Finally, My Heart Has Turned Downton Abbey


So if you know me personally, you know that I have a weakness in my heart for everything English, including TV shows. There have been so many that I have loved and watched over the years but honestly, I could never get into Downton Abbey. I don’t know why. Finally, over this past Easter weekend, I took the plunge and started to watch it. Let’s just say I am on season three and loving it.

Each time I would try to watch Downton I just felt like it would not be a show for me. Too mushy, I would tell my husband. I have never enjoyed a TV series that is romantic I enjoy something that has action in it, pure action. After making myself sit through the first couple of episodes of Downton I have found that I love show. Imagine that. I will say that it is full of pure romance in one form or another, but I have found that the character structure and moods in the show has transformed be back into time, and honestly, that is what I love most.

This British drama series follows the lives of the Crawley family and its servants in the family’s classic Georgian country house. The series begins with the 1912 sinking of the Titanic, which leaves Downton Abbey’s future in jeopardy, since the presumptive heirs of Robert, Earl of Grantham — his cousin James, and James’ son, Patrick — die in the catastrophe, leaving the family without a male offspring to take over Downton when the current lord dies. The point is important since Lord Grantham’s children are daughters — Ladies Mary, Edith and Sybil, but the facets of their lives and of those of the below-stairs staff — also a highly regimented world — have fascinating story lines.

I am writing this because I know that I can’t be the only person out there that has been put off by Downton Abbey, thinking that it was nothing but a drawn out love story, but it is that in fact and so much more. Each character in the show brings something to Downton that makes it a unique show. From Lady Mary Crawley to their servants Mr. Bates and Anne. Of course, I can’t forget to mention Mr. Carson (who actually reminds me so much of my grandfather). The turmoil in each character’s life is really brought to light in each series, and each episode moves swiftly.

I think that I enjoy Downton Abbey more than I would have a couple of years ago because I have been watching a ton of different history type shows about different homes during that period as well as different Lords and Ladies. I find it interesting how they lived, so Downton Abbey has found a great place in my heart. Of course, Downton Abbey is really Highclere Castle which to this day is a grand estate of Lady Carnarvon and George Herbert, 8th Earl of Carnarvon. Whom both have dedicated their lives to restoring and giving the lavish castle a place in today’s society.

Downton Abbey Does Have Some Truth In It

As I said I have always loved English history and the Downton Abbey show does have some truth in it, though the names have been changed and it is a fictional story. I don’t want to ruin the show if you have not watched it but while watching Downton Abbey in the first Season and second World War Two casts a great shadow down upon the Abbey. In the show, they open their home up to the wounded officers that no longer needed care in a hospital but just time to rest until discharge. This, in fact, did happen at Highclere Castle during this time. The young American Lady Almina turned Highclere Castle into a hospital and began to admit soldiers coming back from the trenches.

The 5th Earl of Carnarvon (back right) and Carnarvon’s then wife, Almina, Countess of Carnarvon (centre) with companions

Another little bit that I have found by reading articles online is that the Highclere Castle has still many secrets held within its walls, that you still today might not know. After World War One, of course, Highclere Castle became a private residence again, but I don’t believe in the same way that it was before. Times were changing as they make it very clear in Downton Abbey.  1922 the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, the first global world media event.

As TIME explained in 1988, his grandson, a later Lord Carnarvon, had thought he knew of every treasure in the castle—until a 75-year-old Butler told him, as TIME then reported, “Except for the Egyptian stuff, my lord.”

Thereupon he began revealing more than 300 ancient objects that had been hidden in secret cupboards and unused rooms of the castle for more than 70 years. Among the trove was a 3,200-year-old carved wooden face of Amenophis III. Last week Lord Carnarvon announced that the treasures will go on public view at Highclere. Who squirreled them away? No one knows, but it seems that the sixth Earl Carnarvon, son of the man who entered Tut’s tomb, was furious after he lost a lawsuit in 1924 against the Egyptian government for a half share of the crypt’s riches. Miffed, the aristocrat forbade any mention of Egypt.

Today you can still see the findings of the Egyptian expeditions at Highclere Castle which is not located where the kitchen would have been. Like I said at the beginning of this article I am only on season 2 yet I have found a love with the show. After making myself watch it of course, I see how deeply this show is somewhat rooted in history and they do make an accurate attempt to make the lives of upstairs and downstairs come to live. Don’t get me wrong the fictional tale of Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle) is brilliantly fictional but if you do look closely to some of the aspects of the show, you will find hints of truth.

I do hope that one day to visit Highclere Castle, but till then I will marvel at the beautiful rooms and use Downton Abbey as my way to transport myself to the castle. If you are like me and now the series has come to an end, take a jump and just watch the first couple of episodes. I think that you will find it really interesting and enjoyable to watch. Below I have linked just a short video about Highclere Castle and the real Downton Abbey.

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