THE Countess of Highclere Castle helped villagers in Kingsclere celebrate the 20th anniversary of their monthly market.

Lady Fiona Carnarvon cut a cake at Kingsclere Village Club, in George Street, this morning and chatted to regular stallholders at the market, which is held monthly to raise money for the village club and St Michael’s Hospice, in Basingstoke.

The wife of the eighth Earl, whose home is used as the set for popular ITV series Downton Abbey, browsed the stalls at the event before cutting a ribbon to mark the anniversary.

She told The Gazette: “I think it’s great to buy homemade food and jams, they taste so much better.”

More on this story will be published in The Basingstoke Gazette.