This week, Royal Oak’s Scott Shuptrine hosted an afternoon tea as part of the Althorp Living History furniture collection event with special guest Charles, 9th Earl of Spencer. The furniture is inspired by the furnishings of the Althorp estate, the childhood home of Lord Spencer and his sister, the late Princess Diana. The collection represents almost five centuries and twenty generations of the Spencer family and their impressive acquisitions of priceless art, furniture and accessories.
Lord Spencer welcomed guests, who filled the upscale furniture retailer’s showroom, and assured them the below freezing temperatures were not a problem for his visit. “I’m used to this type of weather”, he said with a smile, “I’m from England”.
A tall man with engaging charm, he spoke to guests about his role as resident of the Althorp Estate. Dispelling some myths about the easy life of an aristocrat, Lord Spencer described a typical day at his home. “I am up at 6:30 and often don’t stop working until 10:30 at night”.
He has a deep respect for the family manor home and is devoted to maintaining it properly, noting that proceeds of the Althorp furniture collection sales go to preserving the estate.
In addition to Lord Spencer’s presentation, Scott Shuptrine also offered an afternoon tea and musical entertainment for visitors. One of those in attendance, Mary Ann Husson of Troy, was impressed with the entire event.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but it has been great. Everyone has been so wonderful,” says Husson. "When I first heard about it, I knew I had to go. This is a part of history. How often do you get to be this close to royalty?”
The Althorp furniture collection offers a variety of pieces for all rooms of the house: cabinets, beds, chests and accessories, including tea caddies and trays. Asked if the family actually uses the tea caddies in their home, Lord Spencer, confessed with a grin, “yes, but we don’t always have tea in them.”