Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle, 2011, created by the current Countess (Fiona) of Carnarvon, is a blend of biography, novel, and historiography. The setting and inspiration for the PBS Emmy winning television series created by Julian Fellowes, this work is much more than a fan-fiction glimpse into the Late Edwardian Era estate.
To capture the mood leading to the World War I years, the family archives of Highclere Castle are tapped by the current Countess: letters, photographs, and diaries of the inhabitants present a wealth of material. Yet this tale is as much about the countess as it is Highclere. Detailed in a way that fans of historical fiction or period novels would appreciate, the transition from Victoriana to the Edwardian Era is revealed through the life of the late Countess.
Akin to Lady Cora Crawley, her Downton Abbey series counterpart, our Lady Almina was daughter of the wealthy industrialist Alfred de Rothschild. She married young, becoming the eighth Countess; it was her ample dowry which preserved the ancestral home of the fifth Earl of Carnarvon. We discover how, during World War I, her generous spirit led to the transformation of Highclere Castle into a hospital for the wounded, and also how later her wealth would finance the Earl's expeditions to Egypt for the opening of King Tut's tomb.
Lady Fiona Carnarvon studied English and German at University of St. Andrews before becoming an accountant. She met Geordie Carnarvon in 1996. After his father died, they took tenureship of the Highclere Castle.
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the real-life inspiration and setting for Julian Fellowes's Emmy Award-winning PBS show, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants: Lady Almina, the fifth Countess of Carnarvon. Drawing on a rich store of materials from the archives of Highclere Castle, including diaries, letters, and photographs, the current Lady Carnarvon has written a transporting story of this fabled home on the brink of war. Much like her Masterpiece Classic counterpart Lady Cora Crawley, Lady Almina was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, Alfred de Rothschild, who married his daughter off at a young age, her dowry serving as the crucial link in the effort to preserve the Earl of Carnarvon's ancestral home. Throwing open the doors of Highclere Castle to tend to the wounded of World War I, Lady Almina distinguished herself as a brave and remarkable woman. This rich tale contrasts the splendor of Edwardian life in a great house against the backdrop of the First World War and offers an inspiring and revealing picture of the woman at the center of the history of Highclere Castle. Download and start listening now!