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Charles Spencer's wife Karen delights with 'amazing' unexpected discovery at Princess Diana's former home

Charles and Karen are gradually renovating Althorp House in Northamptonshire

Princess Diana in a church doorway at Charles Spencer's wedding to Victoria Lockwood in 1989
Diane Shipley
Senior Online Writer
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Karen Spencer recently moved her followers as she shared a beautiful shot of Princess Diana's final resting place to Instagram. 

The Countess took to the social media site again at the weekend, where she shared another rare glimpse of an unseen corner of the family estate

Karen, who married the late Princess' younger brother Charles in 2011, posted an image highlighting a historical detail of Althorp House that she hadn't seen before. 

Sharing an image of an engraved stone which bore the legend "this house was built in 1609," she wrote: "Was in the basement (or cellars, as they like to call it here…) today turning down the heat. 

"Yes, if I want to turn the heat down I have to go all the way into the bowels of the basement into the 3 different boiler rooms, one by one, and turn the boiler down. It's very old-fashioned [laughing emoji]… 

Karen shared the previously unseen stone on social media
View post on Instagram

"Anyway, while I was down there, I starting poking around, as I often do, and came across this amazing stone. It looks like it says 'this house was built in 1609'. Wonder where it came from. Will ask one of the old staff if they know. 

"Charles said it looks half Spencer crest. I really need to have the expert on crests come back. I have lots more questions…" 

Aerial view of Althorp, this grade 1 listed stately home was the home of Lady Diana Spencer who later became the Princess of Wales, it is located on the Harlestone Road between the villages of Great Brington and Harlestone, 5 miles north west of Northampton. © Getty
Althorp is five miles north west of Northampton

As Althorp, which has been in the Spencer family for more than 500 years, was built in 1508, it can't have originated there. One of Karen's followers commented to say that the crest appeared to be the coat of arms of William Spencer, 2nd Baron Spencer of Wormleighton and his wife, Lady Penelope Wriothesley. 

However their home was built before Althorp House, so its origin is still a mystery. 

Charles and Karen attending Prince Harry's wedding© Getty
Charles and Karen live at the family estate

Earlier in the week, the Earl himself took to the social media site to share an incredible and never-before-seen family throwback. Posting a black-and-white shot of two children – an older girl and her younger brother, it was taken close to the family's Northamptonshire estate and the resemblance to Charles and his sister was clear. 

The father-of-seven penned: "Just discovered – this photograph, taken by my great-grandmother Margaret Spencer in c.1900, of my grandfather Jack, and his eldest sister Delia. 

Lady Diana Spencer and Charles Spencer in 1968© Getty
A young Charles and Diana Spencer in 1968

"A lovely family moment, in late Victorian England. They are photographed at a spot I know well, near Althorp. I wonder what Aunt Delia has on her lap…?" His followers were quick to note the family similarity, with one writing: "That could be you and Diana. The resemblance is striking,". 

Another eagle-eyed fan, meanwhile, noticed that Delia appeared to have a hat on her lap and to be holding a pair of binoculars. The Earl moved to Althorp with his family when he was 11 and Diana was 14, while their older sisters Sarah and Jane were already adults. 

Charles Spencer showing tourists around Althorp in 1977© Getty
Charles showing tourists around Althorp in 1977

Now 59, Charles has no doubt been spending a lot of time thinking back to his childhood, as he prepares for next month's release of his "uncompromising" memoir about his time at boarding school.

LISTEN: Our Right Royal Podcast looks at growing up royal...

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