Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Lady Almina

In 1895, at the age of nineteen, she married the 5th Earl of Carnarvon (1866-1923). She was Almina Wombwell (1876-1969), the daughter of banker Alfred de Rothschild, and brought in a considerable amount of money. She held the title. He the money!

The book 'Lady Almina and the Real Downtown Abbey' (2015) describes in great detail the story of their lives. A lovely read! In telegraphic style: peerage, money, big money, country houses, archaeology in Egypt, Howard Carter and the discovery of the tomb of Tutankamon. 

In fourteen years of digging in Egypt, the 5th Earl spent around 50,000 British pound (10,000,000 in today's money). He wanted to stop in 1922 - he could no longer afford it - but Carter seduced him to pay for one more season. And the rest of the story became history and front-page news. In the first week of the 1922 season - in November - the tomb of Tutankamon (KV62) was discovered. Four months later the 5th Earl died. Almina paid for the eight years it took Carter to unload the tomb and to catalogue all its artefacts. In 1936, the Egyptian government paid Almina 36,000 British pounds for her expenses and to get the ownership of the Tutankamon discovery. 

To pay death duties, in 1926 Almina sold the Earl's private ancient Egyptian collection to 'The Metropolitan'. Three items of his collection #inblue:

 More details: here.

 More details: here.

 More details: here.

She was the woman who made it, with her money, possible to "discover" Tutankamon. But ... her greatest contribution to humanity are her activities in the medical world. In World War I she opened Highclere Castle - and later a house in London - for the wounded soldiers. Medical care with an integrative or holistic method of treatment.

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