodline of chickens;)

Erin said...

I've just started the Dutchess' memoir as well after seeing the Chatsworth House miniseries, in which the Dutchess appears. Thought you may be interesting in checking it out: http://www.aptonline.org/catalog.nsf/vLinkTitle/CHATSWORTH+HOUSE

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