LONDON - Charles Spencer takes NewsChannel5's Lee Jordan on a tour of Princess Diana's home on her trip to London in 2007.
"I always feel when I drive through the gates here. It's so private and it's so quiet it's like -- arriving in a different century," said Charles Spencer, Princess Diana's brother, said.
The Spencers have called Althorp home for 500 years, but Princess Diana's ancestors weren't noble. They were sheep farmers. In fact, sheep still graze on the estate's 12,000 acres of farmland.
"This is so serene. It's a very English setting. This is a classical piece of English parkland. The house's real name is Althorp Park not Althorp Hall or whatever, and the idea was you were living," Spencer said. "The house was almost dropped in the countryside, so there was no formal garden in the olden days. They used to have little boys from the village who would be employed with sticks to keep cows from licking the windows and it's amazing how this place has changed over the years."
Jordan: "So coming home to Althorp feels very good to you?"
Charles Spencer: "It does. I have a sort of spiritual connection to the place, if that doesn't sound too pretentious."
Jordan: "And I suppose that the fact you've had your family living here century after century, you feel more than it's home. It's where you belong."
Jordan reported Spencer and his children currently live day to day in 100 rooms on the estate's 550 acres of land. They share the space with priceless portraits, sculptures and many other one of a kind treasures.
"The floors are fantastic -- these wide planks. This is all original oak we were playing last night," Spencer said. "I had some American friends playing on it and they said this is a ridiculous size, and I found this in 150 pieces. It was all just rotten in a storage room in the stable block and had it rebuilt."
Spencer continued to take Jordan on a tour of his home.
Jordan: "This really is a library."
Spencer: "Yes, it's very much a library, and once it used to have a fabulous collection of books. Fifty-seven of the first Bibles ever to be printed here, and it was all sold about 120 years ago."
"I use this now when we've got loads of people staying this is the room we use a lot," Spencer said. "Although it's got all these books. It still has a wonderful feeling. The fire roaring and people enjoying a drink -- it's really nice."
Jordan: "How many of these books get pulled off the shelves?"
Spencer: "Not many -- when it was a proper library there were 43,000 first-edition books, and they spilled into seven rooms but now, I write books occasionally, so I might call on one of them for reference but really, it's just on show now, it's not really used."
Copyright 2007 by NewsNet5. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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