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  1. ITV Report

Highclere Castle's Egyptian exhibition

Countess Carnarvon with Egypt's Ambassador to the UK Ashaf El Kholy look at one of the Egyptian exhibits at Highclere Castle Photo: PA

Highclere Castle is best known as the set of hit period drama Downton Abbey.

But the aristocratic Carnarvon family who live at the country house are hoping to attract visitors for a different reason.

Ninety years ago, in the Valley of the Kings, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter broke down the gold wall into the Shrine Room in the tomb of Tutankhamun, discovering a wall of gold.

To mark the anniversary of that achievement a visitor attraction has been created in the cellars of Highclere Castle, which is on the Hampshire/Berkshire border, to give an impression of what was found in November 1922.

The Egyptian Exhibition contains replicas from the tombs, including the pharaoh's middle coffin and his death mask.

At the exhibition's launch, the Countess of Carnarvon said: "This is the defining thing for Highclere. Downton is lovely, but it will come and go."

She went on: "The discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb is the greatest archaeological discovery ever. I want people to feel they're inside the tomb and they have a sense of history."

Ashraf El Kholy, the Egyptian ambassador to the UK, described the exhibition as a beautiful piece of art and culture. "This exhibition is different than any other museum," he said.

"It's educational, it shows you how people worked hard to discover something, and it gives you a feeling of the history and the process of discovery."

The Countess said that some members of the cast of Downton Abbey had already seen the exhibition, but many did not have enough spare time to enjoy Highclere Castle during filming.

But she added that the show was helping to support the exhibition as well as the house.

The Egyptian Exhibition opens to the public during the Easter period.