The End of Dinner, 1913, by Jules-Alexandre Grün

A Dinner in Honor of Downton Abbey Creator Julian Fellowes

Celebrating the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty, The Queen
In Person
July 28, 2022 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. ET
Castle Hill Inn, 590 Ocean Drive, Newport, RI
D. Brenton Simons
Ryan J. Woods

The RSVP date for this event has passed. Please contact Events Manager, Courtney Reardon, at or 617-226-1215 for more information.

Summer party attire, including seersucker and linen suits; Lilly Pulitzer

Join us as we honor Julian Fellowes with our Lifetime Achievement Award and present him with his family history. Fellowes is an award-winning screenwriter, director, producer, novelist, and actor. He is the creator, sole writer, and executive producer of the worldwide hit series, Downton Abbey, for which he won two Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe, among other awards. 

Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient


Julian Fellowes


Julian Fellowes is an award-winning screenwriter, director, producer, novelist, and actor. In 2002, Fellowes won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Gosford Park, directed by Robert Altman. He is the creator, sole writer, and executive producer of the worldwide hit series Downton Abbey, for which he won two Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe, and is the recipient of the International Emmy Founders Award and a special BAFTA award. Fellowes most recently wrote the feature Downton Abbey: A New Era, which opens in the United States in May 2022. Other film writing credits include Vanity Fair, Piccadilly Jim, Separate Lies (National Board of Review Directorial Debut Award), From Time to Time (Directed, Best Picture— Chicago Children’s Film Festival), The Young Victoria, and The Chaperone. He has written three international best-selling novels: Snobs, Past Imperfect, and Belgravia. In January 2011, Fellowes was given a peerage and entered the House of Lords as Lord Fellowes of West Stafford. He and his wife, Emma, live in London and Dorset, England. They have a son, Peregrine.


The Platinum Jubilee Ceremony

A scroll honoring the 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II will be presented to Dame Karen Pierce, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the United States of America, by D. Brenton Simons on behalf of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Diplomatic Corps


Karen Pierce


Dame Karen Pierce, DCMG, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the United States of America Dame Karen Pierce DCMG (Mrs Karen Roxburgh) Prior to arriving in DC, Dame Karen Pierce was the United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York since March 2018. Prior to this role, Dame Karen served as the Director General for Political Affairs and Chief Operating Officer of the Foreign and Commonwealth in London, from 2016.

Dame Karen joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1981. Her first role was in Tokyo between 1984 and 1987, after which she returned to the UK to work in the Security Policy Department. Karen worked in Washington as the Private Secretary to the British Ambassador to the United States between 1992 and 1995. Between 1996 and 2006, Dame Karen held several positions in London including Team Leader for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, Deputy Head of Eastern Adriatic (Balkans) Department, Head of Newsroom, Head of EU Department (Bilateral) and concurrently Head of Afghanistan Political Military Unit after 9/11 before returning to the Balkans as Balkans Coordinator from 2002 to 2006.

In 2006, Dame Karen moved to New York for the first time to be the Deputy Permanent Representative and Ambassador at the UK Mission to the UN. In 2009, she returned to London to become the Director of South Asia and Afghanistan Department and the UK’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2012, Dame Karen started her second multilateral role, this time in Geneva, where she was the Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UK Mission to the United Nations, World Trade Organization and Other International Organisations until 2015. Between 2015 and 2016 Dame Karen was the UK’s Ambassador to Afghanistan.


Dr. Peter Abbott


Dr. Peter Abbott, OBE, Her Majesty’s Consul General to New England Dr. Peter Abbott has been a member of Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service since 2005. Before becoming British Consul General to New England in 2020, he served as Counsellor at the British High Commission in Islamabad, Pakistan, with operational oversight of the largest mission in the UK’s overseas diplomatic network.

Earlier in his career, Peter was Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Lisbon. Before being posted to Portugal, Peter covered West Africa, with a particular focus on the emerging threat of terrorism and instability in Mali and the Sahel. Prior to this, he led the Government’s review of the UK counter-radicalisation strategy, Prevent, based in the Office for Security and Counter-terrorism at the Home Office. This followed a posting to the British Embassy in Washington where he was Private Secretary to the Ambassador, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, from 2008-2010.

Before joining the FCDO, Peter lived, studied and worked in the United States, including interning in the office of Dennis Hastert when he was Speaker of the US House of Representatives and working on Arianna Huffington’s 2003 gubernatorial campaign in California.

Peter holds a double first class honours degree from the University of Cambridge as well as a PhD in Greek tragedy. He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2021 New Year Honours List for services to British foreign policy.

He is married with three children.



Platinum Benefactors: 
Betsy and Michael Vitton 

Gold Benefactors:
John E. and Julie Corcoran 
Elizabeth and George Passela 
Nancy Clay and John W. Webster

Silver Benefactors: 
Thomas and Juliet Gede
Thomas Bailey Hagen
Gerry and MaryLee Halpin
Nancy S. Maulsby
Jonathan Treat and Leslie Aitken

Welch & Forbes LLC 


Proceeds of the Family History Benefit Dinner help fund our groundbreaking work, including educational programs, youth outreach, original research and scholarship, diversity programming, publications, and online services and content development.

Executive Office
D. Brenton Simons
D. Brenton Simons is President & CEO of American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society. He has been featured on CNN, FOX, BBC, PBS-TV, The New York Times, Boston Business Journal, and elsewhere.
Executive Office
Ryan J. Woods
Ryan J. Woods is Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of American Ancestors/ New England Historic Genealogical Society.
Castle Hill Inn, Newport, RI

41.463992214032, -71.3607148

Recommended Accomodations

Hotels book fast in the summer season—please plan accordingly.

Newport Marriott
*There are a few rooms left at our group discount (two-night minimum). If interested, please contact

Brenton Hotel

For more information, contact Events Manager Courtney Reardon