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The CambridgesThe Sussexes

Maternal relative of Princes William and Harry headed for sainthood


(Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Pope Francis has put a maternal relative of Princes William and Harry on the path to sainthood.

The Pope approved a decree on Saturday recognising the “heroic virtues” of George Spencer, a priest of the Passionist religious order who lived from 1799 to 1864. George Spencer was the youngest son of George John Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer. He left the Anglican Church and took the name “Ignatius of St. Paul” after becoming a Catholic priest.

Prince William and Prince Harry are related to the priest through their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, who was the daughter of John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer. George Spencer was Diana’s great-great-great-uncle, and he grew up on the ancestral estate of Althorp, which is also where Diana is buried. After George was ordained in Rome, he returned to England and ministered to Irish migrants in the West Midlands.

The order has been working on his sainthood cause for decades, and the Pope’s decree means that George Spencer is now “venerable.” He now needs one miracle to be attributed to him for him to be beatified and then another for him to be actually made a saint. This means that he still in the early stages of sainthood.