Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, offers a glimpse at the magnificent home's holiday decor

By Simon Perry
December 14, 2017 11:41 AM
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Princess Diana’s brother Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, has opened up his family home at the most wonderful time of the year.

Spencer installed a magnificent 25-ft. tree dominating the Saloon, which boasts Althorp House’s main staircase. It’s “the largest tree we’ve ever had here,” he tweeted Wednesday.

Spencer, 53, and his wife Karen, the founder of Whole Child International, are expecting to host a large family celebration over the holidays.

The towering tree was unveiled as the cameras for a local TV station caught the finishing touches being made to the laying of a grand new carpet. Made in Nepal, it features a design by Countess Spencer, who chose an “S” topped with the Earl’s coronet and the couple’s initials on each side.

The date of the couple’s 2011 wedding is also there, Spencer explained to the BBC’s Look East show, along with the names of our “extraordinary” number of nine children, he said.”Hopefully for 150-200 years it will commemorate the family that was living here now.”

WATCH: Rare Footage of Princess Diana as a Young Girl at Home

The search for a new carpet began as the Spencers wanted to replace the existing one, which was 160 years old. “Despairing” about the best place to get it made, Spencer told the BBC, his friend Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes (who knows “everything about historic houses”) recommended a place in Nepal that would be perfect, and “my wife came up with this really lovely design,” he added.

“As children, we used to bomb down here on tea trays,” he said of his days with his late sister Diana. “I’m afraid my children did it too — it’s a family tradition.”

The large family gatherings will continue to grow in the new year, as Spencer’s nephew William and wife Kate welcome a new baby this spring, and Prince Harry weds Meghan Markle in May.