London, Oct 21 : Nearly 85 years after Lord George Herbert Carnarvon made history with the discovery of the 3000-year-old tomb of King Tutankhamun in Egypt’s Valley of Kings at Luxor, his great-grandson is retracing the footsteps of his illustrious ancestor.
Lord Carnarvon had in 1922, discovered the tomb of Egypt’s boy pharaoh, but died within six months of the discovery.
It was believed he became a victim of the mummy’s curse for disturbing the 19- year-old King’s resting place, and the family has lived under the shadow of the curse ever since.
Now, his heir, the current Lord Carnarvon, has as part of a documentary for Channel Five, titled ‘Tutankhamun - The Secrets Of The Boy King’, become the first member of his family to step inside the tomb.
“Some people would think I'm mad for even thinking about coming down here. 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,” said Lord George Carnarvon.
“As a boy, I was told about what he had found and the curse - although I've never been sure what to believe. But coming here makes me wonder whether he could have known then the power of what he was dabbling in,” the 51-year-old added.
Five months after entering King Tutankhamun's tomb, Lord Herbert Carnarvon breathed his last painful breath in a Cairo hospital.
Reports say he suffered blood poisoning after accidentally shaving a mosquito bite infected with the bacterial infection erysipelas.
But those who believed in the pharaoh’s curse said that at 1.55am on April 5 1923, when Lord Carnavon's final moments dawned, the lights across Cairo inexplicably faltered and went out.
Others cited reports from his staff at his Highclere estate in Hampshire, England, that his dog Susie keeled over after letting out a great howl at exactly the same time.
The curse of King Tutankhamun gathered further momentum with the untimely death of a dozen others who went inside the tomb, within a decade of Lord Herbert Carnarvon’s death.
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. 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,” he said.
“Before great-grandfather died, he had sent back crates of artefacts from Egyptian tombs. But his son was too terrified of them. 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,” he added.
He said the fascination with Pharaoh Tutankhamun would never ever die.
“So much has been said about the curse that I don't know what to believe.
There was talk at the time of inscriptions above the doorway warning that those who entered would be struck down, but that has since been proven to be nonsense,” he said.
“On balance I don't believe it was a curse that killed my great-grandfather. But now, having been inside the tomb he discovered, I just better hope that I'm right,” he added.
‘Tutankhamun - The Secrets Of The Boy King will air on Channel Five at 8pm, October 30. The exhibition Tutankhamun And The Golden Age Of The Pharaohs will open at London's O2 on November 15, reports the Mirror. (ANI)