hp-pic-ladycarnarvon
WATCH: The architectural plans of Highclere Castle

Welcome

Welcome to my blog, inviting you behind the scenes of my life and home and sharing anecdotes from my everyday life at Highclere Castle. The world of Highclere still exists with its own community of Chefs, Gardeners and Housekeepers, Luis our Butler and Maggie the Groom as well as all the other people who make the ‘Real Downton Abbey’ a welcoming place for visitors today.

Downton Abbey in the USA

A question I am most often asked is why is Downton Abbey so successful?  If I knew the magic formula I would bottle it and keep it going for Highclere!

Downton is about a family, Highclere / Downton is where they both live and work. It is romantic, nostalgic, there are some great lines, engaging characters, and it clearly illustrates there are mean and kind people in all parts of life.  It has happy moments, the potential for love and yet the family has to grieve as well. There is little violence. Perhaps the ups and downs and bonds of a [...]
Read More

Christmas

We alternate Christmas and New Year in the Castle, so this Christmas we are in Cornwall leaving Highclere for a few days safely in the hands of the home team. They may well patrol the corridors and galleries rather like the footman, Barrow, in Downton Abbey.  Around the Castle grounds they have found a number of tree limbs down and ducks swimming in ponds in the middle of the fields in the Park. Some shutters have forced open the windows due to the strength of the December winds, but we have been lucky, unlike so many people living in some parts of [...]
Read More

Syrian Reflections

The cedars of Lebanon look magnificent and statuesque in winter: evergreen branches stretching against the stark brown trunks and branches, dusted with frost or snow. They are fascinating to photograph. They do not grow as tall in their original land of Lebanon where there is less water. There are also pockets of the cedars in Syria. It is easy to forget the higher cold plateaus of land in Syria, the snows cloaking the land and trees as they are doing now.

The catastrophe in Syria can be masked by the big political debates, but it is essentially a crisis for its [...]
Read More

 

Last week the Castle Christmas tree arrived much to everyone’s excitement as we decide this year we would bravely increase the size from 14ft to 20ft, when it arrived on our bright red tractor (looking very much like Santa’s sleigh) I thought I may have made a mistake, this was confirmed by the look on Diana, our housekeeper’s face – she clearly thought I was mad and it was far too big!

With the promise of fresh mince pies, lots of volunteers (over 15) came to help get the tree in (easy bit) and then up (tricky bit). I began to [...]
Read More

Lest we forget….

Today’s minutes of silence and reflection are not merely for the Great War but for those who have suffered since then and who suffer today : soldiers and civilians; the doctors, nurses, charity volunteers and journalists who try to save lives and to broadcast the news to make us all aware of what is happening, thereby perhaps entreating all sides to sit down and talk.

Looking forwards eight months to next August, Highclere is going to be again transformed into a hospital. Almina Carnarvon one of my predecessors, rolled up her sleeves, designated herself head matron here and set about nursing [...]
Read More

Stormy Nights….

Sleeping in the Castle during the night of the storm, I felt both very snug and cosy, the shutters firmly closed and lots of blankets on the bed. Highclere Castle sits on a high chalk plateau so the wind really does howl around the walls and turrets, sometimes blowing down the chimneys into the Saloon. We slept fitfully, hoping we wouldn’t lose telephone lines and electricity, but found to our relief that they were both working when my husband went down to make a pot of tea very early at 5am. By morning the worst of the storm had passed [...]
Read More

Puppy Party

Bella our beautiful yellow Labrador had a litter of ten puppies back in September 2012 and we have just celebrated their first birthday. After a really busy week and in a bit of light hearted fun, some of our friends and neighbours who each adopted a puppy, gathered together on the south lawns outside the Castle. One of the puppies now lives with a wonderful friend Karine Hagen whose family created and own ‘Viking River Cruises’ and are also the sponsors for Downton Abbey in America. Karine’s puppy, Finse, named for a beautiful place in her homeland Norway, has also got [...]
Read More

LangaLanga

Last week on a beautiful autumn evening we welcomed 200 guests to a cocktail reception in aid of a Kenyan Education Charity, which we support, called LangaLanga. www.langalanga.org.uk

It was started by an amazing English man who helped rebuild 14 primary schools and pay for secondary education of outstanding children each year and support them all the way through to university. It was very uplifting to hear that there were now Doctors, Engineers, Teachers and Nurses who could return to educate and look after their community, adding tremendous value to it, as well as an extraordinary sense of achievement for themselves.

Our [...]
Read More

Setting The Table

I was astonished at the response to the article on setting the table in The Sunday Times. I had actually written a small paragraph on how we do it here at Highclere in which all the staff here take tremendous pride and thoroughly enjoy teaching the younger generation coming in.

This is what I actually wrote:

 SETTING THE TABLE

Highclere’s dining room table seats between 4 – 30 people depending on how many leaves are carefully put into the Victorian extension mechanism. Setting the table is an art and allowing enough time is important. The detail and charm of the operation hasn’t [...]
Read More

Time and Eternity

The first Sunday of every September the Vicar holds a short service in the Cemetery Chapel here at Highclere Castle. It’s a half hour to reflect on those members of your family who have died and those buried in the beautiful park, shaded by trees in the graveyard next door to pastures with sheep grazing. My husband read a short passage from the Gospel and we all sang loudly accompanied by a slightly dicey piano played by a very kind man James Woodhouse. The small gothic chapel was built by Henrietta the 3rd Countess of Carnarvon to ‘comfort those in [...]
Read More

Copyright 2017 Lady Carnarvon · RSS Feed · Website Design by MAXX Design