Princes William and Harry’s Uncle Lord Spencer Launches Furniture Collection Based on His London Apartment

While Lord Charles Spencer may be best known to royals fans as the brother of Princess Diana and uncle to Princes William and Harry, at the High Point Market he’s better known for something else: Furniture.

For the past two decades Spencer has partnered with high-end furniture maker Theodore Alexander to bring collections with a traditional British upper crust vibe. But at the spring High Point Market held in April in High Point, N.C., Spencer took designers and buyers into his urban home with a more contemporary collection called Spencer London, inspired by his city apartment.

“The idea, if I had to distill it, is traditional lines but with a modern flourish,” he said. “So for instance, the leather two-piece sofa has studding in silver as opposed to brass to give it a pop. And on the desk, you’ve got the dark finish and instead of having a traditional brass inlay, it has been given a nickel plating, so it just gives it a lift.”

These more contemporary takes on design are a departure for Spencer, whose previous collections for Theodore Alexander drew inspiration from Althorp, the family estate in Northamptonshire where Princess Diana’s grave is located. Spencer’s Mayfair London home — which has a pedigree of its own as the childhood abode of Winston Churchill —reflects his decidedly more modern urban existence.

The collection captures that with a mix of contemporary, transitional and classic styles featuring mixed materials and woods, such as sycamore, maple and khaya crotch wood, with many pieces boasting metal inlays and distinctive hardware.


A desk from the collection.

“One of the joys of working with Theodore Alexandra is they get the metal work,” Spencer said. “So the door handles on the bookcases are done by them in their own foundries — that work adds a level of elegance to the pieces.”

Theodore Alexander also runs its own bench-made upholstery operation in Hickory, N.C., which allowed Spencer to tap into a wider range of fabrics for the collection, from velvets to an embossed leather that has the feel and appearance of a cable knit.

The 52-stock keeping unit line includes bedroom, dining room, living room, occasional and office pieces, along with a few decorative elements such as a life-size silver-coated statue of a dog owned by the Spencer family more than a century ago.

“He’s the talisman, the mascot for the Althorp collection,” Spencer said. “He’s the forager and he won the puppy show in England in 1894.”

Unlike many celebrities with licensed collections, Spencer said he takes an active approach to his line with Theodore Alexander. He contributes throughout the design process, and at market, he stayed busy on the showroom floor, walking designers and buyers through the collection.

“I think they went with me because they knew that I was committed to the relationship, too,” Spencer said. “Some of these licenses are sort of four or five years and everyone takes money and moves on, but this is a brand that matters to me.”

Spencer said this collection was especially fun to create since it reflects his current life in London. And he said Theodore Alexander will introduce additions to the line at the fall High Point Market.

“I’m really pleased because obviously I have some of the pieces,” he said. “I was talking to the owners, and they’re planning to build on it for October. There’s a whole program over four or five years to build it up into something quite substantial.”

And just like the furnishings in Althorp and his London home that served as inspiration for his collections, Spencer said these pieces were designed with timeless looks and quality.

“When I started with Theodore Alexander 20 years ago, part of the appeal was that I wanted things that would last forever,” he said. “There are so many people who just do things and they’re only thinking five years ahead, but I think something like this is going to last for generations.”

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