As if the Crawleys don’t already have enough to worry about having to deal with the untimely death of Matthew at the end series 3, now it seems that when Violet Crawley and Lord Grantham sit down to dine at Downton, their table isn’t set correctly, as the Radio Times‘ Ellie Walker-Arnott found out recently.
Pulling a page right out of Hyacinth Bucket’s playbook, well, actually, her Book of Etiquette for the Socially Less Fortunate and the chapter on candlelight suppers, the Countess Fiona Carnarvon, the real-life lady of Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey is filmed, seems to be taking issue with series producers when it comes to Downton Abbey’s silverware and crockery. Aside from the fact that the tables are set wrong, they don’t have a sufficient number of servants to cater to their needs either.
“It’s the little details,” she said. “Glasses are back to front and things are set wrong. Setting up the table is an art. Knives, forks and spoons are set from the outside in, beginning with the bread knife and working through each course to cheese… The wine glasses and water tumblers are arranged to the top right of each setting.”
Downton prefers this different arrangement and, after three series, Lady Carnarvon has given up telling them that this ‘different’ arrangement is, in fact, just wrong.
“I don’t want to step on people’s toes so I’ve tried a few times to say, ‘do you know you’re setting the table wrong?’” she told the Sunday Times. “I do feel, after all, it’s my dining table and obviously we wouldn’t set it like that. They look at me blankly and I sort of try once more and then I give up and I try not to look because its easier.”
Dining at Downton – Behind the scenes
After all is said and done, Lady Fiona should know what she is talking about, She is the eighth countess of Carnarvon, after all, and lives in the Berkshire stately home with her husband. Her book, Lady Catherine and the real Downton Abbey, is being released in the UK later this week. I’m guessing Carson didn’t write the foreward, what do you think?