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" I walked into Highclere Castle as a naive assistant cook and left 32 years later a House Manager and I am rightfully proud that this wonderful house was entrusted to my care. I didn't own it, though some days (if I'm honest, most days) I thought I did, but its welfare belonged to me and I belonged to it. "
extract from Forward
A wonderful insight in the life and times of working in one of the most fabulous stately homes in the British Isles. Enjoyed by thousands, treasured by all. Renounded for its majestic interior and magnificent gardens. Highclere has played host to applauded film and tv epics the most recent of which is Downton Abbey. In these pages the author shares her personal experiences and gives a detailed behind the scenes insight into the workings of this glorious treasure
This is a remarkable book. It is a genuinely unique description of a life moving at speed from a Victorian age into the 21st century in one of Britain's great houses.
The Earls of Carnarvon hit world attention with the discovery of the fabulous treasures of Tutankhamen and in recent years the 7th Earl regularly hosted the Royal Family as the Queen's racing manager.
A host of stars passed through Highclere during Maureen's reign, yet this account deals with her self-admitted obsession with the great house. Her whole life revolved around Highclere which distanced her from the outside world, cocooned, as she says, 'in a time capsule'.
Her involvement was her very life. She felt, with good reason, herself as the very heart of Highclere. From simple domesticity, girlish pranks, an iron will, Maureen's perspective on life was entirely her own whatever was happening around her.
Not recognising him, she ordered Bill Gates out of the Staterooms.
The case of the abducted canine heir, single-handedly arranging a concert, sublime wines, ghosts, artists, £58,000 of savings stuffed under a bed - all play a part in the story.
The book is crowded with the sort of incidents and events worthy of tabloid headlines, yet described simply as every day life at Highclere.