Dirty nails

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I am grateful to Ron Clayton for drawing my attention to the Diaries of the late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire.

I knew, of course, that she had written books but had thought these were largely accounts of the “hardships” she had faced as chatelaine of one of the largest privately- owned estates in the country.

I was also familiar with her accounts of growing up as one of the Mitford sisters – two fascists, one communist and the author of a self-help guide for aspiring snobs.

I now learn that, at the funeral of the President Kennedy, she was so grief-stricken that she had time to notice that Harold Wilson’s fingernails were dirty.

Thus a politician who won four general elections and became (on merit) a Garter Knight can have his achievements dismissed by a woman who owed any status she had to having married a Duke.

I will meditate on the injustice of this during my daily jog around Brookhill roundabout and past the magnificent structure that is Sheffield University’s new engineering block.

Paul Kenny

S3