Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey
Published on Saturday, November 23, 2013 - 9:53am
The story of the famed Highclere Castle continues in Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey by the Countess of Carnarvon, the companion to her first book, Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey.
The book focuses on the Sixth Earl of Canarvon and his American-born wife Lady Catherine. In 1923, Lord Porchester (known as Porchey to his family) succeeded his famous father to the title and the estate. Of note, Lady Catherine's maternal ancestors included the Lees of Virginia.
Like his father, the new Earl faced the question of how to keep Highclere Castle securely financed for the future. The 1920s and 1930s weren't easy for great estates like Highclere. To help with paying for the estate, the Earl had to cut expenses and sell valuable artwork and treasures. Political and social life in England was different than it had been prior to World War I. The social doings of the Carnarvons were featured in the newspapers, at times, not in the best way.
And Europe wasn't to remain a peaceful place. In 1939, war had broken out. Highclere Castle was put into service once again, this time housing evacuee children from London.
The book ends in 1945 with an epilogue about the castle and the family in recent years.
I enjoyed reading this book and learning more about the story of Highclere Castle. Copies are available to check out from the library.