Lady Fiona Carnarvon, Downton Abbey’s real-life owner, has spoken about what it was like to attend the Queen’s burial at St George’s Chapel in September.
Her Majesty was laid to rest in the King George VI Memorial Chapel, within St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, on Monday, September 19. Lady Canarvon was one of the 800 people to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s committal and burial service.
The countess owns Highclere Castle, which acts as the exterior of the fictional Downton Abbey in the hit TV show. The estate’s records date back to 749 AD, when an Anglo-Saxon king granted it to the Bishops of Winchester.
Speaking to Good Morning Britain (GMB) hosts Charlotte Hawkins and Adil Ray on Thursday, October 27, Lady Carnarvon said: “We were lucky enough to be asked to St George’s Chapel, which was very moving.
“The Royal Family must have been so exhausted,” she added. “But I think, when we all saw the coffin going down, it was hard not to cry.”
Lady Carnarvon added that the last time she saw the Queen before Her Majesty’s death on September 8 was at the Chelsea Flower Show in May.
“We were lucky enough to bump into her at the Chelsea Flower Show in May, and I had launched two new roses,” Lady Carnarvon explained. “She never missed a beat.”
She was also asked how Highclere Castle prepared for the Queen’s visit, replying that it was “something on a different scale”.
“It’s very nerve-wracking,” Lady Carnarvon said. “In the end, it’s about making lists. She was the most extraordinary lady, as we all know. She would try to put me at ease when she was arriving.”
Lady Carnarvon is a former auditor for Coopers & Lybrand, and the wife of George Herbert, 8th Earl of Carnarvon. They are now divorced but have two children together; Lady Saoirse Herbert (born June 2, 1991) and George Kenneth Oliver Molyneux Herbert, Lord Porchester (born October 13, 1992), the heir to the titles.