Though Princess Diana’s younger brother, Charles, Earl Spencer, has made a name for himself as a fierce defender of his sister’s legacy, he also is known as a historian for the Spencer family and its illustrious history. Over the last few years, he has used Instagram as a place to spotlight the family’s seat, Althorp House, and its goings on. On Tueday, he took to the app’s stories function to share an image of one of his ancestors—and shame a few litterbugs who have used the property as a dumping ground.
According to Hello, Spencer posted a picture of a groundskeeper removing an abandoned jacuzzi and planks from a dismantled deck that had been left on the property by an intruder. He then shared a story about a previous incidence of “fly-tipping,” is British slang for littering or leaving refuse on someone else’s property. “One of the @AlthorpHouse security team crept up behind a fly tipper a few years back, when he was dumping a mattress in a wood, and came up with the immortal line: ‘Thinking of staying the night are we, sir?’ The fly tipper took the mattress home with him.”
Perhaps remembering that his followers are primarily interested in the grandeur of Althorp, he also posted a snapshot in the estate’s Queen Mary room, which features a portrait of a memorable part of Althorp’s history. “Looking up at a Georgina Carteret, mother of the 1st Earl Spencer, in Althorp’s Queen Mary room,” he wrote. John Spencer, who was born at Althorp in 1734, was a politician who became the first Earl Spencer in 1765 because of his allegiance to the Duke of Newcastle, a Whig prime minister.
The current Earl Spencer has written books about British history and his family’s role in it, and in his 2000 book The Spencers: A Personal History of an English Family, he describes Georgina’s role in raising the first earl. Georgina married Johnny Spencer, a member of parliament and landowner, and according to Charles Spencer, the marriage was happy even though Johnny continued to live like a bachelor and kept mistresses, and she was not a strict mother to her son John, who would later have a reputation for profligacy.
Though Georgiana is buried at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Hertfordshire, Diana’s gravesite is on the Althorp estate and is open to visitors. Last week, Spencer used Instagram to shared a photo of flowers that were left on the grave by visitors.
Listen to Vanity Fair’s DYNASTY podcast now.