Skip to main content

Althorp House, Princess Diana and the Spencers of Althorp

Althorp House. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Althorp House, the stately home of the prominent Spencer family and more popularly Lady Diana Spencer, later Princess of Wales, before her marriage to Charles, can trace its origin way back to the 16th century John Spencer purchased Althorp estate with the funds generated from his family's sheep-rearing business in 1508. His grandson, also named John, enlarged  Althorp in 1573 using red bricks and adding the south wings, to the shape which then house retains to this day.

The house became home to an extensive art collection and other expensive items amassed the Spencers through the years. It was a famous cultural hub in England in the 18th century welcome most if not all of Great Britain's ruling class. George John, 2nd Earl Spencer, who lorded over Althorp and the surrounding lands from 1783  until 1834, organized one of the largest private libraries in Europe at the house, which at the time of his death, boasted of over 100,000 books in its collection. With the decline of the fortune of Britain’s landed elite in the 19th century also saw the house fall on hard times. It was then that John Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer sold much of the family’s collection to Enriqueta Rylands in 1892, who was then building the University of Manchester Library. By the turn of the 20th century, many of Althorp's furnishings were sold and from 1975 until 1992 about 20% of the contents were auctioned.

Althorp waspraised for being a "classically beautiful" red brick Tudor structure until its appearance was significantly altered beginning in 1788. Architect Henry Holland made extensive changes, adding mathematical tiles to the exterior, encasing the brick, and adding four Corinthian pilasters to the front. Wootten Hall, as what the grand hall entrance is known was considered by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as "the noblest Georgian room in the county". In 1877, the Great Dining Room in the east wing extension of the house was added featuring the designs by John Macvicar Anderson. The walls were adorned with faded, red damask silk, adding up to its imposing beauty.

At the height of the Blitz during World War II, numerous fireplaces and furnishings were transferred to Althorp from Spencer House for safekeeping. These items still remain in the house to this day. The house’s Picture Gallery which extends to 115 feet and located on the first floor of the west wing remains as one of the very few original Tudor oak woodwork in the mansion. Here hangs the some of the finest portraits in the country, including Anthony van Dyck's War and Peace, a John de Critz portrait of James I, a Mary Beale portrait of Charles II, and many others.

In the late 1980s the house underwent a £2 million restoration work, during which time most of the religious paintings of Althorp were sold off.


  1. Hey everybody, If you enjoy building sheds like me, here's a great link for you to download shed plans:

    Download 12,000 shed plans

  2. Gain instant access to 16,000 woodworking blueprints.

    Teds Woodworking has over 16,000 woodworking plans with STEP BY STEP instructions, pics and blueprints to make every project laughably easy!


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular posts from this blog

The Truth about “Princess Qajar,” the Royal Lady with the Mustache

A Persian Princess viral news websites baptized as Princess Qajar has lately become a stuff of legends. She was presented as a royal lady with a facial hair that made her so attracted that 13 men claimed their own lives because she couldn’t love them. The truth is, there is no “Princess Qajar,” but there is a the Qajar dynasty of Persia that ruled over Persian for more than a century.

The only fact about this historical meme is that at that time, it was fashionable for Persian women to wear mustache. “Many Persian-language sources, as well as photographs, from the nineteenth century confirm that Qajar women sported a thin mustache, or more accurately a soft down, as a sign of beauty,” explained Dr. Afsaneh Najmabadi.
The memes and fake stories circulating online refer not to a single princess, but actually to two female dynasts: Princess Fatemah Khanum"'Esmat al-Dowleh" and her half-sister, Princess Zahra Khanom Tadj es-Saltaneh. Their father, Naser al-Din Shah Qajar, …

Queen Mary and the Delhi Durbar Tiara

In 1911, King George V and Queen Mary were to be proclaimed Emperor and Empress of India. That was the first and only time that a British sovereign attended the durbar, which was hailed as the largest gathering of princes, noblemen and landed gentry in India to pay homage to their sovereigns. The King and Queen should never be outdone by the petty rulers. They were sure these local princes would come garbed with all the gold and diamonds from their treasure chest. It was decided that they should showcase the crown jewels with them. But British law prohibits anyone from taking these treasures outside Great Britain. A new set of coronation regalia  had to be made! Thus, the India Office commissioned Garrard and Co. to make the Imperial Crown of India for King George V. It has eight arches, with 6170 exquisitely cut diamonds, and covered with sapphires, emeralds and rubies, with a velvet and miniver cap all weighing 34.05 ounces (965 g).

However, Queen Mary was without the empress' …

Why Prince Harry is a Commoner?

Prince Harry is a commoner according to common law, explains royal expert Marlene Eilers Koenig in her blog.
“In the United Kingdom, the law is based on English COMMON law -- from where we get the word Commoner,” she explained. That puts Prince Harry under the rule of the normal law.
Only the sovereign (e.g. The Queen) and the peers of the realm are not commoners, she explained. The peerage of the United Kingdom is composed of, in order of precedence, Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, Viscounts, and Barons.
“That leaves everyone else, including princes and princesses, who have not been created peers of the realm,” Eilers continued to explain. Thus, even if Harry is a Prince of the United Kingdom, he is, by law, a commoner. In precedence, as the queen’s grandson, he ranks higher than the Duke of Norfolk, who is the premier duke in the peerage of England, but according to the law, the Duke of Norfolk is not a commoner, while Harry is is.
However, once he gets married, Her Majesty is highly …