The only Duke of Devonshire to never marry, the 6th Duke is commonly known as the Bachelor Duke. His tenure stands
out among the Dukes of Devonshire for improvements to Chatsworth. He built the north wing of the house; it includes the
Sculpture Gallery where his collection of statuary is kept. The Emperor Fountain and the pinetum in the garden were his
creations. He rebuilt the stone village of Edensor.
A biographer said of him:
The 6th Duke of Devonshire is a man with whom we can readily identify our own ideals. He was neither narrow-minded
nor stuffy. He was by no means exclusive or class-bound. We feel that in spite of his exceptional privileges and distinctions
he was someone whom we would dearly like to entertain to dinner, no matter how inadequate our dining-room table.
In the story... Diana has grown up on the Chatsworth
estate but first meets the Duke when she is 19. She has worked as a housemaid in his home since age 17. Full of empathy
for her when the Crimean War causes upheaval in her life, he takes her under his wing. Her secluded life in Derbyshire
expands to London where she becomes chatelaine at
, the Duke's London home. As she
mingles with the cream of Victorian society, there is the prospect of much change in her simple quest for a happy life.