Princess Diana : Secrets of Althorp

Secrets of Althorp

I watched this documentary on July 7, on PBS. Diana's brother Lord Spencer was interviewed and gave yet another tour of the house and the grounds, on which is the magnificent Oval where Diana is buried. This is ironic, since he didn't want to give her a safe haven on the estate when she was alive and was dealing with those horrendous paparazzi. The show was, however, enlightening. George Washington's great-great-great-grandfather is buried at St. Mary's church on the estate. The Spencers are distant cousins (as is Prince Charles, a ninth cousin once removed) of the first President of the United States, whose family owned nearby Sulgrave Manor. In the 1930s, members of the United States Congress donated a portrait of our first Commander-in-Chief to the Spencer family, who duly placed it at the local church. Diana couldn't be buried there because public interest at the time was too intense. Now, of course, they could move the body and rebury it in St. Mary's vault and nobody would notice.

Diana isn't being honored in death as much as JFK and Monroe because she is not an American icon. Although she achieved more and was more famous than the President and his most famous amour, the North American media has given her the boot. They made billions off of her for seventeen years and now they have no more use for her now that she is dead. This stinks. Every time I walk into Macy's, I see Marilyn Monroe everywhere, whereas Diana and Jackie are non-existent. Somehow, I have a feeling that MM would just love this and that both Di and Jackie would be outraged.

Next is Secrets of Chatsworth, the seat of the Cavendish family, whose titular head is the present Duke of Devonshire. Another beautiful, aristocratic Spencer girl, Lady Georgiana Spencer, the fifth Duchess of Devonshire, married into that dynasty in 1774. Like her great-great-great-grand-niece, the Princess of Wales, she, too, was unhappily married to an older nobleman who didn't love her, was a political force for good, cared about children, was a fashion trend-setter, and the most famous female of her day (inside the British Isles, anyway). Georgiana, however, tolerated the other woman in her marriage, the lovely, but conniving Lady Elizabeth Foster, who became the Duchess of Devonshire after Georgiana passed away in 1806. Diana, as we all know, refused to do the same with Camilla Parker-Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall and future Queen of England.

I have always believed Earl Spencer to be as opportunistic as they come and he is always willing to open the doors of the ancestral estate to glorify the Spencer name in any way that he can. It is certainly within his rights, but not as many hordes are coming to see the house or the Oval as they did in 1998. And let's face it, the only reason Althorp has visitors at all is because the current Prince of Wales married a lady of the house in 1981.

Re: Secrets of Althorp

I can't imagine Earl Spencer, JFK Jr., or Caroline Kennedy pimping out rights to images of their deceased loved ones to advertise tacky souvenirs, cologne, etc.

Re: Secrets of Althorp

You do make a valid point.

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