Though Althorp Estate, in Northampton, England, is best known as the final resting place of Princess Diana, it has been the home of the Spencer family for more than 500 years. Though Charles, Earl Spencer, has spent much of his life memorializing the family’s history, he and his wife, Karen, Countess of Spencer, have announced a new web series and newsletter called Spencer 1508 to share that knowledge with a new audience.
The series was announced on Karen’s Instagram account Wednesday, with a video of her looking at the house’s archives, handling an earl’s coronet, consulting on floral arrangements, and exploring the farmland. In the video, she said that the series grew out of the fact that she didn’t know too much about Althorp when she first married Charles. “If I’m honest, I initially sort of rejected the full-time nature of this role,” she said of being the estate’s chatelaine, “I thought that this whole house was lovely, but that wasn’t going to take up very much of my time. I will confess that it has sucked me in.”
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The series’ name refers to the year when the estate was first purchased by John Spencer, and artifacts from earlier eras are still on display. Karen’s excitement upon handling some of the family’s priceless heirlooms was evident in the preview. “Living here has just been one discovery after the next,” she said. “Every day holds a new adventure, sometimes when I least expect it. Everywhere you turn, it’s just one incredible thing after the next.”
Videos will be released weekly through the free newsletters, and some episodes will give insight into famous Spencers throughout history going beyond the famous princess. In a Spencer 1508 video posted to YouTube, Charles spoke about his admiration for the 1st Duke of Marlborough, a famous soldier who died about 300 years ago. Through the duke, the Spencer family is also related to Winston Churchill.
Charles has been responsible for Althorp House since 1992, when has father John, 8th Earl Spencer, died in a car accident. He married Karen, his third wife, in 2010, and they share one daughter, Charlotte Diana, who was born in 2012. Karen was born in Canada and is also the founder of Whole Child International, a nonprofit that works to improve the care of vulnerable children worldwide.
But she is clearly just as passionate about the house as her husband. “I’m excited to bring everyone on the journey that I’m on,” she said in the clip. “Whether it be the walled garden, the restoration of some of the bedrooms, or understanding how the parkland works… I really want to leave this house and parkland in a better place than when I arrived.”
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