Discover the Real Stories
At Home at Highclere: Entertaining at The Real Downton Abbey
Highclere works hard to steer a steady course in today’s world, but the Castle was built for entertainment and pleasure, for convivial weekends. I hope this book gives a glimpse inside a great house, with mouth-watering recipes, eye-catching photographs and fascinating stories about some of the remarkable people who have stayed here.’ - Lady Carnarvon
This book tells the story four real life weekends - from 1866 to 1936 - when the great and the good gathered at Highclere to change the world in some large or small part.
Lady Carnarvon’s love of history is richly rewarded at Highclere Castle with its mine of family records going back some 300 years. She has delved into the archives to create a book that invites you inside the Castle, past and present. Throughout the centuries, Highclere has welcomed Royalty, Statesmen, Egyptologists and pioneers of technology along with men and women from the worlds of music, art and letters. The etiquette of the invitation, the balance of guests at a weekend house party, their ‘placement’ at dinners, and the entertainment of friends, as well as the domestic management required to execute the perfect occasion, have all preoccupied successive generations of châtelaines. This book tells the story four real life weekends - from 1866 to 1936 - when the great and the good gathered at Highclere to change the world in some large or small part. It then reflects on how the current Countess entertains 'At Home' at Highclere today.
Lady Catherine and the real Downton abbey
“Gossipy and fun, with a good history lesson—sure to delight Downton Abbey fans.” — Kirkus Reviews
Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story of the beautiful American girl who lived at Highclere Castle, the setting for Julian Fellowes' award winning drama "Downton Abbey". Glamorous and wealthy, Catherine became the toast of London society and married the son of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, Lord Porchester, or 'Porchey', as he was known.
At just 19, Catherine had to learn how to organise and host the lavish banquets and weekend house parties that Porchy so loved. She found herself suddenly in charge of the more than eighty staff working at Highclere Castle. One of the first challenges they both had to face was to save Highclere Castle from being sold to pay enormous death duties for which they were liable after the death of the 5th Earl of Carnarvon.
As the decade of the 1930’s developed their marriage sadly did not survive and Catherine moved to London. The book follows the lives and challenges of upstairs and downstairs as World War two became imminent. Highclere was transformed into a home for evacuee children and the whole estate was turned over to the war effort to survive the German blockade and helped train allied soldiers.
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey
'A loving and faithful portrait of Almina and her world.' - BBC Countryfile
Just 19 when she married the 5th Earl, Almina was actually the illegitimate daughter of Alfred de Rothschild. She arrived with a stupendous dowry and the book moves on to uncover many fascinating stories on life, both upstairs and downstairs, at the Castle during Edwardian times. She attended the funeral of Queen Victoria, the coronation of Edward VII and all the other grand and royal events.
Life changed in August 1914 when the First World War broke out and Almina rolled up her sleeves, turned Highclere Castle into a hospital and began to admit patients coming back from the trenches.
The stories of the men whose lives and limbs she saved are moving and fascinating and provide an excellent reading companion to the fictional portrayal of the convalescent home in Downton Abbey.
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