George and Almina, the 5th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon usually spent their winters each year from January to March in Egypt. They had been going there since 1898, Lord Carnarvon first went to Egypt in 1889 with his great chum Prince Victor Duleep Singh, Victor’s mother’s family lived in Cairo.
For the winters of 1921 and 1922, 20- year- old Lady Evelyn Herbert , Almina’s daughter, accompanied the Earl and Countess.
Evelyn was as petite as Almina, a lovely girl, born in 1901, she was ripe for the marriage market. Launched by her mother as a debutante in the London season of 1920 this was the start of a well tested process that worked for Society folk to enable well connected girls to find a well- off husband.
Lady Evelyn met several young men at functions in London, Cairo and Luxor including social events in London and Egypt organised by Almina. A close friend of Lady Allenby ( wife of the High Commissioner for Egypt) Almina staged receptions for Evelyn at the Residency during the Cairo seasons of 1921 and 1922.
Among the potential suitors to pursue Lady Evelyn were dashing young army officers of whom one was her husband to be, Brograve Beauchamp, a tall, handsome former soldier in the Life Guards. Other men in the frame included diplomats, and sons of business men, archaeologists, visitors and expatriates. Almina arranged tea parties for those whom she and Evelyn favoured the most
Lord Carnarvon approved of Brograve Beauchamp he knew his father on the horse racing circuit and in the London Clubs. “What? Beauchamp? Damn fine chap!” . Almina concurred, despite Brograve’s mother being an American. Whilst the Earl tolerated Americans, Almina hated a visit to USA and could be lurkwarm towards them in company. Another sweetener was that Brograve was the heir to a baronetcy, his elder brother had been killed in the Great War. Brogrove was just three years older than Evelyn.
It surprised no one that Evelyn saw more of Brograve in England and he visited her at Highclere Castle and 1, Seamore Place, Almina’s London home. In the spring of 1923 the Beauchamps travelled to Luxor, Brograve to see Lady Evelyn, his parents, Sir Edward and Lady Beauchamp to see inside Tutankhamun’s Tomb.
Howard Carter was pleased to give Brograve and his parents a special personal tour of Tut’s tomb. Everyone could see that Brograve was carrying a flaming torch for Lady Evelyn, all sides were anxious to ensure their future happiness.
On Lord Carnarvon’s death Brograve ( who was by then back in England) was not discouraged by the wailing from some corners of superstition, Pharaoh’s curses and horrific early deaths, it was simple : he loved Evelyn, nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of his proposal of marriage.
DRAFT EXTRACT FROM A NEW BOOK BY WILLIAM CROSS, FSA Scot entitled "Carnarvon, Carter and Tutankhamun Revisited : The hidden truths and doomed relationships" : PUBLICATION DATE : NOVEMBER 2016