Charles Spencer Lives An Extremely Lavish Life

In many ways, the name Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, is tied to tragedy. As the surviving younger brother of the late Princess Diana, Charles was integral in organizing his sister's funeral — even giving a heartfelt speech that would be quoted many times in the years to come. From then on, the earl became responsible for preserving Diana's legacy and preventing anyone — particularly the media — from tarnishing her image. 

This was especially true when Charles made an appearance on Lorraine to address the way his sister was portrayed on "The Crown." The earl stated, "You know, I write history. I brand what I write as non-fiction, and that is what, if somebody reads something that I wrote, then they know that's what they're getting, and that's the same with all historians. I think it would help 'The Crown' an enormous amount if, at the beginning of each episode, it stated that this isn't true but it's based around some real events."

Although Charles does, clearly, dedicate a great deal of his time to remembering Diana, his life is not just about that. In fact, back in 1992, Charles inherited most of a $143.5 million family fortune — which allows him to indulge in certain luxuries, even as he fights for his sister's legacy. Thanks to this vast amount of wealth, Charles is able to maintain his historic family estate, look after his collection of rare valuables, and even pursue a career in history. 

Charles Spencer resides in the historic Althorp House

It's no secret that Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, comes from an aristocratic background — and he has the house to prove it. Indeed, the proud descendant of King Charles II resides in the impressive Althorp House, a 13,000-acre estate dotted with 28 magnificent constructions. Naturally, Charles and his wife, Karen Spencer, Countess Spencer, live in the most jaw-dropping building of all, an elegant 100,000 square-foot house that boasts a whopping 31 bedrooms. There, the couple enjoys a stunning grand hall, a comfortable library, and a gorgeous picture gallery covered in Tudor wood paneling.

Undoubtedly, maintaining an architectural jewel such as Althorp House is no easy task. As Karen divulged in a video shared on her Instagram, she did not originally think that taking care of the property would be a lot of work. "If I'm honest, I initially sort of rejected the full-time nature of this role. I thought that this whole house was lovely, but that wasn't going to take up very much of my time. I will confess that it has sucked me in," she said. Despite this surprise, Karen went on to express just how much she had fallen in love with the property, stating, "Living here has just been one discovery after the next. Every day holds a new adventure, sometimes when I least expect it. Everywhere you turn, it's just one incredible thing after the next."

His property boasts a number of animals

Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, does not exactly live alone at the historic Althorp House. He also shares the property with Karen Spencer, Countess Spencer, his daughter, Lady Charlotte Spencer ... and a whole menagerie. Over the years, the Spencer family has adopted several dogs, at least one cat, and a pair of lambs named Lucky and Minty. And while the cost of raising a bevy of animals can add up, Charles and his family care for them with love. 

As Karen revealed in the Althorp House vlog, Spencer 1508, "We live in the country, and there are lots of sheep, and sometimes the mothers don't make it. And, so, there's always a wide availability of orphan lambs. Our daughter, Charlotte, got the idea that we could possibly have two of our own. So, in the spring of 2021, Lucky and Minty came to us from one of the neighboring farmers."

Fascinatingly, though, it seems that Lucky and Minty created quite a bit of work for Charles' staff. The reason? For the first weeks following the animals' adoption, Charles and his family allowed them to live inside their historic mansion. Apparently, this also meant that the earl's staff had to be ready to remove the lambs from the house at any given moment. As Karen would later recall, "They slept in the playroom in a crate. And, you could hear them all over the house — clack, clack ... – running after us."

The earl owns a gorgeous porcelain collection

Thanks to his unconventional pet lambs, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, might seem like something of a non-traditionalist. However, the truth is that the aristocrat cares tremendously for some of his most historical belongings. As such, he owns an extensive porcelain collection that dates back hundreds of years.

As revealed in an episode of the family vlog, Spencer 1508, Charles' estate at Althorp House has multiple porcelain rooms, which are full of stunning old collectibles. Some of the most meaningful pieces have been in the family since Althorp House was first founded. As Karen Spencer, Countess Spencer, said in the clip, "We're lucky enough to have a few sets that were actually specifically made for the First and Second Countess Spencers because that was a big moment of prosperity for the family." Just because these pieces are old, though, does not mean that Charles refrains from incorporating them into the rest of the house. Karen explained, "I believe that china was meant to be eaten on, and the vases are meant to hold flowers; so I think that it's really important for the house to live and for it not to turn into a museum."

Of course, using historically significant items is not always an easy task. Over the course of the last few centuries, several important pieces have chipped or even shattered. Consequently, Charles has been known to hire experts to put his porcelain back together. The final results tend to be stunning.

Charles Spencer has his own Roman ruins

While some of Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer's most prized possessions are hundreds of years old, they are not necessarily his oldest possessions. In fact, the blue-blooded historian literally has ancient ruins in his possession, and they date back 1,600 years into the past. According to an episode of the earl's family vlog, Spencer 1508, the remains of an old Roman villa have been found on his property. As Charles told filmmakers in the video, "I remember as a boy being told that there was a Roman villa just up the road from Althorp ... [but] Who lived there and for how long is a bit of a mystery."

To find out more about the unique history of the ruins, Charles called upon a team of archeologists to do a dig on-site. Although it is unclear what kinds of artifacts might still be hidden beneath the Earth, the excavation has been largely successful. As the earl revealed on his Instagram, archeologists managed to find the keystone from an arch that had once been part of the ancient villa. "The beautifully carved keystone (or capstone) from the arch of the Ancient Roman villa at Althorp. We seem to have the rest of the arch, lying in an excavated pile at present, and we will rebuild it – perhaps 1,600 years since it last stood proud," Charles wrote. Although this project will likely be costly, the earl seemingly hopes to change history.

He celebrates Christmas in style

When we consider the most idyllic portrayals of the Christmas holiday, the late Queen Elizabeth II's celebrations at Sandringham Estate certainly come to mind. However, from what we can see, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer enjoys Yuletide festivities that practically rival the queen's in their preparations. After all, according to an episode of Spencer 1508, the earl and his family take the holiday season very seriously — even purchasing a massive 25-foot Christmas tree, which stands majestically in the center of the Althorp House drawing room. As if that were not opulent enough, the Spencers have been known to spruce up their staircase with gorgeous handmade garlands. In the past, they have also hung dozens of pine wreaths all around their mansion.

While this holiday decor seems to bring a good deal of cheer to the earl and his family, it does not seem particularly inexpensive to put up. In fact, every year, Charles has to hire an entire team of people to deliver his Christmas tree to his front door, bring it inside of his house, and find a way to set it up without damaging any of his priceless paintings. As one of the staff members told filmmakers, "There is a lot of people involved ... Ah, yeah, it's a bit of a team effort." 

The final results, though, are stunning. As Karen Spencer, Countess Spencer, put it, "This house was sort of built for Christmas. It is so warm and lovely."

The earl owns a lake house in Canada

Because the Spencer family puts so much time and effort into Althorp House, it would be easy to assume that it is their only house. Interestingly, however, that is far from being the case. Even though Karen Spencer, Countess Spencer holds a British royal family title, she was actually born in Canada. Because of this, Karen finds it important to maintain close ties to her native land, And, luckily, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, seems willing to do everything in his power to support his wife's dream.

In 2020, the Canadian news outlet, National Post, reported that Charles and Karen had bought two separate properties in Muskoka, Ontario. According to the outlet, the couple had summered in the area for eight years prior to making their purchases. Thus, it was perhaps unsurprising when the Spencers bought a cottage on the ever-popular Lake Rosseau, in addition to a nearby forest located on the edge of the lesser-known Silver Lake. 

Many local residents have speculated that the Spencers will summer in the cottage, which was once reportedly listed for $8 million CAD ($5.8 million USD). Meanwhile, it has been posited that the family will leave the undeveloped forest property — valued at $1.3 million CAD ($950,000 USD) — untouched. Regardless of the veracity of these claims, however, it seems that the Spencers are big fans of lake living. Karen's Instagram reveals the family's apparent interest in boating and watching waterside sunsets. 

Charles has traveled all over the world

Canada may be one of Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer's favorite travel destinations, but it is far from being his only one. Over the years, the aristocrat has jetted off to a number of interesting places all across the globe. Speaking on this matter in a 2020 interview with the Daily Mail, Charles fondly recalled trips to Oxford and Ibiza. He also told the outlet just how much he had loved visiting Madagascar, stating, "The island is indescribably beautiful, with an abundance of nature." He also praised the region's rich culinary scene "with croissants and baguettes sold at street corners."

As much as Charles has enjoyed some of his international adventures, however, it is important to note that he was rarely just a casual traveler. As the earl told the Daily Mail, he has embarked on long flights repeatedly — and almost to the point of exhaustion. When asked if there were any "silver linings" to the pandemic-era travel restrictions, Charles said, "Not going to airports, because most years I take 20-odd flights to the USA." The earl went on to describe the way that the time difference between Great Britain and North America has impacted him. "My way to deal with jet lag is to just take it on the chin and go through the agony of the first couple of days in a new country," he said.

Princess Diana's brother has some famous friends

Like many other men of means, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, attended elite schools where he rubbed shoulders with some of Britain's wealthiest people. As reported in the Daily Mail, the history buff began his education at Maidwell Hall preparatory school, before heading off to the prestigious Eton College. Eventually, he found his way to Oxford, where he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Boris Johnson and David Cameron. And, while Charles did not join the infamous Bullingdon Club — of which Johnson and Cameron were both a part — he was asked to join. As noted in Maclean's, due to the group's reputation for wild partying, the earl politely declined.

Although Charles never participated in all the Bullingdon Club shenanigans, he still managed to build a relationship with his country's future leaders. During his formative university years, the earl was said to have been chummy with Johnson. Indeed, the unusual pair edited a magazine together — although Charles would later state that he took on brunt of the work. Even so, they were believed to have gotten on well. The two men were close enough that they even traveled through Europe together.

These days, Charles and Johnson are still believed to be good friends. In 2017, the future prime minister was photographed at one of the earl's book launches. Throughout the evening, he and Charles were spotted laughing and smiling. 

Charles Spencer takes on philanthropic endeavors

Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, seems to recognize he lives a very luxurious life, as he also gives back. As he revealed in an interview with Philanthropy Journal, charity work has long been a part of the Spencer family mission — and Charles says that he feels "lucky" to be able to continue that on. Fascinatingly, the earl claimed that this unique tradition got started back in the 1700s when the first Countess Spencer became a champion for prison visitation rights and geriatric care — causes that were less conventional at the time. In his words, this old family matriarch started the trend of Spencers devoting time to more "difficult" philanthropic efforts — as Charles' late sister, Princess Diana, eventually did with landmines and HIV/AIDS.

On a personal level, Charles has invested quite a bit of energy into Northampton Hope Centre, a homeless shelter located near Althorp House. As the earl told Philanthropy Journal, he got involved in the organization after hearing a relevant story on the radio. "It all sounded so desperate I felt compelled to help ... That's often what happens is that I am just hit by the tragedy of a story," Charles said. On top of his work with the shelter, the Oxford alum has also been known to collaborate with almost 40 different charity groups, including Deafblink UK. His biggest commitment, however, is to Whole Child International, which was founded by Karen Spencer, Countess Spencer.

His wealth gives him a tremendous amount of free time

At the end of the day, it is clear that having an immense fortune has allowed Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, to enjoy his life. Thanks to his marvelous home, exciting travels, and unusual choice of pet, the earl has collected a vast array of interesting experiences over the years. That being said, one of the biggest privileges that Charles' position has allowed him is access to free time.

Unlike many other men of his generation, Charles is not bound by the typical constraints of a 9 to 5 job. Instead, he has been pretty much free to dedicate his days to the things that interest him the most. Ever a history buff, Charles has been known to write fascinating deep dives into some of the lesser-known moments of Britain's past. He has also spent a great deal of time looking into Roman ruins on his property, examining different findings and researching their implications.

Of course, it is worth noting that Charles has been quite successful in his endeavors. In 2021, the earl took to Instagram to reveal that his book "The White Ship" had snagged the number one spot on Amazon's best-sellers chart. Even so, Charles seems to have the great privilege of being able to work because it pleases him — and not because he needs to. In the end, this unique position has allowed the earl to explore his passion projects without worrying about his finances.