People.com Royals Princess Diana's Nieces Recall Moment She 'Protected' Them from Paparazzi: 'It Could Have Been Terrifying' Twins Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza Spencer didn't realize their aunt Princess Diana's significance in the world until they were older By Stephanie Petit Stephanie Petit Stephanie Petit is a Royals Writer/Reporter at PEOPLE. She has been with the brand since 2016 after graduating from The College of New Jersey and holding previous positions at Seventeen, CBS Radio and more. Follow the proud dog mom on Twitter at @stephpetit_ for the latest on Queen Elizabeth's corgis. People Editorial Guidelines Updated on January 28, 2021 12:18 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza Spencer. Photo: Luc Braquet Twins Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza Spencer were just 5 years old when their aunt Princess Diana tragically died, but they still remember her special connection with children. "We always just knew her as our aunt," Lady Eliza told Tatler (the glamorous sisters star on the cover of the magazine's March issue). "Growing up in South Africa, I really had very little idea of how significant she was in the world until I was much older." Eliza added that Princess Diana was "incredibly warm, maternal and loving. She always made an effort to connect with us as children and had a talent for reading children's hearts." Princess Diana's Life in Photos, from Young Girl to People's Princess The twins, the children of Diana's brother Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, also recalled when they were approached by a photographer during a beach outing with their famous aunt. "Obviously it could have been quite terrifying for us, being so young and not understanding what was happening. But she turned it into a game of who could get back to the car first. It was amazing how she protected us in a way that made us feel safe and not frightened," Eliza said. "We had no idea what she was doing at the time." "As a child, I realized the enormity of the loss for my father and family," she added. "It was only later that I came to understand the significance of the loss of her as a figure in the world." Prince William, Princess Diana and Prince Harry. Getty Although Lady Eliza and Lady Amelia grew up in South Africa with their mother, they have fond memories of Althorp, the Spencer family home in England where Princess Diana grew up. The twins spent their early years there and would visit their father during school holidays. "It is a truly special and beautiful place," said Eliza. "Having spent the first three years of our lives at Althorp, exploring and discovering it as children, and being part of a long heritage of Spencers that have lived there, it has always felt like another home. And of course it conjures up memories of family Christmases as children, with our extended family all together." Lady Eliza and Lady Amelia Spencer. Luc Braquet Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more! In fact, Lady Amelia is planning her wedding to Greg Mallet — and her father suggested Althorp acts as the venue. However, the bride-to-be is undecided. "It's our family home, it's beautiful," she said. "We would be very lucky to get married there, but Cape Town is where we grew up and there is a possibility that we might do it here too."