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Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle
Carnarvon, Fiona (Book - 2011 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey
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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 Downton Abbey , and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Lady Almina, the 5th 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.
Authors: Carnarvon, Fiona, Countess of
Title: Lady Almina and the real Downton Abbey
the lost legacy of Highclere Castle
Publisher: New York : Broadway Paperbacks, c2011.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
Characteristics: x, 310 p., [32] p. of plates :,ill. ;,21 cm.
Notes: Originally published in Great Britain by Hodder & Stoughton in 2011.
Contents: Pomp and circumstance
Welcome to Highclere
Almina, debutante
A triumph for her ladyship
Life downstairs
Dressing for dinner
Edwardian Egypt
The passing of the golden age
The summer of 1914
Call to arms
Paradise lost
War heroes
Hospital on the move
Death in the trenches
The dark times
The promised end
From war to peace
Another glittering season
"Wonderful things"
Lights out
Inheritance.
ISBN: 0770435629
9780770435622
Statement of Responsibility: by The Countess of Carnarvon
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 299-300) and index.
Subject Headings: Carnarvon, Almina, Countess of, 1876-1969. Carnarvon, George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, Earl of, 1866-1923. Highclere Castle. Nobility Great Britain Biography. World War, 1914-1918 Great Britain. Great Britain Social life and customs 20th century.
Topical Term: Nobility
World War, 1914-1918
LCCN: 2011042617
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Mar 18, 2013
  • Ireadalot2 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Good read. Well researched book about the life of a privileged wealthy woman in the first half of the twentieth century. There was just too much detail about the Second World War. The constant lists of battles and who fought in them got to me. I skipped a couple of chapters to the end of the war. The rest was good.

Mar 13, 2013
  • cichellic rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The fans of Downton Abbey will enjoy the real history of Highclere Castle. Added bonus is learning the role Earl Of Carnavon played in excavating Tutankhamun's tomb. It's set me on a quest for other books about King Tut. Enjoy!

Feb 07, 2013
  • gloryb rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I can see where Julian Fellowes got his inspiration for story ideas for his Downton Abbey TV series after reading this short biography of Lady Almina, the Countess of Carnarvon. She lived in Downton Abbey during the early 1900's to 1922 with her husband, the famous Earl of Carnavon who financed Howard Carter's Egyptian discoveries. Unfortunately, her life story in this book stops after the death of her husband in 1922 when her son became the next Earl of Carnarvon and she thus had to move out of Downton Abbey, the family home. I took the book out because I was curious to see why Alfred Rothchild's daughter was chosen as a bride by the Earl of Carnarvon and how she would be accepted by his peers. There is a great deal of name dropping and descriptions of the parties given and gone to and monies spent on these entertainments as well as other endeavors such her work in hospitals during WWI. The photos add interest to the story but really are as informative as looking at one's own pics of relatives of that time period and wondering who they were. I found myself scanning over the paragraphs with descriptions of the war effort but read those which described her family members' involvement. I found the book informative. Now I am interested in visiting Downton Abbey just see what 1900 silk on the walls looks like 110 years later!

Fans of the Downton Abbey series will love this book that profiles some of the real nobility who lived in Highclere Castle in its grand day in the late 1890s through to the end of the Great War. The author, Lady Fiona Carnarvon is the 8th Duchess of Carnarvon. When the Downton Abbey series began 3 years ago, she started researching the history of Highclere Castle and her husband’s ancestors. Lady Almina, was the 5th Countess of Carnarvon. Almina was the illegitimate daughter of banking tycoon Alfred de Rothschild. She was his only daughter and he doted on her. She married the 5th Earl of Carnarvon at 19 with an enormous dowry. Lady Cora in the Downton Abbey series is loosely based on Lady Almina. This book features details about some of the grand balls that took place at Highclere Castle and the role that Lady Almina played in transforming Highclere Castle into a hospital in the Great War.

Okay--a little slow-going.

Dec 29, 2012
  • bgsibley rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A must read for Downton Abbey fans. An easy read and a glimpse into an era of both lavish social life and social responsibility.

Aug 23, 2012
  • HopeButterfly rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A very interesting story of a very important time in history.

Jul 31, 2012
  • Jessi52 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Very interesting and true story. Lots of photos of the home, family and staff. Especially fun to read after watching Downton Abbey.

Jul 27, 2012
  • villapark rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Anyone who watches Downton Abbey will enjoy this book since many of the tv characters are based on real people who lived and worked at Highclere Castle. The book was a bit slow at times and I hoped for more stories about the servants, but overall I enjoyed learning about Lady Almina and her family. And now I have a renewed interest in Egypt and Tatankhamun (those who learn about Lady's Almina's husband will understand why).

Amazing woman and amazing time period. Gives alot of context for the show of Downton Abby and War Horse. Good read.

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Version pocillo (pocillo) Last updated 2014/08/26 17:01