King Tut and the Earl of Carnarvon

Updated: Mar 21, 2019


What could the connection be between an ancient King of Egypt and a modern day Earl in England?


Well it all starts in the late 1800's. The 5th Earl of Carnarvon, George Herbert, was in debt. But he did what many member of English aristocracy did - he married the daughter of a wealthy American business man.


[This was a common practice because it was mutually beneficial for both parties. The bride would get to become part of British aristocracy and marry a man with a title while the groom would be linked to the wealth of the American family.]


George's father-in-law made a marriage settlement that provided his daughter and George 500,000 pounds. Enough money to pay off all of George's existing debt and still have plenty leftover to be well off.


What did they do with it? Well George liked to drive fast cars and he liked owning race horses. You could say, he had a need for speed. In 1901, George got into a major car accident that nearly killed him. He never really fully recovered from the accident and his doctors who were concerned about his damaged lungs and heart advised that he avoid the damp winters in England.


So obviously, the only reasonable thing to do was to go to...wait for it...yes, Egypt. George loved Egyptian history and had a collection of artifacts. So he enjoyed spending his winters in Egypt and adding to his collection. In 1907, he decided to sponsor an excavation to try and discover more. Not much was found and World War I kind of put a stop to the excavation for a bit. But then 1922 hit and George's hobby changed the world.


The burial site of King Tut was discovered and inside all kinds of treasures.


Howard Carter, the man in charge of the excavation, and George Herbert - 5th Earl of Carnarvon were the first people in the modern era to step inside the tomb of the Ancient Egyptian king.


Now that is pretty cool.

SOURCES:

Official Highclere Castle Egyptian Exhibit

Howard Carter and the Discovery at the Tomb of Tutankhamun

Tutankhamun: Egpyt's Most Famous Pharoah

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Photo: Highclere Castle by Neil Howard via Flickr

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