My husband, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon, and I have the enormous privilege and pleasure of living in, and taking care of, my husband’s family home, Highclere Castle, which is better known to many people as the setting for the popular television programme “Downton Abbey”. Thanks to this series, our home has, over the last seven years, become one of the most well-known and iconic houses in the world.
My blog is my way of trying to share the stories and heritage of this wonderful building and estate, and all the people and animals that live and work here, so that you can get to know and love it as I do. Surrounded by so much history, I try to turn the stories into ways of drawing people into Highclere’s world.
I started my career as an author by writing the guidebook to Highclere followed by a second one on the Egyptian exhibition we have at the Castle, celebrating the 5th Earls’ achievement of discovering the tomb of Tutankhamun with Howard Carter. Later I had the idea of writing two historical biographies, each about one of my predecessors at the Castle. “Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey” covers the First World War when Highclere really was turned into a hospital just like in the TV series, whilst “Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey” looks at the twenties and thirties and the Second World War through the real inhabitants of the Castle, both upstairs and downstairs. I then went on to write “At Home at Highclere”, a wonderfully illustrated insight into life at Highclere Castle over the last 200 years. The key themes of this are food and entertaining so it includes some of my husband’s and my favourite recipes as well as descriptions of various famous guests who have stayed here and the house parties they were part of.
My latest book “Christmas at Highclere: Recipes and Traditions from the Real Downton Abbey” takes you behind the scenes and share the history and the rituals that make my home the most magical place to be throughout the festive season.
My blog is written from the heart, it reflects what I like to think of as the organised chaos of living with seven dogs, rather too many horses and ponies, my chickens, sheep and a husband and son who perhaps don’t always see things exactly the way I do. There are endless issues with ancient and fragile buildings, the landscapes, gardens and the farm as well as a cast of wonderful real people, full of their own stories and characters.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.