My name is Cynthia and I love interior design, architecture, antiques, all things vintage, all things British (a tried and true Anglophile), a love of things that are time worn and hold secrets of days gone by. I love animals and try to respect their place in our world. I enjoying talking about the most beautiful places in the world, some exotic, some in our own neck of the woods. I love family and friends, music and movies. And most importantly, I love talking about these things with a daily dose of humor because I love to laugh and we all deserve to. So come on...let's go for a stroll.

AND PLEASE CLICK ON THE ENTRY AND LEAVE ME A COMMENT - I can't talk to you if I don't know you were here, dearest dahling...


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Althorp and Diana

If you know anything about me, then you know that I love all things British and am, I have to admit, a royal family freak.  I actually could use a 12 step program for my obsession with their blue blooded ancestry, their fantastically grand homes all over Great Britain and their sometimes horrid choice of clothing.  If you even mention Queen Elizabeth, I start feeling veklempt (talk amongst yaselves).  I will give you a topic - the Royal family - my impersonation of Linda Richman and "Coffee Talk" from Saturday Night Live, in case you are not familiar:)

One of my favorite topics of discussion is Princess Diana.  Although she was deeply flawed, she was also a most interesting person...dynamic, charming, gorgeous, young at heart, and with the best intentions for those who were less fortunate than she.  Like so many other girls, I watched her marry and was riveted.  I recently saw the exhibit put together by her brother and it was a religious experience for me.  I was able to see, up close and personal, pieces of her childhood including her toys, her ballet shoes, home movies never seen by the public, her diaries, her journals, and her jewels.  There was a lot of history of her childhood home, as well.  The icing on the cake was seeing the wedding dress, which we all know, was a wrinkled confection by the time she stepped out of the carriage at the cathedral.  Also featured were many of her other dresses, along with the khaki pants and the polo shirt she wore in the land mines.  

 She grew up in a huge country estate, known as Althorp, which has been in the Spencer family for many centuries.  The Duchess of Devonshire, whom many of you may have learned about through the Keira Knightley film, "The Duchess," is part of her family and its rich history.  Many have compared Diana to the Duchess, as she was also a controversial, opinionated woman for her time.  She also was stuck in a loveless marriage and continued to live with the Earl in order to see her children.  
Diana's childhood was complex, as her mother left the children and moved to Scotland while the children were still young.  She has two sisters, Sarah and Jane, and of course, her brother Charles, the Earl of Spencer, whom most everyone remembers for his very candid and moving eulogy at her funeral.  The Althorp estate is, to me, one of the most beautiful in all of England.  It once encompassed thousands of acres, but much of the land was sold off through the centuries in order to maintain the estate.  As you can see, the family is still in possession of a tremendous amount of property.   Charles lives there now with his family, having moved back from South Africa after Diana's death.  The house is open in the summer months for tours, and there is a beautiful memorial on the property near her final resting place, which is an island in the midst of an oval lake.  It seems like a very lonely place to be buried, but she was hounded by the paparazzi to such a point that her family saw it as fitting that she could rest in peace with only her family and closest friends having access to her grave.   Some have criticized Charles for opening the home to the public.  Many of these massive country houses are open for public viewing during the summer months, as the families have "apartments" that are totally private and the tours are needed in order to help with the overwhelmingly expensive upkeep of these stately homes.  Just imagine trying to dust this place!

So these are my little words about a woman who I find completely captivating, in all of her beauty and character.  She wasn't perfect, but she was fascinating.  And her childhood home is a dream.

What are your feelings about Diana?  Please post a comment by clicking on this posting and scrolling down.  I want to hear from you!

The Althorp Estate in Devonshire - just try counting all of those chimneys!

Road to Althorp

I want to visit this home so much - hopefully soon

The island in the middle of the Oval Lake where Diana is buried

I love the courtyards of these old estates with their pea gravel

Diana's last photo session - photo by Mario Testino

Diana and Charles in their school uniforms

Another photo from Mario Testino - I love these photos of her - no jewelry, wearing some of her favorite and most famous dresses that were auctioned for charity shortly before her death

A paparazzi shot of Diana on El Fayed's yacht...she appears so alone here but was actually at her happiest.  I don't think for a minute that she was ever engaged to Dodi Fayed or even in love with him.  As if I am privy to such information, right? Maybe someday I can get an inside source into the palace LOL


Lisa Walston said...

I always loved Di. I was devastated when she died. I enjoyed this blog very much!!

Kevin said...

I have always loved Di also. I remember exactly where I was when I found out she was in the accident. I stayed glued to the television all weekend. Can i go with you when you go to England and tour her home?

Cynthia Banks said...

Kevin, let's go!!! We can even let the little sis straggle along with us:)

Tammy said...

I can still remember where I was and what I was doing when the news came on that she'd been in an accident. I stayed up most of the night waiting to find out if she was okay. I couldn't believe she died. I still get teary-eyed. I watched everything that came on the telly after the accident up to, and including her funeral. I still don't understand why her death affected me so. I watched her wedding (like a million other people) and watched as she tried to raise her 2 boys in the fishbowl that was her life. But I wasn't what you'd call a Royal-Watcher or anything. I still get choked up when I see her sons now, so very grown up. Anyhoo,I enjoyed your post about her and Althorp.

BTW, the Biltmore House in Asheville NC, is a private home that is open to the public via paid tours, I don't know why people give Charles grief about doing it. I'd love to see her final resting place.

Glo said...

Hey Cynthia, I really do enjoy your blog. I remember waking up the morning Diana was killed and I just couldn't believe it. She was just one of the beautiful people that should have lived a long, full life.
Of course, I have always been a fan of Prince Charles as our birthdays are only one day apart. His is today the 14th, and mine is tomorrow. We were born the same year too.
When he and Diana married I actually called in sick to work to watch the wedding. I was totally mesmerized by it.
Oh, well, such is life. Keep up the good work. Glo

Anonymous said...

Hi Cynthia:

Browsing through this site has had such a peaceful and calming affect on me. I simply love it! I also thought Diana was very captivating. She was so graceful and charming, and always had such a sweet innocence about herself. She had such an inward and outward beauty that was very obvious to all.

Tina Flowers

Miss Dianna.Friend said...
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