Heir of discoverer of King Tut’s tomb retraces latter’s footsteps

November 14th, 2007 - 2:35 am ICT by admin  
George Reginald Oliver Molyneux Herbert, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon, aged 51, has become the first member of his family to step inside the tomb of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun, 85 years after his great-grandfather George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon (1866 -1923), discovered it and subsequently died within months of the discovery.

According to The Mirror, Lord Carnarvon descended the 16 steps from the desert to the entrance of Tutankhamun’s tomb - to face the curse that has haunted his family since 1922.

His great-grandfather discovered the 3,000 year-old tomb beneath the Valley of the Kings and within six months of the discovery, was dead. Many believe he was the victim of Tutankhamun’s curse, which struck him down for disturbing the boy king’s resting place.

Followed by cameras for Channel Five documentary Tutankhamun - The Secrets Of The Boy King, Carnarvon, stepped into the pitch-black stone antechamber, and said: “It’s fascinating to be here. The way my great-grandfather died, in the glare of the world’s media, means I have always had a strong emotional bond with Egypt and especially with the tomb of Tutankhamun.”

The lord adds: “As a boy, I was told about what he had found and the curse - although I’ve never been sure what to believe.”

Now, the subject of an exhibition Tutankhamun And The Golden Age Of The Pharaohs opening next month at London’s O2, the discovery of Tut’s tomb in the winter of 1922 made the fifth Lord Carnarvon one of the first global celebrities.

Ever since, the world has been fascinated by the details of the life of the mysterious boy king, who died aged just 19 and was buried with unimaginable treasures in the tomb.

The fifth Lord Carnarvon became more famous for his death than his life. Five months after entering Tutankhamun’s tomb he breathed his last painful breath in a Cairo hospital.

Doctors said he had suffered blood poisoning after accidentally shaving a mosquito bite infected with the bacterial infection erysipelas.

But those who believe in the curse point to evidence they say prove a more sinister explanation for his untimely death at 52.

They tell how at 1.55 a.m. on April 5 1923, as the darkness closed in on the final moment of Lord Carnavon’s death, the lights across Cairo inexplicably faltered and went out.

Others mention reports from his staff at his Highclere estate in Hampshire that at the same time his dog Susie keeled over after letting out a great howl.

And more evidence is provided by the fact that a decade after Lord Carnavon’s death at least a dozen others who had been inside Tut’s tomb had perished too.

Lord George Carnarvon is philosophical about the effect of the curse on his family.

“Down here feels a million miles away from the rest of the world.”

Peering at Tut’s lurid death mask, he says: “Perhaps people imagine it, but you can see how they would believe there is some presence here. My own grandfather always believed in the curse.

“Before great-grandfather died he had sent back crates of artefacts from Egyptian tombs. But his son was too terrified of them.”

He says: “When I inherited Highclere we discovered boxes of treasures hidden in the gap between two rooms.”

“My grandfather and father were too scared to look at it. Since then we’ve catalogued it and it’s all on public display.”

The Valley of the Kings near the southern Egyptian city of Luxor has become one of the world’s must-see tourist destinations. Millions step inside Tut’s tomb, seemingly undeterred by the famous curse.

Tutankhamun - The Secrets Of The Boy King will be aired at 8 p.m., on October 30 on Channel Five. (ANI)

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