Highclere is our home and our business and we do of course live above the shop. I am fairly hopeless at stopping work and always think there is something else to be done, which of course there is.  Just like many other businesses, Highclere is seeking to build a brand through its culture and marketing. Fortunately, it has a very unique silhouette, and one which is now iconic with the elegant carved stone turrets and central tower dominating the landscape. We have used this silhouette of our home as our logo and pictured it on tea towels or gift items for at least 25 years. Prior to that, previous Earls used it on booklets about the house. Now, and most famously, it has also been used by “Downton Abbey”, so it is really something of a delightful muddle and intertwined marketing tool.


This autumn in particular, it sits amidst such a beautiful setting. Whilst it cannot rival New England’s famous displays of foliage for example, it is very much Keats’s “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”. The yellows and reds are spectacular this year and I enjoy collecting and arranging the last of the flowers.  Then, after the leaves of oak and beech have died and gone, leaving just dark skeletal silhouettes, the evergreen Cedars of Lebanon become ever more majestic.  Some 250 years old, they frame the Castle and provide welcome colour through winter months.  We replant today to give pleasure to those who succeed us 150 years hence, and are so grateful to the vision of those who planted them in the past centuries.


Cedars are extraordinary majestic trees, a resource much used since pharaonic times. Whilst we are able simply to admire them, they are actually needed for shelter and firewood in the war-torn hills around Syria and Lebanon. What an unimaginable grief and pain so many families are suffering. Once ancient and beautiful cities, homes with schools, hospitals and markets, they are now places of rubble and death. Journalists keep reporting in order to show what is happening, to bestir us all, desperate for some sort of cease fire.

We are linked to these countries through culture, through art and through history.  Families flee, find shelter of a sort and they need help, from food to clothes to makeshift schools. Their Christmas will very different to ours.


So – at 11am on December 11th – we thought we would gather like-minded people together to raise some money to try to help: children and families singing together to help other children and families. We have created a list of songs and what is rather wonderful is that “companions” in other parts of the world are also gathering together to sing from the same list of songs, to donate and to help.

Please join us and sing on the 11th December wherever you are.


53 Responses to “Silhouettes”
  1. Ruth HendryRennie says:

    Dear Lady Carnarvon, I find it totally overwhelming that in this day and age, we allow this destruction to happen.
    Our forebearers properly thought the same in their time too. But what a great gift we have in Highclere Castle to see this!
    The forward planning for the next generations and a caringness for your neighbours in need.
    Singing is good for the soul, it breaks down all barriers between people and on a hot or cold day, it’s always a pleasure to find a tree to sit under to gather
    one’s thoughts. I will join in singing for peace with you!

    • Vicki Duncan says:

      The devastation of war is deplorable and if any one of us can create peace in our corner of the world, let’s do! What a joy to sing together during my favorite time of the year. Our family will join yours from Oxford, GA., USA

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      I know they are collecting on the same day in Houston to sing – 11am their time – and I think in Magdeburg in Germany and I thought it might be possible to gather in other places…. I have asked Russ in Houston for his key songs and then will obviously share them.

  2. Susan Ross says:

    What a wonderful and kind way to spread the gift of love for others during the season that is about that very thing. I live in the Northwest region of the United States and was wondering how I would find out if there is a place to participate in my area. Bless you ♡

  3. Britta Johansson says:

    Dear Lady Carnarvon!
    You have a big heart – we will join you in Christmas songs and prayer for all theese families who have lost everything. They need love and shelter and …. everything ….❤️❤️❤️

  4. Jeffery Sewell says:

    Dear Lady Carnarvon,
    What a wonderful setting you are currently enjoying. The grounds look amazing.
    No wonder you are pictured above with such a broad grin. Actually, that is a really beautiful photo.
    Also, congratulations to your husband and you for again being so generous in opening your home for the important cause of assisting refugees and to “sing for peace”. I was fortunate enough to be in England at the right time so that I could attend last year’s “Sing for Peace”. It was a very special day; one to cherish. I highly recommend that any fellow bloggers who are in a position to attend, do so. It is a marvellous experience and it supports such a worthy cause.
    Best wishes to all.
    Jeffery Sewell

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      Thank you and I hope a few other places this year will join as well. You can sing on lawns, in a church or in a town square!

  5. Paula says:

    Thank you Lady Carnarvon for bringing to mind the plight of these dear people. Each night, while watching the news, my husband and I become tearful at the sight of the helpless children in Syria and other war-torn areas of the world. We will put December 11th on our calendar and hopefully join with many others in remembrance through song.

  6. Linda Spencer says:

    I have a picture of myself under the cedar tree leading to the driveway and parking lot! I love Highclere Castle!

  7. Natalie Graham says:

    I’m putting it on the calendar and we will be joining you from Charleston, SC for the sing-along.

    Thank you for thinking of those displaced by such upheaval. It is devastating to see and read the stories of so very many who are suffering from war in this day and age. 🙁

  8. Adele Hallman says:

    I live in Canada so I won’t be able to make it but I will join you in spirit. May God bless you all.

  9. Jane Franks says:

    What a majestic setting and what caring hearts you have. Such an inspiration juxtaposed against greed and power all too much filling the landscape around us culturally. We certainly will be joining you in singing for God’s glory and on behalf of remembrance of suffering in Syria. I am putting this on my calendar. Thank you for your uplifting blog postings. Our world so needs them.

  10. Maria Augusta Pinheiro says:


  11. Raenell Bailey says:

    Dear Lady Carnarvon,

    from you lips to God’s ears. This is a wonderful idea and I am amazed that this particular link from Syria, and your majestic Cedars are so intricately intertwined. It immediately brought an old Psalm to my mind that talks about the Cedars of Lebanon.

    Psalm 80:7-10:

    “O God of hosts, restore us, and cause Thy face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.
    Thou didst remove a vine from Egypt:
    Thou didst drive out the nations, and didst plant it.
    And it took deep root and filled the land.
    The mountains were covered with its shadow;
    and the Cedars of God with its boughs.

    You and your help to the Syrian refugees are indeed that vine from Egypt, and I know that your endeavors in helping the people are blessed.
    Lovingkindness like this is truly something to sing about!

    Raenell Bailey

  12. sandie carpenter says:

    “Their Christmas will very different to ours.”
    This is the first typo I have ever found in your wonderful blog.
    Sandie in Whitefish, Montana, USA

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      Thank you – I will correct it – they are far easier to see on paper than a screen ! I think my heart raced ahead of my fingers

  13. Linda says:

    Thank you for your post. There is a group here in Julian, California, who will be singing with you on 11 Dec. in this great humanitarian gesture.
    We, too, have many cedars here at Pineywood Farm, especially incense cedars. They magestically encircle our little home on the hillside. In a firestorm that burned a third of our community, our place was spared, though thick ash was everywhere. I was told that the ash brought a different life to the soil, as evidenced here by the continual springing up of new cedars all over.

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      How wonderful – I will come up with songs and prayers to share in the next 10 days and can send you them !

  14. Cynthia says:

    There are many different Silhouettes represented in our world. What one calls a cozy home may be luxurious to another. What seems like a poor home, is a perfect shelter to a child in a burned out war torn shell.When we all sing together we are all drawn into the feeling of a warm fire on a bone chilling day, the laughter of children dreaming about a present under the tree can be heard by all, and the beauty of the real Reason and Love that came to Earth on Christmas to change the very Silhouette of the entire World is felt!

    • robin hutton says:

      We will be singing in Sogn Valley, Minnesota, USA on December 11th. Hopefully there will be people all over the world singing for peace!

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      That was why we rolled a globe amongst the musical notes on the final banner on this blog.

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      Robin , that would be amazing – in the end Oxfam etc need money to buy tents to buy food to buy clothes…

  15. Lori says:

    Like always I enjoy all of your blogs.Although I don’t live in England.Your blogs sure make me feel like I was there.I love the pictures you’ve placed in this blog of the turning of the Fall leaves.What a thoughtful thing to do for those in need.I will be singing in the” Sing For Peace”from Peoria, IL. Please keep up with your wonderful blogs, as I always enjoy reading them.

  16. Jane says:

    You mention a list of carols. Would you mind sharing the list? We have our favorites, but It would enhance the spirit of working together to know we are singing some of the same ones. I plan to call o my Facebook friends who love Christmas, Peace, and Highclere to also sing.

    • Lady Carnarvon says:

      I will and it is broader than carols – as above I hope to give the 30 minutes of singing and prayers some structure with the help of friends !

  17. Kathy Stewart says:

    Dear Lady Carnarvon: I will surely be singing with you in Rochester, NY, USA on December 11th. Thank you for this wonderful idea. Please publish a list of songs so our hearts can sing and pray in unison. Thank you so much.

  18. Nicole Woodward says:

    I have enjoyed another blog. The suggestion of a worldwide sing for Syria is most kind. I shall be be sharing this with others in my home location.

  19. Angelita Galvan Freeman says:

    Greetings from Orange, Southern California Lady Carnarvon! You show us your compassion by arranging this sing along for peace. We Downtown Abbey fans will surely not be the only ones to participate on your 11, Dec event. I will mention this singalong date
    to my friends and family in our U.S.A. and Europe. May God repay your kindness!

  20. Lady Carnarvon says:

    Thank you –

    • Andrew Nemeth says:

      Lady Carnarvon. I have to say , you are one special person in such a huge world and we are all blessed to be able to hear from you in your blogs and get to know a little history behind the castle and about your family You and Lord Carnarvon shall be blessed greatly for the most wonderful things you do. Your heart is amazing!! It gives me goosebumps when I read things you write and do. I was wondering if you knew what kind of palms are in your beautiful home, They are in the parlors, sitting rooms basically everywhere and I have bought some but they do not look like the ones in your home. could you please let me know what they are called so I can try to buy some for our home Thank you so very much and may God bless you and your family. Andrew

  21. Linda Olds says:

    Lovely pictures of the grounds!

  22. What a most wonderful gesture: Sing for Peace!
    We will join you at 11am (Greek time 1 pm) on December 11. Give us a list of the songs and we’ll all join in!
    Friends and student teachers working at one of the children centers of the refugee camps here in northern Greece will also be singing.You know, there are many Christian Syrian refugees who will find this most supporting for Peace at their Christmas time. And while most of the refugees are Muslim, and they have no “Christmas”, they will have festivities for their New Year celebrations, and we’ll “Sing for Peace” then, too. You are so kind and generous!

  23. Lady Carnarvon says:

    I would be delighted to – Where will you be ?

  24. Desiree creary says:

    Dear lady Carnarvon, as always a gesture of love. We will pass out the word, at my job, and church, and raise our voices on December 11th, for such a wonderful cause. Desiree.

  25. There are two refugee camps close to my city of Thessaloniki , here in northern Greece. One is the Diavata refugee camp, west of the city of Thessaloniki and the other is the Lagkadikia refugeee camp, north of the city, I hope to make arrangements to visit both camps and the children centers there to see if we can have a “Sing for Peace” event on December 11…11 a.m. UK time, 1 p.m. Greek time. I shall try to send more details soon, Lady Carnarvon. May you have great success with your worldwide event!

  26. Jim from La Jolla, CA says:

    Lady Carnarvon, I have followed your blogs for some time now. Your writings are very eloquent and convey a mastery of the English language.

    Thank you!

  27. Lady Carnarvon says:

    That would be so amazing – I will see of I can put the order and songs on a link here for you to download – or I would be happy top send a whole pile of them in the post??? Please let me know what helps…

  28. Jean says:

    You are the most extraordinary compassionate people. What a fabulous idea – thank you for bringing this to our attention and uniting us as one family for peace. Of course we read of the Cedars of Lebanon in the Bible but this is the first I have ever seen. Just like the Bible states – how captivating they are – so large and strong.

  29. Jean says:

    How can we donate money?

  30. Roy Tudor says:

    Dear Lady Carnarvon,

    Good day beautiful lady. I have just come lately to be a huge fan of your home through becoming a HUGE fan of Downton Abbey. My wife and I brought our kids to London and Paris a couple of summers ago. I was aware of the series at that time, however not yet a fan otherwise we would have made it a point to stop and visit and have a high tea with you and your wonderful husband.

    To get to my point your ladyship…I think that you and he are the TRUE ROYALTY of England to me! I cannot get enough information about your home, the history, EVERYTHING about it! I think that both of you and your personalities are absolutely heaven sent!! What you are doing to preserve this piece of history for all of us worldwide is incredible and you deserve a HUGE THANK YOU! I cannot wait till we can come back to our mother country soon (my last name …..Tudor-haha) and make the focal point a visit and (hopefully) a overnight at Highclere Castle.

    You are both as kind, dripping of class, and as beautiful on the inside as you obviously are on the outside!! My dream is to be able to meet you both one day when my wife come to visit hopefully.

    Thank you for hopefully reading my note M’Lady. It is from the heart.

    God Bless you both, your family and your lives……….
    Roy Tudor

    PS I will be singing for peace with you on December 11th.

  31. andrew nemeth says:

    Lady Carnarvon. I have to say , you are one special person in such a huge world and we are all blessed to be able to hear from you in your blogs and get to know a little history behind the castle and about your family You and Lord Carnarvon shall be blessed greatly for the most wonderful things you do. Your heart is amazing!! It gives me goosebumps when I read things you write and do. I was wondering if you knew what kind of palms are in your beautiful home, They are in the parlors, sitting rooms basically everywhere and I have bought some but they do not look like the ones in your home. could you please let me know what they are called so I can try to buy some for our home Thank you so very much and may God bless you and your family. Andrew

  32. andrew nemeth says:

    I would love to hear the songs That you mentioned earlier in this post It would be such a delight to hear them Thank you and Much love to you and your family!!!

  33. Ann C. Flood says:

    Dear Lady Carnarvon,

    Your idea is a lovely and inspired one. What sweeter prayer could we offer to those in the war torn Middle East than voices raised in song? I would love to support your efforts to lift up this struggling part of the world. I commend you on your generosity and kindred spirit to those that are suffering. I hope that every song and prayer will be heard by the one who can truly resolve these issues. You have brightened my day because I see there are truly caring, kind people in the world. Keep up your efforts to always assist and bolster up others.

    Warm Regards to you and family,

    Ann C. Flood

  34. Janene Duffey says:

    You have a magnificent place to call home. Here in America we are not privileged with such beautiful architecture and culturally rich places such as this. I would love to take my children there and share with them the beauty of these timeless historical landmarks. You have done a wonderful job.

  35. Dearest Lady Carnarvon,

    Your heart rivals that of Princess Diana (God rest her soul). I was reading through your replies and they were so touching. I wish I had been a part of it but I couldn’t. You are such an inspiration.

    I recently wrote a blog post about the holidays. For some there won’t be a holiday because of circumstances. I had placed links at the end of charities where people can donate. There are so many people living without hope these days, which is heart breaking. Without hope there is no future. Every little thing we can do to bring hope to the hopeless is so important.

    Linda Whitworth

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