After Diana, Princess of Wales, died 20 years ago, her siblings worked together to keep their beloved sister’s memory alive. At her funeral her brother Charles Spencer walked behind the gun carriage carrying her body before delivering a touching eulogy. Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Baroness Jane Fellowes, Diana’s sisters, accompanied her body back from Paris. Over the years, Diana’s siblings have continued to build relationships with Prince William and Prince Harry and have continued Diana’s charity work.
With Prince Harry about to marry his lady love Meghan Markle, Diana’s family is creeping back out into the spotlight. Aside from being loving siblings and keeping her memory alive, who are Princess Diana’s sisters and brother, and what are they doing today?
1. Lady Sarah McCorquodale, Diana’s Older Sister, Introduced Diana to Prince Charles, and Dated the Prince Before Diana
Lady Elizabeth Sarah Lavinia McCorquodale was born in 1955 (six years before Diana) and has always gone by her middle name, Sarah, according to PopSugar. Lady Sarah was the eldest of the four Spencer children and considered by many to be an incredibly clever woman.
Despite the fact she was away at boarding school often when Diana was young, the sisters were both very close. Lady Sarah even introduced her to Prince Charles.
According to Town and Country Magazine, Sarah had briefly dated Charles in 1977, but fully approved of her sister’s relationship with Prince Charles.
“I introduced them, I’m cupid,” she reportedly said, shortly after Charles and Diana’s engagement was announced in 1981.
Sarah and Prince Charles’ brief relationship ended when Sarah was 22 and Charles was 28. Sarah gave an interview to reporters stating that their relationship wasn’t serious and that she wouldn’t marry him “if he were the dustman or the King of England.”
Sarah is now married with three children: Emily, George, and Celia. The three grew up with Prince Harry and Prince William and remained close. According to PopSugar, they attended William and Kate’s wedding, and in return, William, Kate, and Harry went to Emily’s wedding in 2012.
After Diana’s untimely death, Sarah took over as president of the Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fund, which has raised more than $128 million over 15 years for various charities around the world before it was became The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry in 2012, PopSugar reports.
2. Cynthia Jane Fellowes and Princess Diana Did Not Speak for 18 Months After The Royal Divorce Due to Lady Jane’s Husband’s Association with the Queen
Just like Sarah, Jane has always been known by her middle name. Born in 1957, she was four years older than Diana and away at boarding school often throughout Diana’s youth. However, the two remained close and Diana was bridesmaid when Jane married the queen’s assistant private secretary Robert Fellowes, at Westminster Abbey in 1978.
Jane also played a part in Diana and Charles’ courtship, bringing Diana along on a trip to Balmoral in the summer of 1980 when Charles was also visiting. It was there was the press first found out about the relationship.
Jane has three children: Laura, Alexander, and Eleanor. According to Good Housekeeping, the three were childhood playmates of William and Harry as well, and all vacationed together several times. Laura is now one of Princess Charlotte’s godmothers.
Jane is heavily involved with Only Connect, a charity that works with young offenders by going into prisons and helping troubled youth before they fall into the system.
According to Good Housekeeping, Lady Jane’s association with the Queen through her husband became especially difficult after Princess Diana and Prince Charles divorced. This came between the two for a while, as it reportedly caused the sisters to not speak for 18 months.
3. Charles Edward Maurice Spencer has 7 Children and Wrote Two Bestselling Books on his Own Family History and the Royal Family
Being three years younger than Diana, she often took care of her younger brother while their parents’ marriage started spiraling downhill. Although the the queen became one of Charles’s godmothers, the connections with the royal family were starting to deteriorate, according to PopSugar.
Charles worked in the media for many years, acting as on-air correspondent with NBC News from 1986-1995 for the morning show Today and NBC Nightly News before becoming a pageboy. He met his first wife, Victoria Lockwood, in 1989 and had four children after moving to South Africa: Kitty, Eliza, Katya, and Frederick.
According to PopSugar, when Diana died, Charles was both praised and criticized for his emotional eulogy to his sister. He spoke of William and Harry: “We, your blood family, will do all we can to continue the imaginative and loving way in which you were steering these two exceptional young men so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition but can sing openly as you had planned.” He built a museum to honor Diana after she was buried in Althorp.
Charles has since focused on writing, publishing several books about his family and the royal bloodline, two of which became Sunday Times bestsellers, according to PopSugar. He married twice more, fathering three more children by 2012.
4. Diana’s Siblings Have Kept Her Spirit Alive Through The Princess’ Charities and Children
After Diana’s death on August 31, 1997, both of her sisters went with Charles to collect her body from Paris. “In footage from the time, both sisters appear shell-shocked and traumatized, especially as they arrived back in the UK with their sister’s coffin,” according to Town and Country.
Town and Country reports that “Lady Sarah recalls feeling nothing but shock in the hours and days between Diana’s death and funeral, but in a recent interview with the BBC, her harshest words were saved for the media. Describing the reporters as ruthless in their attempts to get quotes or interviews from her so soon after her sister’s death, she branded the press ‘unacceptable.'”
Many in the Spencer family made similar comments in the aftermath of Diana’s death. Charles Spencer accused photographers and the media of having “blood on their hands” in a statement made shortly after her death was announce. His eulogy was fierce in his determination to protect his nephews from the royal family.
“She would want us today to pledge ourselves to protecting her beloved boys William and Harry from a similar fate and I do this here Diana on your behalf. We will not allow them to suffer the anguish that used regularly to drive you to tearful despair.
And beyond that, on behalf of your mother and sisters, I pledge that we, your blood family, will do all we can to continue the imaginative and loving way in which you were steering these two exceptional young men so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition, but can sing openly as you planned.”
Shortly after the funeral, Lady Sarah became president of the Diana Memorial Fund. According to Town and Country, she also gave evidence at the 2007 inquest in her sister’s death, which resulted in a jury ruling that Diana and her partner Dodi Al Fayad were “unlawfully killed by a combination of their driver Henri Paul and the convoy of paparazzi following them in the Paris tunnel.”
5. Prince Harry Designed Markle’s Engagement Ring Himself, as a Tribute to his Late Mother Princess Diana so that they would be “On This Crazy Journey Together”
Prince Harry designed the ring with personal sentiment when he decided to propose to Markle. As a touching tribute to his late mother, Princess Diana, the two smaller diamonds are from her personal collection, according to People. Set on a yellow gold band, which Harry said is Markle’s “favorite.”
“It’s obviously yellow gold because that’s [Meghan’s] favorite,” said Harry in the interview with BBC, adding that the side diamonds “are from my mother’s jewelry collection to make sure that she’s with us on this crazy journey together.”
According to Hello! Magazine, when his engagement was announced Prince Harry said “it is days like today when I really miss having her around, and miss being able to share the happy news. But, you know, with the ring and with everything else that’s going on, I’m sure she’s with us, you know, jumping up and down somewhere else.” Meghan echoed his thoughts saying: “She’s with us.”
Check out all of Heavy’s coverage of the royal wedding.