If you were happily up at 3 a.m. to watch the wedding of William and Kate, you’re going to freak out over the latest royal news from across the pond.
Princess Diana’s brother, Charles, Ninth Earl Spencer, has just announced that he and his American-born wife Countess Karen Spencer are opening their 500-plus-year-old, 13,000-acre ancestral home Althorp to visitors. Translation: You can stay in Diana’s childhood house, even sleeping in the room where she lived before marrying Prince Charles. Breathe — this is really happening.
The place includes 90 rooms — 31 of which are bedrooms — a grand Picture Gallery with works by old masters like Van Dyck, a chapel, and a State Dining Room modeled after the ballroom at Buckingham Palace. Notably, Althorp is Princess Diana’s final resting place: She’s buried on the property on a small island in the middle of Round Oval lake.
There’s also a museum devoted to Diana, with six of the estate’s rooms showcasing items like her famous wedding dress, plus letters and mementos from her childhood.
If you stay here, you’ll be in epic company: Former residents and guests have included King William III, Queen Elizabeth II, Nelson Mandela, and Winston Churchill, a Spencer cousin. Obviously, William, Kate, and Harry have all visited, too.
The one catch? A stay at Althorp will seriously cost you.
Couples can play HRH for the weekend for $40,000, while private groups of up to 18 are invited for $250,000. (Let’s recap: That eye-popping fee is for a single weekend. Can you put a price on royal history? Apparently so.) At least the money goes to a good cause, benefitting Karen Spencer’s charity Whole Child, which works to improve conditions for children in orphanages.
You can see more of Althorp this Sunday night on NBC’s On Assignment show, when Charles and Karen take NBC News’s Cynthia McFadden on a tour, including formerly private areas of the mansion that have never before been seen by the public.
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