Posted by: Carolyn Mulac
If the popularity of the first two seasons of PBS's Downton Abbey is any indication, there are more than a few of us (5.4 million viewers for this season's finale) interested in the British aristocracy, if only as characters in a television drama. As we await the third series we can amuse ourselves online .
Downton Abbey is filmed at Highclere Castle, home of the current Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. It's easy to imagine Lord and Lady Grantham ensconced in its library consulting Debrett's Peerage & Baronetage for eligible suitors for their three daughters. Since 1769, Debrett's has been the print reference of choice for anyone interested in tracing the lineage of the landed gentry. Now accessible online, Debrett's "is the modern authority on all matters of etiquette, social occasions, people of distinction and fine style." It offers more than 25,000 brief biographies (you need to subscribe for the full entries) and a number of special features, including "Debrett's Guide to Civilised Separation" and a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee, which is being celebrated this year.
To mark this auspicious occasion there is The Official Website of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, with information about the queen, her Golden and Silver Jubilees, state visits and more. There is even a place to send Her Majesty a congratulatory e-mail message.
The Official Website of the British Monarchy provides information about the royal residences and members of the royal family. The Court Circular, the official record of the previous day's royal engagements, can also be searched here.
The Royal Collection: Royal Palaces, Residences and Art Collection supplies practical information for visitors and features an e-Gallery, a multi-media catalogue of some of the greatest works in the Royal Collection.