meet-the-glittering-mitford-scions

Meet the glittering Mitford scions

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The Hon. Diana Mitford with her two sons and sister, Unity Mitford, in 1935

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Recognised for their beauty, eccentricity, conflicting political views and sharp intellect, the Mitford sisters were undoubtedly the ultimate It Girls of the 20th century. Everyone was captivated by ‘The Six’; whether it was Evelyn Waugh who spent over two decades writing 500 letters to Nancy, Cecil Beaton who captured Diana in theatrical costume time and time again, or youngest sister, Deborah, who later became Britain’s most loved Duchess as The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire.

As we look forward to tuning into Emily Mortimer’s BBC adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s bestselling novel The Pursuit of Love, attention turns to the present generation of Mitford descendants – who all exude the same glamour and talent their grandmothers and great-grandmothers once did.

  • Nancy Morrison

    Nancy Morrison is the eldest daughter of Lady Sophia Topley (née Cavendish) and granddaughter of the youngest Mitford sister, Deborah, the late Duchess of Devonshire. The 26-year-old fashion enthusiast certainly takes after her grandmother’s impeccable sense of style. Nancy works on her fashionable sock company, NM Designs, from her studio on her father Lord Margadale’s family estate, Fonthill in Wiltshire. When Nancy isn’t in Wiltshire creating sumptuous cashmere socks, you will likely find her hanging out with close friend Celina d’Abo at The Builders Arms in Chelsea.

  • Earl and Countess of Burlington

    Former fashion editor turned fashion consultant, Laura married Deborah Mitford’s eldest son, photographer William Cavendish, Earl of Burlington in 2007. The creative duo have continued the dazzling Duchess of Devonshire’s legacy at Chatsworth; where the estate’s exquisite gardens draw over 600,000 annual visitors, the elegant farm shop continues to delight locals and Chatsworth’s chickens still roam freely across the lawns surrounding the house. In 2017, the Countess of Burlington brought the fashion crowd to Chatsworth for the exhibition ‘House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth’. Laura dived into the family’s fashion archives to showcase the Devonshires’ dashing style through time – a particular highlight included Deborah Mitford’s husband, the 11th Duke of Devonshire’s ‘comedy jumper’ reading ‘never marry a Mitford’. Now Laura and William spend time getting lost in Chatsworth’s magnificent woods, cycling through Derbyshire, as well as assisting further exhibitions at the house – such as the current collection of 15th century hunting tapestries on display in collaboration with the V&A.

  • Cecily Lasnet

    Cecily Lasnet, the 20-year-old daughter of the late Stella Tennant and her husband, David Lasnet, most notably stunned the crowd of aristocratic guests at Le Bal Haute Couture in 2017. The graceful debutante danced through The Peninsula Hotel in a glittering Chanel Couture gown – described touchingly by her mother as like ‘watching a butterfly float around the room’. Cecily encapsulated the same elegance that her great-grandmother, Deborah Mitford, once did as one of the 20th century’s most dazzling debutantes. In fact, Cecily and the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire share a number of similarities; their love of the countryside (Cecily lives in Scotland), a sharp eye for fashion and a love of literature (the 20-year-old is currently reading English at Oxford).

  • The Hon. Daphne Guinness

    There is no doubt that Daphne Guinness’ piercing blue eyes, fair hair and porcelain skin bears striking resemblance to her grandmother, Diana Mitford. Daphne is the youngest daughter of Jonathan Guinness, 3rd Baron Moyne – the eldest son from Diana’s first marriage to Bryan Guinness. Guinness described her childhood as ‘happy and slightly unconventional’ in an interview recalling her time spent between the Guinness’ estate in Ireland, Lugga and Cadaqués in Spain where Man Ray and Salvador Dalí would visit the family. Since then, Daphne has taken up a successful singing career and is often referred to as the ‘Artsy Aristo’ since she has been a muse for the likes of Alexander McQueen and photographer Nick Knight (just as Diana Mitford was to Cecil Beaton, when the society photographer captured the bohemian socialite during the 1920s).

  • Nicolas Niarchos

    When it comes to Mitford scions, Nicolas Niarchos has certainly inherited the writing skills evidenced by the bestselling sisters (Nancy’s The Pursuit of Love has sold over 200,000 copies worldwide). The 32-year-old son of Daphne Guinness and the great-grandson of Diana Mitford, spends his time reporting for The New Yorker on Africa’s oldest conflicts, interviewing locals in Yemen to help bring light to humanitarian issues or writing about Brooklyn’s booming pirate-radio scene.

  • Lord Elcho

    Dick Elcho is the son of Catherine Guinness and the great-grandson of Diana Mitford. He is a lawyer and a Westminster councillor. When Richard isn’t resolving door security for Westminster Housing or attending dazzling parties alongside his Hesketh sisters, he divides his time between his family’s estates, Gosford House in Scotland and Stanway House in Gloucestershire, which rather wonderfully, is just a stone’s throw away from the Mitford’s childhood home, Asthall Manor.

  • Lady Mary Charteris

    As the daughter of Catherine Guinness, Mary Charteris is a rock and roll singer and the great-granddaughter of Diana Mitford (from her first marriage to Bryan Guinness). The 34-year-old is currently expecting her first child with The Big Pink singer, her husband, Robbie Furze. Mary continues the family’s strong line of It Girls which her great-grandmother began a century ago. Find her DJing in her new pad in London or practising yoga on the beach in Mexico.

  • Louis Mosley

    Louis Mosley, is the eldest grandson of Sir Oswald and Diana Mosley (née Mitford) and head of London operations for data firm, Palantir. Before Mosley’s successful career at the sleek software company (which had a role in tracking down terrorist Bin Laden in 2011), the 38-year-old was a Conservative party activist. Politics has run through Louis’ family for generations as his grandparents, Sir Oswald and Diana Mosley, became key figures in Britain’s far-right political movement in the 1930s.

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