When her husband, Andrew, died and her son became the Duke of Devonshire, Deborah assumed the title of Dowager Duchess and moved from Chatsworth to take up residence at the Old Vicarage in the nearby village of Edensor. She took with her the most important and sentimental things from her full life and continued to live in her own inimitable fashion. She said of the move: “A few precious things are lost in a move but many are found.”

In her 2006 book, Home to Roost, the Duchess of Devonshire described her move from Chatsworth, which had been her home for more than half of her life, to the Old Vicarage. One of the luxuries of living in Chatsworth, she wrote, was never having to look “at anything ugly because you were surrounded by the best of everything from four centuries.” Choosing what she would bring to her new home amounted to “decisions as to what to take from the quart jug to fit into the pint pot.” But together with her most treasured objects, jewellery and furniture she brought her inimitable taste and style to the Old Vicarage.