‘Deeply wounded’ How Princess Diana’s ACRIMONIOUS maternal feuds left her greatly affected

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‘Deeply wounded’ How Princess Diana’s ACRIMONIOUS maternal feuds left her greatly affected

PRINCESS DIANA was deeply affected by the collapse of her parents’ marriage, and successive feuds with her mother and stepmother left the Princess with no mother figure, a leading Royal expert has said.


Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams said Princess Diana was “deeply wounded” by her parent’s divorce and noted her troubled familial relations “affected her attitude to divorce”.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “Diana was much affected by the collapse of her parents’ marriage and always remembered her mother’s departure when she was only six.

“Her father was granted custody of the children in acrimonious circumstances and Frances Shand Kydd’s mother, Ruth, Lady Fermoy unexpectedly supported Earl Spencer against her daughter.

Princess Diana had an uneven complex and ultimately unresolved relationship with her mother Image GETTY
Princess Diana had an uneven complex and ultimately unresolved relationship with her mother Image GETTY

“Diana was undoubtedly deeply wounded by her parent’s divorce and it much affected her outlook and her attitude to divorce, though her Panorama interview made her divorce inevitable.”

Diana was much affected by the collapse of her parents’ marriage and always remembered her mother’s departure when she was only six

Richard Fitzwilliams

Mr Fitzwilliams noted that Ms Shand Kydd held a “somewhat ambivalent” attitude towards Diana’s fame, and grew increasing distant from her daughter after becoming a “somewhat reclusive figure” living on the remote Isle of Seil in Scotland.

Princess Diana and Raine Spencer reconciled prior to the Princess death Image GETTY
Princess Diana and Raine Spencer reconciled prior to the Princess death Image GETTY

However, Diana’s relationship with her mother grew increasing acrimonious after she gave a scathing interview about her daughter’s relationship with Dr Hasnat Khan.

Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell recounted in an interview numerous years ago that the Princess had received a phone call from her mother shortly before her death regarding her post-marriage relationships.

Commenting on the phone call, he told the Mirror: “It was the slurring voice of Mrs Frances Shand Kydd. What I heard was a torrent of abuse, swearing and upsetting innuendo towards the Princess and towards the male company she was keeping.

Princess Dianas stepmother gained the unsavoury name acid Raine from her stepchildren Image GETTY
Princess Dianas stepmother gained the unsavoury name acid Raine from her stepchildren Image GETTY

“It was a hate-filled personal attack on the men and their religious beliefs.”

Mr Burrell added that Princess Diana put down the phone on her mother, and vowed never to speak to her again.

Communication ceased for numerous months following the phone call, and the Princess is believed to have never reconciled with her mother prior to her death.

Commenting on Diana’s vow never to speak to her mother again, Mr Burrell said: “How prophetic and sad those words were – because she didn’t.

“It is something her mother will have to live with for the rest of her life.”

Andrew Morton, Royal biographer and journalist, described Diana’s relationship with her mother as “uneven, complex and ultimately unresolved”.

The Princess also had a troubled relationship with her stepmother, Raine Spencer, whom her father Earl Spencer married without telling her.

Raine Countess Spencer, the only child of “notoriously superficial” novelist Barbara Cartland, gained the unsavoury nickname ‘Acid Raine’ from her step-children due to their strained relationships.

Communication ceased between Princess Diana and her mother for numerous months prior to her death Image GETTY
Communication ceased between Princess Diana and her mother for numerous months prior to her death Image GETTY

Princess Diana on one occasion referred to Countess Spencer as a “bully”, and described her childhood as “very unhappy” and “very unstable, the whole thing”.

Mr Fitzwilliams commented on Countess Spencer, saying: “The socially ambitious Raine was first married to the Earl of Dartmouth and set her cap at Earl Spencer who was to inherit Althorp.”

In particular, Raine drew sharp criticism for her drastic renovation of Althorp, the Spencer family seat in Northamptonshire.

Princess Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, accused the Countess of “selling off 100 years of family history”, after auctioning off works by Sir Anthony Van Dyck and Thomas Gainsborough, furniture, china and family heirlooms in order to fund the project.

Charles, the current ninth Earl Spencer, later described his stepmother’s taste as having the “wedding cake vulgarity of a five-star hotel in Monaco”.

Princess Diana had a strained relationship with her mother Frances Shand Kydd Image GETTY
Princess Diana had a strained relationship with her mother Frances Shand Kydd Image GETTY

Mr Fitzwilliams added that the new “glitzy style” which Countess Spencer “imposed” on the house was in complete odds with the estate’s history.

Countess Spencer was married to Diana’s father until his death in 1992, at which point she left Althorp immediately.

The Royal expert noted: “When Earl Spencer died Raine’s possessions were packed up in black plastic bing bags, the antipathy between Raine and her step children being so intense.”

She nevertheless received a townhouse in Mayfair, where she resided until her death in 2016, and a £4million inheritance from her husband.

Yet despite Diana’s largely acrimonious relationship with her stepmother, she later reconciled with the countess over their shared fondness for her father.

Mr Fitzwilliams noted: “In contrast to her mother, her relations with her stepmother, once so acrimonious, became friendly.

“Raine was not one to bear grudges and Diana recognised her affection for her father, she had devotedly nursed him after his brain haemorrhage and they, somewhat unexpectedly given their past animosity, became friends until Diana’s death.”

Source: EXPRESS CO UK