The landed and titled aristocracy of our country is very much a feature of our nation’s history, and like many people I have very mixed feelings about it.
But I was truly saddened to learn of the death of the Duke of Westminster, who always struck me as a very genuine and caring man. I have visited many large estates as a guest of the Royal Agricultural Society of England and these behind the scenes trips are usually conducted by the owners of the estate, who make it clear that although they accept they are hugely privileged, this comes with enormous responsibilty and the best amongst them take that responsibilty very seriously indeed. My husband’s cousin’s husband knew the Duke of Westminster extremely well. As a large dairy farmer himself, he helped the Duke with the management of his Cheshire estate. Upon the Duke’s death many stories have been shared on social media about his kindness. Johann Tasker, a reporter with Farmer’s Weekly, shared memories of the Duke waiving six months of rent for his farm tenants during the foot and mouth crisis. Mr Tasker also shared a link to the Duke’s appearance on Desert Island Discs , where he spoke of his childhood in Northern Ireland and his reaction to learning he would one day inherit the vast Westminster estate.