Sunday, 8 December 2013


An exclusive scoop on the hit TV series Downton Abbey with a fascinating insight into life at Highclere Castle

A talk, followed by book signing, will be given by the eighth Countess of Carnarvon, Lady Fiona Carnarvon, about her latest book ‘Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey’, and what life is like at Highclere Castle – the inspiration behind many storylines, and the filming location for the hit TV series and famous stately home in Newbury, England.

The event is organised by the British Council in association with the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, and takes place on Thursday 12 December 2013, at 10:30am, in the Literary Square of the LitFest’s home in Dar Al Adaab, in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Dubai.

Entry is free of charge, and the books, published by Hodder and Stoughton, will be available to purchase during the morning.

Marc Jessel, Country Director of British Council in the United Arab Emirates commented: “As the UK’s international organisation for Cultural Relations, that strives to create opportunities for artists in the UK, we are delighted to partner with the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in the UAE to host this public talk by the eighth Countess of Carnarvon, Lady Fiona Carnarvon. We invite our audience to enjoy exclusive insights into the history and life of Highclere Castle.”

‘Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey’ tells of the beautiful American heiress who became the countess following her marriage to the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who famously discovered the Tomb of the Egyptian Boy Pharaoh, Tutankhamun, in 1922 with his archaeological colleague, Howard Carter. Drawing on rich material from the archives at Highclere, including beautiful period photographs, Lady Carnarvon transports us back to the thrilling and alluring world of the real Downton Abbey and its inhabitants.
In her book ‘Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey’, Lady Carnarvon recounts the story of Highclere during the elegant Edwardian period, and its charismatic mistress who turned the house into a hospital for soldiers during the First World War.

The award winning period drama Downton Abbey is now shown in over 120 countries around the world. With an all-star cast, the series is created by Oscar winning writer Lord Julian Fellowes and follows the lives of the Edwardian Crawely family and the servants who work for them.

Acting Festival Director Yvette Judge said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Lady Carnarvon to the home of the LitFest. The facts are even more glamorous than the fiction, and it should be an enthralling morning as we hear about the real events behind the Downton Abbey plot-lines, and Highclere’s starring role in the TV series.”

The talk is just one in a series of literary events that the LitFest organises through the year, in addition to the Festival itself.

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