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Lady Carnarvon to speak about life in ‘Downton Abbey’s” Highclere Castle

Lady Fiona Carnarvon

(Tyler Morning Telegraph) – Fans of the PBS hit series “Downton Abbey” will recognize the home of this year’s Texas Rose Festival Ladies’ Luncheon speaker, Fiona Carnarvon, the honorable countess of Carnarvon

Lady Carnarvon and her husband, Herbert, the 8th earl of Carnarvon, reside in Highclere, a majestic castle on a 5,000-acre estate in Hampshire, England. Highclere Castle serves as the primary filming location for “Downton Abbey,” the television show that follows the exploits of a royal family in early 1900s England.

Lady Carnarvon has written books — “Lady “Almina and the Real Downton Abbey” and “Lady Catherine, The Earl and the Real Downton Abbey” – that chronicle life at Highclere over the centuries.

She also has written two books on the most famous character in the family’s lineage, George Herbert, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon who, along with archeologist Howard Carter, discovered and excavated the tomb of Egypt’s King Tutankhamen in 1922.

“Carnarvon & Carter” examines the duo’s work and search for the legendary tomb. “Egypt at Highclere: The Discovery of Tutankhamun,” is an accompaniment to an exhibition of ancient Egyptian artifacts on view at Highclere.

As the guardian of Highclere Castle, Lady Carnarvon is in charge of overseeing the estate, its sprawling grounds and gardens and the ongoing exhibition.

“She has such a cool story,” said Cathy Bertram, wife of Texas Rose Festival Association President Herald Bertram. “She’s indicated that she wants to do a full slide show.”

Mrs. Bertram said Lady Carnarvon will have a lot to talk about and has reputation of being an engaging speaker.

“Living in Highclere Castle, there is so much history there and also with the family. The creator of ‘Downtown Abbey’ took her books and turned it into the ‘Downton Abbey’ family.”

Ginger Young, who is helping plan the luncheon, believes Lady Carnarvon’s presentation will be of interest to many people, especially fans of the television show.

“She’s a pretty remarkable woman,” Mrs. Young said. “What she has to say will appeal to a lot of people. And the luncheon is not just for women, men are welcome too. This is for the entire community.”

Lady Carnarvon’s books will be on sale at the luncheon, Mrs. Young said.

The luncheon is set for 11:30 a.m. Oct. 16 at the CrossWalk Conference Center at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler. General admission tickets cost $50 and can be ordered beginning Tuesday on the Cowan Center website, cowancenter.org.

Sponsorships also are still savailable.

The Texas Rose Festival, a celebration of the beauty of the rose and the Tyler area’s heritage of growing roses, takes place Oct. 15-18.

Other Rose Festival events include the Rose Show, Queen’s Coronation, Queen’s Tea, Men’s Luncheon and Rose Parade.

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