Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer, was recently in Livingston Furniture, Tampa, Fla., in a promotion for Althorp furniture on his only Florida stop. Livingston has an impressive Althorp Furniture gallery. Earl Spencer made it clearto the press, mention Princess Diana, and that’s it. It shuts down immediately.
But it was hard to believe Charles Spencer wouldn’t have taken such a question in stride. He was affable and even funny during his visit today at Livingston Furniture in Tampa, his only Florida stop on a U.S. tour promoting the furniture line based on pieces in his ancestral estate, Althorp.
Spencer spent about three hours at the store, answering questions, signing pieces and explaining the collection. Designed and manufactured by Thomas Alexander, a fine-furnishings company, Althorp Living History was introduced in the United States in 2004. It has been popular here, Spencer says, so about a year and a half ago, it was introduced in Europe.
His favorite piece, by the way, is a blanket chest left by George Washington’s ancestors, who were cousins and tenants of the well-off Spencers. It dates to about 1650, about the time Washington’s great-great-great-grandfather immigrated to Virginia. The replica includes all the little dings and scars from its 350 years; and the original is still in use.