Not all lines are created equal. While one would expect Prince Charles to be the ultimate in royal breeding, others are even better born. On the one hand, his late wife. Princess Diana’s family, the home of Spencer, is a long-standing British dynasty, dating back to the 16th century. The Windsors, meanwhile, are of German origin, having adopted their current name only in 1917. In other words, Charles got married.
In Spencer, in theaters on November 5, Kristen Stewart plays Diana for three pivotal days. The movie puts Diana at the center of the story, so we decided to do the same. Here, get to know the Spencers themselves.
1. Henry Spencer, 1st Earl of Sunderland (1620-1643)
The founder of House Spencer was born the third Baron Spencer and then received the first peerage from the Earl of Sunderland, creating a new title for the older Spencer men that would last until the 1750s.
2. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (1757-1806)
Diana’s fourth great-aunt also married a man almost 10 years her senior and was seen as an influencer, popularizing French hair powder, among other trends.
3. Lady Diana Spencer (1710-1735)
She was the namesake of Diana, and more. The original Lady Di was supposed to marry the Prince of Wales, but King George II was warned by his Prime Minister to find a “less politically threatening” wife for his son.
4. Charles Spencer, Third Earl of Sunderland (1702-1722)
He merged the Spencers with the Churchills through his marriage to Anne Churchill.
5. Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (1660-1744)
Rachel Weisz played it in the 2018s The favourite, illustrating his close (and possibly romantic) relationship with Queen Anne.
6. Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
The Prime Minister was Princess Diana’s distant cousin. To this day, some family members still bear their surname Spencer-Churchill.
7. Dame Barbara Cartland (1901-2000)
The novelist was Diana’s stepmother (that is, her stepmother’s mother). She holds the record for the most books published in a single year.
8. Albert Spencer, seventh Earl Spencer (1892-1975)
Diana’s grandfather was a member of the Army Reserves. Her godfather was King Edward VII.
9. Raine Spencer (1929-2016)
The British socialite’s second husband (out of three) was Diana’s father, although Diana and her siblings reportedly called their stepmother ‘Acid Raine’.
10. John Spencer, Eighth Earl Spencer (1924-1992)
Diana’s father raised the future princess and her three siblings, as he was granted custody after his divorce from LadyFrances Roche.
11. Dame Frances Roche (1936-2004)
Diana’s mother was an aristocrat in her own right, the daughter of a baron and a baroness. In 1967, she left John Spencer for the heir of the wallpaper Peter Shand Kydd.
12. Prince Charles (1948-)
The Prince of Wales is, of course, the heir to the British throne and married Diana at the age of 20. The couple finally divorced in 1996.
13. Princess Diana (1961-1997)
The subject of our family tree, the Princess of Wales (née Diana Frances Spencer) was an activist and style icon.
14. Lady Sarah McCorquodale (1955-)
Diana’s older sister dated Charles before Diana did. It is indeed Sarah who introduced the couple.
15. Lady Jane Fellowes (1957-)
Diana’s other sister married Robert Fellowes. He later obtained a peerage, making Jane a baroness.
16. Charles Spencer, ninth Earl Spencer (1964-)
Diana’s brother is an author and television journalist; he resides in Althorp, the family estate. He is the father of seven children, including Lady Kitty Spencer.
17. Prince William (1982-)
The second to the throne, the Duke of Cambridge is Diana’s eldest son. He has three children with his wife, Catherine (née Middleton).
18. Prince Harry (1984-)
Diana’s youngest son, the Duke of Sussex stepped down from royal duties in 2020. He now reigns over Santa Barbara, California, where he lives with his wife Meghan (née Markle) and their two children.
19. Lady Kitty Spencer (1990-)
Diana’s 30-year-old niece has made a name for herself as a model. She recently married fashion mogul Michael Lewis, 62.
20. George Washington (1732-1799)
The founding father was Diana’s eighth cousin, five times estranged.
21. Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993)
Audrey and Diana shared more than just a style: they were distant cousins. Hepburn was also a member of the Dutch nobility through his mother.
22. Glenn Close (1947-)
On PBS Finding your roots, Close discovered that she was Diana’s eighth cousin. The couple met in 1989, although they were unaware of the connection at the time.
23. Oliver Platt (1960-)
The actor was a second cousin to the Princess of Wales through his great-great-grandparents, although the two never met.
A version of this story appeared in the November 2021 issue of City Country.