February Book Review

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

This month’s review is by Catherine Adde
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey:
The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle
by the Countess of Carnarvon

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle

Are you are a fan of Masterpiece Theatre’s Downton Abbey? Then you are in for a real treat with this fascinating glimpse into the life of the people, times and historic home that inspired writer Julian Fellowes for the PBS television show.

The author is the current Countess at Highclere Castle, where the series is filmed. She utilized records of the estate to recount life there through the eyes of Almina, Countess of Carnarvon, beginning with Almina’s marriage to the 5th Earl until his death in 1923. Her parentage dubious, she is reported to be the illegitimate daughter of Alfred Rothschild, who, as her ‘Godfather,’ infuses the Earl’s debt ridden estate with a spectacular dowry. Reading of dramatics below stairs is fascinating, with dozens of staff serving under the house Steward (Butler). Above stairs we’re enthralled by numerous balls, ‘celebrity’ visitors, and life during Edwardian times – indeed Prince Edward was a Highclere guest. During World War I, Highclere was utilized as a hospital for wounded soldiers, and like our Downton Abbey, we follow the tale into the beginning of the end of an era for the aristocracy of England.

Call # Status CAR 942.271 Non Fiction Section