Christie’s auction house has announced that it is auctioning off a one-night stay in Highclere Castle, the real-life stand-in for Downton Abbey. The auction—proceeds of which will go to various armed forces charities—will start at 10,000 pounds (about $16,000), with the winners receiving the right to engage in class warfare and don pretty hats in three of the castle’s first-floor bedrooms, all of which have been featured on the show. The auction listing doesn’t say anything about what happens to visitors who trespass into the castle’s 60 or so other bedrooms, but the words “hounds,” “release,” and “the” come to mind.
The package also includes the chance to dine with the home’s real owners, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, who will quietly judge the winners when they impale their roast pheasant with the wrong tine, and smile politely when asked to “say something bitchy and fun, like the Dowager Countess does”.
Presumably the early parts of the trip will be classy and austere, with just a hint of winking fun and simmering class tensions, before the whole thing descends into a swirling miasma of melodrama and rambling, go-nowhere subplots, right around the time the winners sit down for the included full English breakfast.