Downton Abbey Tea

Downton Abbey's real countess charms Houstonians at Highclere Tea with stories of famous castle

Downton Abbey's real countess charms Houstonians at Highclere Tea

26 Lisa Shumate, from left, Lady Carnarvon and Lynn Wyatt at the Highclere Tea March 2015
Lisa Shumate, from left, Lady Carnarvon and Lynn Wyatt. Photo by John R. Lewis
20 Roz Pactor, from left, M.A. Shute and Bill Stubbs at the Highclere Tea March 2015
Roz Pactor, from left, M.A. Shute and Bill Stubbs. Photo by John R. Lewis
33 Smoked salmon with caper egg salad tea sandwich at the Highclere Tea March 2015
Smoked salmon with caper egg salad tea sandwich. Photo by John R. Lewis
17 Phoebe Tudor, left, and Greggory Burk at the Highclere Tea March 2015
Phoebe Tudor, left, and Greggory Burk. Photo by John R. Lewis
14 Linda McReynolds, from left, Lady Carnarvon and Rose Cullen at the Highclere Tea March 2015
Linda McReynolds, from left, Lady Carnarvon and Rose Cullen. Photo by John R. Lewis
16 Debra Nash, left, and Denise Taylor at the Highclere Tea March 2015
Debra Nash, left, and Denise Taylor. Photo by John R. Lewis
39 Lady Carnarvon shares the history of Highclere Castle with guests at the Highclere Tea March 2015
Lady Carnarvon shares the history of Highclere Castle with guests. Photo by John R. Lewis
34 Cucumber-watercress tea sandwiches with Boursin cheese at the Highclere Tea March 2015
Cucumber-watercress tea sandwiches with Boursin cheese. Photo by John R. Lewis
13 Carol and Mike Linn at the Highclere Tea March 2015
Carol and Mike Linn. Photo by John R. Lewis
8 Liz Zaruba and Bob Devlin at the Highclere Tea March 2015
Liz Zaruba and Bob Devlin. Photo by John R. Lewis
5 Anne Mendelsohn, left, and Robin Angley at the Highclere Tea March 2015
Anne Mendelsohn, left, and Robin Angley. Photo by John R. Lewis
28 Clifford Pugh, from left, Lady Carnarvon and  John Dascoulias at the Highclere Tea March 2015
Clifford Pugh, from left, Lady Carnarvon and John Dascoulias. Photo by John R. Lewis
26 Lisa Shumate, from left, Lady Carnarvon and Lynn Wyatt at the Highclere Tea March 2015
20 Roz Pactor, from left, M.A. Shute and Bill Stubbs at the Highclere Tea March 2015
33 Smoked salmon with caper egg salad tea sandwich at the Highclere Tea March 2015
17 Phoebe Tudor, left, and Greggory Burk at the Highclere Tea March 2015
14 Linda McReynolds, from left, Lady Carnarvon and Rose Cullen at the Highclere Tea March 2015
16 Debra Nash, left, and Denise Taylor at the Highclere Tea March 2015
39 Lady Carnarvon shares the history of Highclere Castle with guests at the Highclere Tea March 2015
34 Cucumber-watercress tea sandwiches with Boursin cheese at the Highclere Tea March 2015
13 Carol and Mike Linn at the Highclere Tea March 2015
8 Liz Zaruba and Bob Devlin at the Highclere Tea March 2015
5 Anne Mendelsohn, left, and Robin Angley at the Highclere Tea March 2015
28 Clifford Pugh, from left, Lady Carnarvon and  John Dascoulias at the Highclere Tea March 2015

Downton Abbey's days are numbered, but life at Highclere Castle continues.

News surfaced this week that the upcoming season for the popular PBS series will be the last. But the mistress of the castle where the beloved series is set says that public tours are sold out for the next two years and a whole host of activities are planned to satisfy the cravings of fans.

Lady Fiona Carnarvon recently hopped over the pond for her first visit to Houston, where she regaled more than 300 guests at a Highclere Tea at the St. Regis Hotel with stories of the castle's fabled history. Speaking without notes for more than an hour, the Countess of Carnarvon traced the lineage of her husband's family — she's the wife of George Herbert, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon  — and the glorious history of the estate where the series is filmed.

 Lynn Wyatt hosted the tea, which raised more than $100,000 for the Houston Public Media Foundation. 

She also easily mingled with guests, many dressed in hats and pearls, during the tea, which featured smoked salmon with caper egg salad finger sandwiches, cucumber-watercress tea sandwiches with Boursin cheese, scones and Devonshire cream, along with several varieties of tea and flutes of bubbly Processco. Lynn Wyatt hosted the tea, which raised more than $100,000 for the Houston Public Media Foundation.

Seen in the crowd: Houston Public Media executive director and general manager Lisa Shumate, Carol and Mike Linn, Phoebe Tudor, Anne Mendelsohn, Linda McReynolds, Rose Cullen, Bill Stubbs, Greggory Burk, Robin Angley, Debra Nash, Denise Taylor, Ernie Manouse, host of the popular locally-produced show, Manor of Speaking, that comes on right after each episode of Downton Abbey, and the show's regular guests Helen Mann and St. John Flynn

Neiman Marcus general manager Bob Devlin received kudos, along with the store's Liz Zaruba, Kathy Kates, Bruno Brady and Stacey Swift, for underwriting the event.