THE DUCHESS OF RUTLAND – ‘21ST CENTURY DUCHESS’ FROM CHATELAINE OF BELVOIR CASTLE TO ENTREPRENEUR, WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A DUCHESS IN TODAY’S WORLD

Belvoir Castle is the most fabulous fairy-tale castle in England. From its high hill it broods over immense tracts of Leicestershire and Lincolnshire. It is one of the great treasure houses of the country and its chatelaine for the new millennium is Emma, 11th Duchess of Rutland. Since taking charge of the estate she has shaken off the dust-sheets and brought back to life a castle that had slept since the 2nd World War.

As a 21st century duchess, Emma’s role is very different from that of her forebears.  How do you maintain for the future a 1000 year old estate with huge overheads?  An estate with 16,000 acres of tenanted farms, 400 properties, 50 employees, a thriving local community and a castle with 2.5 acres of roof?  Seeking advice from the legendary Duchess of Devonshire, she was shocked to learn that, when it comes to Dukedoms, it is the women who earn the money and the men who spend it!

Throwing all her formidable energy and imagination at the problem, from a standing start the Duchess has turned Belvoir from a slumbering leviathan into commercial powerhouse, building the Belvoir Shoot into one of the top ten in the county, putting the castle on the map as a top location for movies and TV series such as The Crown and the Da Vinci Code, staging all manner of events from opera soirées to ‘Elvis – The King at the Castle’ and hosting the great and the glamorous from Kate Moss to the Queen.  Her latest project has been to convert a yard of Victorian maintenance buildings into The Engine Yard, the first retail village of its kind in the area with restaurant, craft shops and even a gypsy caravan massage spa!

Chairman – Savilian David Oldroyd-Bolt