Lord Carnarvon Shares Anecdotes of Highclere Castle

Lord Carnarvon of Highclere Castle was the guest speaker for The Salon evening soiree last week at The Relais Henley hotel.

Guests were treated to Highclere Castle Gin and tonic whilst Lord Carnarvon told them that the gin had meticulously been developed over 2 years with ingredients from the Highclere estate.  He said, “On the 25th version we finally got there after adding oats from the estate which took away the sharp taste that got the back which has given it a unique smooth flavour.”   The gin was launched during Covid with Lady Carnarvon doing online live sessions making virtual cocktails and telling stories about the Castle with 65,000 people watching.  The distinct blue bottle gin has already won 20+ UK and international awards.

The talk then turned to the history of the castle and the ancestry of the Carnarvons.  Lord Carnarvon spoke about the 5th Earl of Carnarvon who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in Egypt but sadly died after being bitten by a mosquito and got septicemia at the young age of 56.  There is now an Egyptian exhibition in the cellar of the castle charting the discovery and Lady Carnarvon has written a book about it.

Like many large estates and buildings, the cost for upkeeping them is vast.  Lord Carnarvon explained that the filming of Downton Abbey TV series and film along with the vast number of visitors now to the castle is helping to fund the upkeep.  Asked whether he has been an extra on any of the TV episodes or film, Lord Carnarvon replied “No, but perhaps I could be one of the gardeners.  During the WW2 episodes, there were so many extras and they even had very lifelike waxwork of soldiers which frightened me one day.”

Grace Leo, co-owner of The Relais Henley said, “It was lovely to have Lord Carnarvon come to talk and share his anecdotes and his award-winning gin.  The evening soiree The Salon events are great convivial and social events.”

The next The Salon breakfast meeting is on Wednesday 7 December at 8am when the speaker will be Alasdair Haynes, Founder and CEO of Aquis, a challenger stock exchange group.  Alasdair will be looking at the current economic challenges and speaking about the making of the UK’s challenger Stock Exchange and getting capital to UK growth companies.

If you would like to attend The Salon events, please email salon@therelaisretreats.com