Highclere castle has become iconic in it’s own right. Not just because it is the real castle where the fictional Downton Abbey is set, but also because is the home of Lord and Lady Carnavan. In the 1920’s, the 5th Lord Carnavon teamed up with Howard Carter to locate and excavate King Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Lady Almina And The Real Downton Abbey , written by Lady Fiona Carnavon, is the non fiction story of her husband’s great-grandmother, Lady Almina, 5th Countess of Carnavon. Like her fictional counterpart, Lady Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern), Almina is the illegitimate daughter of the wealthy industrialist, Alfred de Rothschild and his married mistress, Marie Wombwell. Almina is 19 when she marries; she brings to her husband a fortune that will save his family and his home. They will eventually have two children. During WWI, Almina opens her home the soldiers returning from the front.
I found this book to be fascinating. While Downton Abbey fans know the fictional Crawley family and their servants, the story of the real life Highclere castle and the Carnavon family is just as impressive a story.
I recommend this book.