Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey

by The Countess of Carnarvon

Biography / Autobiography eBooks of the Month History

Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey Synopsis

Charming and charismatic, Catherine caught the eye of Lord Porchester (or 'Porchey', as he was known) when she was just 20 years old, and wearing a pale yellow dress at a ball. She had already turned down 14 proposals before she eventually married Porchey in 1922. But less than a year later Porchey's father died suddenly, and he became the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, inheriting a title and a Castle that changed both their lives forever. Catherine found herself suddenly in charge of a small army of household staff, and hosting lavish banquets and weekend house parties. Although the couple were very much in love, considerable challenges lay ahead for Catherine. They were immediately faced with the task of saving Highclere when debts threatened to destroy the estate. As the 1920s moved to a close, Catherine's adored brother died and she began to lose her husband to the distractions London had to offer. When the Second World War broke out, life at the Castle would never be the same again. Drawing on rich material from the private archives at Highclere, including beautiful period photographs, the current Countess of Carnarvon transports us back to the thrilling and alluring world of the 'real Downton Abbey' and its inhabitants.

The Good Book Guide Review

The Countess of Carnarvon is the current incumbent of Highclere Castle, the real-life setting for Downton Abbey. Catherine Wendell was a charismatic young American who succumbed to the advances of the 6th Earl, Lord Porchester, and married into the English nobility in the 1920s, where she found herself transported into a bewildering new life supervising a small retinue of staff and hosting exuberant house parties at Highclere. By the cusp of the Second World War, life had changed irrevocably for everyone at Highclere, as the house became an American airbase and home for evacuee children. Its history over this period – drawn from the house’s archive – is charted with dedication and scrupulous attention to detail.

Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey Press Reviews

An excellent depiction of English aristocratic life...a compelling portrait of the era's lives, deaths, politics, scandals and the war's impact on Porchey and Catherine's family. Lady Carnarvon's narrative is a vivid time-stamp of a tempestuous period in history, aptly incorporating its political situation and social structure, to satisfy history buffs and Anglophiles. Publisher's Weekly


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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781444762129
Publication date: 11/09/2014
Publisher: Hodder Paperback an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781444762129
Publication date: 11th September 2014
Author: The Countess of Carnarvon
Publisher: Hodder Paperback an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 400 pages
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites, History,
Categories: Biography: historical, political & military, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, Social classes,

About The Countess of Carnarvon

Lady Fiona Carnarvon married the current Earl of Carnarvon in 1999, and they took over Highclere nine years ago.

More About The Countess of Carnarvon

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