Wednesday 6 July 2011

As I was saying to Lady Carnarvon...

Highclere Castle is a beautiful building and a fun place for her young son to grow up in. We were there to get material for a story about "Downton Abbey", the irresistible upstairs/downstairs soap opera that's just finished its first season in NZ, and which is filmed at Highclere. We chatted with Lady Carnarvon for an hour. She was very nice, but wouldn't let me take a photo "because I'm a mess and haven't got any makeup on" - I should be so lucky, to look like that when I'm at my worst, all tousled blonde hair and blue eyes and perfect teeth, and casually elegant.

The house was very appealing on a hot July day - though evidently a chilly place in cold weather, and all the fireplaces were set ready to go - and I especially liked all the evidence of occupation, like the tubes of cream on the bedside tables, the books left open face down, in amongst the Van Dyck portraits and the soaring ceilings. Oh, and seeing the Queen and Di in family photos scattered about on the grand piano and side tables. And there was a Tutenkamen exhibition in the servants' cellars that was mostly convincing replicas except for Lord Carnarvon's actual folding razor that gave him the fateful knick, leading to septicaemia and death, and the Curse of the Mummy story. Great stuff.

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