Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lady Catherine, The Earl, And The Real Downton Abbey

Lady Catherine, The Earl, And The Real Downton Abbey

By The Countess of Carnarvon

To be published in the US by Crown Publishing/Broadway Books on 29th October 2013

The Countess' s previous book about Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnavon, was interesting and this is an even more riveting volume, dealing with the lives of the 6th Earl and Countess of Carnavon. Before he succeeded to the title, young Lord Porchester - generally known as Porchy - met and fell in love with a lovely American, Catherine Wendell.

The highly popular young couple moved in the highest social circles and seemed destined to live a charmed life, but sadly, the happiness of their fairy-tale wedding did not last.  The tragic death of the 5th Earl meant the end of their life in India with Porchy's regiment and taking up the reigns of the huge Highclere estate; the enormous death duty tax payable to the Government had to be found and then ways sought to make Highclere survive and thrive at a time when the world was changing rapidly and inching slowly to political instability.

 Porchy's "wandering eye" was a major factor in the breakdown of their marriage and after her divorce at the age of 35, Catherine was faced with all the stress and challenges of building a new life for herself and their two children, which she did very successfully. All too soon, however, she was faced with the death of her adored second husband on active duty and then the dreadful anxiety of watching her son also march off to serve in World War II. Porchy's own second marriage sadly proved unsuccessful and he devoted himself to life at Highclere; he and Catherine managed to remain on friendly terms for the rest of their lives.

Sure to appeal to anyone who enjoys Downton Abbey and social history.

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1 comment:

williecross said...

Interesting and well thought through blog. Congratulations. For the sake of fair play and to give all Highclere – Herbert family followers or would be visitors to Highclere Castle ( a great place to soak up Downton magic) all the possible choices available of book title may I please mention that as with the previous coverage in 2011 regarding the life and times of Lady Almina ( the colourful Fifth Countess) in two books with distinct differences of fact , my book " Catherine and Tilly: Porchey Carnarvon's Two Duped Wives. The Tragic Tales of the Sixth Countesses of Carnarvon" will play out for what its worth or not alongside Highclere's latest romp on Catherine Wendell. My narrative draws on original papers, newspapers and the Wendell papers in Portsmouth Athenaeum, in Maine, USA as well as the good will of members of the Wendell family. It will also be based on interviews and testimony from several people who knew and dearly loved Catherine. A sketch of Tilly Losch the great dancer, and bit part actress, a sort of combined Madonna and Lady Gaga of her time, is included too. Kind Regards, William Cross, FSA Scot.