- Summaries (2)
Chatsworth, in Derbyshire, is among England's largest and grandest estates. It served to demonstrate to wealth and status of the Cavendish family, its earls, especially after their elevation to dukes, the highest non-royal peerage rank. Its size generated enough agricultural revenue to survive the modern age, more recently supplemented with tourism. In its Victorian high-day it featured the grandest hothouses for a then unsurpassed collection of tropical plants, the most excessive of various dazzling displays. The 2008 movie The Duchess portrays its most famous inhabitant, Georgina, gambling-addicted wife of the duke, both of which were seduced by the scheming upstart Bess Foster. Later it was the site of a transatlantic minor Kennedy love affair.
In its 500-year history, Chatsworth has been home to some notable inhabitants, among them the 5th Duke of Devonshire, his wife, Lady Georgiana Spencer, and Lady Elizabeth Foster, who lived together in a ménage à trois. King Edward VII enjoyed shooting parties on the estate and was often entertained by Duchess Louisa, one of Britain's foremost political hostesses. Duchess Louisa's daughter-in-law, American Consuelo Yznaga del Valle, introduced American heiresses into the British aristocracy; many of these young women married British noblemen. Billy Cavendish, heir of the 10th Duke of Devonshire, wooed and wed Kathleen Kennedy, the sister of future U.S. president John F Kennedy. The marriage was short-lived, however: Billy died in action in World War II four months after they exchanged vows. Four years later, Kathleen died in a plane crash. She was buried at Chatsworth.
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