Deborah, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire died earlier this week and her funeral was held on Thursday. She lived a fascinating life, as you can read here, and never thought, when she was married, that she’d end up taking charge of her husband’s family’s extensive estate and completely turning it around. She and her husband inherited Chatsworth, one of England’s most stately homes and were promptly saddled by millions in death duties after her brother-in-law’s death during WWII.
The house had been open to the public, but she re-opened it with a vengeance, and after about 20 years, paid off the death duties and started making a profit. But a 35,000 acre estate doesn’t run itself, and more than 600 people work estate.
As a mark of their utmost respect for the Dowager Duchess, the staff took part in the funeral service for her, held on the property, which includes both a chapel and a graveyard. The entire staff, all wearing their traditional uniforms, lined the drive from the house to the chapel in respect for her, and after the cortege passed, they fell in behind it.
The Duchess was a massive fan of Elvis Presley’s and even made a trip to Memphis to see Graceland. Elvis’s song “How Great Thou Art” was played at her funeral service.
Well done, you!