Watch: Unseen footage of Princess Diana playing piano stuns fan
Princess Diana’s nieces have said they remember the late royal as a “warm, maternal and loving” woman who “had a talent for reading children’s hearts”.
Twins Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza Spencer, 28, gave their first joint interview this week to Tatler, revealing they did not realise the significance of who their aunt was until later in their lives.
Diana was the sister of Charles Spencer, now Earl Spencer. Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza were five years old when she was killed in a car crash in Paris.
Now they have spoken about their aunt’s legacy and channelled her slicked back hair look of the 1990s on the cover of society magazine Tatler.
Of her memory of her aunt, Eliza said: “We always just knew her as our aunt. Growing up in South Africa, I really had very little idea of how significant she was in the world until I was much older.”
She added she was “incredibly warm, maternal and loving. She always made an effort to connect with us as children and had a talent for reading children’s hearts.”
Though they were young when she died, Eliza recalled one moment when Diana went to great lengths to protect her brother’s children.
They were on Noordhoek beach in South Africa when they were approached by a photographer.
She said: “Obviously it could have been quite terrifying for us, being so young and not understanding what was happening. But she turned it into a game of who could get back to the car first.
“It was amazing how she protected us in a way that made us feel safe and not frightened. We had no idea what she was doing at the time.
“As a child, I realised the enormity of the loss for my father and family. It was only later that I came to understand the significance of the loss of her as a figure in the world.”
The twins and their older sister, Lady Kitty Spencer, attended Prince William and Kate’s wedding in 2011, and Kitty and Eliza were guests at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in 2018.
Amelia is planning her own wedding to personal trainer Greg Mallett at the moment, and said their father had suggested the family home of Althorp as a venue.
She said: “It’s our family home, it’s beautiful. We would be very lucky to get married there, but Cape Town is where we grew up and there is a possibility that we might do it here, too.”
Speaking about the family home, where Diana grew up, Eliza said: “It is a truly special and beautiful place. Having spent the first three years of our lives at Althorp, exploring and discovering it as children, and being part of a long heritage of Spencers that have lived there, it has always felt like another home.
“And of course it conjures up memories of family Christmases as children, with our extended family all together.”
Sharing the cover on Instagram, Lady Amelia said: “I am so happy to be able to share the first ever cover shot with my twin sister @elizavspencer - the March cover issue for Tatler Magazine.”
She added that they will “treasure these images forever” and revealed future travel plans, saying: “We look forward to moving back to London and seeing you all soon!”
The twins’ father had moved with their mother, Victoria Lockwood, to Cape Town but they divorced in September 1997 and he moved back to the UK.
Amelia and Eliza both work as models represented by Storm Management.
Earl Spencer has been vocal in recent months about the portrayal of his sister in season four of The Crown, and has also successfully sought a new investigation into the 1995 interview Diana did with BBC Newsnight.
THe earl said he was shown forged bank statements which led him to introduce Diana to Martin Bashir, who conducted the interview.
The BBC did investigate forged statements in 1996, during an inquiry into the interview led by Lord Hall.
But the corporation agreed to launch a new investigation after Earl Spencer’s complaint about the interview and what is understood to be different documents to those in the 1996 inquiry.
The March issue of Tatler is available on newsstands and via digital download on Monday 1 February.
Watch: Diana’s friend praises William for “standing up” for his mum