Princess Diana’s childhood home is opening to the public
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The Queen may own a pretty impressive property portfolio alongside the rest of her family, including son Prince Charles, and grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry, but the British royals aren’t the only ones to possess some pretty impressive estates. Generally speaking, these kind of private playgrounds are reserved for the aristocracy’s enjoyment alone, but occasionally it becomes possible for a mere commoner to gain a glimpse into the world of the British elite.
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You may recall that we recently shared details about Glen Affric, a Scottish Highlands retreat owned by Pippa Middleton’s in-laws, where you can stay and be hosted by James Middleton, of all people. And now, we’ve just caught wind that the former childhood estate of Diana, Princess of Wales will be opening to the public throughout July and August.
Althorp House. Image credit: Getty Images
Known formally as Althorp Estate, the Northamptonshire home of the esteemed Spencer family is currently occupied by Diana’s brother Charles and his wife, Countess Karen Spencer. The estate has belonged to the Spencer family for five generations and was established in 1508, so you can imagine all the personalities that have travelled through its halls. As it says on the Althorp Estate website, “The Spencer family line has contained politicians, courtiers, admirals, society beauties, and pioneers in charity work, as well as gamblers, book lovers, a Passionist preacher and even a breeder of champion bulls.” That’s quite the lineage.
The Picture Gallery. Image credit: Althorp Estate
The family is opening a portion of the estate up as part of its Animals of Althorp exhibition, which is described as an “intriguing tour of the historic house’s lesser-known residents”. According to the site, Althorp is “home to one of Europe’s finest private collections of furniture, art and ceramics, [and the exhibition] presents a new and unique opportunity to discover the never-previously-told story of its many animals and the undeniable mark they left upon the family’s history.”
Princess Diana’s bedroom. Image credit: Althorp Estate
Included in the collection is a pastel likeness of Princess Diana’s beloved cat Marmalade, painted by Polish artist Aniela Pawlikowska, who frequently drew Diana and her siblings as children. While you won’t get to tour the whole 13,000 acres, you can visit the 90-room property where Diana spent her childhood and browse the Spencer picture gallery, which boasts 500 years of fascinating family history. (Fans of Yorgos Lanthimos’ critically acclaimed film The Favourite may or may not have realised that the character of Lady Sarah, played by Rachel Weisz, was in fact, a Spencer).
Image credit: Getty Images
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The late Princess Diana is also buried on the estate, on an island in the middle of the Round Oval lake (above). This this isn’t open to the public, but you can visit her memorial and pay your respects.
Animals of Althorp opens 1 July and runs until 31 August, 2019. For tickets and info, visit: spencerofalthorp.com