Inside Princess Diana’s £922k childhood home – ‘happiest time of her life’
Earl Charles Spencer watches peacock at Althorp estate
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When Princess Diana was 14 years old, her father John Spencer, Viscount Althorp inherited his title, so the family moved to Althorp in 1976. A former Althorp cook, Betty Andrews, told the BBC in 1997: “Looking back, it was probably the happiest time of her [Diana’s] life.” ‘Ancient Secrets of Althorp with Charles Spencer’ is airing tonight at 9pm on Channel 4, which will document the home Princess Diana grew up in.
The grand stately home was in Diana’s family for over five centuries, as 20 generations have lived there. Her aristocratic bloodline even traces back to George Washington.
Diana’s ancestor, Sir John Spencer, who grazed sheep in the village, bought up the land in 1508 and built Althorp House using funds from his sheep-farming business.
The sale was estimated to be worth around £800 at the time, which is around £922,000 in today’s money.
The 90-room house covers over 500 acres.
After taking over Althorp, Diana’s father was forced to sell many treasures to pay for its upkeep and even started producing his own wine.
On the grounds, there were cottages, farms, woodland and entire villages, which would have been great fun for Lady Diana as a child.
Fallow deer have roamed Althorp since the 16th century and the estate is home to many native bird species such as barn owls and grey partridge.
The South Drawing Room was where the family hosted guests and from the Althorpe House Instagram page, royal fans could see some portraits on the walls.
There was a picture of Lady Georgina Spencer as a child, or better known as the Duchess of Devonshire portrayed by Kiera Knightly in the film ‘The Duchess’.
The King William bedroom, decorated in blues and yellows, was Diana’s favourite place to sleep when she returned to visit Althorp after she was married.
Diana reportedly loved the grounds and the house, and from the beautiful pictures, it is clear why.
Having inherited Althorp House, her brother, Lord Charles Spencer, now resides there with his family.
Charles Spencer often shares glimpses inside Althorp on social media for royal fans to enjoy.
Charles posted about the library on his Instagram account, calling it his favourite room in the house.
It featured wooden floors with three large rugs, cream walls with shelves of books, and red armchairs and sofas. There were also several chandeliers.
A photo of Earl Charles Spencer in the library in 1990 revealed a photo of Princess Diana on his desk.
There was a grand hallway at the entrance of Althorp House with a large staircase, wooden bannisters and chandeliers, and gold paintings on the walls.
The Wootton Hall took its name from the artist John Wootton, whose works were on the walls.
It featured Italian marble flooring, where Princess Diana would famously practice her tap dancing.
Althorp House also had its own billiard room, complete with a large pool table.
It was decorated with blue walls and a gold and cream ceiling, with several photos hanging on the walls.
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