The Prince of Wales has released a statement following the news of The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire’s death on Wednesday. She passed away at the age of 94.
The Dowager Duchess, who was called Debo by close friends, was known as the youngest of the famous Mitford sisters. She married Andrew Cavendish in 1941, who later became the 11th Duke of Devonshire, therefore making Debo the next Duchess of Devonshire.
Prince Charles’ statement reads: “My wife and I were deeply saddened to learn of the death of The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, whom both of us adored and admired greatly. She was a unique personality with a wonderfully originally approach to life, and a memorable turn of phrase to match that originality. The joy, pleasure and amusement she gave to so many, particularly through her books, as well as the contribution she made to Derbyshire throughout her time at Chatsworth, will not easily be forgotten and we shall miss her so very much.”
Jane Dismore, who recently released a book which focuses on the lives of modern day Duchesses living in Britain, has revealed to Royal Central her fond memories of working and interviewing The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire in the past:
“How sad I was to hear of the death of Debo. I had enjoyed the privilege of her assisting me with research for my first book, and later the great pleasure of chatting with her when she needed some information for hers. If Debo had still been a duchess, I like to think she would have agreed to be part of my recent book, Duchesses: Living in 21st Century Britain.
A writer herself, she understood the creative process. She said she was familiar with the frustration of not being able to find that essential piece of information. It explained her helpful response to my enquiry about a person in my first book, The Voice From the Garden, who had married into the family. Debo had met him and not only sent me an amusing anecdote but personally arranged for me to have access to the Chatsworth archives, which was invaluable.
The next year, 2009, I was asked by a mutual acquaintance to telephone her. My book had mentioned Swinbrook and Debo needed to check information about its tenants during the Great Depression. Somewhat nervously I dialled the number and very quickly heard that lovely voice. I could hardly believe I was speaking to her, the last of the Mitford sisters. We talked about the information she needed and we chatted about books. She spoke of her great friend, the adventurer and writer Patrick Leigh Fermor, who was then 94 – the age that she would reach – and said he was ‘marvellous for his age’. So was she. I was delighted to speak to her again a month later. They were chats I shall always treasure.”