Chez WW in England

Chez WW in England

Slideshow Widget

Althorp, England

24 July 2011

When I was a nine year old girl I lost my heart. I was not alone. The whole world fell in love with Lady Diana Spencer. I remember getting up on that early summer morning in a campground in Prince Edward Island and watching the wedding of the century on our tiny black and white tv. Years later, I was glued to the tv again. This time I waited and prayed for good news. Good news did not come and Diana, Princess of Wales dies of her injuries in Paris 31 August 1997. My eyes filled with tears as I watched her funeral. Diana, like most of us, was a flawed person. But, despite her flaws she tried to make the world a better place. Her touch helped show the world that AIDS could not be caught through a handshake or a hug. Lepers were shown kindness and love. Diana described herself as being thick yet she taught so many of us. Taught us that listening to your heart and acting with love can be enough to change the world and make life better for others. Taught us that no one is perfect and despite our flaws we are all special and worthy of love. Diana, Princess of Wales will forever be our Queen of Hearts.

I can honestly say that Andrew was not as excited as I was to visit Althorp, the ancestral home of the Spencer family. Diana’s final resting place is on an island on the Althorp estate. I felt like a pilgrim and so full of love for my husband who knew how much this visit meant. Andrew bought our tickets and turned to me, Quick, we have to hurry. Why, what is happening? Earl Spencer is having a book signing right now. What book? I don’t know, but I am buying it for you and getting it signed for you. Right there, for the millionth time, I knew that I was so lucky to be married to Andrew.

Once again, I am completely shocked at how short I am in real life. In my head I am not that short. Pictures bring me back to reality. Although Andrew did re-assure me that Earl Spencer is quite tall. If my 6 foot tall husband tells me a man is quite tall I can hang onto my height delusions for the time being.

The house is filled with incredible treasures – Marie Antoinette‘s chocolate service and paintings by RubensVan DyckReynoldsStubbs andGainsborough – to name a few. Photography is not allowed in the house. Once again I am in awe, complete awe of living in such a beautiful place surrounded by things that are worthy of the great museums. Along with our entry tickets we purchased the tour guide book. We started doing this for all of the sites that we visit. These books will be a great reminder of this incredible time in our lives and are very helpful in writing this blog. We also paid for the audio tour. We would be going to Althorp once and wanted to get the most out of our visit.

After touring the house, the Round Oval was next on our list. Diana, Princess of Wales, is laid to rest on the island within the Round Oval.

After all of these years, the emotions came flooding back. I felt the same as I had the day I watched Diana’s funeral. I think that we all strive to live a life that touches others, a life that leaves the world a better place.

The stables at Althorp once housed up to 100 horses and 40 grooms. This impressive building, with a beautiful inner court yard, now houses a cafe, shop, exhibit of Diana’s dresses and an exhibit dedicated to the charity works that were most important to Diana.

Just down the road from Althorp is the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Great Brington. No photography was allowed inside. This beautiful stone church that sits on a hill top contains the Spencer Chapel. I was surprised to see a memorial stone for the the great-great-great-grandfather of George Washington. One of the things I love so much about England is that history is everywhere just waiting to be discovered.

Our day at Althorp was incredible. To see the dress that Diana wore on her wedding day, to see where Diana was laid to rest was an amazing experience. On the day I toured the childhood home of Diana, Princess of Wales, “The Queen of Hearts”.  I was once again shown how much Andrew knows my heart. Thank you my love for all that you are and all that you do.

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