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Inside Diana's House Where She Spent Her 'Happiest Time' — Her Brother Was Even Accused of Depriving Her of It

Gaone Pule
Apr 13, 2022
01:30 P.M.
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Princess Diana's parents divorced when she and her siblings were just kids. Her dad won full custody of all the four children. After the royal's marriage ended, her younger brother was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.  


The late Princess Diana's parents, John Spencer and Frances Kydd, married in 1954 at Westminster Abbey in a ceremony dubbed the society event of the season.  

Like her daughter, Frances was also a young bride as she was only 18 when marrying John. The couple had four children, three daughters, Diana, Sarah, Jane, and a son Charles.  

(L) Princess Diana pictured sitting on the steps of Highgrove House. (M) An aerial view of Althorp located on the Harlestone Road in Northampton. (R) Family album picture of Lady Diana Spencer in Cadogan Place Gardens, London, in 1968. / Source: Getty Images


After giving birth to two girls, Frances was under pressure to produce a male heir. She eventually did when she welcomed her son John who arrived in January 1960. Sadly, he died a few hours after being born. 

When the couple tried to have another child again, they had another daughter, Diana. The birth of another girl child strained Frances and John's marriage.  

Consequently, the pair decided to end their union when they divorced in 1969 after Frances fell in love with Peter Shand Kydd, an heir to a wallpaper fortune. 

A family file picture of Lady Diana Spencer (Diana Princess of Wales) with her younger brother Charles, Lord Althorp (Earl Spencer) in 1968. / Source: Getty Images


John was granted full custody of their brood, including Diana. He later remarried, and his children were not fond of their stepmother, Raine Spencer. 

Before Raine wed John, she was married to the Earl of Dartmouth for almost three decades. When she married John, the future royal was only 14 years old. 

Earl Spencer pictured with his wife Raine Spencer in front of their home Althorp House. / Source: Getty Images


Neither Diana nor her siblings liked their stepmother. They reportedly referred to her as "Acid Raine" and would say, "Raine, Raine, go away!" in her presence. 

Despite the strained relationship between Diana and her stepmom, Raine became her stepdaughter's close confidante following her divorce from Prince Charles.  


A front view of the Spencer family home Althorp House situated in Northamptonshire. / Source: Getty Images


Diana's childhood home was "the happiest time of her life" when she lived there. The Spencers acquired the Althorp abode in 1508, and the Princess of Wales was born at Park House in July 1961.  

The Althorp family mansion sits on 1500 acres of Northamptonshire countryside, and 20 generations of Spencers have lived there for five centuries.  

Pictured: A state bedroom at Althorp House which showcases portraits by the likes of Van Dyke. / Source: Getty Images


The 100,000-square-foot home features 31 bedrooms with a South Drawing Room. The blue-painted space boasts an outstanding collection of portrait paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds.  

There is also a recreation room with a pool table on a red and blue rug. Just above the pool table are black pendant lights. The Billiard Room with blue walls has more portrait paintings on display.  


The estate boasts the most refined European furniture and has a library that features a portrait by Angelica Kauffman of Georgiana Cavendish over the fireplace.  

The peach wall room features brown sofas and a maroon patterned rug. The library has 10,000 books in its collection, which date from 1892.  


The formal dining room is called The Marlborough Room, named after Sarah, First Duchess of Marlborough. It's a space with green walls and can seat up to 42 guests.  

The Saloon makes a grand hallway for the Althorp House. It features an enormous staircase with wooden handrails, chandeliers, and paintings in gold frames hanging up on the walls.  


The 1st Earl Spencer and his fiancee, Georgiana Poyntz, were secretly married in one of the bedrooms, called the Oak Bedroom. In 1934, Sir Winston Churchill also stayed in the room while researching his book on the Duke of Marlborough.

With red walls, the space features an oak bed and an 'S' symbol embroidered on the curtains, and it represents the last name, Spencer. The room has wooden floors and blue touches on the bed.  


Diana, Princess of Wales photographed kissing her brother, Earl Charles Spencer at the Birthright Ball. / Source: Getty Images


Following Princess Diana's divorce from Charles, Prince of Wales, the royal's only home was her Kensington Palace, and she was keen to find a place elsewhere, to use on weekends. The princess's brother, Earl Spencer, was said to have refused to offer his sister a roof over her head following her split from Prince Charles.

Moreover, there were allegations that his extra-marital affairs were "not contestable" per court documents. According to the documents, the 57-year-old was also accused of being a "worthless husband and father" and that he had a bad reputation. 

Earl Spencer's older sister Princess Diana died in August 1997. In August 2017, he made a controversial remark during a US TV interview, revealing he was left haunted by the thought that he could have done something to protect her.  


Princess Diana captured crying while on a visit to royal National Orthopedic Hospital at Stanmore in January 7, 1992. / Source: Getty Images

The broadcaster said he wished he could have prevented his sister's passing as he had always been protective over the princess. However, his statement led to a backlash from those who worked with the late royal, particularly former royal staff members.  


Princess Diana's staff called him "rank hypocrisy." Her former chef, Darren McGrady, expressed his rage on Twitter, writing: "This makes me want to throw up! Where were you when she needed you?" McGrady added he would not sit back and watch Earl Spencer re-write history. "YOU WEREN'T THERE FOR HER!" he tweeted


Another royal staff member, Queen Elizabeth's former press secretary, Dickie Arbiter, emphasized McGrady's words, saying Earl Spencer was a hypocrite. "He forgets some of us were there when he turned his back on Diana," he revealed

Both men referred back to 1996 when a desperate princess asked her younger brother if she could be given a home to use on the Althorp estate, Garden House.  

A tribute laid by the Spencer family for the late Princess Diana who is buried at Althorp House, Northampton. / Source: Getty Images


Earl Spencer refuted the claims of depriving his older sister of shelter after her marriage ended. He took to Twitter in July 2021, writing

"Today, for the third time, 'a paper has been forced by the law to apologize for lying about me 'depriving Diana of a home.'" 

Charles even earned legal victory over a claim made by a UK Times newspaper. The outlet suggested he failed to protect his sister from the infamous Martin Bashir.  


The article incorrectly implied that in failing to protect Princess Diana, Earl Spencer was also partly to blame for her tragic passing at age 36 from injuries she sustained in a Paris car crash.  

But in being victorious in the legal battle to restore his image, Earl Spencer received a published apology from the paper after being ordered by the court.  

Nonetheless, regardless of the media debacle concerning the inevitable, Princess Diana was eventually laid to rest at Althorp House on an island in the center of a lake. The Spencer family even planted 36 oak trees on the grounds, symbolizing her life every year.

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