Diana

Sweet Faces Masking Iron-Willed Women: Diana’s Maternal Ancestors

In the frenzy running-up to The Royal Wedding in the late Spring of 1981, the press asked Diana’s mother, Frances Shand-Kydd, to comment upon her heritage. She drily responded: “I am one-quarter American, one-half Irish, one-half Scottish, and all English.” She smiled demurely and,with a slightly wicked gleam in her eye, left the reporters to sort-out all of that information. The future Princess’ heritage had been pronounced by Prince Charles when he stated, “She is far more English than I am!”

From the paternal standpoint, Prince Charles was correct: The House of Spencer had been one of The Great Houses of Britain since the early 1400′s, and, in return for bailing-out a strapped series of British monarchs, the extremely wealthy landowning Spencer Family male heirs were eventually was granted what we now know to be the title Earl Spencer, each, of course, in turn. The House of Spencer has possessed its lands in Northamptonshire, houses in London, a great many jewels and priceless paintings, furnishings and artifacts, long before the current Royal Family ascended to the Throne via the 1701 Act of Settlement, which made sure that the Protestant heirs to the throne, the children of James II, residing in Hanover, Prussia, would ascend to the Throne. Thus any Catholic claimants to the throne were no longer in contention to claim the Crown, and peace was restored to The British Monarchy.

But the Spencer Family went all the way back to Charles II in a direct line. And, long before that, Queen Elizabeth I, “Dear Queen Bess,” celebrated in many a Shakespearean play, had visited and been feted at Althorp, the Spencer Family Great House, for a two week revel with which She had been well pleased.

But little mention had been made of Diana’s maternal ancestors, especially the more recent ones, for good reason. They hardly fit the traditional mold. In fact, the American connection had been happily glossed over by the press and by the Royal Family. But it is this more free-spirited and independent American maternal ancestry which impacted Diana far more deeply than her more traditional paternal roots.

Diana’s American great-great grandfather, Franklin Work, had been born in 1819 in OHIO, and, being born so close to that bit of misunderstanding called The American Revolution, he had wanted his family to have nothing to do with anything British, English, or foreign. He made his fortune, first, in marketing, but soon found that life in New York City offered him great financial advantages. He flourished in the Stock Market and within a few years of moving to New York, had become a multi-millionaire. He had married a simple, sweet girl from Ohio, Ellen Wood, and they produced one daughter, Frances “Fannie” Work.

Frances, or as I shall call her, “Fannie,” flourished in her exclusive, fabulously rich world among New York City’s fabled “400.” This group of the wealthiest of the wealthy became known as “The 400,” because only 400 guests at a time could fit into the fabulous ballroom of Lady Astor’s home where all of the creme de la creme assembled for parties, soirees, dinners and the like. Not one more soul could be crammed into that crystal, velvet and diamond drenched hall…so the Group was christened The 400 and Fannie Work was one of its most feted members. She was young, beautiful, and very comfortable with her monied set, having never known the hardships of her father’s Ohio beginnings. She happily chatted and danced nights away til dawn with the Vanderbilts (That’s the man who built N.Y.’s Chrysler building and funded Vanderbilt University, for starters), the Roosevelts, The Astors, and many who would later go down with the Titanic. Those who remained retained fabulous fortunes and, looking for more excitement and glory to add to their lives, began to forage through the WWI deprived European Royals to fetch themselves some Royal Titles to add to their exclusivity and romantic cachet. They would buy themselves some proper titles to add to their holdings.

But Frank Work would have none of such thinking from his daughter. He warned her that if she went abroad to snag herself a royal husband, he would promptly disinherit her. That thought sunk in, hard and fast. Of course, she protested, but Father was adamant. He had been brought up to eschew royalty and all of its pomp and grandeur: his daughter would Marry American and be proud of it. But Fannie could cajole and smile and chatter and promise with the best of them, and soon Frank Work granted her a Grand Tour of Europe to round out his lovely daughter’s education.

Fannie arrived in London and soon became the toast of the town. Lavishly spreading her wealth with parties and galas, getting to know all of “the right” people, she met a baron who she found enchanting. His barony was in Ireland (before Ireland was split into Northern Ireland and Ireland), but he frequented the clubs and house parties of London and English country houses. She decided that her daddy would never truly disinherit her, so she married Baron Fermoy, only to discover that his title came with no land, no house, no estate. But he was a baron,and she now a baroness, and stayed with him in London long enough to bear him two boys: twins. The first was a boy, Maurice, and he was by birth the heir to the Baron’s title. The second child, also a boy, was born just two minutes later. She named hum Frank, perhaps to appease her Daddy. The Family name of Baron Fermoy was Roche, so her second twin boy was fated to be called Frank Roche. He would be well-provided for, but, subject to his older brother’s death, would never become a baron. Fannie was further disillusioned by the baron when, not only not having any landed holdings, he had very little money. Her father’s spirit of iron-willed determination flared up when the said Baron Fermoy decided to wine and dine with other women, leaving his new wife at home with the baby boys. This was not to be tolerated.She sued him for divorce on the basis of abandonment (an ironic term which would haunt her great-granddaughter Frances Spencer years later) and took her boys back with her to the comforts of the New York City which she had abandoned and proceeded to bring her boys up as Americans. She still fanned herself with her title, and knew that, upon some deaths in the family, her son Maurice would eventually ascend to the baronacy. Meanwhile, she and her father reconciled and her life proceeded along the lines she established for herself. As for her ex-husband, she left him penniless, or as penniless as a non-landed aristocrat could get and forgot all about him.

Fannies’ sons were educated at Harvard, and, after due course, both Frank and Maurice decided to taste the delights of Britain and the European Continent. Meanwhile, back in New York, a bored Fannie decided once again to fall for a Royal: This time, an Hungarian Count. Why not add more glittery royal titles to her name? But by now her father swiftly intervened and found out that her count was an imposter! The marriage was dissolved quickly as this time Father Work was really about to disinherit his daughter. Fannie quickly agreed to cast the fake count from her life, avoiding what would have been a disastrous marriage. She escaped with her fortune and inheritance intact – just barely! Fannie, strong-willed as she had been, was nobody’s fool. Her fake count was banished to the far corners of the earth; American and European Society had been warned! Fannie suffered no real disgrace from all of this. As long as she maintained control of her destiny, her fortune and her inheritance, she was quite content. She put the matter behind her as if it had never happened.

Money was not an issue for Fannie’s sons; after a time, her parents died and Fannie was left with the hugely vast Work Family fortune, and Fannie wanted her children to experience the finer, more socially brilliant and exciting world of Europe and The British Empire.

Frank settled in Paris and met a beautiful, heart-shaped faced girl with astonishing copper-colored curly hair… a girl of twenty. By this time he was 46, and had never married, preferring to wile away his time in exploring the pleasures of wine, women and song…In particular, song. In Paris, this twenty year-old girl was also a concert-level student of the piano who was extremely gifted at the instrument. He was fascinated. Her name was Ruth Gill, the daughter of a strict Scottish Colonel, who had no time to waste upon fools. Ruth found him enchanting for a while, but, when he introduced her to his “older” twin brother Maurice, Ruth realized at once that the elder and portly “bottom-pincher” flirt of a man was eligible to attain the title of Baron Fermoy. She married Maurice Roche, and, soon, after a series of untimely deaths in the Roche clan, found herself to be Ruth, Baroness Fermoy!

 

Maurice Roche, 4th Baron Fermoy

For a commoner such as Ruth, with no Real Money to speak of, this was the chance of a Lifetime! Ruth quickly proceeded to have a daugther, Mary, another daughter, Frances, and a son, Edmund. Her standing in British Society was assured. Ruth, living in London, lavishly entertained Society with balls and galas and delighted her guests with her astounding musical talent. Her concert-level piano performances at her parties was a delight to the highest members of polite society. She achieved her greatest coup when the Duke and the Duchess of York (one day to become King Edward VII, and Queen Elizabeth, his consort, in 1936, but now “only” the second in line to the Throne!) became her dearest friends. They went shooting at Sandringham in Norfolk, had dinner parties in London, and, eventually became the closest of friends. The Duchess found Ruth to be very talented and very, very loyal to The Monarchy and for all that it stood. Any “common” roots were gone; Ruth became a matron of Society, an patron of The Arts, and a confidant of The slightly older Duchess of York.

Diana With her grandmother Baroness Fermoy

Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy, and her husband Maurice, were frequent guests of the lively Duke and Duchess and were warm, firm friends. In 1935, the Duke and Duchess of York offered them the indefinite lease of Park House, a building on the Sandringham Estate.The Fermoys accepted at once and the friendship solidified. Confidences were exchanged. The Duchess had a pretty, enchanted, talented and very loyal companion who could chat about any number of interesting things and entertain her with her music, while the Duke and The Baron went shooting and hunting together. The stuttering and mild-mannered Duke found the boisterous Maurice a tonic and a great source of fun. For Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy, life could not be more sweet.

But then came the Abdication Crisis in 1936. The Duke and Duchess of York found themselves faced with the prospect of becoming King and Queen consort of The British Realm! The Fermoys, especially Ruth, joined in arms with their friends and denounced the gross immorality of “that woman,” Wallis Simpson, harlot and friend of Hitler, and twice-divorced to boot. That woman had no business marrying the new King Edward VIII of England, and everyone, including Queen Mary, the widow of  King George VI. and new Queen Mother, could not abide that Edward even consider marrying an American harlot!! (Never mind that Maurice had been raised for most of his life in America! He was Baron Fermoy and loyal to The Crown!)

Ruth Fermoy’s iron will regarding the complete horror of a Wallis Simpson ascending to the Throne as a Queen of England further solidified her friendship with the future Queen Elizabeth and King George VI. Queen Mary, too, approved of Baroness Fermoy’s support against that Simpson woman.

When the dust settled and King Edward VIII abdicated the Throne, Ruth Fermoy found herself appointed as guardian of the bedcahmber and later as lady-in-waiting to the new Queen Elizabeth, mother of the future Queen Elizabeth II. Ruth Fermoy had risen by dint of her iron will and total support of The Monarchy to the highest echelon of British Society! For the rest of her life, Ruth was determined to hold fast to her position. Her loyalty to The Monarchy was total and complete. No one could budge her for any reason…as her daughter, Frances,and later gher granddaughter Diana Spencer, would find, to their deep emotional cost. Motherhood was always a close Second to the needs of The Monarchy and the new Monarchs. That would never, ever change.

In aristocratic Britain, only men could inherit titles, lands and estates. Daughters were consigned to the role of finding husbands of proper social standing and rank; the higher the Title, the better. Thus, with that at the forefront of her mind, Ruth pursued a sternly focused campaign to marry-off her daughters to the most noble of the nobility. Her elder daughter, Mary, was plain, tall, dark-haired and possessed none of the finer “social graces” which the relentless Ruth wished her to have cultivated. In Society, every March through July, nobility engaged in what was known as The Season, where nobly born daughters were formally presented at Court. The problem which faced Ruth was that her younger daughter was only 15 years old, and the debutantes to be “presented” had to be at least 17 years old. So she decided to keep Mary out of the Season until it was time for Frances, pretty, blonde, and very socially gifted in the fine arts of idle chat and rapt attention to eligible men, to be of age to be formally presented at Court. Ruth virtually stuffed Mary in a closet and refused to give her her own “Season,” knowing that Mary would not make a good marriage unless the more frankly sexy and attractive younger daughter was with her.

When Frances was 15, she met a very eligible Bachelor named Johnny Spencer. He was, at the time, engaged to a lovely girl named Anne Coke, daughter of an Earl.  Johnny seemed content with the arrangement…But Ruth managed to get him to meet the 15 year old Frances. His attention wavered, and Ruth took full advantage of that fact, throwing them together at parties, balls, garden parties and the like. Johnny was interested, but Frances was, after all, too young for him. He was thirty at the time and engaged. Ruth bided her time, glad to see that Johnny never formally announced wedding plans to Miss Coke. Miss Coke was the daughter of the Earl  of Leicester, and was very pretty and sweet, but she was no match for Ruth!

As soon as Frances reached age 17, Ruth arranged for both her and Mary to be formally presented at Court. Knowing that her best friends were now King and Queen of The Realm, she had every confidence that her tall, willowy, blonde daughter with huge, enchanting blue eyes, would attract many suitors. Mary, on the other hand, would marry someone….but it was Frances upon whom Ruth focused all of her wiles.

Johnny was not a deep thinker and thought nothing of it when, one night he brought his unofficially intended bride, Anne, to one of Ruth’s house parties. As he climbed the stairs, Ruth distracted the poor Anne and arranged for Frances to be Johnny’s main partner for the evening. That was all it took. Frances later described that evening as “WHOOOOSH!” Instant attraction. For them both. Johnyy simply forgot about Anne, and didn’t eve realize how he had devastated that girl. He had only eyes for Frances.

Diana's Parents

Frances and Johnny were married in 1954 in Westminster Abbey in 1954. Both The Queen Mother, The new Queen Elizabeth II and her handsome Prince consort were in attendance. It was the social event of the year! Ruth had attained her objective. The House of Spencer was and had been for hundreds of years one of The Great Houses of the British Aristocracy! Johnny was the heir to the Earldom! Ruth’s future in the aristocratic world was solidified!

Frances, age 19, didn’t seem to mind the early marriage, even though Johnny was in his early 30′s. Johnny was very attractive and Frances thought that they would share passion, romance and a great life, with parties and champagne and dancing in all of the posh clubs in London. She would dress like a Princess and have a fantastic time!

However, the world does not always work the way it should, or as it should in fairy tales with a sexually alluring twist. It was Johnny’s first priority to get a male heir out of Frances to secure the Earldom for himself and his family. Since females were not eligible to inherit titled lands or titles, and could only attain them via marriage (with the exception of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II, where no male heirs existed), Johnny did not want or need daughters. He needed sons, or at least a son. He immediately saw to it that Frances became pregnant….In 1955, their first child, Sarah, was born. Then came yet another girl a year and a half later, Jane. Frances needed a bit of a break, but Johnny was adamant; the babies would come until a boy was produced. Frances had not been aware that this had been such a priority for her husband. Sex for the the purpose of reproduction only became a tedious chore. Frances, still in love with Johnny, accepted this, but was becoming disillusioned. Was THIS what marriage was about? Where was that “WHOOOOM!” that she had found with Johnny when they’d first met? She was in her early twenties, with two daughters and she wanted time to enjoy them. She also wanted to enjoy the social  whirl of life in London. That was not to be. Johnny brought his young wife to Harley Street in London to see the best doctors, assuming that having girls was some kind of problem which they could fix. Frances did NOT believe that she was to “blame” or that she was “broken” or had a problem, but she put up with Johnny’s decree that something had to be wrong with HER. Francis had high spirits, and was beginning to become demoralized. When she confided this to her mother, Ruth was as iron-willed as ever. Frances found no comfort in her mother, and had lost contact with her friends. Her only joy was to be found in her young children, her two girls.

Johnny began to become morose. He and Frances had fights. The young woman wanted to go out down to London to have fun at nightclubs and movies and parties. All Johnny wished to do was drink and get his wife pregnant. All right. Frances became pregnant once again and in January of 1960 gave birth to a boy! But her joy was very short-lived. Something “was wrong” with her baby son. He was whisked away from her at birth and died twelve hours later. Frances wailed, wanting the chance to hold her child, to see him, to say goodbye. These things were denied her. She never got to see or hold or even stroke her baby’s hair. He died and was buried while she lay, dazed and unbelieving, in her confinement. For the rest of her life she could not forgive her husband for his blind cruelty. He’d said she wouldn’t want to see the baby. He made that decision for her. It was all she could do to remain sane! How dare he presume her wishes! Until her death, Frances never forgave Johnny for not letting her even hold her son.

Johnny’s drinking continued. He began locking himself away in his study, leaving Frances to her own devices. He saw little of the baby girls, and waited until Frances was ready once again to conceive. Frances rebelled, and the fights and loud rows started to become unbearable. Ruth was distant and remote and of no help. Ruth was too busy with her friend Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, and Johnny had become distant from his taciturn and very grumpy father. Johnny felt alone and alienated from the world, and Frances had no one in whom she could confide. Her two daughters were growing up and would soon be sent away to school and still there was no real social life for the lonely family at Park House. Park House itself was an oddly built place. It had ten bedrooms, but they were arranged as if they were for a hospital or other kind of institution. Frances had a butler and a housemaid, and rarely was able to go to London to see friends. The only trips to the City consisted of yet more doctor visits to see “what was wrong” with her. Nothing could possibly be wrong with Johnny! And, why was it so terrible to have only girls?? Frances was distraught. Then she became pregnant again. Maybe THIS time she would have a boy!! But, on July 1, 1961, Diana Frances Spencer was born and there was a general sour groan to greet her. Frances was exhausted and angry. She loved her new daughter but hated the idea of being stuck in what seemed like a barn, pumping out babies until she “got it right” and had a boy! She longed for companionship. For a Life! Her mother had taught her the piano, but she did not have the training or the innate talent and love of music to pursue it even as a hobby. Besides, what was music without an audience? Not even her mother ever came to visit. The tedium and loneliness began to wear on the young woman, now in her mid-twenties, stuck in the country with no release for fun or friendship.

Finally, the miracle for which Johnny had been waiting occurred! When Diana was three years old, Frances gave birth to Charles Spencer. Prince Charles was named as godfather to the boy and his christening was a huge social event. FINALLY Frances, at the age of twenty-eight, who had had five children in nine years, could relax and enjoy life!! Never mind that Johnny had turned into an old stick-in-the mud whose only interest lay in photograhing his wife and his brood. Frances was burned-out and ready to have some fun, now that she had finally “done her duty.”

Johnny had few friends, and was at odds with his curmudgeonly father. He and his father never spoke and he rarely brought the children to visit him at Althrop, the Spencer Family estate. When the family did visit, the children had to be extra quiet, or face the rage of their grandfather.

They did manage to find comfort and love and real FUN with their grandmother Cynthia, Jack Spencer’s wife. She lived in her own apartments in a separate wing of the house. At the end of the long gallery of paintings, near the painting of King Charles II, their direct ancestor, was a secret door. Press on it just the right way and one could enter Granny Cynthia’s rooms. The entire estate was kept dark and dull and dreary by Jack, but Cynthia’s apartments were bright and airy and full of books and joy and lots and lots of stories! Cynthia had known playwrights and artists and writers and had enjoyed a varied intellectual and social life before marrying the ever increasingly anti-social Earl, Johnny’s father. Cynthia kept to herself and enjoyed her grandchildren, but was not allowed to visit them at their Park House home. For the children, Granny Cynthia was the breath of fresh air they all longed for. Too often at Park House, the children had to tip-toe around the house, with only a nanny to play with them. Diana used to climb over the bushy fence which separated Park House from Sandringham House and play alone there in the sunshine with her plant and small animal friends. She was a very lonely child. After her brother Charles was born, she had fun playing with him. She fancied herself as a little mother, out of her nanny’s view. The two children formed a close bond, and avoided their gloomy and frequently arguing parents. Diana delighted in her little brother and loved playing the mother role. But she was very young herself, and Charles was not a toy, but a toddler who needed his mother’s attentions, as did she herself.

 

 

Then in 1975, Jack Spencer died. Johnny seemed a new man! He was now The Earl, Frances was the Countess, his daughters were “Ladies” and his son was a Viscount! His dreams were fulfilled at long last! The Althrop Estate was his!! The family moved with almost indecent haste to Althrop, as Johnny was now Earl Spencer! The bulter and the maid at park House were given just about a month to pack up everything to get ready for the move to Althrop House. But they were not to come along! The servants were upset. With no notice and so much packing to do, they were to be left with no place to live after the Spencers moved to their new estate. This bitterness reflects just how unaware Johnny was of the needs of others, including his wife and his children.

More at ease with himself now that he had his son, Johnny Spencer struck up a friendship with a wallpaper magnate named Peter Shand-Kydd, a vibrant, vivacious and handsome friend. He was often invited to dinner and Frances was finally getting to enjoy a social life. Peter was a breath of fresh air to an emotionally stifled and stilted marriage. Frances was young, attractive and very feminine. Johnny had seemed to have forgotten these things about her, but Peter certainly noticed. They struck up a friendship, which all too soon blossomed into a full-fledged, very, very passionate affair. The fly in the ointment was that Peter was very much married with three children of his own. But he could not resist the pull of the love-starved, needy and very adoring Frances.

France was finally truly happy. Johnny had so sunk into himself and his drinking in his study that he did not notice. The flaming affair of his wife and friend continued until Frances confronted Johnny with the news that she wanted to move out. She had rented a flat in a very posh part of London, and she announced that she was moving there post haste. She informed Johnny that she had taken Peter Shand-Kydd as her lover and that they would marry as soon as she could get a divorce from him. Johnny hit the roof. The rows were violent, claims were made that Johnny was striking his wife, and the children crept in sielnce in the upside-down world that was now their home. Sarah and Jane were away at school, but Diana, six, and Charles, three, were right there in the mix.

Frances had been through enough and now wanted the life she’d thought Johnny had promised when she’d married him. Johnny didn’t see that he had done anything to alienate her, and fought her, violently. Frances took the children, moved into her flat in London and filed for divorce. She would marry Peter Shand-Kydd and all would be roses and hearts and joy beyond measure for her!!

Francess With Peter Shand Kydd

But thunder was on her horizon. Frances had not counted upon the wrath of her mother, Ruth, the Baroness. Ruth had seen what marriage to a divorced woman had almost done to The Monarchy. Divorce was not to be tolerated. She took Johnny’s side and told her daughter tio return home to Althorp and beg Johnny’s forgiveness. Frances thought her mother had lost any sense of reality or love for her. She tried to reason with her mother, but Ruth would hear none of it.

Frances decided that Ruth could go her own way. She had had enough and she had found love. But she didn’t know just how conflicted Peter Shand-Kydd was at the idea of leaving his children. In his case, Peter’s wife decided things for him. She sued him for divorce and named Frances Spencer as his adulterous lover.

Frances was glad. She got Peter! But she was to have her world destroyed for her by Johnny, aided by Ruth, her own mother. Frances had left with the children but made the huge msiatke of bringing her children to Althrop for Christmas. Johnny refused to let Frances take the children back with her to London! Frances promised the bewildered Diana and Charles that she would come back for them soon and left, carrying her few bags with her. Diana sat and waited for weeks at the front gates of the house, then by the windows, looking for her mother to return at any minute. Frances never came. Johnny sued for and got custody of the children, and Diana and Charles only saw their mother on weekends after long train rides back and forth. These dreary rides and Frances’ tears took their toll on the children. Ruth testified against her daughter and Frances never spoke to her mother again. Years later, Diana confided to her friends that she had always hated Christmas. She preferred tearing open her presents weeks before the actual holiday, never realizing that her father had destroyed any joy that holiday should bring to both children and adults. The idea of Christmas being a “family” holiday remained alien to her. To Diana, Christmas meant the sound of gravel crunching as her Mummy walked out of her daily life forever. And her Mummy was never given the chance to explain her side of what was going-on to her children. That sense of maternal abandonment was the most cruel blow that Johnny Spencer dealt his children. And neither he nor Frances could ever make up for that devastating blow to their childrens’ innocence and joy.

It seemed that each generation of mothers on Diana’s side had abandoned their children due to their own willfulness and desire to have a good life without them. Johnny did everything he could to foster this idea in his children’s minds, with Ruth, a distant, hard old lady reinforcing Johnny’s agenda. For years, Diana and Charles longed for their Mummy, but thought her to be the one who did not love them enough to live with them or to take care of them. Frances eventually married Peter Shnd-Kydd and moved to a remote island in Scotland to start a sheep farm. But after a few years, the unfaithful Peter moved out and on with his life, and Diana and her little brother Charles hardly ever saw their Mum who lived so far away. Frances bore a burden of guilt and loneliness for the rest of her life, not even having the comfort of her mother, sister or brother’s understanding to lean on. She was considered a “bolter,” an unfit mother, and Granny Ruth, too busy catering to her dear friend The Queen Mother as her travel companion, had little time to spare for her grandchildren.

Ruth’s hardness told on her son, Edmund, as well. In 1984, Edmund comitted suicide. No one knew or cared why. That was something to be hushed-up, along with any expression of feeling or empathy.

Perhaps that was why Diana began to develop what would turn out to be an Ocean of Empathy for those who found themselves disillusioned, bereft, abandoned, in agonizing pain, in severe emotional distress, motherless, traumatized, unloved, ill, grief-stricken….useless without knowing how they’d gotten to be that way…The sick, the dying, the ostracized: these were the people to whom Diana could always relate. Even as a child, the animals she cared for were not the traditional cats or cute puppy dogs…rather the odd-looking guinea pigs, fat rabbits, older ponies and other non-traditional pets were her friends. Her favorite stuffed toy was a hideous looking green stuffed animal which Diana had painted with luminous paint around its eyes, specifically to scare away any intruders in the darkness of her room so that she would feel safe, secure and taken care of. She felt when others needed those things and did her best to give them what she had been so longing to have been given herself. But her generosity of spirit demanded that she be the mother she never had; the protector of the young, the infirm, the dying and the old. Perhaps that was why she was so attracted to the works of Mother Theresa, a woman who cared about others in a way which her self-serving maternal ancestors could never understand.

Diana need a haven; a place of her own, with people to nurture, people to love and people to love her back, unconditionally. She needed the daily, and sometimes hourly, reassurance that she had never gotten from her parents, or most of her family, and she needed it on a daily basis. She needed  Lives to save from the hells of sadness, pain and longing. These were the things her iron-willed granny Ruth, dour and sour Grandfather Jack, her own self-absorbed father Johnny, her runaway mother, had led her to seek out to comfort. In her marriage to Charles, she found herself at last somewhat able to relate somewhat to her mother Frances…but not enough. In the March 24, 1997 edition of the UK Hello magazine, Frances was quoted as saying: “When a marriage dies, the rug is pulled out from each member of the family. It’s a time of aching for speech and peace and compassion.” When Diana read this, and the interview within the magazine’s pages that Frances had given,  instead of seeing it as a way of reaching out to her, Diana saw it as an attack – and way too little given way too late. Diana stopped speaking to her mother after reading this interview. It turns out that she would never be able to make the Peace she needed with her mother ever again. The time for melting the iron wills had come to an abrupt and so very tragic end.

Jewels of the Spencers

Here is a look at some of the jewels of the Spencers. The most famous piece from the family collection is The Spencer tiara which Diana wore on her wedding day.But the other pieces in the collection are just as beautiful.


A cornet of silver gilt trimmed with ermine made by Sebastian Henry Garrad ,London for the Countess Spencer probably made to wear for the cornation of Edward VII. estm. 1901


Here is the Countess Spencer wearing the tiara


Spencer Tiara I
Made of silver and gold from several different english jewels in order to make a more extravagant display of diamonds . The work probably took place at the end of the 19th century , adaptionof valuable gem set jewerly is common pratice in family collections.
Bracelet I

3 rows of natural pearls with antique enamel and diamond clasp. With brillant and rose diamonds arranged as a monogram of MB it was probably once a necklace.
Tormanline Ring


Pink tourmaline and diamonds
The central cushion of pink tourmaline is surrounded by brillant diamonds in gold ad silver settings. Purchased by te 5th Earl Spencer from Hennell in 1864

Riviere Necklace


46 diamnods set in silver and gold , every diamond is detachable and a braclet can be made from aprt of it. Hanging from the necklace are 3 pearls in diamond mounts and drops froma pair of diamond earrings.
Diana was seen wering this necklace very early in her reign as Princess of Wales she is wearing in with one pearl drop.
Bracelet II

An antique diamond collet and tapered line bracelt presented by the ladies of Ireleand to Charlotte 5th Countess Spencer.
Emerald &Diamond Pendant Cross

Five emeralds and four pear shaped diamonds and four rose diamonds mounted and set in gold and silver.
Bracelet III

Antique diamond shamrock bracelet presented by Queen Alexandra
to Charlotte 5th, countess Spencer
Sapphire Brooch

Antique sapphire and Diamonds collet and scroll brooch The stones were set in the style of the 19th century by Henell in 1937.
Lonzenge Shaped Brooch

The stones are mounted in gold and set in silver.
Diamnod and Tourmaline Brooch

The centeral Cushion of pink tourmaline si surrounded by brilliant diamonds in gold and silver settings
purchased by the 5th Earl Spencer from Hennell in 1864

The Spencer Tiara II

The Spencer tiara is mounted in gold in the form of stylised flowers decorated in diamonds in silver settings. The tiara is entirely composite and not an heirloom as has been previously suggested.
The central element was a gift from Lady Sarah Spencer to Cynthia, Viscountess Althorpe as a wedding present in 1919. It was later remounted. Four other elements were made to match it in 1937. Only the two elements at the end are old and are said to have come from a tiara owned by Francis, Viscountess Montagu and left to Lady Sarah Spencer in 1875. It was worn by Lady Diana Spencer when she married the Prince of Wales in 1981 and was subsequently used by Victoria Lockwood when she married the 9th Earl in 1989.The tiara is now on display with the traveling Diana a Celebration exhibit.

Diana’s Wedding Earrings



They once belonged to Frances Shand Kydd – Diana’s mother who died in 2004. Each has a central pear-shaped diamond surrounded by almost 50 smaller diamonds.
Worn by Diana for her first official outing with Charles after the announcement of their engagement in 1981, the earrings were flown back from America, where they featured in the exhibition Diana: A Celebration. Diana’s sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale wore them to Diana’s son William’s Wedding on April 29th, 2011.

“Your own Dye a name which I hope I shall always keep”

Who are the other Lady Diana Spencers

When many of us hear the name Lady Diana Spencer we instanly think of
The blonde blue eyed beauty who walked down St Paul’s Cathedral July 29, 1981. Little was known about the other lady Diana’s until She emerged from her glass coach that glorious day.
Here we will take a look at these lovely ladies and how thier lives
shaped the world’s most photographed woman of our time. Diana was the Goddess of the Hunt.
When was the name Diana first used in the the family? 
The name Diana in the Spencer family was first used in 1710 chosen by Anne (Churchhill) Sunderland. The name was chosen from the Duchess of St Albans whos name was Also Diana. Another good reason the name was chosen was that hunting was Queen Anne’s favorite sport. And of course Diana was the Goddess of the Hunt. Each Lady Diana also carried the nickname Di but in the 1700′s it was spelled Dye sometimes Dy.Then in the 19th Century it adapted to DI and lovingly given to the fourth Lady Diana. Who would also become known as Princess DI.

The First lady Diana Spencer 1710~1735

Lady Diana Spencer shown here with her Mother Anne Countess of Sunderland

Diana Russell,Duchess of Bedford Born July 31, 1710
Formerly known as Lady Diana Spencer. She was the Daughter of Charles Spencer 3rd Earl of Sunderland and Lady Anne Churchill.
She spent most of her childhood with her maternal grandmother the
Lady Sarah Churchill the Duchess of Marlbourgh.
She was a prospective Princess of Wales but instead became the Duchess of Bedford. On September 27, 1735 She died at the age of 26 of a consumption. The Gentleman’s Magazine reported her death as follows: The Most noble Diana, Duchess of Bedford .. She was the most amiable, compassionate to the poor,by all beloved and most tenderly by her grandmother , the Duchess of Marlbourgh and by her noble Consort the Duke.
Lady Diana Spencer 1735-1743
Little Lady Diana Spencer was the niece of the First lady Diana Spencer.
She was Born to Her Brother Johnny Spencer and Georgina Poyntz.
She lived to be eight years old and there are no surviving photos of her.

Lady Diana Spencer { Diana Beauclerk} 1734-1808
Mrs Diana Beauclerk (née Lady Diana Spencer; other married name Diana St John, Viscountess Bolingbroke) (1734–1808) was an English noblewoman and artist.She was the daughter of the Honourable Elizabeth Trevor (d. 1761) and Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough (1706–1758). Her siblings were George, Charles,
and Elizabeth. She was raised at Langley Park, Buckinghamshire,She married Frederick St John, 2nd Viscount Bolingbroke (1734–1787) in 1757, and from 1762–1768 was lady of the bedchamber to Queen Charlotte. Her marriage was unhappy and Bolingbroke was notoriously unfaithful. In February of 1768 he petitioned for divorce on grounds of adultery. The petition required an act of parliament, which was passed the next month. Two Days Later She married Topham Beauclerk of old windsor they had four children. She is buried In Richmond She became friends with Joshua Reynlods who painted many of the Spencer Family portriats. In the mid 90′s a portriat of her hung with the caption “Lady Diana Spencer, known chiefly for the unhappiness of her first marriage.”

Lady Diana Spencer { Diana Princess of Wales} 1961-1997
The Spencer Family was launched on the world stage by the marriage of the foruth Lady Diana Spencer to the Prince of Wales on July 29,1981. It was said to be a fairy tale but sadly like her predesscer before her Diana’s marriage was not a happy one. The Prince and Princess of Wales Divorced August 28,1996. She found solace in her charity work and her beloved boys Princes William And Harry. Diana was the most photographed woman in world and earned her unoffical title The Queen of Hearts.Through Her tireless charity workand love for the common people. Her life came to a tragic ending on August 31,1997 She was just 36 years old, She is buried on the grounds of her family estate Althorp.

“It is a point to remember that of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this: a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age.”
Earl Spencer 1997