43 episodes

Welcome to Duchess - the podcast where the Duchess of Rutland explores the historic homes of Great Britain, and meets the inspiring women who lead them today.

Have you ever watched Bridgerton, The Crown or Downton Abbey and wondered what it's really like to be a Duchess? If so, this is the podcast for you.

Stately homes are manors, palaces, and castles of great historic significance. They were built by the finest architects, adorned with the finest treasures and surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. They homed the most powerful families and, with their wealth and social pedigree, shaped the world we live in today.

Emma grew up far away from the aristocracy but her life changed forever when she married her husband - the 11th Duke of Rutland - and moved into Belvoir Castle. At once Emma became both a Duchess and custodian of one of Britain's most important buildings.

The Duchess wanted to learn more about this world, these homes, and the other empowering women who, just like her, work tirelessly to ensure they see tomorrow.

In this podcast the Duchess will travel to breathtaking homes, learn the epic tales of their construction, meet the historic figures that walked their halls, hear chilling ghost stories and the heartbreaking tales of romance. All of this whilst getting to know the inspiring, powerful women that work to find the delicate balance between preservation and transformation.

Join Emma on a very special journey. This is Duchess, the podcast.

Duchess OneFinePlay

    • History
    • 4.9 • 229 Ratings

Welcome to Duchess - the podcast where the Duchess of Rutland explores the historic homes of Great Britain, and meets the inspiring women who lead them today.

Have you ever watched Bridgerton, The Crown or Downton Abbey and wondered what it's really like to be a Duchess? If so, this is the podcast for you.

Stately homes are manors, palaces, and castles of great historic significance. They were built by the finest architects, adorned with the finest treasures and surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. They homed the most powerful families and, with their wealth and social pedigree, shaped the world we live in today.

Emma grew up far away from the aristocracy but her life changed forever when she married her husband - the 11th Duke of Rutland - and moved into Belvoir Castle. At once Emma became both a Duchess and custodian of one of Britain's most important buildings.

The Duchess wanted to learn more about this world, these homes, and the other empowering women who, just like her, work tirelessly to ensure they see tomorrow.

In this podcast the Duchess will travel to breathtaking homes, learn the epic tales of their construction, meet the historic figures that walked their halls, hear chilling ghost stories and the heartbreaking tales of romance. All of this whilst getting to know the inspiring, powerful women that work to find the delicate balance between preservation and transformation.

Join Emma on a very special journey. This is Duchess, the podcast.

    Viscountess Gage of Firle Place

    Viscountess Gage of Firle Place

    Episode Description:
    In this episode, The Duchess meets Viscountess Gage of Firle Place. Lady Gage share with us the incredible art collection at Firle, we learn about the eclectic female poet that became a central figure in Christian mysticism. Emma also talks to Lady Gage about why Firle Place is considered by many to be one of prettiest houses in the country.
    Top Quotes:
    “There’s an endless movement and evolution in the use of these homes. They defy the notions of permanence.” - Lady Gage
    “Prince Philip used to call Firle Place the prettiest little house he ever knew.” - Lady Gage
    About the Guest and Stately Home:
    Alexandra, Viscountess Gage is the current custodian of Firle Place with her husband, Nicholas, 8th Viscount Gage. The couple married in 2009 and have one son together. Alongside being custodian of Firle, Lady Gage has her own skincare range called 'Beauty Energy Balms', made by hand on the estate from herbs grown in the garden. Of the collection she says: “I would say that it’s been a labour of love, except that it’s felt like more love than labour,” The products are on Firle’s website and in the gift shop.
    The history of Firle Place is the history of the one family; the Gages. The house was built by Sir John Gage in 1473 and there have been Gages at Firle ever since. During the Tudor period, Sir John Gage, KG (1479-1556) had a distinguished political career. He served as Governor of Calais and Constable of the Tower of London. The transformation of Firle from a Tudor manor to an elegant Georgian home, was the work of Sir William Gage in the early 18th century and completed by his cousin, the 1st Viscount Gage, who inherited the estate in 1744. Major interior features include the neo-classical Drawing Room, designed by William Kent, and the Long Gallery, the work of Scottish architect Colen Campbell. The Long Gallery displays the internationally important Cowper Collection of fine art, amassed by the 3rd Earl Cowper, one of the great art collectors of the 18th century. The house is also known for its beauty and wonderful collection of books.
    About the Host:
    Emma, Duchess of Rutland, grew up far away from the world of the aristocracy. Born Emma Watkins, the Duchess grew up the daughter of a Quaker farmer, in the Welsh countryside. She trained as an opera singer in the Guildhall School of Music, and worked as a successful interior designer before meeting her future husband David Manners, the 11th Duke of Rutland, at a dinner party. Their marriage in 1992 thrust Emma into a new world, which included the responsibility of preserving one of the nation's greatest stately homes: Belvoir Castle. While simultaneously running the day to day operations of the castle, and raising five children, the Duchess became fascinated with the history and importance of the other stately homes of the UK. Join Emma as she embarks on a wonderful journey through time, to learn more about the incredible homes that have defined Great Britain and, most importantly, meet the other extraordinary women who work tirelessly in the background, to preserve their homes history and magic for future generations.
    Resources:
    https://firle.com/ (https://firle.com/)
    https://www.belvoircastle.com/ (https://www.belvoircastle.com/)
    https://www.onefineplay.com/ (https://www.onefineplay.com/)
    https://www.emmaduchessrutland.com/ (https://www.emmaduchessrutland.com/)

    • 33 min
    Duchess, the Jubilee Special

    Duchess, the Jubilee Special

    Episode Description:
    Welcome back to a very special episode of the Duchess podcast.
    The weekend of the 3rd of June has just passed and we enjoyed a wonderful weekend of platinum jubilee celebrations for our Queen Elizabeth II.
    So to celebrate Queen Elizabeth we have decided to have a special episode dedicated to her and the royal family.
    To start, we will have one of our favourite guests back on the podcast, Lady Derby of Knowsley Hall, who will share some of her own stories involving the royal family and her personal feelings on the incredible celebrations this weekend. We will then play some of our favourite clips from the podcast that have featured stories and anecdotes about the Queen and her family.
    So please join us for this very special Jubilee episode of the podcast - this is Duchess.
    Top Quotes:
    “What the Jubilee meant to me is just bringing everyone together. Nobody does pageantry better than the British. It didn’t matter what age you were, what nationality. Everyone celebrated the hear and the now.” - Lady Derby
    “It was very emotional saying thank you to someone who has dedicated her life to the service of her country. She has carried it so lightly. One never feels it’s a burden with her but a joy.” - Lady Derby


    About the Guest and Stately Home:
    Lady Derby, born Caroline Emma Neville, grew up in the stately home Audley End of the historic House of Neville. She studied History and History of Art in London City University before working as Assistant Surveyor to the Queen’s Pictures. She met her husband Edward Stanley, 9th Earl of Derby, in 1994. The couple would marry and have three children.
    Knowsley Hall was built in the 1500s and has housed the Stanely’s for 500 years.
    The Stanley’s are one of the most illustrious families in British history, with famous knights, prime ministers, and politicians all hailing lineage. The Derby race was named after them, as is The Stanley Cup in hockey. Now visitors flock to Knowsley Hall all year round to enjoy its many works of art, events and safari park.


    About the Host:
    Emma Rutland, The Duchess of Rutland, did not always stride the halls of stately homes. Born Emma Watkins, the Duchess grew up the daughter of a Quaker farmer, in the Welsh marsh countryside. She trained as an opera singer in the Guildhall School of Music, and worked as a successful interior designer before meeting her future husband David Manners, the 11th Duke of Rutland, at a dinner party. Their marriage in 1992 would transform Emma Watkins into the 11th Duchess of Rutland, thrusting her into the world of aristocracy, and handing her the responsibility of one of the nation's great treasures: Belvoir Castle. While simultaneously running the day to day operations of the castle, and raising five children, The Duchess became fascinated with the history and importance of the other stately homes of the UK. Join The Duchess as she embarks on a wonderful journey through time, to learn more about the incredible homes that have defined Great Britain and, most importantly, meet the other extraordinary women who work tirelessly behind their doors to preserve their history and magic for future generations.


    Resources:
    https://knowsleyhallvenue.co.uk/ (https://knowsleyhallvenue.co.uk/)
    https://www.belvoircastle.com/ (https://www.belvoircastle.com/)
    https://www.onefineplay.com/ (https://www.onefineplay.com/)
    https://www.emmaduchessrutland.com/ (https://www.emmaduchessrutland.com/)

    • 42 min
    Paris Ackrill of Broughton Hall

    Paris Ackrill of Broughton Hall

    Episode Description:
    In this episode, the Duchess meets online with Paris Ackrill of Broughton Hall and Sanctuary. The Duchess talks to Paris about the trailblazing transformation she’s leading at the estate, we learn about the Victorian ‘wonder woman’ who lived at Broughton, and Emma discuss with Paris, some of the important sustainability projects they are developing on the estate.
    Top Quotes:
    “I really hope that we can be a lighthouse. A beacon of hope that shines out to anyone in need for people from all walks of life and backgrounds. That’s what I want Broughton Hall to become.” - Paris Ackrill
    “What becoming a custodian has taught me is that: 'with privilege comes responsibility'.” - Paris Ackrill
    About the Guest and Stately Home:
    Paris Ackrill is the current custodian of Broughton Hall with her partner Roger Tempest, she previously worked as an artist. Roger descended from the Tempest Baronets who have lived at Broughton Hall for 32 generations. The couple have one child together. Paris and Roger are co-founders of the Avalon Wellbeing Centre at Broughton. Paris is also a wellbeing guide, dedicated to the path of spiritual and personal growth through a holistic and embodied approach.
    Broughton Hall is a grade 1 listened 16th century country house in Yorkshire. The house is an Elizabethan construction, enveloped in Georgian 19th century elaborations of pale golden stone. It resides at the centre of a 3000 acre estate, including farmland, woodland, moorland, meadows and views of the Yorkshire Dales. The Broughton Hall Estate has been home to the Tempest family since 1097. The Tempest's are believed to have come to England from Normandy during William the Conqueror’s 1066 invasion of England, and were given land in thanks for their support during the invasion. The Tempests are one of England’s oldest Catholic landed families. Roger’s sisters Bridget and Annie are artists. Annie is best known for her 'Tottering-by-Gently' cartoons for Country Life magazine, which features a family of eccentric aristocrats.
    About the Host:
    Emma, Duchess of Rutland, grew up far away from the world of the aristocracy. Born Emma Watkins, the Duchess grew up the daughter of a Quaker farmer, in the Welsh countryside. She trained as an opera singer in the Guildhall School of Music, and worked as a successful interior designer before meeting her future husband David Manners, the 11th Duke of Rutland, at a dinner party. Their marriage in 1992 thrust Emma into a new world, which included the responsibility of preserving one of the nation's greatest stately homes: Belvoir Castle. While simultaneously running the day to day operations of the castle, and raising five children, the Duchess became fascinated with the history and importance of the other stately homes of the UK. Join Emma as she embarks on a wonderful journey through time, to learn more about the incredible homes that have defined Great Britain and, most importantly, meet the other extraordinary women who work tirelessly in the background, to preserve their homes history and magic for future generations.
    Resources:
    https://www.broughtonhall.co.uk/ (https://www.broughtonhall.co.uk/)
    https://www.belvoircastle.com/ (https://www.belvoircastle.com/)
    https://www.onefineplay.com/ (https://www.onefineplay.com/)
    https://www.emmaduchessrutland.com/ (https://www.emmaduchessrutland.com/)
    Follow @avalonwellbeing and @broughtonsanctaury on Instagram
    https://www.instagram.com/broughtonsanctuary/?hl=en
    https://www.instagram.com/avalonwellbeing/?hl=en

    • 38 min
    Alice Kennard of Forde Abbey

    Alice Kennard of Forde Abbey

    Episode Description:
    In this episode, the Duchess meets Alice Kennard of Forde Abbey. Alice describes the fascinating monastic history of Forde Abbey, and why it was so important in its time. We also hear from Alice about the beauty of her award winning gardens, and we learn all about the famous Mortlake tapestry that used to hang in the Abbey.
    Top Quotes:
    “I feel there is a pressure to produce that clinical visitor experience the National Trust do, which I’m determined not to do. Here, they do see the family working bits, they do see our dogs coming out of the house, they do see people living in the grounds. I think its more welcoming!” - Alice Kennard
    “I always say it’s a partnership with people running private heritage. It’s a big welcoming handshake saying come in. Share our home. We’re all doing our little bit to hand this over to another generation.” - Emma Rutland
    About the Guest and Stately Home:
    Alice Kennard was born to Mark and Lisa Roper. Her parents were custodians of Forde Abbey for decades, and Alice is the fourth generation of Ropers to live at Forde. Alice studied Land Management at Cirencester, where she met her husband Julian in 1997. The couple married and moved into the Home Farm on the Forde Abbey estate.
    Forde Abbey is a Grade I listed building within 1,600 acres of land. The house is set on the banks of the River Axe, close to where the borders of Devon, Somerset and Dorset intersect. Founded in the twelfth century, Forde Abbey was a monastery for four hundred years, during which time it became one of the richest and most learned institutions in England. After the dissolution of the larger monasteries in 1539, the Abbey was handed over over to the Crown. In 1649, Forde was purchased by Edmund Prideaux, Member of Parliament for Lyme Regis. He was largely responsible for transforming Forde Abbey from a Monastic residence to a private home. The Mortlake Tapestries used to hang on the walls in The Saloon, now in the VandA, and replaced by copies at Forde. Forde Abbey has also been featured in 2015’s Far From the Maddening Crowd, 1995’s Restoration and 2002’s BBC adaptation of Daniel Deronda.
    About the Host:
    Emma, Duchess of Rutland, grew up far away from the world of the aristocracy. Born Emma Watkins, the Duchess grew up the daughter of a Quaker farmer, in the Welsh countryside. She trained as an opera singer in the Guildhall School of Music, and worked as a successful interior designer before meeting her future husband David Manners, the 11th Duke of Rutland, at a dinner party. Their marriage in 1992 thrust Emma into a new world, which included the responsibility of preserving one of the nation's greatest stately homes: Belvoir Castle. While simultaneously running the day to day operations of the castle, and raising five children, the Duchess became fascinated with the history and importance of the other stately homes of the UK. Join Emma as she embarks on a wonderful journey through time, to learn more about the incredible homes that have defined Great Britain and, most importantly, meet the other extraordinary women who work tirelessly in the background, to preserve their homes history and magic for future generations.
    Resources:
    https://www.fordeabbey.co.uk/ (https://www.fordeabbey.co.uk/)
    https://www.belvoircastle.com/ (https://www.belvoircastle.com/)
    https://www.onefineplay.com/ (https://www.onefineplay.com/)
    https://www.emmaduchessrutland.com/ (https://www.emmaduchessrutland.com/)

    • 38 min
    Lady Inglewood of Hutton-in-the-Forest

    Lady Inglewood of Hutton-in-the-Forest

    Episode Description:
    In this episode, the Duchess meets Lady Inglewood of Hutton-In-The-Forest. In the episode, we learn about Hutton's incredible architecture, Lady Inglewood takes us through her exceptional gardening pedigree, and she also discusses with Emma the serendipitous origins of Hutton's world famous Potfest.
    Top Quotes:
    “Living in this house, and getting older yourself, you realise a hundred years isn’t very long. Time is a telescope.” - Lady Inglewood
    “To preserve this place for future generations you need to work with the building.” - Lady Inglewood
    About the Guest and Stately Home:
    Lady Inglewood is the current custodian of Hutton-In-The-Forest with her husband Richard, Lord Inglewood. The couple have three grown up children together. Before becoming custodian of Hutton, Lady Inglewood was also a professional garden photographer for many years working on books for many publishers such as The National Trust.
    Hutton-in-the-Forest is a Grade I listed castled house. The oldest part of Hutton-in-the-Forest is the Pele Tower, built in c. 1350 when the de Hoton family lived on the estate. It was built to fend off the threat from the Scots to the north. Originally it had a moat, and was added onto by successive generations in the local pink sandstone. This classical, almost rococo renaissance facade was built in the time of Sir George Fletcher 2nd Bart in 1685. The light coloured stonework and the delicate classical features contrast dramatically with the rest of the building. In the 19th century the interiors were redone by famous arts and crafts designer William Morris. According to legend, Hutton-in-the-Forest is the Greene Knight’s Castle in the Arthurian story of Sir Gawain and the Greene Knight. Hutton-In-The-Forest also hosts the world famous arts and crafts fair 'Potfest' and the estate has a highly coveted collection of contemporary ceramics today.
    About the Host:
    Emma, Duchess of Rutland, grew up far away from the world of the aristocracy. Born Emma Watkins, the Duchess grew up the daughter of a Quaker farmer, in the Welsh countryside. She trained as an opera singer in the Guildhall School of Music, and worked as a successful interior designer before meeting her future husband David Manners, the 11th Duke of Rutland, at a dinner party. Their marriage in 1992 thrust Emma into a new world, which included the responsibility of preserving one of the nation's greatest stately homes: Belvoir Castle. While simultaneously running the day to day operations of the castle, and raising five children, the Duchess became fascinated with the history and importance of the other stately homes of the UK. Join Emma as she embarks on a wonderful journey through time, to learn more about the incredible homes that have defined Great Britain and, most importantly, meet the other extraordinary women who work tirelessly in the background, to preserve their homes history and magic for future generations.
    Resources:
    https://hutton-in-the-forest.co.uk/ (https://hutton-in-the-forest.co.uk/)
    https://www.belvoircastle.com/ (https://www.belvoircastle.com/)
    https://www.onefineplay.com/ (https://www.onefineplay.com/)
    https://www.emmaduchessrutland.com/ (https://www.emmaduchessrutland.com/)

    • 34 min
    Virginia Grant of Kingston Bagpuize House

    Virginia Grant of Kingston Bagpuize House

    Episode Description:
    This week, the Duchess meets the brilliant Virginia Grant of Kingston Bagpuize House. In this episode, the Duchess learns about the perfect architectural symmetry of Kingston Bagpuize, we are taken on a tour through the rare fauna on the estate, and Virginia reveals what it’s really like to have Maggie Smith in your home.
    Top Quotes:
    “My guidance to future generations would be don’t ignore what your predecessors did. It’s so important you preserve the estates. It’s so important to realise you have this jewel and you must look after it properly.” - Virginia Grant
    “These homes, this is part of OUR heritage and I mean our heritage as a country. We have this extraordinary wealth of art, of buildings, of scenery. In time, when there are houses all around them these estates will be an oasis for people to enjoy.” - Virginia Grant
    About the Guest and Stately Home:
    Virginia Grant is a qualified barrister and the current custodian of Kingston Bagpuize House and Garden. Virginia married Francis Tollemache Grant, son of Sir Francis Cullen Grant of Monymusk, 12th Baronet in 1993. The couple had two children together Elizabeth and Alexander and, following the passing of her husband in 2003, Virginia became responsible for the management, maintenance and development of the house, its gardens, parkland and the estate buildings.
    Kingston Bagpuize House is an historic stately home that sits in the village Kingston Bagpuize in Oxfordshire. Thought to have been built originally in the 1660's, the house seen today is largely the result of remodelling done in the early 1700's. The beautiful gardens at Kingston Bagpuize House were created by Miss Raphael and contains a notable collection of unusual trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs. Kingston Bagpuize House was used as the set of 'Cavenham Park', the residence of 'Lord Merton', in the television series Downton Abbey. It was also used as 'Mrs Goddard's School' in the 2020 feature film Emma.
    About the Host:
    Emma Rutland, The Duchess of Rutland, did not always stride the halls of stately homes. Born Emma Watkins, the Duchess grew up the daughter of a Quaker farmer, in the Welsh marsh countryside. She trained as an opera singer in the Guildhall School of Music, and worked as a successful interior designer before meeting her future husband David Manners, the 11th Duke of Rutland, at a dinner party. Their marriage in 1992 would transform Emma Watkins into the 11th Duchess of Rutland, thrusting her into the world of aristocracy, and handing her the responsibility of one of the nation's great treasures: Belvoir Castle. While simultaneously running the day to day operations of the castle, and raising five children, The Duchess became fascinated with the history and importance of the other stately homes of the UK. Join The Duchess as she embarks on a wonderful journey through time, to learn more about the incredible homes that have defined Great Britain and, most importantly, meet the other extraordinary women who work tirelessly behind their doors to preserve their history and magic for future generations.
    Resources:
    https://kbhevents.uk/ (https://kbhevents.uk/)
    https://www.belvoircastle.com/ (https://www.belvoircastle.com/)
    https://www.onefineplay.com/ (https://www.onefineplay.com/)
    https://www.emmaduchessrutland.com/ (https://www.emmaduchessrutland.com/)
    https://www.duchessthepodcast.com/
    https://www.abercrombiekent.co.uk/about-us/partners/duchess

    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
229 Ratings

229 Ratings

Lalapokiegirl ,

Wonderful

This is my second time listening to this podcast! Thank you for shining a light on these smart, interesting women! I can’t wait for a new season!

ltbpt ,

So much potential!

I have enjoyed this pod since the beginning thanks to a rec from a smart friend. It provides wonderful insight into the lifeblood of magnificent UK homes. The female stewards that are interviewed are unceasingly gifted in their knowledge of the history of their homes. They are almost always warm and humble now matter how grand their upbringing. You will always learn something new even if you have visited the location in the past.
However, there is so much more potential to make the interviews more professional. The reliance on very poor mic and audio for Emma the host is puzzling. Her lovely voice is almost inaudible. The guest’s audio is always much better.
And two years on the remote interview format for such a small geographic region is not necessary. An additional video format on Youtube would make it really engaging and would help monetize the interviews to support the properties.

grace.for.today ,

Completely Charmed

What a charming and completely fascinating podcast! Thank you for taking us inside these homes and introducing us to these incredible women. A thoroughly enjoyable listen!

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