For the cult of Princess Diana, it doesn't get much better.

Recently the Spencer family announced it would open the doors to Diana's palatial childhood home, Althorp, for overnight guests.

The decision to do so is part of an effort to raise money for a charity started by Countess Karen Spencer, the American wife of Diana's brother, Earl Charles Spencer.

Countess Spencer is founder and CEO of Whole Child International, a non-profit focused on improving the lives of orphaned, abandoned, abused and neglected children worldwide. The Los Angeles-based charity works to restructure existing children's institutions, improving their quality of care.

For those with ample resources, the Spencers are offering a chance to become a benefactor for the charity and in the process snag a "Downton Abbey"-esque weekend stay at Althorp, home to the Spencer family since 1508.

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But the chance to live (for a mere three days) like one of England's most famous aristocratic families, won't come cheap. The cost to be part of one of three benefactor weekends starts at $25,000 and goes as high as $250,000 for a private group of 18.

Visits to the 500-year-old estate will begin just before dinner on a Friday evening (specific date yet to be determined) and end just after lunch on Sunday. In between, there will be a black-tie dinner (on Saturday evening) and a variety of activities and entertainment offerings.


For those unfamiliar with Althorp, the 100,000-square foot country mansion includes 90 rooms and one of the largest and finest private collections of furniture, paintings and ceramics in all of Europe. It has also hosted a long line of noble guests (and many bedrooms in the home are named after their royal visitors).

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All of which is fascinating, but the big draw here is the fact that Althorp is where the much beloved people's princess, Diana, grew up. And it is also the location of her final resting spot.

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In the past, visitors have been able to visit the estate on day tours, but such opportunities did not include access to Diana's bedroom or private spaces.

The opportunity now being offered is such a hot ticket, such a rare opportunity to peek into Diana's childhood, that all of the benefactor weekend slots have nearly filled up already, according to Countess Spencer.

"We could not be more thrilled with the initial response we are receiving from donors," Spencer said. "We have filled almost all of the spaces we have available."

(There are a few slots left, but they're going fast.)

Princess Diana fans who do not have the financial resources to become a benefactor need not fret however; the Spencers have not overlooked you.


"Since the weekend stays cost a great deal of money, we decided to make this opportunity accessible to all," Spencer said. "We have included a separate weekend, as part of a small donor campaign, which will give everyone a chance to come and enjoy Althorp." 

The Spencers will host a special weekend for six winners of a competition tied to World Child International.

Called the Embracing the Future Competition - there are several ways to participate and earn your own unforgettable visit to Althorp. Here are the key details:

The object of the competition is to show off your fundraising prowess and raise money for Whole Child International.

Four fundraisers will receive a trip for two to Althorp - the two fundraisers who raise the highest dollar amount and also the two fundraisers who cause the biggest number of donations to be contributed by family, friends and others.

In order to get in on this unique opportunity, visit wholechild.org.


For those who perhaps lack the Midas touch when it comes to gathering cash, there's still hope for you as well.

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An additional two individuals can win a trip for themselves and a guest by creating a winning essay or video story about how they have helped serve others.

Additional details about this contest can also be found on the Whole Child website. But the key takeaway here is that the deadline for submission is September 25 - so don't waste any time.

Yes, the opportunities to live like Princess Diana are limited, but if you don't happen to be among the lucky winners, consider a day trip to her childhood home.

Those can be had by any mere commoner for just £18, or about $25.