Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, England Part 2 The grounds.June 19, 2017
The Brontes and Haworth, UK.June 23, 2017
So now we come to the third and final installment commemorating my visit to Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, England and it’s connection with the famous American Kennedy family. Many of you will know that Joseph P. Kennedy, the patriarch of the Kennedy family was appointed US Ambassador to the Court of St. James i.e to England and that in the 1930’s as ambassador he took his whole family with him. The “life of the party” was Kathleen Kennedy, nicknamed Kick for the level of energy and excitement she brought to the gatherings of her more staid English hosts. Kick turned out to be “The Debutane” of 1938 and fell in love with William Cavendish, Marquis of Hartington and son of and heir apparent of the 10th Duke of Devonshire. Kick’s mother, Rose Kennedy was strongly opposed to the relationship because, of course, the Kennedy’s were Catholic and Billy Hartington as his friend’s called him, was a member of the Church of England, created when Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church and the Pope in order to marry Anne Boleyn. In spite of her family’s objections, the couple was married in England in May of 1944 and the only member of the Kennedy family to attend was her brother Joe. In the midst of WW II Kick’s husband went to war by only four months after their marriage, he was killed by a sniper in Belgium and his family elected to have him buried with his comrades in Belgium. In 1948 Kick herself was killed in a plane crash and France and she is buried in the simple graveyard of St. Peter’s Church in Edensor, Derbyshire whose steeple can be seen from Chatsworth House and is the family church and burial ground of the Dukes and Duchesses of Devonshire. Although Kick’s husband is buried in Belgium, there is a plaque inside St. Peter’s which identifies William Marquis of Hartington along with other residents of the area who were killed in WW I. Kick’s grave in the quiet graveyard of St. Peter’s is a simple headstone with inscription barely visible and reading Kathleen Marchioness of Hartington, “joy she gave, joy she has found.” At the base of the gravestone is a plaque in the ground which commemorates the visit of President John F Kennedy, Kick’s brother to her grave in July of 1963, only 4 months before his assassination in November of that year. The church is located in the tiny hamlet of Edensor, just a short drive from Chatsworth House. In truth, I think I enjoyed and was moved by my visit to St. Peters and to Kathleen’s grave more than by the grandeur and majesty of Chatsworth House itself.