Recently, I went to see the musical ‘Hamilton’ in the theatre here in London. I so enjoyed the evening, the pace of the story and the songs although my favourite character was undoubtedly the utterly flamboyant King George III, who may have lost the war but who, I thought, stole the show.
Historically, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson considered Alexander Hamilton both unprincipled and rather nouveau and there his reputation stuck. Despite Hamilton’s tremendous intellect and scholarly contributions he was labelled and dismissed as a centralizer, even accused of advocating a monarchy. This musical has reinterpreted his role as that of a dynamic, visionary architect of the US constitution and a key founding father who died in a duel at a relatively young age.
He was educated in part at King’s College, New York which was founded by Royal Charter in 1754 by George III’s father. It has since had a slight name change and is now Columbia University. There are quite a few King’s Colleges one way and another. For example this was also the earlier name for Toronto University and there remain two or three in Australia as well as quite a few in the UK including Aberdeen, Newcastle, Cambridge and London. King’s College in London has a number of guises, one of which is as a university and the other is an excellent teaching and research hospital.
King’s College Hospital is one of the largest and busiest in London but it is also a research-intensive, leading teaching hospital in the heart of the city with a number of world-class specialties such as liver transplants.
It was established in 1829 by King George IV who was as flamboyant in real life as the kingly portrayal of his father on stage. King’s College became the founding college of the University of London and has collected a number of centres of excellence under its umbrella, including the world’s first nursing school; the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery.
On June 13th we are holding an event here at the Castle in support of the hospital, just really to say thank you to the amazing surgeons, nurses and support teams who work there. I knew so little about the world of transplants – it was something I read about in a newspaper – but then of course it became a desperate challenge for my family. My tiny niece, just six months old, was seriously ill and her only chance to live was a liver transplant. Few of us sign up to be donors and this was a salutary lesson to do so.
At 7pm one evening my sister Georgie called to say they were heading in to King’s College – there was a donor and, six years ago to the date of our event, the surgeons operated through the night to save her baby’s life. I do not think it is ever possible to know how to adequately thank the other family who, in their darkest hour, gave permission for their 24 year old to be a donor, or the surgeons, those gifted human beings, who operated on such a tiny body. Life is not always straightforward but the bonus gift of living another day makes every day a good one.
Another girlfriend, Angela, will also be joining us. Earlier this year, the King’s College team saved her life: she has children and grandchildren and an awful lot of courage.
To help raise some funds, amongst other things I thought I would offer a very limited number of tours of the Castle to those who are coming to the Downton Abbey concert later in June along with some VIP tickets. The asking price is a donation to King’s College and perhaps I will simply pick out the five most generous couples.
To end, maybe I can just appropriate some of Hamilton’s wife Eliza’s words:
“Look at where you are,
Look at where you stand.
The fact that you are alive is a miracle.
Just stay alive, that would be enough.”
Your messages are always a bright spot at the beginning of the week. This was inspirational! Thank you so much.
I see same video whit you mam and I think I now for a long long time.i don’t now way but is awesome thanks
I am from the US and will not be able to attend the concert. I was wondering if the flyers for the concert are available to purchase. I frame them and use them as pictures.
You might be able to buy them but you would need to contact the organisers (LiveNation). We will be producing a souvenir programme which you could purchase after the event.
The words of the Bible come to mind: “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose”.
I love reading your blog! Thanks so much. I will be visiting your lovely house the end of July. Can’t wait! Thanks for sharing your house and your world with so many folks.
Thank you. We look forward to welcoming you next month.
I have the utmost respect for those who work in the healthcare industry: doctors, nurses, surgeons etc…. The most hardworking people I know. Thank you for honoring them too. Without them we would be in a world of trouble. My own son is preparing to become a neurologist/surgeon himself after he gets out of the Air Force, and I couldn’t be any prouder. His ultimate goal- find a cure to cancer or some other medical mystery. He is one of my heroes.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Coincidentally my husband, daughter Chloe & I just saw Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre after our perfectly WONDERFUL day visiting you at Highclere last Tuesday.
May I thank you personally for one of the most memorable and cherished memories of our family holiday in England.
From the moment we drove up to the castle we experienced a charmed day! Your staff are so lovely at every turn from the tea host in the Coach House to the gift shop and the guides throughout the house; everyone is so knowledgeable and tell such wonderful stories! However when you entered the Egyptian exhibit and shared historical references to the hieroglyphics on the wall we all commented on what an amazing history lecturer you are! Everything you shared was fascinating!
Thank you for the conversation and memories which will last a life time!
Thank you. I am so glad you enjoyed your visit. We are very fortunate to have a wonderful team of people here at Highclere.
The actually reason there was an attempt to break away from the British was not taxes. King George promised the indians (in exchange for their support in the French and Indian wars) that they could have all land west of the Allegheny Mountains. George Washington in particular was sent to survey that land by the Governor of Virginia. He marked out certain prize land for himself. George prior to his brother dying did not own much, but a worked out soil depleted farm. The land was wasted by the growing of tobacco. The Virginia planters were very wealthy and wanted new land as the tobacco depleted the soil. The land west of the Allegheny was fertile river bottom land. Your history lesson for the day.
I think the reasons were many, whether money or policy yet at heart perhaps also emotional – to forge ahead in their own land.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I learn more things than I ever dreamed of from your weekly blogs. This one was truly special on all levels. I hope your wee little niece is still doing well.
I will keep my fingers crossed.
Thank you for sharing.
Good morning Lady Carnarvon,
How inspiring, and what a wonderful cause! I hope your niece is a healthy and happy little girl now.
It’s truly marvelous, the way you utilize Highclere for so many good things.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Hamilton is really “big” here in San Francisco and New York. Love history and love that you gave us some more input into it. My friends and I have a group called “Crazy 8’s” and we belong to the Napa Womens Club – sort of like your WWI – we are always volunteering in events such has you mentioned for the hospital. It feels great to give back to the people that give so much everyday. As an aside note – I feel like I have become friends with some of your bloggers that write comments – keep em coming – love Mondays with YOU!
Thank you – volunteering and sharing jobs can be good fun – do you ever watch the Vicar of Dibley? Again about committees..
I am from the tiny little island of St. Vincent in the West Indies and I love reading your articles.
They are always very interesting and well-written.
Continue the great work!!
Looking forward to seeing Hamilton this Summer while visiting London.
Unfortunately, would miss the concert at Downton Abby
All the best for the concert and wishing you great success!!!
Thank you. I am sure you will enjoy Hamilton – I would see it again!
So enjoy reading your interesting and well written articles each week and very much looking forward to my visit to Highclere in July.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I am a kidney transplant recipient. Two weeks ago marked the 17th anniversary of my transplant. That amazing and selfless gift, from an anonymous donor and family, changed the lives of my family and me.
It also should go without saying that I also appreciate the skill and care of the surgeons, nurses and other support staff who have been involved in the initial transplant surgery and the subsequent monitoring of my condition.
Following my transplant, I was fortunate enough to play for and also Chair the Australian Transplant Cricket Club (“ATCC”) that has toured England on two occasions and played the Great Britain Transplant CC for the David Hookes Memorial Shield.
For the benefit of bloggers from non-cricket playing nations, David Hookes played Test Cricket for Australia and he was a dashing batsman. In 1977 he scored 5 consecutive boundaries off the bowling of the English captain, Tony Greig.
Unfortunately David was king hit from behind after leaving a function in 2004. He never recovered and his organs were donated in accordance with his wishes. Some 10 people received the gift of life from David and his family.
The ATCC XI is comprised of heart, heart/lung, liver and kidney transplant recipients. When we take the field, we consider that there aren’t just 11 of us out there; instead we are representing our donors too – so there are 22.
To draw an analogy and borrow from the fact that Cricket is a game of innings, we consider that we have each been gifted a ‘second innings’ of life. As a past player for the GBTCC would regularly say (& I think I may rave previously repeated it on this blog:
Enjoy and seize the day.
Today is a gift. That is why it is called ‘the present’.
In addition to cricket, there also are the World Transplant Games, which this year are being held in Gateshead/Newcastle-on-Tyne between 17 and 24 August 2019.
Best wishes with the 13 June event at Highclere in support of the hospital. I also hope all is going well for your niece and your friend, Angela.
jeffrey. what does king hit mean? Sandie from Montana USASANDIE
Well done Jeffery. Very proud.
Kim, Gold Coast
Thank you, Kim.
Sandie, a “king hit” is when someone is suddenly, unexpectedly and violently struck – usually in the head by a punch and often from behind – basically knocking him to the ground. In most cases the victim’s head hits the ground and he (at best) suffers concussion, which of itself is not good. On too many other occasions the victim does not recover, as with the late David Hookes.
The term ‘king hit’ can also refer to a heavy tackle in a game of rugby so it doesn’t have to be by a punch.
When one is punched from behind, it is probably better referred to as a “coward’s punch”.
My apologies for not responding sooner. I have only just revisited this blog of last week.
Your blogs are very educational! I look forward to reading them every Monday morning. Thank you! I hope to visit Highclere one day.
Thank you – you really must come!
Good morning from Alaska. Thank you for using your voice to shine a light on the low rate of organ donations. My cousin is a recipient. It does take your breath away to realize that a families greatest loss is the same event which has saved your beloveds….. “humbling” comes to mind.
One can only be humbled and awestruck by the generosity of others.
To Alice from Alaska, You read my mind! I had the same thought. Humbling and awe inspiring come to mind for me, too.
Sue in Florida
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Loved your blog today. All the best to you on the fundraiser for the hospital. I hope the funds raised far exceed all expectations. We live in a wonderful time. Medical miracles are happening every day!
Have a wonderful week!
We are indeed fortunate to live in a time where these kind of life-saving operations have almost become commonplace.
As always, your words are meaningful. From the world of Hamilton , to donors of life, all part of our world. Never thinking our family would be part of saving the life of others, but we were placed there when losing a family member and having that loss become salvation for others. I do enjoy your sharing of personal moments.
I subscribed to Britbox and watched Vicar of Dibley on your recommendation – Got my husband hooked on it also – load of laughs – very much needed in these times! Hope to see you pop in on our tour Aug 8 – I’m sooooooo excited!!!!
I absolutely love the Vicar of Dibley – I’m so glad you have come to enjoy it too.
For all of you who plan to see Hamilton, be sure and read the story of his life, before you go. We found the words very hard to understand in the rap songs they sang, 22 of them, and the songs tell the story; maybe it was just the version we saw. We agree with you Lady Carnarvan, the King was our favorite too.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I look so forward to opening my email on Mondays! I really enjoyed today’s blog. I am related to Thomas Jefferson. I believe we are cousins. I have come to be fascinated with history of the US as well as the UK. Genealogy has sparked this passion. The things you discover when you search the past is mind boggling. I just uncovered the fact that Lady Diana Spencer was a cousin of mine.
I have not seen Hamilton. It seems to be an amazing production about a fascinating man. I love the fact that you are interested in American History. I sometimes forget that there was a war between our two countries! Y’all don’t celebrate July 4th! LOL.
If I had a chance for a wish to be grated, it would be to attend the concert in June. Your events just keep getting better and better. My husband had to ‘reel me in’ by admonishing me…”we can’t attend EVERY event at Highclere Castle”…but of course, my response was..really? Why not?
On a serious note, I’m so thankful your sweet baby niece had the life saving surgery. Modern medicine is amazing. It becomes even more evident to us when it affects our immediate family as it has for you. It can be a helpless feeling when we can’t ‘fix’ what is wrong with our children. God Bless your Sister. This had to be very difficult for her. So thankful y’all got your miracle.
There will be more Highclere events – do not worry! Hamilton truly does just have a great energy!
I am also related to Thomas Jefferson, Lady Diana Spencer AND Alexander Hamilton. I wonder if you & I are related?
Kathleen Boyd McLendon
How wonderful of you to recognize the contribution of physicians, nurses, and ancillary support, and to lend Highclere Castle to raise funds for the important, groundbreaking, and lifesaving work that is growing in knowledge and procedure exponentially. As a nurse for over 40 years, to ease human suffering, and help stop the spread of disease is a calling I’m thankful for. Not everyone is cut out of the cloth for this type of work, but I know few who do not support the valiant efforts to raise the much needed funds to continue the caring of research, and the caring of delivering the finest and most compassionate of care. Bless you and your team for your insightful thoughtfulness.
Here in the U.S. last evening, most of us were treated to a sneak preview of the new episode of Downton Abbey coming to the silver screen in September. We can hardly wait, but having it to look forward to is a wonderful thing as well. We all need the thrill in our hearts of something wonderful to look forward to, and I offer my thanks to you and Geordy for being so instrumental in bringing Downton Abbey to us. It enriches our lives to see people, ordinary, and extra-ordinary, facing the challenges of life, with grace and dignity, and with the determination to do the right thing for the benefit of the greater good.
I also want to thank all of Great Britain today for hosting our President and First Lady this week, and for the special relationship we have with Great Britain. Regardless of what political stripe one may embrace, our leaders, as told by our Creator, are in place by His will and providence. I see great beauty in this plan, regardless of the individuals chosen for their roles by the people, in both of our great nations. I think this is the cornerstone of our special relationship, and I cherish it.
Monday’s are joy to know your new blog post is setting in my inbox. The coffee has to be just right, and all devices silenced while I read, reflect, and absorb your thoughtful writings. Somehow this morning I just knew this one would be so extra special. Again, bless your seemingly tireless efforts to better the human condition with charity, beauty, and entertainment. They are stars in The Carnarvon Crown!
Thank you again for such a beautiful and also wonderful story of your niece’s surgery. I’m so glad to know you also acknowledge the family of the donor. I, too, have had a family member who regained the life he wanted after receiving transplant organ. This was in the early days of life-saving surgeries.
Again, your Monday morning essays certainly are like a “letter from home” boost to my week. Wishing you great success in the concert & thank you for sharing your family’s story. I hope it inspires others to sign up for such a wonderful gift.
Thank you, you are too kind.
I love how you use your lovely property to serve others. It is very touching. My daughter and I are coming to London next May. I understand you open briefly in May during some state holidays. Do you have the dates of those yet? We are planning our trip around our visit to Highclere. Thank you in advance for your help.
We tend to publish our opening dates about 4 months in advance so keep a look out on our website.
My sentiments exactly about amazing ordeals and sacrifices parents go through with transplants. My grandson also had a transplant, a gift of a heart at six months, too. We are so grateful for the doctors and nurses, and to the donor parents who so unselfishly gave him this gift of life.
How wonderful. What a precious child your grandson must be.
My wife Ellen and I had the privilege of visiting your home last Tuesday, May 28. We scheduled our trip to the UK, a full year in advance, and reserved our tour, before we purchased airline tickets. We just loved your home. Thank you very much for allowing us to visit. We are staying in the UK for 14 days, but I am sure our visit to Highclere will be the top remembrance. Looking forward to seeing the movie. Hope you get to visit New York.
I hope so too! I am so glad you enjoyed your visit to Highclere.
Lovely post and prayers to your niece! Just shows how important organ donation is!
Dear Lady Carnavon,
Loved this article and was especially drawn to the area about King’s College Hospital. I am a Registered Nurse and of course our founder Florence Nightengale is greatly admired and revered in our profession. Upon receiving our nursing pins and stripe for our nursing caps we recite the Nightengale Pledge which is similar to the Hippocratic Oath the Physicians recite. Anyway, as always I look forward to your blog every Monday.
Have a wonderful week
Williamsville, NY, USA
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Subject: Hamilton play
Thank you for the education, images and knowledge. Really wish I could have seen the play. Glad you were able to see it. It is very important to recognize and support people ‘s accomplishments; it is uplifting. You are a wonderful, generous and thoughtful person. Stay that way and never change. You will continue to be blessed!
Phyllis Simpson, USA
Smiling and saying thank you…do you know these simple things are uplifting and helps me as much as others.
I am so glad that you got to enjoy seeing Hamilton. I saw it with a friend last year. It lived up to and beyond my expectations and it was especially touching because Mr. Hamilton is my distant cousin. I look forward to seeing the Museum of the American Revolution the next time I am in Philadelphia. I know you have done some traveling here in the States, have you seen any historical sites here? I hope to visit Highclere Castle one fine day. God bless you and your family.
Kathleen, I read your response to my post about my ancestor, Thomas Jefferson! How exciting. For me, it is the best part of doing the research. It has opened a whole new world to me. Meeting ‘family members’ I didn’t know I had is the best part. You and I could very well be related. How could we compare notes??? Are you on Ancestry? How FUN!!!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for this important post. I work in a major medical school in Chicago and this extremely critical message is most appreciated by those of us who work in healthcare (in my case, research, but for those who treat patients as well). I cannot tell you how much we rely on organ donors to save lives in the immediate sense and in future research as well. Your work at Highclere serves so many people in so many ways and I, an American who has never visited your home, thank for all of it.
Thank you – you are so right!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I’m so glad to hear you had time off to enjoyed a Theatre performance of ‘Hamilton’. I was worried that life kept you very busy from those pleasures. I hope we get to see that play, if it still on in July. We have that in common, the love of Theatre. I hope you don’t mind but I have ordered from Amazon Uk a dvd for you called ‘John Adams’. It should arrive tomorrow. It is a wonderful portrayal of how America became independent from England. It is brilliantly acted by Paul Giamatti and a wonderful supporting cast. Another one to watch is ‘The Madness of King George 111’ by a principal actor Nigel Hawthorne.
When you spoke of Kings College I was in two minds how I felt about that teaching hospital. I believe the College wronged Rosalind Franklin. Ms. Franklin is best known for her work on the X-ray diffraction images of DNA, particularly Photo 51, and while she was employed as head of research at King’s College London, which led to the discovery of the DNA, the double helix was developed by James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins who overlooked her work (my true opinion stole her work) to go on and share the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962 leaving her research out and claiming it was all theirs. However I’m glad to hear this College is leading the way in liver research and your niece was given a new liver that saved her life.
Thank you Heather – I think she was not the only woman to whom this happened and this recognition was lacking in other worlds as well. Today however we hope for fairer appreciation. It is an outstanding hospital because of the team there, sharing knowledge and a beacon of expertise in Europe.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I am new to your blogs – this is my third week, but I wholeheartedly agree with readers who say they look forward to sitting down on Mondays with a cup of tea and your blog!
I am 13 years into my second life, after a stem cell transplant in 2006. Every May 19th, we celebrate my “rebirthday.” Stem cell transplants are non surgical transplants – you receive the cells just like a blood transfusion. The changes happen slowly, as the new stem cells take over your body. Your whole DNA changes, and you eventually get a new blood type if your donor was different. I have met my donor several times, and we are good friends. It is a strange relationship – she is younger than my two daughters, and I look upon her as a third daughter. But she gave me life, like a mother!
Transplant doctors and staff are truly remarkable. They deserve all the accolades they can receive. And the public should know that donating stem cells is no different than donating blood (just takes a bit longer) so everyone should sign up on the registry. There is a great need.
Of Worcestershire for 25 years, and of New Orleans, USA for the next 50.
How amazing – thank you for your comments!
I was reluctantly too busy to send a comment to you this morning as we were watching your lovely Queen and her family host our president at Buckingham Palace. However, I just read your blog after a day of helping others in need at our local crisis ministry nonprofit managed by several local churches. I was touched to read about your little niece and the marvelous lifesaving work doctors are able to accomplish. Thank you again from my heart to be reminded in today’s blog about the stalwart medical work at Highclere. You are up late to be responding to your many fans!
Thank you again,
Thank you for your thoughts!
I am so happy that you are able to get out and enjoy a lovely evening– you always seem to be hard at work from morning till night keeping Highclere running like a well oiled machine. As I read your blog about the work done by our health professionals, I thought also of those among us whose lot in life is service which we, myself included, sometimes take for granted.
Thank you for acknowledging the immeasurable work and in some cases sacrifice of all those in the health field.
Thank you and Blessings on you.
Thank you – I think however we are often peddling quite hard underneath the “oiled machine”!
I so admire all the work you do for the community, the concerts and other fetes such as the Christmas Market to support the local Pediatric Ambulance Service.
This recent blog about organ donors touched me very much. I just retired but was a Neonatal Nurse
for 42 years so absolutely know how important it is to volunteer to be an organ donor.
I wish more tickets were available on June 13th to honor your fund raising event as I will just be arriving in London.
My best wishes that it exceeds your expectations!
You are kind – you can always check with the office in case someone cannot come!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
So enjoy getting your blog each Monday, it makes my day. This one was wonderful on the charity work you are involved in. We arrived last night in London and have tickets for the Summer tour tomorrow June 5 at 10:30am. We are so excited to finally visit as it is usually closed for June and that is the tine period we are usually in the UK. I bought the tickets in December as soon as possible and it is very special to finally visit.
I hope you have a great visit .. I am taking a few days away to rest before we embark on summer and book tours. I miss my dogs though!
Hello Lady Carnarvon,
Interesting blog as usual.
You mentioned George III.
If you can spare the time some how, in your very busy schedule, recommend a visit to KEW PALACE and the kitchens.
I love Kew – we used to go there as children! Am going next month again
Amazing history on King’s College. Also, great details on Hamilton, the musical; which I have not seen. I think the legacy of King’s Hospital is tremendous. Beautiful story about your little baby niece, it brought tears to my eyes.
Thank you –
Since signing up to your blog earlier this year I have enjoyed reading all about the goings on at Highclere. I have just last week booked tickets for our family to visit Highclere when we are on holiday in late September. We were fortunate to have the very day free that the tour was scheduled for. I have also just booked tickets for the musical Hamilton which has extended its season into late September. My 15 year old daughter is very excited about seeing the show. We are very excited to be coming to England for a holiday and the opportunity to see “Downton Abbey”.
That sounds like a wonderful trip!
Dear Lady Canarvon,
I have a friend who lost her granddaughter tragically. The family made the decision to donate her organs. There were five recipients, all doing well since their surgeries. My friend and family will meet the recipients soon at Duke Hospital in Durham North Carolina. It will be a very emotional time I’m sure. It is wonderful that you are honoring the doctors, nurses and team. Transplant doctors and staff are truly amazing. I pray your niece will always be healthy and happy. God bless.
Alexander Hamilton is considered by Americans to be the yang to Thomas Jefferson’s ying. For example, he would appreciate this law which I am proposing to my representative in the California State Senate: “That motorcyclists shall be allowed to drive the highways of the state without a helmet, as long as they are organ donors.” It won’t succeed, of course, but it has that kind of muscular sense of appropriateness that conservatives once appreciated.
To pass time in self-isolation in Alabama, I’m reading some of your previous columns, published before I joined your list of subscribers.
I couldn’t help but notice how appropriate this one from 2019 is for today, especially the last paragraph. It could be published as a “re-run” if your world gets too topsy-turvy in these trying times.
May be I could do an instagram link?