The Duchess – past and present

Researching for my new novel (Lords & Lies), my husband and I recently watched the film ‘The Duchess’ – which is based on the true life story of the Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (an ancestor of Princess Diana).

In her time (1757-1806), Georgina was beautiful, glamorous, and a trendsetter in fashion and politics.  She was also a compulsive gambler, a drug addict, and an adulteress.

Not only was Georgina married off at age 17 years to ‘the only man in town who didn’t love her’, but she was also forced to live under the same roof as her husband’s mistress (cheery menage a trois – you ask?  perhaps….).  Although she was privileged and adored by both her public and her children, her personal problems got the better of her.

So long ago, her life.   Yet  still today, her story resonates in our hearts and minds – the details of which could easily be ascribed to any number of modern celebrities.

What does this tell us about human nature?

More importantly, what does it tell us about the nature of ‘progress’?

I don’t have the answers.  Do you?

BTW, if you’re interested, Amanda Foreman has written a splendid biography of Georgiana, called The Duchess (Harper Perennial, 1998).

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