In an article in the Yorkshire Post dated August 21, 2011, there’s a nice discussion of the filming of the second season of the television series Downton Abbey. The entire series takes place in the early years of the 20th Century, and the close of the first season took us to the opening days of World War I. (I will have to admit that I watched the whole first season as it was broadcast here in the States.)
What does all that have to do with heraldry? Devising an authentic-seeming North Yorkshire regiment fell to Fitzalan Pursuivant of Arms Extraordinary of the College of Arms in London, Alistair Bruce of Cronnach. “What gave me the greatest delight”, he says, “is that they asked me to invent a completely new and fictional regiment that the Earl of Grantham could have served in.”
Fitzalan has also advised on matters of aristocratic living, such as how gentlemen of the day should sit correctly while wearing tails, and if asparagus should be eaten at the dinner table with fingers – or without.
To find out the answer to that pressing question, and a whole lot of other stuff about the series, the complete article can be found on-line at: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/lifestyle/the-arts/downton_goes_to_war_1_3684650