A Duchess With a Common Touch – NYTimes.com

Great NY Times article about Deborah, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire.  She was one of the famous  society Mitford Girls and became quite a businesswoman.

YEARS after the fact, Deborah, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, looked in her mother’s engagement book to see what had been written on the momentous day of March 31, 1920.


“She didn’t refer to my birth at all,” the duchess said. “There was nothing for five days, and then, on the fifth day, in capital letters, it said ‘KITCHEN CHIMNEY SWEPT.’ ”

“No one took any notice of me except Nanny.”

Maybe so, but not for long. Now 90, the duchess is doubly famous. First, as the lone survivor of the six celebrated Mitford girls, who included Nancy (the renowned comic novelist), Diana (the renowned beauty and wife of the fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley) and Jessica (the renowned Communist, author and naturalized American). Second, as the woman who transformed Chatsworth, one of the grandest of England’s grand houses, from a museumlike relic into a family house and self-sustaining business that is visited by 600,000 people a year. Along the way, Deborah Cavendish, to use her civilian name (her friends call her Debo), has become something of a national treasure, as grand as the queen but as approachable as anyone, effortlessly bridging the gap between Us and Them in this perennially class-conscious society.

via The Saturday Profile – A Duchess With a Common Touch – NYTimes.com.

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Filed under Entertainment, History, Social Commentary, Style

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