KENNEBUNK, Maine (AP) – The brother of Britain’s late Princess Diana came to Maine as part of a national tour to promote a line of furniture.

Charles Spencer, the 9th Earl Spencer, appeared Thursday at Hurlburt Designs, a home furnishings store in Kennebunk that carries the furniture.

For the past four years, Spencer has been selling reproductions of the furniture in Althorp, his 500-year-old ancestral estate 75 miles north of London.

The sales are intended to raise money to maintain the property.

“My family had been merrily selling things for decades, so I thought it was time to stop,” he said.

Members of a well-dressed crowd lined up to greet Spencer and get his autograph before gathering outside under a white tent where they ate asparagus sandwiches and crab salad served on cucumber slices.

Wanda Schless, a tourist from Wallingford, Conn., who stood in line to meet the earl, said she thinks of him and his late sister as two of the most caring members of the British aristocracy.

“I honestly feel he’s more compassionate than the monarchy,” she said.

Francis Harwood of Hallowell, a retired accountant, held a five-page family tree that he said showed he was a distant cousin of Spencer’s. Harwood presented Spencer with the documentation and offered to help save the family mansion.

“He can e-mail me back and forth,” he said. “I could help him promote this furniture and help him get funds for the estate.”

Philomene Center of Biddeford, an 81-year-old nutritional consultant, wore a pink coat, flowered dress and gold earrings but she said she had not purposely dressed up.

“It’s interesting, but I’m a democratic individual,” she said. “I’m an American all the way.”

Information from: Portland Press Herald,

AP-ES-09-14-07 0948EDT

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