On this week’s episode of Duchess, our host meets Hollywood actress and Countess of Devon, A.J. Devon. The Countess opens up about her career in Hollywood, explains the difficulty of transitioning to a life in the peerage, the Duchess quizzes her on the amazing history of Powderham, and we hear how the Countess’ will transform the estate into a community space for wellness, health, and happiness.
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.
“ I did realise these houses can eat you.I did lose myself to this house” - The Countess of Devon
“I wasn’t brought up to be beautiful. I was brought up to be authentic, empowered, and to use my voice.” - The Countess of Devon
“Running these homes, there’s an immense need and expectation to take care of our communities.”- The Duchess of Rutland
“We can get caught up in the bricks and mortar. But it's our souls that we really put into these homes.” - The Duchess of Rutland
“I will always remember the late Duchess of Devonshire’s advice: You must run it; It must not run you.” - The Duchess of Rutland
About the Guest and Stately Home:
Deep in the picturesque county of sunkissed Devon, is one the UK’s most unique manor homes: Powderham. With its unique combination of Georgian, Victorian and Gothic architecture, battlement towers, and crenellations, Powderham’s exterior is an extraordinary sight. Many of the lavish interiors are simply spectacular, such as the turquoise Rococo staircase, or the incredible music room, designed by venerated architect James Wyatt. Like the richness of appearance, the estate has a rich history. Seat of the Earls of Devon, the manor of Powderham appeared in the Doomsday Book, and has remained in the Courtenay family for 600 years. One of the more well known Viscounts was the third, William Courtenay who, along with adding many of the extraordinary features of the estate, would scandalise the family and be forcefully exiled due to his sexual orientation.
Now, Lord Devon runs the estate with his wife Countess of Devon - Hollywood actress A.J. Devon of My So Called Life, Baywatch, and Private Practice. Together, the couple have two children, and have worked at transforming Powderham into a community oriented space promoting health, happiness, and freedom of expression.
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.