Book trailer: Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

The current lady of the house, the 8th Countess of Highclere Castle has authored Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle about the life of the 5th Countess Almina Victoria Maria Alexandra Wombwell (1877-1969).

"Lady Fiona Carnarvon became the chatelaine of Highclere Castle - the setting of the hit series Downton Abbey - eight years ago. In that time she's become fascinated by the rich history of Highclere, and by the extraordinary people who lived there over the centuries.

One person particularly captured Fiona's imagination - Lady Almina, 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.

At first, life at Highclere was a dizzying mix of sumptuous banquets for 500 and even the occasional royal visitor. Almina oversaw 80 members of staff - many of whom came from families who had worked at Highclere for generations.

[Image on right - Lady Carnarvon, 1900,
Image on left - Lord and Lady Carnarvon, 1921

But when the First World War broke out, life at Highclere changed forever.

History intervened and Almina and the staff of Highclere were thrown into one of the most turbulent times of the last century. Almina was forced to draw on her deepest reserves of courage in order to ensure her family, the staff and the castle survived.

This is the remarkable story of a lost time. But Highclere remains and in this book, Fiona weaves Almina's journey and those of her family into the heritage and history of one of England's most exquisite Victorian castles."

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey
published by Hodder & Stoughton - available Sept 29, 2011.

Book description: Hodder & Stoughton


  1. Interesting! This is the second book that is coming out about Almina, although I think the first book might be self-published.

  2. I absolutely adore your blog!!!!!! I accidentally came across downton abbey and now i'm a huge fan! thanks for this!!! keep on blogging!! :)

  3. @Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
    I did notice the other book too! Have to wonder which one is the more sanitized version since it seems she led quite the life. I don't think either are books that I myself will be seeking to read :)

    Thanks, glad to have you pop by! However, I don't know that I will keep on blogging since I'm trying to retire from this blog. However, Downton Abbey is one of my weaknesses which keeps me coming back!

  4. Omg you're planning on retiring form blooging?! O please don't I was 19 or so when I discovered your blog, and I'm 21 now and it took me forever to find a blog that writes about period films, is so organized, and actually updates on a regular basis! You're where I get all my info from, news, upcoming movies, and you've introduced me to so many movies and shows it's unbelievable! So please, please don't retire your blog is fantastic!

  5. Perhaps the Countess could get Julian Fellowes to turn her book into a screenplay. You know I would watch it for sure. I'd love to check the book out too. I hope it has lots of photos!

  6. @Camille
    I'm honoured that you've been following the blog for 2 years! I do plan on retreating from blogging though - not sure if I'll be able to step away but I find that real life has taken a back seat for too long so I'm trying to keep my posts to a minimum.

  7. The weird thing about this is that, as a countess, Almina would never ever ever be referred to as Lady Almina. She was Almina, Countess of Carnarvon, or simply Lady Carnarvon. Calling her Lady Almina implies that she is the daughter of a peer herself. This awkwardness is well laid out in Downton Abbey, when Sir Richard calls Lady Rosamund "Lady Painswick" and is corrected, as Lady Rosamund (daughter of an earl) her rank is greater than her late husband, who I believe was a commoner.
    You'll notice that Lady Grantham is never referred to as Lady Cora. I'm very surprised that the current Countess of Carnarvon would refer to her predecessor that way in a book title.



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