“The aristocracy is not dying,” says the Duke of Devonshire. “It is dead. Coffin’s nailed down, it’s in the ground. It doesn’t exist.”
The previous Duke of Devonshire in his study at Chatsworth (Photo: Andrew Crowley)
The Duke was responding to Labour’s plans to eliminate the remaining 90 hereditary peers before the next General Election. If Labour manages to get the proposal through Parliament in the next few weeks, the Duke has promised to drop his title. “Because then it would be clear-cut what the people wanted, and it would be confusing to maintain hereditary titles,” he says. “So, finish that, go back to being called Cavendish.”
Yes, in a manner of speaking, the Duke is right, but as Toby Young writes, ironically under Labour, Britain is more class-bound than ever.