Deborah On Her First Pony 'Jane', Swinbrook, 1929


Deborah Devonshire Book Signing Video, Swan Inn Swinbrook

It was with great pleasure that we had the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, Deborah Devonshire or as she is fondly known ‘Debo’, come stay with us for a couple of nights.

For those of you who read this blog, you will know that this was part of her book signing here at the Swan Inn. Her latest book, ‘Wait For Me!’ is selling extremely well and has received many glowing reviews.

We were very fortunate on the day to be able to host the signing outside…I don’t know what we would have done if forced to have the signing in doors! Lots of people in for the book signing & a full restaurant anyway?

We sold out of books…over 200 sold, plus many people had already purchased their own!

It was just great to see…As many people know, the Duchess of Devonshire owns the Swan Inn and it has strong connections with the Mitford family and Swinbrook has a great affinity with Debo herself.

You may have read the many reviews of ‘Wait For Me!’ Memoirs of the Youngest Mitford Sister by Deborah Devonshire in such magazines or newspapers as The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Scotsman or the Saturday Telegraph…


“One aspect of the duchess’s memoir shines out. Every time she describes Swinbrook, the Oxfordshire village where she grew up, her pen is quickened by emotion. We see little Debo and Jessica (“Decca”) holding their last Hons’ meetings at Old Mill Cottage, within the snug vault of a disused brick oven; we see handsome, thwarted Farve flicking twigs off an apple-tree with a rodeo whip; we see Lady Redesdale hanging out the sheets and telling a possible recruit for wartime help that “I do the rough” as she looks after incontinent, mind-shattered Unity, who lived on, passionate and contrary, until 1948.”

“Chatsworth has occupied centre stage in most of the duchess’s public life. Her love, plainly, lies back among the Mitfords, at Swinbrook. I’ve no idea how the scheme of ducal burials operates, but it’s not hard to divine where she most wants – in due time – her bones to rest. In the duchess’s mind, Chatsworth is her noble exile: Swinbrook, with its grassy churchyard and its trout stream, is her home.”

Miranda Seymour?
The Guardian, Saturday 25th September 2010


“This book is cheerful and funny, and its author has led an apparently enviable life. Deborah, now the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, was born beautiful and talented, is rich by marriage, lived in one of the greatest houses in the world for nearly half a century, and has known and loved all sorts of interesting people, including John Betjeman, Lucian Freud, Harold Macmillan and Jack Kennedy. So it took me a time to realise that this is also, against its own wishes, what people now call a ‘misery memoir’.”

“But whereas the genre of “misery memoir” tends to over-dramatise and exploit suffering, Debo Devonshire’s style is different. It would not be right to call it “stiff upper lip”, since it does not flinch from facing unhappiness frankly, but it does not dwell on it. The passage of a long life – she is now 90 – allows time to come to terms with things many years after they have happened
‘Debo’ Mitford’s wonderful misery memoir”

By Charles Moore


This is bourne out in the short video we produced as Archie interviewed Debo. Clearly she has a great love of Swinbrook and Asthall where the Mitford Sisters grew up.

This is only a short extract from the full 20 minute interview that Archie held with Debo. In fact, interview may not be the right term. Interviews are always quite formal….this was a much more relaxed and more intimate conversation. We will be posting the full ‘interview’ between Archie and Debo shortly, so please check back and we’d love to have your comments.

There are plans to get Debo back after her tour of book signing and interviews in the US. An incredible feat at her age…


Her Grace The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire
Interview Extracts
Duration: 2.14 Minutes


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