On 14th March 1923, Lord Carnarvon had taken the train from Luxor to Cairo. A few days later Eve, his daughter told Howard Carter that her father felt very “seedy. ” Just a few weeks earlier, Carnarvon and his team had broken through a false wall in the tomb of Tutankhamun to reveal the Shrine room, but he had then decided to close the tomb so they could all take time out to conserve and understand the next stage strength before continuing in an organised manner. The 5th Earl of Carnarvon was staying in Hotel Continental, his large peaceful room opened onto a beautiful garden square and he loved to sit and listen to the familiar hubbub of the city’s daily life seeping in through the long French window.
However, suffering from pneumonia compounded with septicaemia from an infected mosquito bite, by the last days of March 1923 Carnarvon was hovering in and out of consciousness. Weakened and exhausted before the age of antibiotics, the best efforts of his doctors and family were to no effect and even a message of encouragement from King George V fell on deaf ears.
His wife Almina had rushed out from Highclere to be by his bedside and had immediately created a sense of hope given her expertise from her work in her hospital during the First World War. She had had so much success nursing the many wounded men who had found a hospital such a sanctuary.
The depth of affection between the couple was clear to everyone and for some short moments in following days, Carnarvon seemed to rally. His sister Winifred had cabled wishing she was with him but that she had an audience with the Pope in Rome. In her diary entry for April 4th that year Winifred notes: “we heard the Papal Mass this morning. I think it must be good for me just to be in his presence, for he really radiates holiness. I was very pleased, as you may imagine, for he enquired after Carnarvon’s discovery & said it had been a great addition to knowledge & sent him his blessing”.
Such was the fame of the discovery that Carnarvon’s health was the subject of daily news bulletins all over the world. Almina spent every moment at the patient’s bedside whilst Carnarvon’s colleague Alan Gardiner also stayed on and later wrote to his wife: “Darling, this is a very unpleasing letter, but I am dreadfully depressed and worried about old Carnarvon. I just live under the shadow of his illness these days. Best love from your own Alan”.
Sadly, by the time their son Henry arrived from India on April 3rd, Carnarvon was delirious, his face taut and angular, his hand burning hot with fever.
Two days later, on April 5th, around 2am in the morning, Almina thought she heard her husband murmur “I have heard the call, I am preparing”. She knew the bible verses so well; “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” and knew that this was it. Henry had hardly fallen asleep when he heard a knock and one of the nurses put her head round the door. “I’m so sorry, your father has just died. Your mother has closed his eyes and would like you to go in and say a prayer”.
Scrambling into a dressing gown and heading for his father’s room, the hotel was suddenly plunged into darkness with one of the not uncommon power cuts. Carefully feeling his way along the corridor in the pitch black, Henry found his mother crying softly at his father’s bedside. Kneeling down, he put his arm around her as he offered a small prayer of his own. His sister Evelyn, beside herself with grief, had already been taken back to her room and given a sleeping draught.
Lord Carnarvon’s untimely death was announced around the world and hundreds and thousands of column inches were devoted to his journey from treasure to tragedy. Winifred wrote to a friend “You will have had the news …and will remember enough of the old days to know what it means to me. Thro’ all the changes & chances of life we have remained true friends. I adore him now as much as I did more than 40 years ago…Almina has fought to keep him”.
A modest man, passionate about ancient Egypt and much beloved by those with whom he shared his life and adventures, I wonder if the tomb of Tutankhamun would otherwise have been discovered. After all, everyone else had given up on that particular part of the Valley of the Kings. Howard Carter hoped his friend and colleague would be respected and admired for his achievements but, after only a few years, Carnarvon’s contribution to one of the most famous discoveries of all time descended into the shadows of history, as of course had Tutankhamun himself after his time.
Lord Carnarvon had wanted to write a book about his discoveries and his work in Egypt, one which could be sold at a reasonable price for everyone to buy. He did not live long enough to do this so, 100 years later, I have written it for him.
I thought on April 5th I would climb up to his grave with a friend who is a vicar and say a few prayers for a rather extraordinary man.
This was such a great tribute to him. Thank you for this. I would love to buy your book, please tell me where.
Almost in tears,
Thank you – You can purchase my book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (US)
Dear Lady Canarvon,
It is truly an amazing story, and having just visited the Tomb of Tutankhamun last Ocotber, all the more after seeing the Tomb and the artifacts at the National Museum. It is an easy thing to walk down an excavated, lighted tunnel, but also humbling when one thinks about the wonder and danger involved when the Tomb was first discovered. I have tried to imagine what it would have been like to walk through narrow dark unknown passages for the first time. I have always thought it sad that Lord Canarvon lost so many future years with his family right when he and Carter’s greatest goal was accomplished. Have fallen in love with ancient Egypt since my trip. Can’t wait to read the book.
Hope you can’t put the book down!
Reading your words gave me goosebumps, what a beautiful tribute. Brava!
In 2002 I was fortunate enough to visit Egypt , the fasinating temples, pyramids and Tutankhamens tomb.
It is unbelievable how the treasure we saw in Cairo museum actually got in and out of the tomb.
It one of my life’s must memorable experiences.
Lady Carnarvon, have you or any of your family been to the tomb? It’s a must !
I have bought the book and I am due to visit Highclere Castle later this month.
Beautifully written! I can’t wait to read the book. Thank you.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
When I first learned of the discovery of Tutankhamun I thought it was so sad Lord Carnarvon died so soon after the discovery. It was sad he did not live to see how important the discovery was. Thank you for writing a book about the Earl. I know it will be very interesting. Howard Carter is known because he was the lead archeologist but without Lord Carnarvon the search for the tomb would never had happened. He was very important to the discovery and the history it revealed.
So true – thank you
Well done, Lady Carnarvon.
I can’t wait to read it and hope it will be available in the USA.
Yes it is available via
Blessums to all…his name is being said, he lives on…I am an avid Egyptian history buff and have read/followed all such. At 80, and my dog Zoey, age 9, we still have a lot on our bucket list…Highclere is there as well as a trip to the pyramids, etc. Wish us luck! We truly enjoy your blogs and the time and effort you put into them, and your wonderful staff as well. Stay safe, happy, tip one for us!
I look forward to meeting you at Highclere
What a lovely tribute to your family. I am looking forward to reading your book.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for your tribute to the 5th Earl. I visited the tomb of Tutankhamen last year in Egypt and thought of the Earl’s contribution, yet he is rarely mentioned and Howard Carter is given all the credit. I recently completed reading your account of his role in finding the tomb and was fascinated by his story. The Earl is owed his place in history and you are owed gratitude for recording it.
What a story and legacy. I’m so glad you got to tell his story. Sadly, April 5th is my birthday, but I will remember Lord Carnarvon on this day. Many blessings to you and yours.
Happy Birthday for 5th April
I too have a birthday on April 5.This is very interesting and plan to get the book. Have the others you have written and they were so good.. Have visited twice and bringing my husband next year. Once you read the books you can see and imagine so much more at Highclere.
Happy birthday for April 5th!
Such a very powerful tribute of love and respect.
^Extraordinary man for sure. Thank you for your blog.
Thank you for letting us know this.
Such overwhelming story!
Blessings & Love
I love his story,this book would be a great read.
Thank you for recounting the occurrences related around the death of Lord Carnarvon. A milestone of a century is definately a time to reflect on his accomplishment. I wish you and Lord Carnarvon a fond rememberance of your ancester. He lives in our memories.
Greetings my Lady,
Good morning from Oregon.
I am so appreciative for you sharing this history of your family.
I hope very much to be able to read your book.
Thank you for all your work!
This story captivated my heart and sense of adventure and I look forward to reading the book. Thank you Lady Carnarvon for sharing this moving story.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I learned all about Lord Carnarvon & Howard Carter’s extraordinary find when I visited Tutankhamen’s Tomb in the Valley of the Kings & Cairo Museum in 2006, & more when I visited Highclere Castle in 2019…..I think its the most important discovery in History & I’m saddened that their courage & persistence has now faded into lost memories……thank you so very much for writing your book & I’m going to purchase a copy immediately – what is the Title please?
Thank you so very much once again, yours Caroline x
The title is ‘The Earl and the Pharaoh’
Dear Lady Carnarvon, Greetings from Oregon! I am looking forward to a visit to Highclere Castle to experience the very special place that you, Lord Carnarvon, and your team have created and continue to improve over the years. Years ago, I saw the King Tut exhibit when it traveled to San Francisco and I would love to see the 5th Earl’s home where he spent so much time planning for the adventure and important discovery in Egypt.
Best regards, Megan
Lady Carnarvon, we have just returned from Egypt and stood in the anti chamber in the tomb, where the false wall used to be , and looked down into the chamber where the stone sarcophagus still stands. King Tutenkamun lay behind us as we contemplated your husbands ancestors. We came to Highclere a year ago last Feb to begin our journey and I have read your book on the 5th Countess, which really put the whole experience in context. May they all rest in peace .
Such a fitting tribute to one of our greatest men,and his truly wonderful discovery .We owe so much to the commitment ,and persistence, ,to be able to marvel at the wonderful treasures ,Thank you Lord Carnarvon.
I very much look forward to reading your book! Thank you for writing it.
Best wishes from Oxford,Ohio USA
Good morning, Lady Carnarvon, and greetings from Florida.
I purchased your book from Amazon, and would like to know how to get a signed book plate from you to put in it, as I read that they were available.
Looking forward to reading it, and maybe in the next couple of years, making the trip to Egypt — it is definitely on my “Bucket List.”
I lovely the picture of April 5th did you and lord Carnarvon have a nice weekend and happy Easter to you and lord Carnarvon when it come and lovely to visit highcelere castle and lam fan of Downton Abbey
Thank you for such beautiful, elegant words, as David McCullough has been said of you can truly paint with words. and I’m sure many others will agree with me.
This week I am starting to read your book, I love everything you write so I know it will be very easy to read and chock a block with tales and anecdotes.
I am keeping cool sitting by the pool while temperature’s rise to 90f, much like it was back in Egypt I would imagine.
So looking forward to our visit in June and possibly seeing you, your husband and all those wonderful gardens. Think I might need a GPS so I am not lost somewhere on the estate!
Best wishes from Florida
I look forward to greeting you in June
Dianne, I too, am from Florida and visited Highclere 4 years ago. It was fabulous. Be sure to visit the egyptian tombs located underneath the castle. Just ordered this book. Cant wait to read it. Enjoy your trip!!
Given your interest in the Carnarvon family history, your husband Geordie The 8th Earl Carnarvon must be SO proud of you for all you’ve researched and pulled together in wonderful novels of Alminia and now the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and their history. Congratulations on your interest and abilities!
Thank you for this warm and educational tribute to Lord Carnarvon. I have just recently started the book, and it is already hard to put down! He would be so proud of you, I’m sure, and pleased to have his story told by you – a member of his family.
I’m sure your visit to his burial place on April 5th will be with thankfulness for his fortitude.
Beautiful blog. I bought the book several weeks ago and I am enjoying it very much. You are a very talented writer! Please keep writing books and albums, we love them!
Your book is a beautiful tribute to your husband’s great-grandfather, the famous Earl who helped Howard Cater discover the gold and treasures of King Tut. It is so fitting to have read this account for the 100th year since the grand discovery. Your writing is so refreshing and brings history alive before our eyes, I enjoyed every page of this volume. ‘Shall be saying a little prayer on April 5th, remembering the Earl of Carnarvon who helped add to our knowledge and understanding of the marvels of the ancient world. Thank you so much.
What a beautiful tribute. I have enjoyed all your books and I look forward to reading this one! Thanks for honoring Lord Carnarvon is this way.
Blessings from Columbus, Ohio,
Very moving, I look forward very much to reading your book.
What a lovely tribute! I think the 5th Earl would be delighted by your book.
What an achievement on your part Lady Carnarvon – how wonderful that you were able to record the fascinating story of the Earl and the Egyptian discoveries – Well Done!
I enjoyed this story. I’m sure he is happy and proud that you have composed his book. Does Highclere have it’s own cemetery on the estate?
Yes there is one..
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
your words truly take us off to that far away land and we can see, hear and feel the emotion. Lord Carnarvon was incredibly adventurous and clearly loved life. An amazing ancestor and an amazing tale, I look forward to reading it.
Loved the story. Thanks for sharing it.
This is a book I shall be buying Lady Carnarvon. This article was very well written as are your other books. I shall be sharing this on my Facebook page. Downton Abbey US Fan Club/Page. I as well as others who have Downton Abbey pages will spread the word. Thank you for this wonderful writing.
Thank you Ellen
I am just finishing the book, and even though I was familiar with the general story of the discovery of the tomb, the pages leading up to the discovery, the cars, the horses, the exploits of family and friends, have given me a wonderful glimpse into a¹1qstory within the story. I thank you for the time you spent researching and gathering information for the book, and your attention to detail without unnecessary fluff.
In my futile attempt to simply my life, I am donating and selling all my books I have collected over many years. The only books I am keeping are my beloved gardening books, a few cookbooks, and of course my copies of yours that you have written over the years. This will be one more that I will purchase and keep!
Congratulations on this inestimable accomplishment, Lady Carnarvon. History will thank you. And Lord Carnarvon already does…from his mansion on high.
Lady Carnarvon Thank you for this very beautiful tribute . I shall purchase your book and look forward to reading it.
Cant wait to read The Earl & the Pharaoh.
Thanks to you very much.
What a wonderful tribute. I bought your “Seasons of Highclere” book this weekend at the Alabama – Pine Apple Home Tour featuring your wonderful presentation after the reception. Thank you for coming to our area of the United States as it was so thoughtful of you to assist an area of Alabama with such beautiful historic homes tho none as amazing as Highclere. I had the pleasure of visiting in 2018 in Oct. for a tour and nice lunch. I look forward to reading The Earl and the Pharaoh.
Thank you so much – it was an honour to be asked and left me thinking of what an amazing endeavour
As a child in growing up in Wyoming, I wrote a research paper on King Tut, as I sang along with Senator Wallop’s very catchy campaign commercial “Wallop Senate Drive “ . And had the opportunity as a US expat, to visit Highclere and meet you during a tour of Highclere. I am a fan of Highclere, your blog, King Tut and Wallop !
You have an extraordinary gift for bringing history to life in your writings. All of us readers, and I am sure Lord Carnarvon, are indebted to your loving perseverance.
Excellent! I can’t wait to read it! And, yes! This paragraph requires multiple exclamation points!
What a loving tribute in the paragraphs of this weekly blog. The 5th Earl would be justifiably proud of his great-great-granddaughter-in-law (the word “great” should definitely be emphasized in your case). Excuse me, but I have to close so I can order a book now …
What an awesomely glorious view! How fitting!
Thank you for sharing the view and the story.
Thank you for sharing the story and in the beautiful written memory of 5th Earl of Carnarvon and his discovery. The Earle and the Pharaoh’s book was a fascinating read. You are a true gift Lady Carnarvon with much talent in your writings, I enjoy each and everyone that you bring to us. I also had visited Highclere and seen the Tutankhamun while on our tour, it was a truly a treasure
You have accomplished such a special task – – bringing his desire to share the history of his quest to life and for posterity. Your talent and love of “making it right” made it happen. This is why I research and write, too. Books last! Congratulations.
I just finished reading your wonderful book. It was beautifully written-one of those books you don’t want to put down. I learned so much about Lord Carnarvon and his work. I have read all of your books and am looking forward to your next one. Any projects in the works?
I look forward to visiting Highclere soon.
Thank you – you are kind!
” Thro’ all the changes & chances of life we have remained true friends” : the most emotional words in your moving Post. I think everyone should search true friendships, even though it’s a “mission impossible ” or very difficult…
Anyway, your book is such a great gift for this celebration and the 5th Earl will surely appreciate from the Heaven
Dear Lady Carnarvon
Thank you for this blog.
April 5 is a special day for me as it was my fathers birthday. Sgt Arthur Robert Gooch 3rd Kings Own Hussars.Killed in action Dec 22 1940..
I Don’ remember him as I was only 2 years old at the time of his death.
I loved the story and will look for your book here in Canada.
Kathleen MacDonald new Gooch.
Thank you – I hope you can buy it off Amazon
Such a lovely tribute. The love put into it radiates off the page.
You are a great story teller! Is your book on audible? Would love to hear you reading it!
Yes it is!!!
I am so excited to read your newest book about the Earle and the Pharaoh as soon as it is available. You are truly amazing.. Philip Kazan
It is available now!
What a beautiful tribute to one so deserving. I look forward to reading your book which, I know, will be excellent.
Hope you enjoy it
I’m sure Lord Carnarvon is so proud of his great, great grandson and of you for making sure his legacy lives on. Having visited King Tut’s tomb and seen the wonders of Lord Carnarvon’s and Carter’s discovery, I can picture in my mind the scenes in Egypt as I read your book. What an adventure it was for me and my husband to see that his perseverance made history! Thank you for revealing all that lead up to the discovery and his untimely death. Your book is a must read!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I thoroughly enjoyed reading “The Earl and the Pharaoh.” I learned a great deal about the process and all that Lord Carnarvon had to go through to make this discovery possible. A fascinating man.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for today’s tribute to the 5th Earl. I can’t get enough of this story (and your writing) and have read your book of Almina’s remarkable life multiple times. You will be happy to know my husband bought “The Earl and the Pharaoh” as a gift for me at a brick and mortar Barnes & Noble store. He said, “There’s nothing like leaving a bookstore with s new book in your hands!” I have just started to dig in and will savor it as I have each of your books. When we visited Highclere Castle in 2019 our special-event tour did not include the Egyptian rooms, do we look forward to a return visit! Please keep up all your enriching endeavors!
A very poignant was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death.
What a cool thing to do! I love the way you share the stories of this family.
Lady Carnarvon, the 5th Earl was such an incredible man. I am sure your new book will be so meaningful, full of love and dedication. Cheryl
I have always been fascinated with history, notwithstanding the amazing discovery of King Tut’s tomb. However I think you too deserve a great deal of credit here for being able to write about this subject and bring to life the story around the people and events… your books are truly inspirational and wonderful reading.
I find every aspect of Lord Carnarvon’s story fascinating. I will be purchasing your book today! Thank you for sharing his amazing discovery!
I read the book. It was hard to put down. Such a great read. I enjoyed it immensely. The 5th Earl was an adventurous man. The best way to remember him. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of his journey.
I have read a few of the books you have written ; they were all full of such interesting stories and information. I truly enjoyed them My husband’s dream is to visit Egypt and Tutankhamen’sTomb. I will be purchasing your new book for my husband as a Father’s Day gift. The only condition is , that he must share it with me. I so look forward to reading it.
This was beautifully written, I
really enjoy how you write. Love reading your essays on Monday.
I just ordered your book, it will arrive tomorrow. Looking forward to reading it.
I cannot wait to read your book! You always write with such detail, I feel as if I am in Egypt or Highclere!
So wonderful to remember your ancestors. I think more people should do this. Looking down from above you probably have Lord Carnarvon best wishes.
Cape May, NJ USA
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Thank you for this Monday’s blog and for sharing this story with your readers.
The Fifth Earl of Carnarvon was an amazing, and incredibly interesting man.
Until then, I wish you well.
P.S. I hope you did not experience too many “jokes or pranks” April Fools’ Day (04/01/23).
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
What a wonderful book you have written, I couldn’t put it down. You are a born author. Lord Carnarvon (fifth) was such an interesting man and loved life. I only wish that he could have lived long enough to see the special “treasurers” that were discovered. Keep writing more books. I believe I’d read them all, I even have your cookbooks.