For the first time, paying guests can spend a weekend at historical Althorp House, the ancestral home of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. For three consecutive weekends, visitors can tread the hallowed halls of the Northamptonshire mansion where the young Diana lived with her family up until her marriage to Prince Charles in 1981.
Drawing rooms, sitting rooms, libraries, foyers, halls and salons – Althorp House is a stately home in the grand English tradition, a real-life Downtown Abbey. There are 28 heritage-listed buildings and structures on-site and the grounds cover an area of more than 5000 hectares. The island that serves as Diana’s final resting place is situated in the middle of Round Oval lake.
The Marlborough dining room at Althorp. Image via Althorp Enterprises LP
The purpose of opening the house, which was built in 1688, is one the philanthropic royal would have approved of. The money received from the endeavour will go to Whole Child International, a charity that helps vulnerable children around the world, in which the third wife of Earl Charles Spencer, Lady Karen Spencer, is most involved.
There is room for 30 couples at three different levels of exclusivity: $35,000 will buy a weekend at Althorp House staying in a room with private bathroom. Guests will arrive before dinner on Friday evening. One Saturday night there is a black-tie dinner and “a variety of activities and entertainments”. Donations above $55,000 buy the same experience, only with an upgraded bedroom.
For those who are feeling flush, a $350,000 gift will secure a private weekend hosted by Lord and Lady Spencer for 18 guests.
The Saloon and Spencer Gallery. Image via Althorp Enterprises LP
Everyone remembers where they were on August 31, 1997, the day Princess Diana died from injuries sustained in a car accident in Paris. The death of the woman born Diana Spencer, the “People’s Princess”, was met with incredible public expressions of grief – flowers piled five feet high outside Kensington Palace began to compost. Almost 20 years later, Diana’s face is still selling tabloid newspapers and magazines, her life and death are still the subjects of documentary films and a gown she once wore to a gala in 1986 is expected to fetch in the vicinity of $200,000 at auction on June 14.
Judging from the passionate and sustained interest in all things Diana, it will come as no surprise that almost all 30 places for guests to Althorp House have been snapped up.
Image credits: Althorp Enterprises LP