News

Fans bid to sleep, dine at ‘Downton Abbey’ for charity

Fans bid to sleep, dine at ‘Downton Abbey’ for charity

'DOWNTON ABBEY:' The cast of season 4 of Downton Abbey in an undated photo. Photo: Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) – Fans of the British costume drama “Downton Abbey” have spent a collective 40,750 pounds ($68,000) for a chance to sleep at the castle, take a butlering lesson on setting the table and have their portrait painted.

Auction house Christie’s two-week online sale of 12 items and “experiences” gave fans a chance to live like the Crawleys, the fictional family at the center of the show, at Highclere House, the real-life Victorian castle used as the location for the drama series.

The Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning drama focuses on the family and their servants in the early 20th century.

“Every lot found a buyer. With ‘Downton Abbey’s’ great popularity, interest in the auction was geographically diverse,” said Elizabeth Van Bergen, a Christie’s spokeswoman.

Yet securing a lot at the auction required the kind of wealth the Crawleys possess.

The top lot attracted a bid of 16,000 pounds for an overnight stay in rooms used during the filming of the first season as the guests of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, whose family seat is at the 175-year-old Highclere Castle.

The visit includes cocktails, a three-course dinner and a traditional English breakfast in the state dining room, Van Bergen said.

The charity auction, which began on Aug. 1 and wrapped up on Thursday, raised money for armed forces charities to support veterans and victims of war, Christie’s said.

Located in the rolling green countryside of Hampshire, England, Highclere is one of the few great country estates still occupied by its owners.

Most of its peers were sold or fell into disrepair as industrialization shook up British class traditions – which is reflected in “Downton Abbey” storylines.

Season 5 premieres in Britain in the autumn on ITV and in the United States in January on PBS.

(Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Michael Roddy and Alison Williams)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Third ‘Night at the Museum’ marks final film for Williams, Rooney

nightatthemuseum

The credits for "Secret of the Tomb," which opens Friday, read "In loving memory of Mickey Rooney," and "For Robin Williams - the magic never ends."

in Music

Ray Price’s widow opens up after loss

FILE - In a Jan. 7, 2011, file photo, Country Music Hall of Fame member and Grammy Award winner Ray Price celebrates his 86th birthday by performing in Bullard Texas. Price, one of country music's most popular and influential singers and bandleaders who had more than 100 hits and was one of the last living connections to Hank Williams, died Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. He was 87.

Ray Price's widow refused to leave her house for four months in the aftermath of her husband's death.

in Entertainment

Chris Pratt thought ‘Guardians’ would be a box office flop

Guardians Of The Galaxy

The "Parks and Rec" star was very, very wrong.

in Entertainment

Sony cancels ‘The Interview’ in win for N. Korean hackers

interview

The $44 million raunchy comedy was scheduled to debut on Christmas Day.

in Entertainment

REVIEW: Modern ‘Annie’ a mixed bag

This photo released by Colombia Pictures - Sony shows Jamie Foxx, left, as Will Stacks and Quvenzhané Wallis as Annie in a scene from Columbia Pictures' "Annie."

"Annie" gets an update for the new film version of the classic musical, starring Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhané Wallis.