Sarah Troughton of Blair Castle


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Episode Description:

In this episode of Duchess, Emma Rutland meets the wonderful Sarah Troughton, custodian of one of Scotland’s most enchanting stately homes - Blair Castle. In the episode, Sarah reveals how the Dukes of Atholl, who once called Blair their home, inherited the title of Lord of Mann - head of state of the Isle of Man. The Duchess is given the background on the Atholl Highlanders - Europe’s last private army, and we’re introduced to a former custodian who was not only the first female minister of state, but who also stood against Hitler.

Top Quotes:

“My greatest ambition with Blair Castle is to keep everything in tact but also to move with the times.” - Sarah Troughton

“My advice to future custodians is to enjoy it. Remember to get to know everyone. Be observant, conserve and introduce new ideas.” - Sarah Troughton

About the Guest and Stately Home:

Sarah Troughton is a half-sister of the late Iain, 10th Duke of Atholl and she is the Head Trustee of the Blair Atholl Estate. Sarah is descended from a long line of incredible women. She was also the 21st Grand Master of the Keepers of the Quaich: an exclusive and international society that recognises those that have shown outstanding commitment to the Scotch Whisky industry. Her husband is the architect Jamie Troughton.

Blair Castle is one of Scotland's greatest castles, seated in the Highlands of Scotland near the village of Blair Atholl in Perthshire. It is the ancestral home of the Murray Clan, and was historically the seat of their chieftain, the Duke of Atholl. The castle is a category A listed building, and the grounds are included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland, the national listing of significant gardens. Blair is also the home to the Atholl Highlanders which is the only remaining private army in Europe, and act as the personal bodyguard to the Dukes of Atholl.

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.


43 episodes