Raine Spencer, the stepmother of Diana, Princess of Wales has died at the age of 87. Her son, William Legge, the Earl of Dartmouth confirmed her passing, which was after a short illness, this afternoon.
The family released a short statement saying, “Raine, Countess Spencer, died peacefully at her home in London on 21st October 2016, after a short illness.”
She was born Raine McCorquodale on 9 September 1929 as the only child of novelist Dame Barbara Cartland and Alexander McCorquodale.
During her early life, Raine served in her local government for many years. As a member of the Conservative Party, she became the youngest member of the Westminster City Council at the age of 23.
She married the Hon. Gerald Humphry Legge on 21 July 1948. They had four children together: William Legge, 10th Earl of Dartmouth, Hon. Rupert Legge, Lady Charlotte, and Hon. Henry Legge. They divorced in 1976.
Raine met Diana’s father, Earl Spencer while serving in the government. They subsequently married on 14 July 1976 in London. The Earl passed away on 29 March 1992, and Raine would go on to marry for the third time to Count Jean-François Pineton de Chambrun in 1993. This union only lasted three years, and they divorced in 1995.
When she wed Earl Spencer and moved into Althorp, Diana was just fifteen-years-old. She was known to have a strained relationship with her stepdaughter throughout her life, but it is believed they reconciled before Diana was tragically killed in a Paris car crash on 31 August 1997.
In 2012, letters between Raine and Diana were leaked to the media, which shed some new light on the turbulent relationship she had with Diana. Some of the letters showed a softer side between the pair with warm words to one another. Auctioneers wanted to auction off some of the letters the young Lady Diana had written to Raine before The Prince of Wales had proposed. However, Raine was furious and demanded to be informed of how they were released.
During the 2007 investigation into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Countess Spencer gave sworn testimony during the London inquest.
Raine, the Countess Spencer is survived by her four children and her grandchildren.