PRINCESS DIANA clashed regularly with her stepmother Raine Spencer throughout her childhood – so much so that Earl Spencer’s second wife once made an unsettling confession about the Princess of Wales, according to an unearthed biography.
Diana struggled to cope with her parents’ messy split when she was a child. The fourth child out of five, she was just seven years old when Frances Shand Kydd and Earl Spencer officially divorced. Royal author Howard Hodgson wrote in his 2007 biography, ‘Charles: The Man who will be King’, how she responded when her father married Raine Dartmouth in 1976, a fellow socialite who was also divorced.
A dominant figure, Raine set about reorganising Earl Spencer’s life and estate.
Mr Hodgson explained: “The Earl seemed pleased by this, relieved and somewhat grateful.
“Diana, her brother and sisters were exactly the opposite.
“They hated Raine from day one.”
The Althorp estate was 500 years old, and so the children were deeply offended when Raine began selling antique furniture and repainting gold picture frames.
Princess Diana and Raine Spencer (Image: Getty)
Raine married Earl Spencer in 1976 (Image: Getty)
Mr Hodgson continued: “They resented her hold over their father, her iron will, her undoubted ability that put her beyond criticism and the fact that, now that it was at last their turn to be lords and ladies of their own palace, Raine had come into their life and they were little more than pawns in her grand scheme of things.”
Mr Hodgson pointed out that Raine reportedly complained more than once: “Those children made my life hell on earth.”
A family friend apparently agreed and replied: “Their capacity for hatred was frightening.”
Indeed Diana’s sister Sarah once said: “I would sooner take up residence in Lenin’s tomb, cuddling his corpse for warmth, than have Raine Dartmouth for my stepmother.”
Earl Spencer and Diana’s mother Frances at their wedding – they divorced in 1969 when Diana was 7-years-old (Image: Getty)
Mr Hodgson added: “None of them were ever to make any effort to conceal their dislike of this formidable woman who had stolen their father’s affections and so much of his expenditure budget.”
Some claim that when Earl Spencer died, Diana and her brother bundled up Raine’s belongings into a bin bag and threw them down the stairs.
The future Princess of Wales even called her stepmother a “bully” and she was known as “Acid Raine” to Diana and her siblings.
Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell told Inside Edition last October that Diana “didn’t like this woman stepping into her mother’s shoes”.
He explained: “On one occasion Diana did actually push her down the stairs.
Diana and her stepmother in 1983 – the Princess of Wales was known to call her stepmother ‘Acid Raine’ (Image: Gett)
Diana realised how much Raine had done for her father and they began to make amends (Image: Getty)
“I don’t think she meant to do that, but it just happened — it was Diana’s way of saying ‘you’re not welcome here’.”
Other accounts suggest this took place in 1989 when Raine was hosting the wedding of Charles, Diana’s younger brother.
However, the Princess of Wales actually changed her mind about her stepmother later in life.
Diana and Raine made up after the Princess of Wales’ messy 1996 divorce (Image: Getty)
Mr Burrell told Entertainment Weekly that after her messy divorce from Prince Charles in 1996, Diana found herself turning to her former enemy for support.
He said that Diana supposedly pushed her down the stairs because “she hated her so much” but during the last few years of Diana’s life, she “did a full 180-degree turn”.
The former butler said: “She explained it to me by saying she just wanted to say thank to Raine for (A) looking after her father and (B) for loving him so much.
“She didn’t realise until later in life exactly how much [Raine] did love and care for him.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK