For her latest special, “Diana: A Celebration” set to air Sunday night at 7 p.m., WSB news anchor Monica Pearson trekked across the Atlantic this month to Princess Diana‘s ancestral home, Althorp estate in England.
And the history buff loved every minute of it.
The massive home of the late princess and her family is over 500 years old.
“It gave me a new appreciation for the word ‘antique,'” Pearson previews to Intel.
“In front of the home’s Grand Staircase alone, there is a Persian carpet that is 300 years old. I was afraid to sit down on anything!”
In advance of the “Diana: A Celebration” exhibit opening at the Atlanta Civic Center this month, Pearson secured a one-on-one with Charles Spencer, the 9th Earl of Sunderland at the palatial estate.
But the veteran journalist worried beforehand about how open Diana’s youngest brother would be. He is also a journalist and author.
Pearson brought home the dish for viewers.
“I was pleasantly surprised at just how open he was about her life and their relationship,” says Pearson. “After the interview, he thanked me and said, ‘You really made me think.’ “
Spencer tells Pearson in the special that, in life, Diana was his constant protector. On his first day of elementary school, she refused to concentrate on her studies until she went into his classroom and checked on her younger brother.
He says he’s committed to serving as her protector in death.
Outside, amidst heavy snow and a frozen pond across 300 acres of land, Pearson got to see the wooded area that serves as Diana’s final resting place.
The family won’t tell visitors precisely where she is buried but there’s a monument to Britain’s beloved princess near the pond where she loved to swim as a child.
“It’s very stately and not at all what I expected,” says Pearson. “There’s a warm Cathedral-like quality to it.”
Atlanta is the only U.S. stop this year for The “Diana: A Celebration” exhibit and Pearson predicts it will be a huge success here.
“We have a secret fascination with royalty in this country probably because we don’t have any of our own in the United States,” says Pearson.
“We accepted her. Her brother told me that had she lived, Diana would probably have moved to America. He said we didn’t judge her in this country the way they did in the U.K. It’s a real honor for Atlanta to get such a personal intimate glimpse into her extraordinary life.”