The last surviving Mitford sister, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire was nicknamed “the housewife duchess” and made Chatsworth one of the most successful and profitable stately homes in Britain. This remarkable lady had tea with Hitler in 1937 (and “remember[s] thinking his set-up was very regular and somewhat haphazard for a head of state”), was painted by Lucian Freud and amassed a vast collection of Elvis Presley memorabilia. Known to her family as ‘Debo’ and a mother of seven, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire was a hardworking businesswoman and “extremely fond of keeping chickens”. She loathed “sloppy and sentimental modern culture”.
An amazing life. Such a contrast to the modern day personality. I wish I had known her.
A truly gracious and noble Lady,
A species in fast extinction mode
I met her years ago when she gave a talk about Chatsworth at Chelsea Harbour – beautiful blue eyes, amazing posture and very, very funny
Never heard of her but that she had tea with Hitler makes me ask questions.
Deborah Cavendish took tea with Hitler before the war. Her sister was his friend. That does not make her a Nazi.
The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire saved Chatsworth. She was an example to us all. She never rested on her laurels and she was kind and courteous. I found her amusing and charming. They don’t make them like her anymore.