Saturday, March 1, 2014

Afternoon tea and chat with Lord Spencer

Interviewing Lord Spencer this week in Royal Oak
It's not often I get to sit down with British aristocracy, but last week I snagged that opportunity when Lord Spencer came to visit Michigan to promote the Althorp Living History collection at Royal Oak's Scott Shuptrine store.

Tall in stature, and in full possession of Patrician charm, Lord Spencer was engaging and accessible. He was surprisingly more handsome in person and unexpectedly humorous.

The Althorpe collection event was held last Wednesday in Scott Shuptrine's upscale furniture showroom and, along with a presentation from Lord Spencer, the retail store also offered afternoon tea fare and musical entertainment for those in attendance.

The "crested caddy" from the Althorp collection now part of  the Gulley collection

The collection is inspired by the Althorp estate, the childhood home of Lord Spencer and his sister, the late Princess Diana. Pieces from the collection include desks, chairs, sofas, beds and accessories, including tea trays and caddies.

The night of the event, the store had one Crested Caddy available, which, as the name suggests is embellished with the Spencer family crest. I scooped it up and Lord Spencer personalized the piece by signing it for me.

When I asked if they still use the tea caddies at Althorp, Lord Spencer said with a wry grin, "yes, but they don't always have tea in them".

Lord Spencer points to the family crest, which was theirs "before Harry Potter stole it".

He pointed to the family crest, noting the griffin below the five-pointed crown. "This was ours" said Lord Spencer, "long before Harry Potter stole it from us".

He told me his favorite tea is Japanese green and that his favorite room to have a cup is the home's library, not only because it's such a lovely space but because that's where the family tends to congregate.

The Althorp collection will strike a chord with Downton Abbey fans as the furniture represents generations of period pieces. I was surprised to learn however, that although Lord Spencer is a close friend of Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey, he doesn't watch the show. He jokingly said that he's probably the only one who hasn't.

As part of the media covering the event, I was thrilled the public relations folks of both Scott Shuptrine and Lord Spencer made time for me to chat with Charles, the 9th Earl of Spencer.  For more details on  the Spencer family and the Althorp furniture and estate, check out my stories on The Examiner:

Real life Downton Abbey furnishings and tea with Lord Spencer of Althorp 

The Earl of Spencer and afternoon tea featured at Royal Oak's Scott Shuptrine


parTea lady said...

Wow, that must have been quite an exciting experience. How wonderful to purchase a Crested Tea Caddy and have it signed by Lord Spencer.

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Penelope Carlevato said...

What a joy and blessing to read your it is so fun to have you for a tea friend...we must meet for a cuppa soon! Keep up the good work and looking forward to more of your writing.