Back in 1922, on this date, Howard Carter opened the door to the richest archaeological find in history; King Tut’s Tomb.
Carter’s quest for the rumored burial place was funded by this guy…
George Herbert, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon.
Or more correctly, by his wife’s money.
For those of you who don’t know, she’e the “real” Countess who lived in Highclere Castle, and is much of the fodder from which we glean “Downton Abbey”.
I just had to get that in there.
Almina, the Duchess, was the illegitimate daughter of super-rich Alfred de Rothschilde, but she spent her life as the daughter of the cuckolded, Captain Frederick Womble.
de Rothschilde knew she was his daughter, and funded her life, saving Highclere Castle and the Carnarvon fortunes by pumping what would now be millions of dollars into the place and Almina’s projects.
Almina, ever generous, funneled cash to the Earl, who spent a great deal of time in Egypt looking for the mystery tomb that turned out to be King Tut’s.
After the death of the Earl, which occurred a few days after the discovery, Almina continued to fund Carter’s work in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. His son blamed the curse of King Tut on his father’s death, after all, the family dog, back in England howled at the moment of his master’s death, and in sympathy, died as well.
Almina remarried that same year, and lived to be 92.
The current Earl, the 8th, lives at Highclere, and is basking in the good fortune of Downton Abbey.
So much for a curse!
I say all this for several reasons. I was going to do a King Tut’s Curse post for October, but it just didn’t work out, didn’t fit in, and after all, there are only 31 days in the month. Also, the mere mention of Downton Abbey sets some folks’ hair afire, and that’s always fun. And, it gives me a chance to celebrate that season 4 of the “…beloved and much watched show…” starts in a short 2 months!
Yeah, again, so much for a curse!