What Princess Diana's Family Said About The Royals After Her Death

When Diana Spencer married King Charles III (then Prince Charles) in 1981, she not only became the Princess of Wales but also the "people's princess" as she captured hearts around the world. However, it is no secret that Diana faced challenges in and out of the public eye as she struggled to fit in with the royal family. What the royal family has said, or has left unsaid, about their relationship with Diana continues to be a subject of curiosity for many. But what about the family she grew up with?


The Spencer family is of aristocratic descent. Diana's father, John Spencer, who held the title of the eighth Earl Spencer, died in 1992 — the same year Diana and Charles separated. Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, and Diana's siblings, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, Lady Jane Fellowes, and Charles Spencer, survived the late princess. Because her two older sisters Sarah and Jane were away at boarding school for much of her childhood, Diana spent most of her time with her little brother Charles. Charles, now the ninth Earl Spencer, has spoken often of his relationship with his sister since her death, honoring her memory and freely sharing his thoughts on those who he believes mistreated his sister during her life.


Here's a look at what he and the rest of Diana's family members have said since the people's princess' tragic death in 1997.

Charles Spencer delivered a controversial eulogy at his sister's funeral

On September 6, 1997, admirers of Princess Diana gathered in London and around their televisions to mourn her death. After the funeral procession, which began at Kensington Palace and ended at Westminster Abbey, a funeral service began. There, Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, gave a powerful and memorable eulogy. 


In the emotional speech, Charles seemed to acknowledge his sister's struggle to fit in with the royal family, causing many people to wonder if he was using this somber occasion to criticize the royals. "I pledge that we, your blood family, will do all we can to continue the imaginative and loving way in which you were steering these two exceptional young men so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition, but can sing openly as you planned," he said (via YouTube). 

Charles also spoke of how Diana was a beloved and influential symbol of good in the world — even after she exited the royal family. He said his sister was "someone with a natural nobility who was classless and who proved in the last year that she needed no royal title to continue to generate her particular brand of magic."


Charles Spencer claimed the royal family lied to him about an aspect of Diana's funeral

One of the most heartbreaking moments of Princess Diana's funeral was the image of her two sons, Prince William, who was 15 at the time, and Prince Harry, who was 12, walking solemnly behind their mother's casket on the cortège from Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey.


Since that sorrowful day, Diana's brother Charles has revealed how he felt tricked into allowing the young princes to follow their mother's coffin. In an interview with the BBC, Charles explained, "I had been a passionate advocate for William and Harry to not to have to walk behind their mother's body. I thought it was a bizarre and cruel thing for them to be asked to do." Despite his objection, Charles said the royal family made the decision to include the boys in the procession. He went on to say, "I was lied to and told they wanted to do it, which of course they didn't."

Some five years after Diana's funeral, the earl revealed to The Guardian that he felt the royals played an active role in preventing contact between his nephews and their mother's family. "What I can say is that they may not be encouraged to stay in touch with their mother's side of the family," Charles said. Although Diana's brother promised in his eulogy to support the late princess' children, the royals appeared to challenge his ability to fulfill his word.


Diana's mother expressed frustration with the royals' treatment of her daughter

Diana's relationship with her mother, Frances Shand Kydd, was reportedly difficult. After Diana's parents divorced in 1969, her father was granted sole custody of the children. Although Shand Kydd may have experienced a strained relationship with her daughter during her life, she was not shy about criticizing how the royal family acted toward her and her daughter. 


In 2005, diaries documenting past conversations Shand Kydd had with journalists were released, which revealed the harsh judgment that Diana's mother felt from the royal family. In these diaries, Shand Kydd claimed that Prince Charles "acts like a spoiled brat" and felt it was good that he became depressed after Diana's death. In addition, she labeled the queen mother a "b***h" (via The Scotsman).

When the creation of a memorial fountain dedicated to Diana's legacy began back in 2002, Shand Kydd claimed that she had not been contacted about the project honoring her daughter, according to The Guardian. She instead learned about it through the press. Not only was she upset about not being included, but she was also unhappy with the fountain itself, saying it was "lacking in grandeur." In June 2004, Shand Kydd died — and a month later, Queen Elizabeth II opened Diana's memorial fountain.


Diana's sisters have remained quiet about the royals

While Diana's mother and brother have been vocal about their feelings regarding how the royals handled the life and death of Princess Diana, Diana's older sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes, have managed to avoid making public comments on the royal family.


However, McCorquodale, the oldest of the Spencer children and the one who reportedly introduced Prince Charles to Diana, did speak about her sister's death in the BBC documentary "Diana, 7 Days." She revealed that she still asks herself why Diana was not wearing a seat belt that fateful night, as she was known to be "religious" about doing so (via YouTube). Unlike McCorquodale, Fellowes declined to participate in the documentary and has remained mum about her sister's death.

Nevertheless, the two surviving sisters do maintain a connection with Princes William and Harry. McCorquodale and Fellowes reportedly attended the christening of Princess Lilibet as well as the weddings of William and Harry to their respective wives, Princess Catherine and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Lady Jane Fellowes even gave a reading at Harry and Meghan's wedding. 


Charles Spencer put the past behind him and paid tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II

Despite his past criticism of members of the royal family, Charles Spencer honored Queen Elizabeth II after her death in 2022. Elizabeth was not only his queen and the mother-in-law of his sister Diana, but she was also his godmother.


On the day of the queen's funeral, Charles took to Twitter to share a photo of cuff links stamped with Elizabeth's royal cipher. "Wearing these at Windsor today, with great sadness and pride," he tweeted.

The ninth Earl Spencer also took to Instagram to pay tribute to his godmother. On his personal account, Charles shared an excerpt that was read at the queen's committal service. He explained that the text "was the nearest anyone has come to capturing the essence of HM the queen today — the 'kindness,' 'concern,' and dignity of a truly great lady." 

Charles Spencer revealed that he would not attend the coronation of King Charles III

In a 2023 interview with the "Off Air ... with Jane and Fi" podcast, Charles Spencer revealed that he did not expect to receive an invitation to the coronation of King Charles III. He went on to describe how families of nobility, such as the Spencers, have historically appeared during the coronation of a monarch. However, he stated that the Spencers have never really participated in elaborate ways.


After it was revealed that Diana's brother would not be at the coronation, the "Off-Air" co-hosts brought up how they believed many people will be thinking of Diana on the day of Charles' coronation. Charles found the sentiment to be complimentary and revealed that he thinks of his sister every day, but "in a different context."

He continued, saying, "Actually, the whole royal thing, I don't find it as interesting as a lot of people, you know? I just get on with my life. ... People obviously assume that I care a lot about that side of things, but it's just a side part of my life."

Diana's brother showed support for Harry and Meghan

In November 2020, Meghan publicly revealed in an article for The New York Times that she and her husband had suffered a miscarriage just months earlier in July 2020. In this heartbreaking piece, Meghan described her sorrow and grief as she and her husband Harry mourned this loss. 


During an appearance on the TV program "Lorraine," Charles Spencer, Harry's uncle with whom he continues to share a close relationship, expressed his sadness for his nephew's family, saying, "I can't imagine the agony for any couple of losing a child in this way" (via Twitter).

Spencer continued to express his support for Harry and Meghan, saying that "all thoughts are with them [Harry and Meghan] today." Charles Spencer has remained close with his nephew Harry and his family, staying true to the promise he made at Diana's funeral over 20 years ago.