(P144) Obituaries - The Duke of Devonshire


BBC News, Tuesday 4 May 2004
The Guardian, Wednesday May 5, 2004
Associated Press Writer, Tuesday May 04, 2004

The Duke of Devonshire was President of the Crystal Palace Foundation which runs the Crystal Palace Museum.
The ancestral home, Chatsworth House, is where Joseph Paxton held the position of Head Gardener.

The Duke of Devonshire - BBC News, Tuesday 4 May 2004

The Duke of Devonshire: Landowner, politician and soldier

The Duke of Devonshire was one of Britain's greatest landowners, with estates in Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Sussex and Ireland.

He was born Andrew Robert Buxton Cavendish, second son of the 10th Duke, in 1920.

He was serving in the Coldstream Guards in World War II - winning a Military Cross - when his elder brother was killed in action, leaving him as heir to the title.

Then when his father died in 1950, he succeeded him. With the title came Chatsworth House, estates of over 80,000 acres in Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Sussex and Ireland and a bill for £2.5m in death duties.

It was paid by selling land and many of Chatsworth's magnificent collection of old master drawings, including works by Rembrandt, Raphael, Rubens, Van Dyck and Holbein, most of which went to foreign buyers.

The Duke's ancestral home, Chatsworth in Derbyshire

The Duke and Duchess - Deborah, youngest of the famed Mitford sisters, who he married in 1941 - opened Chatsworth to the public, attracting around 300,000 visitors every summer.

The Duke had a brief career in politics. Before his elevation he contested Chesterfield for the Conservatives in the 1945 and 1950 general elections.

In the Lords served as a junior minister in the Commonwealth Office in the government of his uncle by marriage, Harold Macmillan.

But in 1982 he left the Conservative Party for the newly-formed SDP, before moving in his later years on to the cross-benches in the Lords.

The Duke's heir is his son, the Marquess of Hartington. He also had two daughters.

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Duke of Devonshire dies at 84 - The Guardian, Wednesday May 5, 2004

by Stephen Bates

The 11th Duke of Devonshire, one of the country's premier - and possibly least stuffy - aristocrats, died on the May Day bank holiday at his stately home, Chatsworth in Derbyshire, it was announced yesterday. He was 84.

Andrew Cavendish disguised a keen intelligence and business sense behind the sort of bluff, self-deprecating and humorous exterior seemingly modelled on a character straight out of the world of PG Wodehouse.

The Queen and Prince Charles - a frequent visitor and close friend - expressed their sadness at the news.

On his last birthday in January, the duke told an interviewer that he had been "much too lucky in my life". He once described Chatsworth, owned by the Cavendishes for 450 years, as "the home of a very dim family, nothing more". Asked by an estate worker when he was planning to retire, he is reputed to have replied: "I've never worked a day in my life so how can I retire?"

His modesty hid a tenacious and shrewd hold on the 75,000-acre family estates, centred on Derbyshire but also with property in north Yorkshire, Ireland, Eastbourne and Mayfair.

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Duke of Devonshire, who turned ancestral home into successful business, dies at 84 - Associated Press Writer, Tuesday May 04, 2004


LONDON (AP) The 11th Duke of Devonshire, whose vast Chatsworth estate has one of the finest and most-visited houses in Britain, has died at age 84.

Estate spokesman Simon Seligman said the duke died late Monday night at Chatsworth, and that no further details were immediately available.

The duke, known as an easygoing man, opened Chatsworth to the public in the 1950s and, with his wife Deborah, made it a thriving business, attracting a half-million visitors a year to its art collections and acres of parkland.

The house, largely built at the end of the 17th century, is surrounded by 35,000 acres of estate land in the heart of a national park in Derbyshire county, central England.

In addition to Chatsworth, the family property includes Lismore Castle in Ireland; Bolton Abbey in North Yorkshire, England; two hotels and one of the finest private art collections in the country.

Andrew Robert Buxton Cavendish was born Jan. 2, 1920, and educated at Eton and at Cambridge University. In 1941, he married Deborah, one of the famously unconventional Mitford sisters who included writers Nancy and Jessica Mitford and Lady Diana Mosley, wife of Britain's pre-World War II fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley.

Lord Andrew's elder brother, William, was killed in action during World War II. So when their father, the 10th duke, died in 1950, Andrew became the 11th duke.

With the estate, where the Cavendish family had lived for four centuries, came an estate-tax bill for $19.6 million. The new duke and duchess survived the financial crisis by selling family treasures and turning Chatsworth into one of the country's most popular attractions.

With 297 rooms, 1.3 acres of lead roof and 105 acres of gardens, it is an expensive place to keep. The estate now has a hotel, a garden center and a farm shop selling meat and produce from its own farm. It also sells merchandise on the Internet.

The duke served as a minister in colonial affairs and Commonwealth relations in the Conservative government of his uncle, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, between 1960 and 1964.

He was also known for charitable work, and for his self-effacing manner.

The duke served in the army throughout World War II and won a Military Cross for distinguished service in battle, yet he told a newspaper last year that he had won his medal for "being cheerful.''

He was also quoted as saying he believed Chatsworth would go down in history as "the home of a very dim family, nothing more.''

Once asked by his estate workers when he planned to retire, he answered, "I've never worked a day in my life, so how can I retire?''

The couple had three children, Lady Emma, Lady Sophia, and Peregrine, the Marquess of Hartington, who succeeds his father as 12th Duke of Devonshire.

Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth II, a friend of the duke, was "saddened by the news.''

Funeral arrangements were not announced.

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(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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BBC News, Tuesday 4 May 2004
The Guardian, Wednesday May 5, 2004
Associated Press Writer, Tuesday May 04, 2004

9/5/04 Last Updated 9/5/04