One of the girls in the office walked into John, our Castle Manager’s office, white as a sheet. Immediately concerned, he suggested she sat down and asked her what was the matter and how he could help?
It turned out that she was most worried about the curse of Tutankhamun. The media reported that there had been a little accident in the Cairo museum and apparently his beard had fallen off and been glued back on with superglue! It so happened that, unfortunately, I also had a little accident the same day as this news. At the time, it looked much worse than it was. Rather than stitches, however, the Doctor had used superglue on my nose but there I was back together again and superglue hardly showing.
John assured her that everything was fine and would be fine for both of us.
The discovery of Tutankhamun was the first global world media event, 90 years before Downton Abbey. At the time the Carnarvons and Highclere were front page news. It was a glint of gold in 1922, just after the First World War. It was a fascinating story of endeavour, triumph and of course death. It quite caught the imagination around the world when there was so much hardship in the aftermath of the war in the UK.
The story incorporates treasure, tragedy and curses. We actually receive quite a lot of emails from people who think they are reincarnated or related to various pharaohs or gods and would like some tickets to see the Egyptian exhibition here. I always find them strange because if you were reincarnated or some sort of God I am not sure you would need tickets… and nor would you really need to see the exhibition as you would surely know it all anyway?
Highclere’s Egyptian Exhibition is, I hope, both full of information and fun. Several thousand schoolchildren visit in term time (but when Downton are not filming to ensure squawks of excitement do not interrupt some key line).
Archbishop Lord Carey was telling me at supper that he had been asked to give various talks to schoolchildren and one of his starting points was the experience of failure. We are all going to fail at different points of our lives and the point is as ever trying again, not giving up, and above all Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter never gave up.