In its 500-year history, Chatsworth has been home to 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.
Althorp, childhood home and final resting place of Princess Diana, 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.
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.
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. In its heyday, Highclere 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.”
A hundred years ago, the world of the British manor house was at its height. It was a world of luxury and privilege that has provided a majestic backdrop to a range of movies and costume dramas to this day, most recently in the popular MASTERPIECE “Downton Abbey.” But what was really going on behind those stately walls? Find out when this program looks beyond fiction.