Princess Diana’s brother on quest to restore Althorp Estate, her final resting place. As a boy, Charles Spencer would visit his grandparents at Althorp Estate, his eyes wide and his hands glued to is side.
With its galleries and gardens, Spencer found the 500-year-old place to be “rather overpowering.” Even arriving at the front door meant a 10-minute drive from the entrance gate to the house itself. “It was very much a different world,” he says.
And inside, where hundreds of priceless antiques and family heirlooms decorated rooms with ornate decor, it felt both grandiose and fragile. Spencer — godson of Her Majesty the Queen and the little boy in a family with three sisters — remembers going outside to play and being told not to break anything on the way.
“So we didn’t,” he says.
Today, as the 9th Earl Spencer, he is now lord and caretaker of that estate. He inherited it from his father in 1992, when he was just 27 years old. During the past two decades, he has dedicated himself to beautifying and restoring his family’s ancestral seat in Northampton shire, England, which is the final resting place of his sister Diana, Princess of Wales.
This week, he will be in Nashville as the keynote presenter at the 28th annual Antiques and Garden Show of Nashville. He will talk about his restoration efforts and discuss this year’s focus — A Sense of Place — and what it means to him.
“It goes back to the theme of authenticity, really,” Spencer says. “Getting to the soul of the place…and respecting it and building on it.”
His Farewell Yellow Brick Road will kick off in the US this September, just months after he ends his six-month residency in Las Vegas. He said: ”I don’t want to go out with a whimper, but a big bang.”
Sir Elton promised it will be “the most fantastic show I’ve ever done”.
The star added he had come to the decision to spend more time at home with his husband, David Furnish, and their two children. He said: “I’m not stopping music. I’ll hopefully be making more records. I’ll be writing more musicals.
“But mostly, I’ll be taking my kid to soccer academy – which is the most important thing. Life is all about change.”