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Secrets of Althorp: Spencers (2013)

 NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Secrets of Althorp: Spencers + Secrets of Henry VIII's Palace: Hampton Court + Secrets of Highclere Castle
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Product Details

  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Pbs (Direct)
  • DVD Release Date: July 9, 2013
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00C888NRO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,109 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Nestled on over 14,000 acres of English countryside is Althorp House, the childhood home and final resting place of Diana, Princess of Wales. 19 generations of Spencers, one of Britain's most eminent aristocratic dynasties, have lived there for over 500 years. The estate is now in the hands of Diana's brother Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer, guardian to a vast wealth of artistic and historical treasures. Works by Rubens and Van Dyck line the walls, while the guest book boasts signatures from such illustrious figures as King William III, Sir Winston Churchill, and Queen Elizabeth II. Earl Spencer leads a personal tour around this noble manor that is to him, above all, still very much a family home, relaying how the history of the house is inextricably bound up with the character, strengths, and weaknesses of those who have lived there before him.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LEARNED A LOT... July 11, 2013
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Not only did we enjoy this, we learned a lot, and ended with the greatest respect for the Earl Spencer. He and his advisers have done an amazing job with something so vital to World History. I did not know about their relationship to the Washingtons, and in turn the destiny of the United States. What he has done to honor and preserve Princess Diana and her legacy is amazing and so tastefully done. Very innovative financially to preserve Althorp Estate for many generations to come. The interior is so beautiful...we did not expect such a wonderful show. Thank you all.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and very well done July 8, 2013
This is a documentary about Althorp. Most of us know it as the childhood home of Lady Diana and her brother Charles, what most of us don't know is the 500 year history with 19 generations that lived there. I was fascinated to find out that the Spencers had a close relationship with the Washington family (George Washtington) and they too have a place nearby. I also loved Charles in this, he explained he was simply the keeper of this estate for future generations. He came across as almost humble and to see the rooms, hear the history and the family stories was fantastic. I would recommend this highly.. MY only complaint is it appears PBS is doing this as a series (Secrets of Hampton Court WONDERFUL), Secrets of .... (you get the idea) so far I have seen four in this series but I wish they would give it a common name so I can catch it on the DVR when they are on.

I also love how they compare how things are done today with how they were done centuries ago. Photos complete these stories as well. There was also times when it looked like the estate wouldn't survive, especially during the war where it was in such bad shape even the historical society wouldn't take it when they tried to give it away because the upkeep became to much. But they managed to keep it and the stunning artifacts intact and now improved. Althorp is open to the public two months out of the year and that money goes to charity as well.

Interviews with Charles, and some of the caretakers and the gamekeeper on the estate are wonderful additions.

I would add this to your library. There is some mention of Diana of course, but there is such a rich history in this family it is really informative and so well done.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spencer and Washington August 2, 2013
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This was a better mix of history and house tour than the one on Chatsworth. Charles Spenser is the tour guide and he DOES point out and explain art and furniture and other items in the house. The history is not just Diana which is very good, although perhaps too much on the George Washington link. I still would have preferred more house tour and less history but overall not a bad show.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Secrets of Althrop: Spencers July 27, 2013
We all know that Lady Diana grew up at Althrop. But very few know the ins and outs of it's history. I had no idea that George Washington had a connection to the Spencers. I didn't know that Althorp opens up to the public couple months out of the year.I find it very interesting to see the hall where Diana used to tap dance, and where she used to play as a little girl. I love shows like this where the actual people who live there are still there working to keep things going. I have a new found respect for the Earl Spencer. Fantastic program!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done February 2, 2014
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I watched part of this on PBS and wasn't able to finish it so I purchased it on Amazon. As with everything else, it arrived quickly. It's a very, very well done inside look at Princess Diana's ancestral home but, more than that, it's a look at a dying class and a peek into the landed gentry that is also quickly going away. Charles Spencer does a great job of sharing his family home's history while also keeping his tongue in his cheek regarding the "gentry" part of the past.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Buy the book instead March 19, 2014
By Judith
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This DVD is just okay, in my opinion. Too much time is taken to talk about Diana, with nothing new added to her well-known story. There is also quite a bit of time devoted to the Washington family, I suppose in an effort to appeal to American audiences. I really wanted to see more of a house tour. The part about Althorp being a working farm was interesting, and the contributions by the maid and estate workers was very good. However, if you really want to learn more about Althorp a better choice would be to read Earl Spencer's book Althorp: The Story of a House. Of course, the books doesn't have the advantage of audio and video, but it really is much more informative, with many pictures and stories about the family and the house.
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