Charles Spencer (AKA Princess Diana’s Younger Brother) Shares Art Given to His Great Uncle by a Royal Empress

A gift from the Empress of Austria in 1879

Charles Spencer.
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Princess Diana’s younger brother by almost three years, Charles Spencer, 59, has been turning his Instagram into an art archive recently. Over the past few weeks, he's been sharing photos of some of the pieces that make up his family’s extensive collection at Althorp. Now, his latest offerings are two works that were given to his great uncle John by Elizabeth, the Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary (who ruled from 1854 until her assassination in 1898).

The 9th Earl Spencer posted two images—one of which was a painting of the empress on a horse, and the other a sketch of the royal from a different angle.

In his caption, Spencer wrote, “Portrait of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria - known as ‘Sisi’ - taking a hedge sidesaddle, on her horse, ‘Merry.’ The painting, by John Charlton (who also drew the sketch), was given to the 5th Earl Spencer and his wife Charlotte in 1879, as a thank you present from the empress for having her to stay at Althorp.” Because what’s the best gift you can give someone for hosting you at their home? Why, a portrait of yourself, of course!

While it’s hard to ignore the humor in this gesture now, one person noted in the comments that this was likely seen as a very courteous gift at the time, given that it was a present from an empress to an earl (who is of lower rank). They added that it likely represented how much Elizabeth enjoyed her stay at Althorp.

Empress Elizabeth.
Imagno/Getty Images

These depictions of Elizabeth are just the latest pieces of art to be shared by the 9th Earl Spencer.

He's been posting all kinds of portraits to his IG lately, whether they're works that were gifted to the Spencers or ones that were fashioned after members of his family.

For instance, earlier this month he shared a portrait of his grandfather that was completed in the early 20th century. “My paternal grandfather Jack Spencer - painted in c. 1909, while a pupil at @harrowschoolofficial,” his caption read.

Keep the art posts coming, Charles.

Princess Diana’s Brother Posts Centuries-Old Portrait of Ancestor with Surprise Connection to Queen Elizabeth II

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Joel Calfee

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...
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