Mary Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire

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Her Grace
The Duchess of Devonshire

Mistress of the Robes to
Queen Elizabeth II
Duchess of Devonshire, GCVO CBE, Hon. LLD (Exon)
In office
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by None
Succeeded by The Duchess of Grafton
Personal details
Born (1895-07-25)25 July 1895
Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, UK
Died 24 December 1988(1988-12-24) (aged 93)
Westminster, London, England, UK

Mary Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, GCVO CBE (29 July 1895[1] – 24 December 1988[2]) was the Duchess of Devonshire from 1938 until her husband's death, and dowager duchess thereafter.

She was born Lady Mary Alice Gascoyne-Cecil in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, the daughter of James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury. She was married on 21 April 1917 to Edward Cavendish, Lord Hartington, who succeeded his father as 10th Duke of Devonshire in 1938, whereupon Mary became Duchess of Devonshire. She was Mistress of the Robes to Elizabeth II from 1953 to 1967 [3] and Chancellor of the University of Exeter from 1955 to 1972. She was awarded Hon. LLD (Exon) in 1956.


On 26 November 1950, her husband Edward Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire, had a heart attack and died while being attended by John Bodkin Adams, the suspected serial killer. In the process of transferring his assets to his son, the death of the Duke fell 10 weeks prior to a required 5-year period, and his estate was subjected to taxes of 80%.[4] His widow died in Westminster, London, aged 93.


  1. ^ GRO Register of Births: SEP 1895 3a 582 HATFIELD - Mary Alice Gascoyne-Cecil
  2. ^ GRO Register of Deaths: DEC 1988 15 1567 WESTMINSTER - Mary Alice Devonshire aged 93 born Jul 1895
  3. ^ Demoskoff, Yvonne (1998). "Yvonne's Royalty Home Page: Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Attendants". Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  4. ^ Lowell, Mary., "The Sisters: Saga of the Mitford Family"

External links[edit]

Media related to Mary Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire at Wikimedia Commons

Court offices
Preceded by
Mistress of the Robes to
Queen Elizabeth II

Succeeded by
The Duchess of Grafton
Academic offices
Preceded by
Chancellor of the
University of Exeter

Succeeded by
The Viscount Amory