Saturday, August 6, 2011

Real Downton Abbey

From the Mail Online:
To the young men who lay in their hospital beds, badly wounded, burned and traumatised by the horror of the trenches, she appeared almost like an angel.

Dressed in nurse’s whites, petite and strikingly beautiful, Almina tenderly cared for the Army officers and pilots, solicitously smoothing their bed covers, cleaning and dressing their wounds, and giving orders to the nurses under her command.

But this was no ordinary military hospital — and she was no ordinary matron. In fact, she had no medical training at all.

But Almina, the Countess of Carnarvon and chatelaine of Highclere Castle in Hampshire, was not one to be deflected by such details...

But even Oscar-winning scriptwriter Julian Fellowes would be hard-pressed to surpass the familial intrigues and suppressed scandals of the Carnarvons, the castle’s actual inhabitants, at the time that the new series is set.

At the heart of these events was the beautiful, charismatic — but mercurial — Almina, whose immense wealth subsidised the castle’s upkeep. It had been her idea to turn Highclere into a wartime hospital, but sadly Almina’s extravagance was ultimately to be her undoing.

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