Some time ago I reviewed Will Cross's book The Life and Secrets of Almina Carnarvon. I criticised the author for suggesting that the Sixth Earl was illegitimate but refusing the name who he thought was the real father. The book devoted a lot of attention to Prince Victor Duleep Singh and I had put two and two together, but wasn't entirely sure that four was the answer.
The author and the Daily Mail have now gone public in an article with an amazingly long title, Downton's greatest secret: A lonely countess, an illicit love affair with an Egyptian prince... and an Earl who has no right to his title. The extraordinary claims about real life Lord.Cross also paints a very different picture of Carnarvon than generally appears in the literature:
But Carnarvon contracted a malady from one of the whorehouses, and after returning to England almost died,’ reveals Mr Cross. ‘He retained for life the facial marks from the effects of the disease. Thereafter, Carnarvon was sexually blighted.
His fall-back - with his valet Fernside as his confidant - was taking photographs of women. Naughty pictures became his passion, and at the height of his voyeurism he commissioned 3,000 nudes from a photographic studio.