Originally published 04/05/2013
When George Herbert, the fifth Earl of Carnarvon, died 90 years ago this week he was one of the most famous men on Earth. He occupied the family seat at Highclere Castle, but wintered in Egypt every year. By 1923, Carnarvon had spent an estimated £35,000 on excavation, hunting for glory.Finally he got it. His man in the field, Howard Carter, had discovered the steps down to the unbroken seals on the tomb of Tutankhamen in the Valley of Kings. Carnarvon dashed from England, and together they broke in a small portion of the door. “Well, can you see anything?” the Earl asked. “Yes,” came the famous reply, as Carter waved his candle and caught the glint of gold, “wonderful things.”The story was a press sensation in a gloomy post-war world still mourning the dead of that terrible conflict and the influenza pandemic that had followed shortly afterwards. The tomb was formally opened in February 1923, with visiting royalty, dignitaries and the world’s press in attendance....