Long before Highclere Castle was introduced to television audiences worldwide as Downton Abbey, Les Taylor was managing the security at Highclere—nearly 35 years ago, making him one of the castle’s longest employees. And before this, he worked for the Hampshire police force, progressing to the Criminal Investigation Department, first in Fareham and then the Isle of Wight. He later accepted a post at Whitchurch as a section sergeant and retired from police work in 1982.
Around that time, the 7th Earl of Carnarvon—a close friend and racing manager for the queen—recognized the need for increased security when Her Majesty would visit Highclere and approached Les to head the operation. In more recent years, Highclere’s growing popularity as a filming location led to additional security needs. And in both instances, Les stepped into the challenge with great success. He continues to be a crucial member of the Highclere team.