What Princess Diana's Family's Relationship With William & Harry Is Like Now

Prince William and Prince Harry lost their mother, Princess Diana, in 1997 when they were both still quite young. And while members of the British royal family stepped in to help raise the young boys to adulthood, they also were able to maintain their relationships with their relatives on their mother's side of the family. 


Not all of those relationships have carried the same weight for the parties involved. For example, both William and Harry have been close to Diana's siblings, Viscount Althorp Charles Spencer, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, and Lady Jane Fellowes. However, their relationship with their grandmother Frances Shand Kydd seemed a bit more complicated, likely due to the fact that Diana and her mother had an up-and-down relationship themselves, and were not in contact with one another at the time of Diana's death.

If any of the Spencer family members have done their best to keep the relationship with William and Harry strong, it's Diana's siblings. Per Hello! magazine, Charles Spencer said at Diana's funeral, "We fully respect the heritage into which they have both been born and will always respect and encourage them in their royal role. But we, like you, recognise the need for them to experience as many different aspects of life as possible to arm them spiritually and emotionally for the years ahead." To that end, here is a look at the relationships that Prince William and Prince Harry have with Princess Diana's family.


The Spencers promised to look after the princes after Princess Diana's death

Princess Diana's death in 1997 was a shock to the world at large, but especially those who were the closest to her. After Prince William and Prince Harry lost their mother, her family pledged that they would step in and help fill in the gaps created by her passing. Diana's brother Charles Spencer walked behind her casket next to William, Harry, and their father, and both of Diana's sisters have remained especially close to the brothers as they have grown up and started families of their own.


While speaking at Diana's funeral, Charles Spencer promised, "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." To that end, Charles and his sisters Baroness Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale have supported the pair.

As The Telegraph noted at the time, Jane Fellowes was one of the first people to visit the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after the birth of their oldest child, Prince Archie, and the two made a point of including the Spencers in Archie's birth announcement. 

Charles Spencer has sometimes found himself in the middle of the brothers

While Charles Spencer has always made it clear that he's here to support both Prince William and Prince Harry throughout their lives, that doesn't mean that giving that support has always been an easy task. As the brothers have aged and their disagreements with one another have blown up into a genuine feud, Spencer has sometimes found himself in the middle of a sticky situation.


In his 2020 book "Battle of Brothers: William & Harry – The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult" (via People), Robert Lacey claimed that William looped in Uncle Charles to try to convince Harry that his relationship with Meghan Markle was moving too quickly. As Lacey put it, the resulting fallout was swift. He wrote, "He understood why Diana's brother should want to help. Yet he was furious with his elder brother for dragging other family members into the row."

Happily, Spencer has been on hand to help the brothers celebrate the most important parts of their lives, too. He attended the wedding of William and Catherine, Princess of Wales, in 2011 and also Harry and Meghan's wedding in 2018.


Lady Jane Fellowes is very close to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

While Princess Diana's sister Lady Jane Fellowes is on great terms with Prince William and his family, she appears to be even closer to Prince Harry and the family he has created with Meghan Markle. Lady Jane even had a significant role in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding when she was tapped to offer a reading in honor of Diana herself. Per Newsweek, Buckingham Palace commented, "Prince Harry and Ms. Markle both feel honoured that Lady Jane will be representing her family and helping to celebrate the memory of the late Princess on the wedding day."


Newsweek has also noted that as an adult, the sibling that Diana was the closest to was her sister Lady Jane, and her brother Charles Spencer admitted that Lady Jane was the first member of their family to find out that Diana had died in Paris, France. 

Harry and William aren't the only members of the family that Lady Jane is close to. Her husband, Robert Fellowes, worked as Queen Elizabeth II's private secretary, and her daughter Laura Fellowes is godmother to the Prince and Princess Of Wales' daughter, Princess Charlotte.

Lady Sarah McCorquodale has her own history with William and Harry's dad

Princess Diana's sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale has a funny connection to the royal family — she actually dated King Charles before her sister Diana did. While it didn't work out between the two, Sarah was able to introduce Charles and Diana and helped set in motion one of the most notorious royal family relationships to date.


Lady Sarah and Diana were still close during her lifetime, and Lady Sarah was photographed on vacation with Diana and Princes William and Harry more than once. After Diana's death, Lady Sarah was one of the co-executors of her sister's will and was also president of the Diana Memorial Fund. As reported by Town & Country magazine, in subsequent years Lady Sarah remained a strong presence in Diana's son's lives. She went to the funeral for their nanny in 2012 and attended the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales the year before. 

Lady Sarah was also at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2018 and at the christening of their oldest child, Prince Archie.

Princess Diana's mother was named a guardian of William and Harry

Princess Diana and her mother Frances Shand Kydd didn't always have the strongest relationship; two were not even speaking to one another before the former died in 1997. After her divorce from Diana's father, Kydd remarried and moved to Scotland. Her second marriage also ended in divorce, though she attributed that to the attention that swirled around the family after Diana and King Charles got engaged. The Guardian reports that Kydd once said, "I think the pressure of it all was overwhelming and, finally, impossible for Peter. They didn't want him. They wanted me. I became Diana's mum, and not his wife."


Despite their estrangement, Diana had named her mother as executor of her will and also appointed her a guardian of Prince William and Prince Harry, information that came to light following her car crash in 1997. When Kydd died in 2004, William and Harry flew into Scotland for the funeral; according to CBS News, the former read an excerpt from the Bible at the service. As reported by E! News, Diana's brother Charles Spencer noted in his eulogy, "The true love Diana had for her mother was evident in her will. She left my mother executor and principal guardian of her sons."

Lady Kitty Spencer was once close to Prince William and Prince Harry

Prince William and Prince Harry have a number of cousins on their mother's side, though the details of their relationships with those cousins aren't widely known. Charles Spencer has seven children, and his daughter Lady Kitty Spencer is thought to have been close to William and Harry over the years.


In fact, Lady Kitty attended both the Prince and Princess of Wales' wedding in 2011 and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding in 2018, but no one from William or Harry's families were present at Lady Kitty's own wedding in July 2021. On top of that, her father didn't attend the wedding at all, and some believe that it's possible Lady Kitty has had a falling out with her father that has extended to her royal cousins.

Cosmopolitan speculated that there could be a number of reasons why William and Harry did not attend the event. As the outlet pointed out, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had only just welcomed their daughter, Princess Lilibet, a month before the wedding, and it's possible that the date conflicted with William's royal duties schedule.