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Downton Abbey doesn't cut it: Placement of cutlery 'wrong' according to the real Countess Cora of Highclere

Lady Fiona said the table was incorrectly set on the show despite trying to tell the Downton production team

Mr Carson will not be amused. Downton Abbey has been accused of etiquette errors by the lady of the house herself.

The Countess of Carnarvon, Lady Fiona, who runs Highclere Castle where the series is filmed, said the table is set incorrectly on the show, but hopes that her ancestors “would accept the alternative as more photogenic and for an entertaining cause.”

Writing on her blog, she explained how the table was set by her household.

She said: “The wine glasses and water tumbler are arranged to the top right of each setting and the mnemonic to remember the order is white on the right…The pudding glass sits at the back as this is the last one guests will drink from.”

Lady Fiona said she did not want to interfere with the production of Downton Abbey, but added she had tried to tell the crew that the table was set incorrectly.

“I don’t want to step on people’s toes so I’ve tried a few times to say, ‘Do you know you’re setting the table wrong?’” she told The Sunday Times.

“I do feel, after all, that it’s my dining table and obviously we wouldn’t set it like that. They look at me blankly and I sort of try once more and then I give up….and now I try not to look because it’s easier.”

Luckily for the Downton production team, Lady Fiona’s blog gives in-depth insight into how the table should be set.

She said: “The knives, forks and spoons are set from outside in, beginning with the bread knife and working through each course to the cheese. A pat of butter is impressed with the intertwined C’s and coronet of my husband’s crest and placed in front of each guest.”

She added: “Setting the table is an art and allowing enough time is important. The detail and charm of the operation hasn’t ever been covered in Downton Abbey, as it tends to focus on the ‘ upstairs’ conversations.”

Series four of Downton Abbey returns to ITV this autumn. Watch the trailer for the new series: