My job is to know what can be achieved here, and to initiate things in the estate's best interests. I also have to keep in focus my personal endeavours, like writing and painting. I'm not an idle person - looking at the quantity of mural space I've covered here, and the seven million words I've written in my memoirs, it's difficult to argue I haven't been hardworking.
HOW DID YOU GET THE JOB?
I inherited the title in 1992, when my father died. Growing up, I assumed I'd be in charge of it all one day, so I wasn't intimidated by the idea. The first time I was aware that Longleat was such a big place was at my preparatory school. One of the masters told the others that I had the biggest house in England. It wasn't true, but it jolted me into the realisation that others had that perception of me.
DOES THE REALITY MATCH THE DREAM?
I do regard myself as lucky - I don't have to worry about building a place, and looking after the estate is a readymade job. But one can't help being aware that my position prompts envy. I often find myself being defensive. I have to show I'm not a fascist monster or whatever. If I hear that one is an idle aristocrat resting on his laurels upon what previous generations have laid up for him, it does offend.