Upgrades are being made to Diana’s burial site at Althorp as part of the first extensive garden redesign on the Spencer family estate in more than 350 years. The renovation of the island on which she was laid to rest is the initial stage of a significant garden project. It is a move that will be welcomed by visitors and press who have raised concerns in recent years about the state of the memorial plinth and urn which mark Diana’s resting place as well as the foliage on the island more generally.
The upgrades will include an extensive redesign and will be overseen by the ninth Earl Spencer, Charles—Diana’s Brother—and his wife Karen. Renovations are expected to finish in August 2017 which will mark the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death.
Diana was laid to rest on a small island in the middle of a round lake at Althorp following her funeral at Westminster Abbey in September 1997. Originally due to be interred in the family vault a decision was made to move her burial site to the private island as her brother, Charles, was concerned about security and wanted his sister to be buried in a place that would allow her sons and family to pay their respects privately. Charles said, ‘We all agreed that, with its beauty and tranquillity, this was the place for Diana to be.’ Though visitors cannot access the island, they are invited to pay their respects overlooking the lake at a temple constructed with Diana’s name, dates of life and death, and an iconic silhouette of the woman who was called ‘The People’s Princess’.
Built in 1508 by the Spencer family, Althorp is located in the Daventry District in Northamptonshire, England and covers 13,000 acres. The estate became Diana’s family home in 1976 when her father inherited the title and passed to the current Earl upon the death of Diana’s father in 1992.
Born 1961, Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles in a lavish ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral on 29 July 1981. They had two sons—William (b. 1982) and Harry (b. 1984)—before separating in 1992 and subsequently divorcing in August 1996. Diana passed away following a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris on 31 August 1997.