Blog: ‘Downton Abbey’ castle can no longer host weddings due to Brexit – New York Post

Hard times have fallen upon a palatial, TV-famous estate. 

As a result of Brexit, southern England’s regal Highclere Castle has fallen on hard financial times. 

The ancient property, where the hit historical drama “Downton Abbey” was filmed, has recently been forced to stop hosting large weddings due to dire staffing shortages.  

“We have stopped being able to offer any weddings of any substantial size because of Brexit,” the countess Fiona Carnarvon, who co-owns the 1,274-year-old property with her husband, the eighth Earl of Carnarvon, told Reuters this month. 

Before the pandemic, when the castle raked in a nice income for the noble couple, the roughly 25 100-plus-person weddings they hosted a season composed nearly half (40%) of its overall business. 

Now, though, they’re unable to find sufficient workers, rendering them incapable of having weddings larger than roughly 20 guests — a serious hit to revenue.

Previously, students from the European Union composed a core portion of the castle’s workers.

“There are no staff,” the countess told Reuters from the morning room of the citadel, the first written record of which dates to an Anglo-Saxon King’s gifting of the property to some bishops in 749, according to Highclere’s website. “When we go to our usual agencies and try to find people, they are not there.”

downton abbey highclere castle brexit
Highclere Castle seen in 2019, ahead of the world premiere of the “Downton Abbey” film.
AFP via Getty Images

downton abbey highclere castle brexit
Elizabeth McGovern and Hugh Bonneville in “Downton Abbey.”
Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

downton abbey highclere castle brexit
“Downton Abbey: A New Era” writer Julian Fellowes, on set in 2022.
Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

downton abbey highclere castle brexit
Highclere Castle, seen here in 2016.
AFP via Getty Images

Afternoon tea time has also been impacted: Lacking sufficient workers, Highclere no longer offers the traditional diversion. 

Brexit has had an impact on the number of EU students who applied to UK universities, with the sum admitted down by half in 2021, according to university admissions service UCAS. 

It’s not just the castle: Britain has experienced wide-ranging shortages in workers across industries including construction and manufacturing as well. 

Significantly as a result of Brexit, Highclere has also stopped sending its merchandise to EU nations, even though they once made up a third of the gift shop’s business. 

The paperwork necessary for the transaction, combined with the increased shipping costs have become too high, the countess explained. 

“We are wrapped in red tape now in every piece of our business,” she said.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s