Raine Spencer, stepmother of Princess Diana, has died after a short illness, her family has announced. She was 87.
The death was confirmed by her son William Legge, the Earl of Dartmouth and a Ukip MEP.
“Raine, Countess Spencer, died peacefully at her home in London on 21st October, 2016, after a short illness,” the family said in a statement.
Countess Spencer was married to Diana’s father, Earl Spencer, from 1976 until his death in 1992. When she moved into the 16th-century family estate known as Althorp, she became stepmother to then 15-year-old Diana and her 12-year-old brother Charles.
It has been reported that Diana and her brother Charles did not always get along with their stepmother.
Her marriage to Earl Spencer was the second of three marriages. Her first marriage to the Earl of Dartmouth lasted from 1948 to 1976 and they had four children.
Following the death of Diana’s father, she wed Count Jean-Francois de Chambrun in 1993. The couple split three years later.
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Born in 1929, Countess Raine was the only child of novelist Dame Barbara Cartland and Alexander McCorquodale.
She had a strong interest in politics. At age 23, she became the youngest member of Westminster City Council as a Conservative. She remained in local government for the following 17 years.
In a 2015 interview with the U.K. magazine, The Gentlewoman, Raine opened up about her relationship with her stepdaughter.
“Diana was a lovely person,” Raine said. “She had incredibly heavy pressures put upon her, but we ended up huge friends. She used to come and sit on my sofa and tell me her troubles. I’m very happy about that.
“I’m so glad that my poor John, who would have been devastated, died before she did. But what was lovely was that she thanked me at the end for looking after him.”