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.