The era may have ended a long time ago, but sad news nonetheless today reaches the Royalist's ears; Debo, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, and the last surviving member of the colorful Mitford sisters, has died at the age of 94.
The duchess, known as Debo (short for Deborah) to her friends and millions of fans, was the youngest of the six aristocratic Mitford girls, who were a fixture of high society for much of the twentieth century, and were celebrated letter writers.
Debo was perhaps the least controversial of the Mitford girls, marrying Lord Andrew Cavendish and becoming the 11th Duchess of Devonshire in 1950. She subsequently devoted her life to writing—publishing 12 books—and looking after their magnificent home, Chatsworth House.
Her sisters were more scandalous: Unity became infatuated with Adolf Hitler and shot herself in the head in Munich when Britain declared war on Germany. Diana married the fascist leader Oswald Mosley and was interned in Holloway prison from 1940 to 1943 on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathiser. Jessica, known as Decca, joined the Communist Party and ran away to Spain to cover the Civil War. Nancy was the best-selling author of novels including Love In A Cold Climate. MI5 files released in 2003 showed that she was instrumental in keeping Diana in prison, writing to warn that her sister was "a ruthless and shrewd egotist, a devoted Fascist and admirer of Hitler". Another sister, Pamela, avoided controversy, however.
Debo's son, the 12th Duke, said in a statement today: “It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, passed away peacefully this morning.
“An announcement about funeral arrangements will be made shortly.”