Iconic English Homes

News Release Date: 
June 20, 2013

The secrets of several iconic English homes come to light this summer on NET Television. For four consecutive Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. CT on NET1 and NET-HD, beginning June 30, viewers will be able to visit Hampton Court, Althrop, Chatsworth and Highclere Castle, the setting for the popular “Downton Abbey” series.

“Secrets of Henry VIII’s Palace” kicks off the tour on June 30. Hampton Court is the ultimate royal pleasure palace embodying the indulgent and grandiose kingship built by Cardinal Wolsey and developed by Henry VIII. Through its rooms, chart King Henry VIII’s decline from fit young warrior to bloated womanizer and recall the vivid stories of the ladies who became his queens. Learn how William and Mary demolished half of the Tudor palace to replace it with an exquisite baroque structure, making Hampton Court one of the most unusual palaces in the world. Go beneath the brick and stone of this true pleasure palace and now thriving tourist location to uncover an abundance of art and stories that bring Hampton Court alive.

Airing July 7, “Secrets of Althrop -- The Spencers” visits the childhood home and final resting place of Princess Diana.  The residence is currently the home of Diana’s brother, Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer. Nineteen generations of Spencers have presided over this grand estate for more than 500 years. The Spencer dynasty has produced politicians, military heroes, dukes and duchesses and will one day furnish Britain with a king: Diana’s son, Prince William. Althorp House has hosted some of the kingdom’s most distinguished guests, and its rooms have witnessed scenes of great celebration, the first earl’s secret wedding to his sweetheart and most recently, the marriage of the current earl, who takes viewers on a personal tour around the noble manor that’s first of all his family home.

“Secrets of Chatsworth,” airing July 14, reveals a 500-year history that included some notable inhabitants, among them the 5th Duke of Devonshire, his wife, Lady Georgiana Spencer, and Lady Elizabeth Foster, who lived together in a ménage à trois. King Edward VII enjoyed shooting parties on the estate and was often entertained by Duchess Louisa, one of Britain’s foremost political hostesses. Duchess Louisa’s daughter-in-law, American Consuelo Yznaga del Valle, introduced American heiresses into the British aristocracy; many of these young women married British noblemen.

It may be more famous now than any time in its 1,300-year history as the setting of “Downton Abbey,” but England’s Highclere Castle has its own stories to tell. “Secrets of Highclere Castle” airs July 21, and in its heyday was the social epicenter of Edwardian England. See how all the inhabitants of Highclere lived, from the aristocrats who enjoyed a life of luxury to the army of servants toiling “below stairs.” Also find out how the current inhabitants, Lord and Lady Carnarvon, spend their $1 million in annual upkeep funds and what life in a fairytale castle is like today.

NET1, NET2 World and NET-HD are part of NET Television.  NET Television is a service of NET.  For a complete program schedule, visit NET's Web site (netNebraska.org/television).

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RELEASE WRITTEN BY:  Larry L. Kubert, 402-472-9333, ext. 389, or e-mail at lkubert@netNebraska.org