Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

A Woman of Strength Long before Lady Diana

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

A Woman of Strength Long before Lady Diana

Article excerpt

BASED on the true story of the beautiful, powerful and notoriously scandalous Duchess of Devonshire, The Duchess tells the tale of a woman who became one of the world's first celebrities amd was adored by all the people of England, save one - her husband, the Duke.

Once she married him, she would attain the very heights of society. Whatever she wore would become the fashion of the day. Whatever party she threw would be the place to be. And whoever desired political office would seek out her influential endorsement.

Yet, for all her power and notoriety, for all the affection she received from the masses, she would have to break all of society's rules and sacrifice everything to set her own passionate heart free.

If this story sounds decidedly contemporary, that might be in part because the Duchess of Devonshire, Georgiana Spencer, shares a twin destiny of fame and adoration, as well as adultery and controversy, with an ancestor who lived 200 years later - Lady Diana, the Princess of Wales.

And the similarities between the two women are striking.

Although Georgiana was born in a time of rigid social rules and extraordinary aristocratic power, she was, like Diana, a vivacious, bright, alluring woman who transcended the constraints of the world around her, including a series of gossip-sparking affairs, to become a fiercely beloved icon. She was a woman who, when it was all threatened, revealed remarkable inner strength.

The story of The Duchess recently came to public fascination with the publication of Amanda Foreman's best-seller Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire, which won the Whitbread Award for Best Biography.

Of the book, popular historian Simon Schama said: "Georgiana bursts from the pages of this dazzling biography like the force of nature she undoubtedly was - passionate, political, addicted to gambling and drunk on life . . . an astonishing book about an astonishing woman".

So astonishing was the work that, it seemed destined for the screen.

It was about everything that fascinates us still - love, sex, politics, scandals, wealth, fashion, betrayal and the audacity of an extraordinary woman to rise above it all. …

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