In December 1922, following the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon returned briefly from the Valley of the Kings in Egypt to Highclere. Whilst he was very aware of the scale of his discovery, he was surprised by the overwhelming global fascination with it and his purpose at this time was to review and plan his next steps in the light of this overwhelming interest. Thus, one of his meetings was with the Royal Geographical Society in London to learn how they had dealt with the press during the 1922 attempt to climb Mount Everest using oxygen.
Before Lord Carnarvon returned to Egypt in early 1923, he was told by a well-known fortune teller that he would die but return he did. The First World War had ended just over 4 years earlier, he had been ill but survived the 1919/20 flu pandemic and now he was carefully planning and anticipating the challenges ahead before returning to orchestrate the continued work in the tomb, as well as its grand opening planned for February. He had bought a Ford car for use in Luxor to make life easier and he had finally agreed a deal with The Times newspapers so that they would act as a media conduit for all the world’s press, thereby taking some of the pressure off him.
Much of the Earl’s life as a motor enthusiast had involved far more risk than most people would look for in their daily lives. He was likewise fascinated by early planes where you took your life into your hands each time you taxied across a field. He had many accidents but always recovered and had a fun sense of humour which kept him going, always saying the right thing to ease tensions and bring a smile.
The 1920’s altogether was an era of reaching beyond normal landscapes, of walking to the poles, of exploring the skies. Looking at photographs of the 1922 and 1924 Everest expeditions, it is hard to believe how these brave men managed to stay warm and fit enough to manage even the lower slopes. Lessons learnt from the 1922 expedition attempt were taken forwards to 1924 expedition and it is still unclear whether Mallory and Irvine did, or did not, reach the summit. However, they sadly died and are therefore remembered in the annals of history as heroic climbers and heroes. It was May 1953 before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay finally and officially climbed to the top.
To have any chance of success, Mount Everest expeditions need not only sheer physical strength and a great deal of experience but also a lot of detailed planning and preparation. In any team which is testing the edge, there is no room for a sense of superiority or complacency. In such a situation, they are the enemy as much as the weather. Notwithstanding, these were teams of people taking a huge risk, calculating it, offsetting it but nevertheless stepping well outside what would be most people’s comfort zone.
Today, the current global situation is “testing the edge” for millions of us. We need to react quickly and then remain efficient as the ground beneath us shifts, to respond to the mental challenges, work out what are the things that make us happy, which habits we should change and then put our decisions into practice.
Reading about Sir Edmund Hillary is inspiring. He was motivated, focused and disciplined and had a solution-based mind. He was a fixer:
“I have been seriously afraid at times but have used my fear as a stimulating factor rather than allowing it to paralyse me.”
Looking back, I wonder what the history books will say about this period? That, if we at first stumbled, we then worked and learnt together? I hope so. All of us are indebted to those at the front line, nursing caring, researching and supporting. Just as the 5th Earl’s wife set up her hospitals at Highclere and in London, so Sir Edmund Hillary said:
“I believe that of all the things I have done, exciting though many of them have been, there’s no doubt in my mind that the most worthwhile have been the establishing of schools and hospitals, and the rebuilding of monasteries in the mountains.”
Or, on a lighter note,
“Climb every mountain, ford every stream follow every rainbow, till you find your dream”.
What a wonderful post today. I was fascinated when I heard long ago that it was the 5th Earl who made that amazing discovery and saw the wonderful museum (so well done) at Highclere in 1918. Best to always remember your words “We need to react quickly and then remain efficient as the ground beneath us shifts, to respond to the mental challenges, work out what are the things that make us happy, which habits we should change and then put our decisions into practice.”. I am trying to do that and always look forward to your Monday posts when I awake in the USA.
Dear Lady Carnarvon, as usual your blog has always taken us to a more positive place, at this most challenging time, looking to people like the Earl and Frankin Roosevelt, gives us both courage and strengh, to keep calm and carry on. You and your family, stay healthy and safe. Desiree Creary.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I hope all is well with you! Thank you for sharing this remarkable story and giving greater insight into the 5th Earl and Sir Hillary.
The 5th Earl and Sir Edmund Hillary clearly had many notable adventures in their lives. How fitting that they recognized the establishment of schools, hospitals, and monasteries as their highest achievements though. The education and care of others is a worthy and noble calling. Leaving the world a better place is the very definition of a well-lived life!
The Woodlands, Texas
Dear Lady Carnarvon, Thank you for making my day today! After reading your post I feel uplifted and positive. I am fascinated by the history and will be copying the last lines and putting them on my refrigerator, where I can see them daily! I live 30 minutes north of New York City and it has been a scary ride these last two months. Your blog is a refreshing escape from all this craziness! Bonny Fedorek, stony Point NY
Thank you –
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
This is such an inspiring blog this morning. My husband and I have always spent the majority of the month of June in England and this was the year to come to Highclere. I certainly hope we all get back to traveling internationally safely. Even though we cannot come this year, we all have a lot to be thankful for. Thank you for lifting my spirits. I will continue to hold on to my dream.
South Florida USA
You will be back !
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
how very interesting, such a sense of adventure and bravery of both those men is an inspiration. I think, sadly for a lot of us 2020 will be the year where nothing happened, we did not go any where, we did not venture beyond our natural boundaries, we just quietly and patiently waited it out, praying that our patience will be rewarded with good health.
When lock down is over, I pray that the countryside will be protected, and not overwhelmed by us humans the minute we are ‘let out’ after being couped up for so long. For now, climbing mountains must remain a dream, and I hope when that dream becomes real, we will appreciate the vulnerability and beauty of the streams and hills and tread very carefully.
What a great message for today. Thank you!
Follow your lovely blog regularly and thoroughly enjoy them all, but this piece may be your best yet. Very insightful and full of food for thought, and yet hopeful. Thank you.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Your beautiful prose remind us of those who have gone before, faced challenges and adversity, and used those times for the greater good. They bring hope in dark times. As Hillary said, he used his fear to motivate himself, rather than give in to the paralysis it can bring. We need these reminders to keep ourselves going, to the light at the end of the tunnel, and hope that the greater good will prevail.
You bring such peace every Monday. Thank you for your beautiful words and thoughts. And thank you, too, for the wonderful Friday cocktail parties from Highclere….a fun diversion!
Be well and stay healthy. Highclere continues to shine, and will welcome visitors in the future!
Charlotte Merriam Cole
What a beautiful resting place for the 5th Earl. Does Highclere have a designated cemetery on the grounds?
It does and it is its own Arcadia..
I absolutely love the energy and commitment you show in all that you do. Your drive and vision are inspirational and reach out to others like me across the world (Adelaide, Australia) to encourage us to reflect on what we are doing and thinking during this extraordinary time in our lives. I have been prompted by your historical perspectives and vision for the future, as you so engagingly reveal them on Viking TV, to get onto the task of bringing my parents and their parents lives to life for my grand nephew and niece. I thought that, if you can trawl through rooms of documents, I could get into the few boxes of stored photographs that my mother left 20 years ago. I’m enjoying every moment and playing with creative ideas on how to put them together in ways to excite young family members about their heritage. Thank you so much for generously sharing your radiant charm and insight.
Interesting story this week. Have you visited Luxor or plan to when time allows?
Look forward to seeing a photo of you, on a camel holding a parasol.
I recall the time Sir Edmond Hillary arrived at Windsor Castle for Garter Day, climbing the steps, aided with a walking stick, to be welcomed by Sir Malcolm Ross.
I have been to Luxor a few times – amazing and draws me back
Lady Carnarvon, All of these men were remarkable. They were brave, courageous and daredevils. Bravo to them. Climate change does worry me greatly. What will the world be like? We must all do our part even in just a small way. I do love the, Climb Every Mountain. All the best to you and your family. Cheryl
I just so love that song!!
Our world needs many who, like the determined 5th Earl and his wife, Mallory, Irvine, Hillary and Norgay, will take up their mantras and continue to meet the enormous challenges of the current sad health issues. Thank you for reminding us of some who met challenges almost a century ago.
There is a difference between being alive and living
Such a beautiful account of accomplishments of your ancestors. If it weren’t for brave people we would not have the knowledge and be where we are today. Thank you for another nice history lesson.
I look forward to reading your blog every Monday morning. The messages are beautiful and inspiring. They help me face another week in these uncertain times. Thanks.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for the accounting of this Most interest of men. He was definitely an innovative and talented man who was far beyond his time- as he saw into the future, many things we only take for granted today.
I think it safe to say we are each living our own ‘living on the edge experiences’ although not on the same level possibly. Heroes, to homeless, many are bravely stepping forward to do what they can to help each other.
The 5th Earl was a unique and strong individual who showed us what bravery and going just one more step forward was about. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for this inspirational story!
Captivating, as always. Thank you for your insightful view into the past as well as the present.
When you look at the mountain whatever it may be in this climate you wonder how you’re ever going to get there but you will and when we do I hope It will change us all a little for the better when we’re looking down from the mountain
Dear Lady Carnarvon, Thank You for your time and outstanding creative writing ability by comparing the history and challenges of Highclere, comparing them 100 years later (give or take), to the circumstances in the world we are living in now, your message is very inspiring and thought provoking. Living here in America, everyday has been challenging. Trying our best to take care of ourselves (60’s) and also help one another…One..Day..At..A..Time, looking for light at the end of a very long tunnel and hoping for a rainbow! The last two paragraphs at the end of todays blog entry are spot-on! Warmest regards to you and your family. Stay safe and well.
Candice Black, NW Ohio, USA.
Thank you and stay well!
Thank you for an inspirational blog!
As always, your postings are clear and thoughtful. Most enjoyable, with encouragement within your stories!!!
We are, indeed, facing a challenging time. Each one of us has our own “mountain” to climb in this crisis. It’s hard to look beyond ourselves, but we need to help others if we can. We’ve got to stick together even through social distancing.
AND remember that sense of humour!!!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Yet another interesting blog, I love the 5th Earls car, I bet it was a real bone shaker, I really admire explorers, especially ones from the early 1920’s. We are very lucky in this Country to have such a wonderful NHS.
Take care and stay safe.
Thank you !
Fascinating! Thank you once again for sharing amazing history.
Thank you for your inspiring words. When one looks at what people have endured – sometimes on purpose! – our current catastrophe doesn’t seem insurmountable. We are survivors or we wouldn’t even be here! So much has changed as far as everyday life, but my optimism points me forward toward family, friends and those other things that make life so wonderful. We are having an abbreviated birthday celebration today for my husband which takes us back in thought to other celebrations. We are thankful for those, but happy to be “on the right side of the grass” for this one!
Our best to you today.
Thank you so much. I find your writing inspiring. I look forward to every Monday morning when your notes arrive in my internet mailbox. You are so amazing and special. Joyce Coleman from Texas.
It is just sharing stories
Such a thoughtful essay today- the history lessons that are available to us if only we would pay attention. Being in the moment & planning for the future is the most efficient method to ensure survival and growth.
Thank you for the shoutout to everyone who’s striving to create a healthy world again. #Science = “solution_based focus”. I do so agree with you.
I also remember the 1st Doctor to recommend handwashing as a measure for doctors to prevent disease/death among patients was roundly denounced by his colleagues. Ignaz Semmelweis, a 19th-century Hungarian doctor(1847) introduced the practice. Hurry for progress!
#StaySafe #StayHealthy #WashYourHands
Yes you would think nobody ever washed their hands before March 23rd in the UK…
Thank you for the story! Inspiring words and people!
Any thoughts of writing a book on the fifth Earl and his discoveries?!
I would love to start I just have no time!
Thank you for putting present happenings in perspective. These are words of encouragement from history and we learn much to build on from them.
YES! You nailed it again – There is hope for a vaccine and I will hold onto that one! There are so many sad things happening right now and I hope history records it as we all came together. Our communities are strong and will help all those in need. Thats the good news – still losing some friends last week (not to virus) and not being able to hug one another is just another bad thing about this isolation. As always I will be cooking and bringing food to loved ones…thank you again for keeping up your blog during this wierd time in history! Love Mondays always!
Thanks -the way to begin the week for another inspiring,challenging message! A fantastic beginning to another week!
Thank you for another inspiring,challenging message! It made my day!
As always, I enjoy your writings. They have at the end a message to consider and ponder.
When I first opened my email this morning I saw the title but then had breakfast. The whole while I was singing ‘Climb Every Mountain’ in my head wondering where the heck that had come from. After breakfast I finally sat down and read your post only to see the source of my ‘ear worm’.
Thank you – the tune has been in my head all day too!
Thank-you for your inspiration, must needed in these times! Nothing seemed a problem to these great men & women. They just did it! I have many still in my local community, which is where sir Ed cut his teeth in climbing the local mountains, before attempting Mt. Everest, who still have this great spirit. A local farmer has made a breathing ventilator out of the milking parts from the cow shed and another has overnight turned his distilling business into making hand sanitiser!
It is not just pontificating and wiffling – its doing!
When did the Earl die? And from what?
Well.. that is one of my next books!!!
I never imagined I would be writing to you Lady Carnarvon when I saw the King Tut exhibit in Washington DC during the 1970’s at the National Gallery of Art. I am so fortunate and never saw so much gold. The old catalog is part of my collection. I hope it is ok in taking the liberty to ask how your Art competition is coming. It has been one of the things that has also uplifted my spirits during these times knowing that you asked many of us to submit to it last Easter.
We posted many painting and the prizes on our Instagram .. I will ask Cat(who is here with me) to look into it
Those men were so brave. The Earl of Carnarvon and what not. Love the pictures you have provided.
Thank you for providing such interesting subjects as always.
Phyllis Simpson, USA
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What a beautiful blog. Your writings are something I really look forward to.
These days are long and all blend into one another. I live in New York City, and it will be a long time when anything is going to be opened. I thank you for these glimmers of hope each week that you provide. It really cheers me up.
It is funny how 6 months ago the cities were the future and now perhaps part of it. We need nature.
We are keeping a diary of these strange times. Hopefully family that come after us will one day find it interesting to read.
It has occurred to me I would love to read your diary of these strange times at some point concerning Highclere. I would purchase it and I’m sure many others would.
I think future generations who love Highclere would love to read it too.
I like that picture of the fith earl.
He looked quite a character.
Keep climbing that mountain.
MY DEAR LADY CARNARVON,
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR CONTINUING TO WRITE YOUR BLOG DURING THIS SAD PANDEMIC TIME.
RIO CLARO – SP
Greetings to you and our Monday Family!
Your post today was so timely! I was just talking about this situation and how History will address this time in our lives. I think we may have mentioned this before, but it seems every generation has an event that is used in the future as a point of reference. My parents talked about WWII and Pearl Harbor Day. My generation has had several events that changed things forever. When President Kennedy was killed, Bobby Kennedy’s death, the Blizzard of 1978, in 2001 it was 9/11, and this pandemic will be a marker in history for our Grandchildren’s generation. They will have stories to tell their Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren. It will be interesting to see how it is remembered.
Things are slowly reopening in Florida. But I am concerned that officials have been bullied into opening too much too soon. I guess time will tell. I’m so thankful for this little opportunity to escape everything and read your blog. I find I pretend I am in England and having tea with you while I read! Thank you.
A very inspiring post, thank you. I’m going to paste it into my personal journal to review from time to time.
I’m pleased to see in recent years how Tensing Norgay has been receiving equal credit with Sir Edmund for reaching the summit of Everest. For much of the 20th century, the roles that the Sherpas played in Everest expeditions were considered ancillary to the “true” heroes, i.e., the Europeans and others who hired them. In many cases, Sherpas did far more work than the “sahibs”, such as attaching fixed ropes, building the high camps, and toting heavy loads up and down for weeks at a time. And in some cases, physically escorting ill climbers to safety.
We should all recognize and appreciate the importance of those who serve as our Sherpas in everyday life…friends, medical personnel, first responders… and even Carson!
Sir Edmund spent his life crediting him
Dear Lady Carnarvon
Informative and inspiring – thank you so much. Wishing you all a pleasant week. Kind regards.
Greetings from Australia Lady Carnarvon, your blog today was interesting as usual and gave me plenty of food for thought.
Many many years ago in High School I had a History teacher who was from an Egyption background and she instilled in me a love of the Egyptian Kings and of course I had to go to Melbourne to see the Tutankhamun Exhibition.
I absolutely loved seeing the artifacts and marvelled at the Kings gold mask and its wonderful gold work. How could people back then make such beautiful things without the knowledge we have today? The mind boggles at their superb craftsmanship, the examples of which lay hidden until Lord Carnarvon found them and brought them out to show the world.
At the moment I think we are all “climbing our mountain” with this pandemic but we will, just like Sir Edmund Hillary did, overcome this obstacle before we forge ahead once more. Just as Lord Carnarvon showed us a very different world, our world too will be different but nevertheless interesting and full of adventure. I look forward to travelling along with it “until I find my dream”.
I am loving our Monday Family and hope that you and your family are climbing this mountain together and that you all stay safe and well.
Orange NSW Australia
Thank you and to you too!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
As always, thank you for providing such a nice mental respite! I always enjoy your essays and this one is particularly special–my husband & I love Egypt, and chose to honeymoon there. Experiencing Tutankhamen’s tomb was a special highlight. I also remember–as a child– seeing his mask in Los Angeles back in the 1970’s when the collection went on its first big tour to America. It left me with a lifelong fascination with Egypt….later I went on to own and breed Egyptian Arabian horses. I have no doubt that other countless millions of people around the world have been profoundly impacted by the discovery of that tomb as well.
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
This morning prior to logging in on my employer’s computer for today’s work-from-home assignments, I read the title of your blog. It belied what the story was actually written about.
Throughout my day, I had pictures of Novitiate Maria in the chapel with Mother Superior singing “Climb Every Mountain” as an encouragement to (Fraulein) Maria to live the life she was meant to as designed by God.
Now as evening approaches and I settle down to read your blog and type my comment to you, the Fifth Earl of Carnarvon was blessed and given many opportunities to do exactly that. His legacy is a continuing inspiration for everyone, especially during this period of disconnect, quarantine, and future readjustment.
So until next Monday, be safe and stay healthy.
I do enjoy the riddles in the title!!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for your informative blog segment. It was very interesting to me. You must spend a lot of time researching different subjects.
What a wonderful offering of historic adventure. Your creativity in identifying and articulating these stories is remarkable and so much appreciated.
All of our very detailed plans were in place to visit Highclere on My 8th and May 13, past. Of, course, the pandemic introduced obstacles beyond our ability to do so. We are near heartbroken but will soldier on and do our best to formulate a plan to again travel from the U.S. to visit you in the future.
We look forward to seeing you – it is so strange our diary passes online marked with what should have been the reality. I often feel shocked but then I think it is better to acknowledge that and then start to climb
Lady Carnarvon, A while back I was watching Secrets of Highclere. Your husband took the viewers to the 5ths Earl resting place, so peaceful. The Earl can look down and see his beloved Highclere Castle. To you and family, take care. Cheryl
I relate to him.
Did Evelyn his daughter pass away in a London hospital or at home ???
Was it a sudden passing ?
She had a number of strokes I believe – I think she died at her home in London..
Hermosa reseña de estos valientes hombres.
Para despedirme, me quedo con este párrafo, que define la idiosincrasia de estos pioneros:
Leer sobre Sir Edmund Hillary es inspirador. Estaba motivado, enfocado y disciplinado y tenía una mente basada en soluciones. Él era un reparador:
“He tenido mucho miedo a veces, pero he usado mi miedo como un factor estimulante en lugar de permitir que me paralice”.
O, en una nota más ligera,
“Escala cada montaña, vadea cada corriente sigue cada arco iris, hasta que encuentres tu sueño”.
Todos estamos en deuda con los de primera línea, cuidando, investigando y apoyando.
Always fascinating to read about the 5th Earl of Carnarvon. Thank you for sharing stories and a tribute to those brave Doctors and Nurses. It is no time to sleep on our laurels. Thanks for giving us strength.
Lady Carnarvon, On your Instagram page, the photos of the bees and flowers are exquisite. I am going to plant more flowers here at the farm for the honey bees. Life would not be the same without bees. I have seen some of the photos you have taken. Did you do these ones of the bees? You are an excellent photographer! Best wishes to you and your family. Cheryl
Thank you !My husband photographed the bees!!
Hello Lady Carnarvon, I saw on your Instagram the photo of your Podcast. I am not sure if in our area if we can get it. Is it just in he U.K. Both my husband and I do not know much about social media. Sorry to both you regarding this but do you have any ideas. Thank you for your time. Cheryl
I ma sure you can get it – it is apple or spotify – it is on very platform