The Earl Spencer refused to allow ‘The Crown’ to film at the Althorp estate

Diana's 60th birthday

Charles, the Earl Spencer is Princess Diana’s brother and guardian of Althorp, the Spencers’ grand estate. Diana, Charles and their sisters spent much of their childhood on Althorp, and after Diana’s funeral, she was brought to Althorp for her final rest. The Earl Spencer doesn’t spend a lot of time at Althorp these days – because it costs so much in upkeep, Charles has to rent it out for shooting parties and corporate retreats, and I believe he still has a home in South Africa. In recent years, the Earl has inserted himself into certain royal storylines, like the Martin Bashir-BBC investigation into Diana’s Panorama interview. Now it looks like the Earl is inserting himself into the royal hate machine’s angst about Netflix’s The Crown.

Earl Spencer has rejected a request from the producers of The Crown to film the upcoming series at his family home. Speaking to BBC Breakfast at Althorp in Northamptonshire, Princess Diana’s brother said: ‘They applied. They wanted to shoot here. But I don’t really do that stuff. Actually, to be honest, I don’t watch The Crown, so I just said, “Thank you but no thank you”.’

The fifth series of the royal Netflix drama stars Elizabeth Debicki as Diana and will reportedly portray her 1995 Panorama interview with Martin Bashir, as well as other key events in her later life.

In May, a report by Lord Dyson concluded that the BBC had covered up ‘deceitful behaviour’ used by Bashir to secure the bombshell interview. It found the journalist was in ‘serious breach’ of the BBC’s producer guidelines when he faked bank statements and showed them to Earl Spencer to gain access to the princess for the interview.

Earl Spencer said there remained ‘a long way to go’ in the investigation into the events surrounding the programme and did not rule out legal action. He added: ‘Lord Dyson did a very good job. His brief was tiny. It was to look at a very specific area and there is still so much more to look at in the broader terms of who was responsible for what. How did it come to this? Did documents get hidden from view? All sorts of really important stuff which is yet to come out. So I see the Lord Dyson report as a very welcome development but there is still a long way to go with this.’

[From The Daily Mail]

Yeah, regarding the Panorama interview: the Earl Spencer actually has a better reason for asking that Bashir be investigated further. Reportedly, Bashir forged documents which led Diana to believe that the Earl Spencer was in financial trouble and that Diana was “saving” her brother by agreeing to the Bashir interview. That’s been muddied by Charles and now William’s insistence that everything from the Panorama interview needs to be wiped away and erased.

As for what the Earl says about The Crown… like, he rents out Althorp to everyone and their brother. He probably would have been more than happy to let Netflix come in but they couldn’t agree on a price. He was probably trying to price-gouge Netflix and they were like “meh, grand estates are a dime a dozen.” I expect this to be added to the criticisms of the Crown too: no one should believe what The Crown says because they didn’t even film at the real Althorp!

Diana's 60th birthday

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

43 Responses to “The Earl Spencer refused to allow ‘The Crown’ to film at the Althorp estate”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. STRIPE says:

    Honestly I don’t blame him for wanting no part in The Crown. This was his sister’s real life, his real life. Unless he has strong positive feelings about the show (which he says he doesn’t) I can see him just preferring not to get involved.

    • Jan90067 says:

      This guy has monetized EVERYTHING he could about Diana. (And let’s not forget when Diana came to him, troubled, he refused to give her refuge at Althorp).

      I think it’s not just a price, but that he wanted to be IN on the shoot/production, like Freeloading Fergie wanted to be an “Advisor On Set”, (and they flatly turned her down). He’s just the type to say, “If I can’t play, I’m taking my toy and LEAVING!”

      • Rapunzel says:


      • Emma says:

        I think that is a little harsh. He declined because he wanted to protect his wife and children from media scrutiny. That’s a legitimate concern. It’s not like he caused her death by refusing to give her “refuge” and it’s not like Diana had nowhere else to go. How was he to know the rabid media pursuit would lead to her death?

      • Tw says:

        He has always wanted to stay in the favor of the Royals.

      • Maria says:

        I’ll never forget the week of Harry and Meghan’s wedding there was an Althorp “food fest” with wedding cake sculptures of Harry and Meghan, with Meghan in front of a bowl of watermelon – Charles Spencer himself tweeted this picture, and didn’t take it down even when people responded saying how offensive it was.
        And yes, he refused Diana’s request to live there.
        He knows what he’s doing.

      • STRIPE says:

        OMG I had no idea about all of that! Ugh. Not great.

      • goofpuff says:

        He definitely declined because Netflix didn’t give him what he wanted (control and more money). He doesn’t care about Diana or her memory other than what $$$ it gives him. And he definitely doesn’t care about his “family and protecting their privacy” with how much he monetizes his family to keep Althorp.

        All of his actions his entire life follow this route. None of it involved protecting Diana from the royal hate machine unless it benefited him monetarily somehow.

      • Ronaldinhio says:

        He really is a very unpleasant man.

        His grandstanding post her death and now as as ever all about him.

        I’m happy Netflix are not paying him or that hideous Titled estate the groomed its girl children to mate with the PoW

      • Agreatreckoning says:

        Yes @ Jan90067. He has monetized Diana and I don’t think Diana would have been happy about it.

        I also believe that he received $$$$$$$$ to open up the inquiry to the Bashir interview in Nov. 2020. He didn’t have an epiphany or concern. I believe he was paid due to palace’s concerns with people connecting Diana’s experiences within the royal family with Meghan’s. The palace’s concerns with the truth comming out again. Diana, herself, said Bashir didn’t show her or tell her anything that influenced her decision to do the interview.

        Charles Spencer wants to appear as if he has honor while having none.imo

    • Annie says:

      IMO he did it for the publicity of being able to say he’d done it, and clearly it worked because here we are talking about it, lol.

      I also think he’s on thin ice but finally fairly okay terms with William and Harry, and he knew he’d likely be setting both of those relationships on fire if he let them film there, so it wasn’t worth it, long-term, even if they offered him a ton of £ now.

      IIRC he was not invited to the Cambridges’ wedding, but he was at Harry’s, and the fact that they “allowed” him to be at the statue unveiling is a big deal; I was kind of surprised to see him there and you can tell in the photos how happy he was to be included.

      He definitely would have done it if there’s some way he could have without anyone finding out, but since that’s impossible he did this and it’s getting him good PR.

      • Julaine says:

        Earl Spencer and his daughters were definitely at the Cambridge’s wedding, sitting with the family members. The cameras landed on them often and the girls were beautifully attired.

  2. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    He sure is looking more and more like his late Dad.
    I agree with not letting the series film there.

  3. Becks1 says:

    Whatever his reason for not allowing Netflix to film there (I bet it was a money issue), his answer is the one the royals should be giving when asked about the Crown – “I don’t watch the crown, so I said thank you but no thank you.” That was not a hard answer to give, royal family. He’s not peeking out of curtains and lurking to see if he can almost see see the filming so he can be incandescent with rage.

    (of course the part about “I don’t really do that stuff” is a lie, but sometimes lying is okay! lol)

  4. superashes says:

    I feel like we keep getting different stories for why she did the Panorama Interview. On a podcast recently they said it was because she was led to believe various long term assistants were leaking information about her, and they faked a cancelled check to a member of staff that had been recently let go, to look like she was paid for stories about Diana. On another site someone claimed it was because she was given a cancelled check and was led to believe it was for an abortion for William and Harry’s nanny.

    • Magick Wanda says:

      The RF and the media are throwing everything they can at the wall and hoping something sticks. They are desperate to discredit Diana before season 5 of The Crown debuts and before Harry’s book comes out. Anyone who is not blinded with hatred can see the similarities in the RF’s treatment of Diana and Meghan. They are desperate for this to go away and to erase their treatment of Diana from our memories. Well done, Peter Morgan. You’re doing something right because the family is very nervous.

  5. AmelieOriginal says:

    I think it would be more weird for him to let Netflix film The Crown at Althorp. Charles Spencer is no angel and from the sound of it wasn’t much help to his sister while she was alive. But it’s clear he regrets a lot when it comes to her and he isn’t going to open up the place where Diana grew up (even if it wasn’t some happy rosy childhood) and the place where she is buried. And while I doubt he is close to William and Harry (I know he was at the Diana statue unveiling), I don’t think he would let Netflix anywhere near her grave site. He isn’t stupid. Also Netflix probably thought “Eh let’s reach out to him, the worst thing he can say is no, we’ve got other places we can film to pretend it’s Althorp.” All grandiose English estates can be substituted for each other, the aristocracy isn’t all that creative in their decor and those fancy houses all look alike to me.

    • Jan90067 says:

      But he DOES sell tickets for people to do just that! The only thing they can’t do is take a boat to the little island in that pond where she is actually buried. But they can gawk at it from the landed area. He’s had exhibitions of her “life” at the home. He has gotten a LOT of money off his dead sister’s memory/life.

      • Magick Wanda says:

        That is so gross. I mean really, really gross.

      • AmelieOriginal says:

        There’s a difference IMO letting people film non-Diana related projects at Althorp than letting the show The Crown film there. I knew the estate was used for filming/events, I interpreted his answer as not getting involved with The Crown and all that stuff with Netflix.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      The majority of grandiose English estates do look alike.

    • Amy Bee says:

      He opened up Althorp to the public when Diana died. He’s not opposed to exploiting her for profit.

    • goofpuff says:

      He exploits the hell out of her right now to make money. Why do you think he wanted her buried at Althorp? He makes money renting his estate out to anyone who pays him his fee. Having her buried there ups that fee he charges.

  6. lunchcoma says:

    Filming is a lot different than renting a place out for a party. A relative allowed her house to be used as a movie set, and she ended up wishing she hadn’t. In this case, it would probably also lead to him being asked more questions about The Crown. I don’t blame him for passing.

    • Steph says:

      He does allow filming at the estate though. I’ve seen an episode of a docuseries that profiled it. He was the tour guide and of course he mentioned Diana. Granted, that’s different from a scripted series but I think it was about money.

    • Eurydice says:

      Yes, this. When I worked for a small production company, we used homes as sets and there was always some kind of damage – crew tramping in and out, lighting had to be changed this way and that, doors removed for cameras and sightlines, furniture moved in and out, gardens changed to accommodate seasons, etc.. On the other hand the home owners would really try to get as much money as possible.

  7. Rapunzel says:

    Eh…IDK. The Crown is fictional. Everyone knows it. It’s going to be filmed, no matter what. So why shouldn’t Diana’s brother make some $$? It’s not like his denying filming will somehow magically make The Crown go away. I think it’s just pointless to take this stand, as it accomplishes nothing and really just gives The Crown more weight as a show. People will say there must be something being hidden since everyone is so worried about it.

    And it’s kinda rich that Earl Spencer is acting like some caring brother protecting Di’s reputation when he apparently wouldn’t let her stay at Althorop post divorce.

    • Becks1 says:

      that’s why I think it was probably money related or something else, like Jan said above – Netflix wasn’t offering enough, or he wanted to be a “consultant” or something and Morgan was the one who said “thanks but no thanks.”

      • Nic919 says:

        I think he knows he would have gotten more push back from the BRF for this and he wasn’t getting offered enough money to overlook that. It’s obvious he’s not against profiting on Diana’s death, but this might have been more trouble than it’s worth.

    • superashes says:

      I think he just didn’t want to have to deal with all the mess that filming entails. Floor damage, wall damage, etc.

  8. Feeshalori says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t he offer Diana alternative premises on the property and she refused? I thought l read some time back that the house she wanted was too easily accessible to the public and he was worried about security.

    • Keira says:

      Something like that. I think he offered her a different house on the estate but she didn’t want it. I think it was in Tina Brown’s book.

    • Saucy&Sassy says:

      Freeshalori, it seems that I read some time ago that when the tabloids pushed the “he wouldn’t let her live there” theory, he sued and won. I believe Keira is right and he did offer a different house on the estate that Di didn’t want.

  9. Amy Bee says:

    I believe he lives full time at Althorp now. He’s been promoting some TV special about an archaeological dig at the place on twitter. Despite his speech at Diana’s funeral, he’s very much a royalist and wouldn’t not want to upset the Royal Family by letting the Crown film on his property.

    • Keira says:

      Full time or clues to it, I think. He and his wife post a lot of photos from there on IG, got a pony for the kid, host their own events, walks at dawn and dusk, etc.

      Per Tina Brown’s book, the Spencer kids didn’t spend that much time in childhood at Althorp due to their dad not becoming earl until they were older children, boarding school and such. The house where they grew up is called Park House and is on the Sandringham estate.

  10. Kiddo says:

    Prince George looks just like this man. I thought they’d aged progressed him. That’s all I have.

  11. Over it says:

    I think this man is full of sh——-. He didn’t get the money he was asking for. And it’s not about being a good brother, please he would sell her soul for the right price.

  12. L4Frimaire says:

    Charles Spencer is a bit of a dweeb but maybe it’s best he stays out of it. The tabloids would just attack him if he allowed them
    to film there and they can use stock footage or another similar estate. I find it hilarious how they get so twisted over this show, which still treats the royals with kid gloves. Would not be surprised if they are not overly sympathetic to Diana and focus on her press machinations. Look at the number of productions, some very unflattering, about the Kennedys. Don’t see them going all over the press every time or build a new whole public spectacle around their complaints. The royals are promoting the hell out of this show.