Every year on the anniversary of her death, fans post tributes to Princess Diana outside of Kensington Palace. … Fourteen years after Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris, hundreds of fans are expected to gather at her former home of Kensington Palace on Wednesday to add photographs and letters to the makeshift shrine that first took shape on August 31, 1997. The palace gates, now the entrance to Will and Kate's home, are flooded with mourning Di fans each July and August for her birthday and the anniversary of her death, respectively.
But a few devout Diana fans may already be making plans to visit her childhood home for next year's memorial tribute. Diana's brother has agreed to give a private tour next summer of the Althorp House, the Spencer family estate where Diana is buried and where a six-room homage to her life's work is on display. The reason for his unusual offer? It's for charity-something Diana could always get behind.
It all started when Karen Leone, a fundraiser for a small Florida church, reached out to Earl Spencer for an autographed copy of a book on Diana to sell at a church charity auction. Spencer got back to her with a better offer. He's agreed to give a private tour of the home he grew up in with his sister, plus high tea and lunch, to 24 of the highest bidders at the Ormond Beach church auction.
"Am I out of my mind to think it was Diana's spirit whispering in his ear, saying: 'Do this?'" Leone asked Lady Di biographer Andrew Morton, who wrote about Spencer's offer on his website. "All I want now is to get the word out to all those Diana fans who might want to spend next summer, the 15th anniversary of her tragic death, at the estate on a private tour given by her brother."
Bids, which will raise money for the Church of the Holy Child's ministries, are being accepted through December 1, and the day-long tour date will be finalized after that.
Spencer's auction prize is a fitting tribute to his late sister's passion for philanthropy. It's a drive that's not lost on her son Harry, either. On Wednesday, as crowds gather outside Kensington palace, the royal bachelor will carry on her charity legacy as an award presenter at a benefit for Wellchild, an organization that provides assistance for chronically ailing children. While Palace officials say the timing of his appearance is purely coincidental, both Harry and William have shared their desire to do their mom proud in her absence.
"Every day, I know I do and I'm sure William does as well... wonder what she'd think, what she'd be doing if she was with us now," Harry said in an interview last year. "That's what keeps us going every day."
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