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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A strange thing happened last Spring.
The year earlier my wife and I had bought a new townhouse. We decided to try to find some really nice furniture for it. We like English and French traditional stuff, either antiques or reproductions. New Orleans has lots of really nice French antiques, but the prices are astonishing, so we mostly looked around Atlanta. At first, we got nowhere. We saw a few passable things and picked up several fairly nice pieces, including some fairly decent reproductions of English traditional bedroom furniture at Macy's and also some really nice French pieces at an expensive consignment store.
Then, we stumbled on a furniture store named Beverly Hall. https://www.beverlyhall.com/
We should have known of it, as we eventually came to realize it is Atlanta's best.
When we went there, we looked all over the first floor and found a few nice things, but the big surprise was in a seperate wing on the second floor, housing a special collection, all from the same maker. When we walked in, it was (for us) like the first glance into King Tut's tomb. We saw many, many wonderful things. My wife spotted a leather topped English partner's desk and immediately said: "That it is it, we must get it." We bought five pieces that day. To shorten the story, we went back 3-4 more times to look at the collection and and eventually wound up buying nine pieces of furniture and also some fabric from the same collection to get two love-seats re-covered (at a cost of 12 times what we had paid for the love-seats 30 years before).
When we first were looking at the collection, however, and expressing great awe and wonder, a salesman walked up to us and said: "You are looking at our new Althorp collection, our course." The name "Althorp" sounded familiar, but we could not place it immediately, however. He then explained that it was the name of the Spencer family home in England, where Princess Diana is buried. He said that her brother, Charles Spencer (the 9th Earl of Spencer), who spoke so movingly at her funeral, had the year previously, arranged for a furniture manufacturer to make exact copies of nearly 200 pieces of furniture at Althorp, most of it dating from the 1700's. https://www.althorplivinghistory.com/main.html
Apparently, the annual taxes on Althorp defy belief and it is Charles Spencer's mission in life to save the family home, so he has to raise huge sums of money, despite being a successful writer. He arranged for the reproductions, as part of that effort. Although it may be impressive to some to have items named "Althorp," we loved the stuff for itself and would have bought it regardless of the name. In fact, we were not so in love with the fact that each piece had the Spencer family crest hidden in a drawer.
As a gift for buying so much, Beverly Hall gave us a nicely bound book, which had pictures and the entire history of "Althorp," which also contained a catalogue showing the entire furniture collection.
The big surprise came the following year, however. Our salesman called and said that Charles Spencer was coming to Atlanta, as part of a nationwide tour, to promote the furniture line. He was going to visit Beverly Hall and there was going to be a reception for him. Beverly Hall was inviting us and some of the other customers who had bought a number of pieces of the collection.
We went. I decided to wear some of my best English stuff to meet an upper class Englishman, as I rarely find an opportunity to wear it here. It is too nice for work or court and people in Atlanta all dress slovenly to go to fancy restaurants. So, I wore an Anderson & Sheppard navy double breasted pin-striped suit, a boldly striped T&A shirt with contrast collar and cuffs, a H&H tie and EG oxfords. Most of the other men there "dressed up" too, but for Atlanta that means most wore navy single-breasted hopsack blazers, khaki trousers and loafers.
Charles Spencer gave a very nice little talk about the family having acquired the furniture over a period of 500 years (he said that one of the pieces reproduced in the collection had been bought by the Spencer family from the George Washington family when it moved to America) and we all had wine and snacks provided by Beverly Hall. The owner of the store proudly announced that this was the grandest occasion in the history of the Company.
The stange thing was that I am positive that Charles Spencer kept staring at my [rather bizarre for Atlanta] outfit the whole time he spoke. Afterwards, he autographed the "Althorp" book for my wife and myself, as well as for a number of other guests. We spoke briefly (but not about my "kit") and he was a delight.
 

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Ken, a great story with good use of sartorial punctuation! Your garb sounds particularly interesting, it's a shame we couldn't get to see it. One point of note - I'm not sure Earl Spencer is technically royalty, though I am not an expert. Anyway, very enjoyable - thanks.
 

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Great story! I enjoyed reading it. There may be a clothing principle hidden in it as well and that is, have the clothing for a special occasion on hand before it is due to occur. Thanks for sharing the story and links.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You are going to the wrong restaurants.
What are the right ones?
We go to places like Eugene, Kyma, Pricci, Panos & Paul, Bones, Chops Lobster Bar, Vini Vidi Vici, Oceanaire Seafood Room, Aria, Baccanalia, etc., about 3 times a week. I have gone through as many as 8-9 dinners at such places (over about a three week period) before I have seen a single other customer wearing a tie.
 

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I enjoyed the story. Thanks for taking the time to share it with us.
 

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Earl Spencer is not royal. He's noble, though he certainly has a little royal blood in them through marriages and "natural" childs over the centuries.
 

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Earl Spencer is not royal. He's noble, though he certainly has a little royal blood in them through marriages and "natural" childs over the centuries.
I recall reading, sometime not long after Diana's funeral (when the Earl Spencer gave a eulogy thought to contain thinly veiled criticism of the royals) that he, as the scion of an old noble family, was known privately to look down on the Hanoverians-cum-Battenbergs-cum-Windsors as a bunch of latecomers--essentially Germans who had been imported because the grandees who ran Britain had, upon Queen Anne's death without living issue, run out of Protestant Stuarts to sit on the English throne. George I was ridiculed for supposedly knowing little or no English, and had been (in accord with the 1701 Act of Settlement) jumped ahead of dozens of others who were closer blood kin to Anne, but who were legally DQ'd b/c Catholic. According to a book I read recently ("Republic of Pirates"), Blackbeard may have been among those who was not happy about this, and to show his anger and his Jacobite sympathies named his ship "Queen Anne's Revenge." He also had awesome fashion sense, for my money.

A century or so earlier, the Earl of Essex (another top-hole dresser who, like Edward Teach, came to a violent and untimely end) supposedly had felt a similar disdain for Queen Elizabeth and the Tudors (descendants of the man who had children w/ Henry V's widow, and may have married her, and whom Essex considered a Welsh parvenu). This is dramatized in the film "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex," where Errol Flynn, as the Earl, dilates upon his own family's ancient heritage and scoffs at Queen Bess (behind her back) as an upstart.
 

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Great story, thanks for sharing.

As for the Windsors, it was well documented that George II or III was a madman...having conversations with birds (the winged creature, not women). The kids love it when I do impersonations of the English King with a German accent!

As for meeting royalty, my grandfather was the first Earl of Flatbush Avenue...:icon_smile_big:
 

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Great story, thanks for sharing.

As for the Windsors, it was well documented that George II or III was a madman...having conversations with birds (the winged creature, not women). The kids love it when I do impersonations of the English King with a German accent!

As for meeting royalty, my grandfather was the first Earl of Flatbush Avenue...:icon_smile_big:
Shame it was not so well documented for you to actually remember exactly which monarch suffered from a mental illness.

Is it true that the distributors left off the "III" from the film "The madness of King George" because the US audience thought it was a sequel?

W_B
 

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Well, Earl Spencer's family certainly came from humble orgins. Sheep farmers or something like that, if I recall.

Your point about the Act of Settlement is true. George I never spoke English and George II mostly spoke German as well. George III was the first Hanoverian that spoke English.
 

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Speaking of British royal/noble furniture, while doing an excellent guided tour of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire recently (home of the Dukes of Marlborough and birthplace of Winston Churchill - highly recommended) I saw a remarkable piece of furniture made by Viscount Linley, the British Queen's nephew, who I understand is an expert cabinet-maker. It really was a most beautiful piece of work, and I'm sure cost more than my house!
 

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...the grandees who ran Britain had, upon Queen Anne's death without living issue, run out of Protestant Stuarts to sit on the English throne.
The British throne, please! Anne was the last monarch of England and Scotland, and the first monarch of Great Britain. There has not been an English or a Scottish throne since the Treaty of Union of 1707.
The Germanophone tradition long persisted in the houses of Hanover, Saxe-Coburg and Windsor - Queen Victoria spoke German before English and Edward VII is said to have spoken English with a German accent.
 

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Well, Earl Spencer's family certainly came from humble orgins.
We ALL come from humble origins. "When Adam delved, and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?"

G3 is thought to have suffered from a blood disorder called acute intermittent porphyria, and it did make him pretty loopy. I believe he talked to trees more than butterflies, however, as the former tend to sit still more.

Anyway, the loopiness (to a degree unusual even for a royal) is why they had the Regency, with the future G4 doing the monarchical honors. That, and they needed something they could call the high-waisted women's-dress style that was then all the rage.

BTW, has there been no Ask Andy thread on the James Purefoy movie about Beau Brummell and G4 that came out a few years back? Are we asleep at the switch?
 

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You forgot about Sophia who was the grandaughter of James 1st. She married Fredrick 1st of Prussia. Sophia died and George 1st was her son.He was known as German George. GeorgeIII was a very brilliant man very interested in science and fathered 14 children. Today 8/23 is the day he declared the colonies in open rebellion. In his old age he did go mad. But that wasn't untill about 1800.
The Spencers bought there first title "Thane" from Henry VIII. They did not become very promiment untill they married into the Duke of Marlborough family. Yes they were sheep farmers but wool was the backbone of the country. Many people forget that untill recently children of kings married other children of kings. You are right about the religion question. Also about 15 years ago B. Altman & Co. did an anual show called "Stately Homes". Featuring reproductions of their most famous pieces.
 

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I recall reading, sometime not long after Diana's funeral (when the Earl Spencer gave a eulogy thought to contain thinly veiled criticism of the royals) that he, as the scion of an old noble family, was known privately to look down on the Hanoverians-cum-Battenbergs-cum-Windsors as a bunch of latecomers--essentially Germans who had been imported because the grandees who ran Britain had, upon Queen Anne's death without living issue, run out of Protestant Stuarts to sit on the English throne. George I was ridiculed for supposedly knowing little or no English, and had been (in accord with the 1701 Act of Settlement) jumped ahead of dozens of others who were closer blood kin to Anne, but who were legally DQ'd b/c Catholic. According to a book I read recently ("Republic of Pirates"), Blackbeard may have been among those who was not happy about this, and to show his anger and his Jacobite sympathies named his ship "Queen Anne's Revenge." He also had awesome fashion sense, for my money.

A century or so earlier, the Earl of Essex (another top-hole dresser who, like Edward Teach, came to a violent and untimely end) supposedly had felt a similar disdain for Queen Elizabeth and the Tudors (descendants of the man who had children w/ Henry V's widow, and may have married her, and whom Essex considered a Welsh parvenu). This is dramatized in the film "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex," where Errol Flynn, as the Earl, dilates upon his own family's ancient heritage and scoffs at Queen Bess (behind her back) as an upstart.
You are correct as to the Earls attitude toward the present (sitting) branch of the royal family. I heard it pretty clearly and unambiguously stated at an Oxonian Society gathering in New York several years ago when he was speaking about the Spenser art collection. While questions about the royal family generally and about his sister specifically were verboten, someone got one in on contrasting the Windsor's art collection to the Spencers's. His follow on comments made it pretty clear that in his mind the Spencers occupy a higher rung of society than the present royals. Mostly to do with continuously holding more or less that same landed estates for umpteen centuries. An odd concept to Americans I'm sure, but I am also aware of ancient landed families in Britain who possess no titles and enjoy looking down on the titled whose landholdings are relatively recently aquired.

There are people all over Europe who think they have superior claims to the throne, or minor thrones absorbed by Britain ie Wales, Isles, Scotland, and decry the way their line was thwarted at some point in history. As for the Act of Settlment, which booted all the Catholic claimants in favor of Protestant, largely German heirs, it probably paved the way for, ironically, both the founding of the US and the British Empire. Thankfully at least the former is till with us.
 
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