Canada and Highclere Castle - The Birth of a Nation

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

With Canada Day just around the corner, Highclere Castle was delighted to welcome the Canadian High Commissioner and other Canadian guests to our Canada 150 event on Wednesday 27th June.

After spending time researching three unusual names in the Castle visitor book of 1866, Lady Carnarvon uncovered the story behind the birth of Canada as a nation and the Fourth Earl of Carnarvon’s role on the world stage.

Among other stories, Lady Carnarvon has discovered in the archives nearly eight weeks of almost daily correspondence between the Earl of Carnarvon and the first Prime Minister of Canada. Diary entries and letters show the discussion of key elements of the Canadian Constitution, such as the terms of the Senators and the respective powers of the federal and local legislatures.

It is clear that Highclere Castle was at the very centre of the discussions surrounding the British North American Bill and its drafting. Indeed, it was the Fourth Earl himself who took the British North America Act to Parliament in 1867, which led to the creation of the Dominion of Canada on July 1st of the same year.

Over 40 Canadians embarked on our ‘Constitutional Walk’ through the Castle’s rooms and followed in the footsteps of John A. Macdonald, Cartier and Galt, Founding Fathers of Canada. Fantastic discussions were had, and a couple of tears were shed, about this amazing piece of Highclere history.

The High Commissioner congratulated Lady Carnarvon on her research and thanked her for bringing this untold story to light.

The event was broadcast on national and international news channels.