Princess Diana's brother Charles Spencer reveals surprisingly 'brilliant' Christmas tradition at family home

Charles Spencer and Karen Spencer at Ascot
Charles with his wife Karen (Max Mumby/Indigo)

Charles Spencer mostly keeps his family out of the spotlight but in a chat with Twiggy for her popular podcast Tea With Twiggy, he provided some rare – and unexpected – insights into how the Spencers celebrate Christmas.

Speaking to the iconic model earlier this year, the father-of-seven said: "I have a weekend for my sisters and their children and grandchildren just for Christmas each year and then we have the bouncy castle up in one of the biggest rooms and all that." 

"Oh, how brilliant," Twiggy commented.

Charles went on: "When I was young, we used to come here, and my grandfather was a very forbidding figure, you know he was born in the 1890s and he always wore a three-piece tweed suit… He was terrifying.

"Locally, he was known as 'Jolly Jack', 'cos no one had ever seen him smile, so we were always told before coming here, 'Don't touch anything, you mustn't touch anything and don't speak until you're spoken to…'

Charles Spencer in black tuxedo
Charles ensures his family Christmases are child-friendly (Paul Archuleta/WireImage)

"So with my kids… They must feel at home here, and actually I think it's safer for the objects because if you're more relaxed, you're going to be less likely to have an accident."

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Charles' dad, John, the 8th Earl Spencer, inherited the title and home from his father in 1975, when Charles was 11 and Diana was 14. Their older sisters, Jane and Sarah, were already adults at the time.

Charles Spencer showing tourists around Althorp in 1977
Charles showing tourists around Althorp in 1977 (Getty)

Charles became Earl and custodian of the incredible estate when their father died in 1992, and Diana was laid to rest in a secluded area of the grounds five years later following her tragic death in Paris.

Earlier this month, Charles revealed another spectacular festive tradition, when he unveiled a photo of the house's beautiful and imposing Christmas tree. Each year, the author and podcaster selects a tree from his sprawling 13,000-acre estate to be used in the historical property.

a view of Althorp House
Althorp House is located in West Northamptonshire (Instagram)

Charles, 59, delighted his Instagram followers as he shared a behind-the-scenes snapshot of his towering fir tree adorned with twinkling amber lights, giant red baubles and whimsical red bows.

"The ladder to the right gives away the fact that Althorp's Christmas tree has only just been draped in its finery," he penned. "The tree was grown on the Estate: it will dominate the Saloon - the heart of the House - till Twelfth Night."

large christmas tree in home
Charles Spencer's Christmas tree is so festive (Instagram)

When she was married to then-Prince Charles, Princess Diana would spend Christmas with the royal family, first at Windsor Castle and later at Sandringham but she sadly described her royal Christmases as "highly fraught".

The royals spent Christmas at Windsor in 2020 due to the pandemic but during their last Christmas at the castle while Diana was alive, back in 1987, she appeared to be in good spirits as she wore a striking yellow coat and played and laughed with royal children, walking hand-in-hand back to Windsor Castle after the church service with Lady Rose Windsor, who is the youngest daughter of the Queen's cousin, the Duke of Gloucester and his wife Birgitte.

Princess Diana and their sons, William and Harry, leave the church of St. Mary Magdalene near Sandrigham House on Christmas Day
Princess Diana with Princes William and Harry during Christmas at Sandringham (-)

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