Princess Diana‘s childhood nanny has claimed the royal had a ‘sheltered’ childhood, and said she had no idea of the ‘trauma’ of her parent’s divorce.
Diana’s mother Frances Shand Kydd, who passed away in 2004, aged 68, left her father John Spencer, for wallpaper tycoon Peter Shand Kydd in 1969, and, after losing a bitter custody battle for her children, moving out of the family home when the princess was seven.
Last week, Diana’s younger brother Charles Spencer, 56, who lives in Althorp House, his family seat in the Northamptonshire countryside, described their childhood as ‘ruptured’ and ‘agonising’.
But now Diana’s former nanny, Mary Clarke, now 70, has disputed his claims, telling The Sunday Times: ‘Those children didn’t even know about that court case … they didn’t know any of that trauma was going on … they were very sheltered. Those parents gave them a wonderful life.’
Diana’s mother Frances Shand Kydd, who passed away in 2004, aged 68, left her father John Spencer, for wallpaper tycoon Peter Shand Kydd in 1969. Diana and her mother are pictured at the wedding of Viscount Spencer in 1989
Diana’s former nanny, Mary Clarke, now 70, who splits her time between the UK and Canada, has called their late mother a ‘lovely person’, who would often visit her children
Mary was 21 when she started working for the Spencer’s Norfolk home on the Queen’s Sandringham estate, and beat more than 60 applicants for the opportunity to look after 10-year-old Diana who she described as a ‘lovely child’.
In an interview earlier this month, father-of-seven Earl Spencer, who is married to third wife Karen, 47, said that Diana ‘used to wait on the doorstep for her mother to return’ home following her parents’ divorce.
However Mary, who splits her time between the UK and Canada, has called their late mother a ‘lovely person’, who would often visit her children.
She explained: ‘The children spent quite a lot of time with her … they had wonderful times when they were with her.’
Princess Diana’s brother Earl Spencer, 55, last week described their childhood as ‘ruptured’ and ‘agonising’
She recalled days out with Diana and her siblings at Brancaster beach in Norfolk, village fairs, playing outside to build dens in the woods and swimming at the Park House pool.
Mary added that Diana ‘loved being outside’ and was a happy child who ‘loved having her friends around.’
Frances, then 18, and the 8th Earl Spencer Johnnie, 30, married in 1954 before divorcing in 1969.
Princess Diana died at the age of 36 when the car she was travelling in crashed in a Paris tunnel on August 31, 1997, with this year marking the 23rd anniversary of her death
In 1968, Frances lost a custody battle for Diana, Charles and their sisters Jane and Sarah and tried again in 1971 to regain custody of Johnnie Spencer, but lost once again.
The mother of Diana went to live with her new husband in Scotland after losing her first custody battle for her children, in which she was dubbed ‘the bolter’.
Mary said that the court cases were handled ‘extremely well’ and that the second bid for custody showed how much Frances loved her children.
Candidly reflecting on her marriage in a magazine interview in 1997, Frances said: ‘While I believe remorse and regret are vibrantly necessary when we have failed others and failed ourselves, I do think repetitive apologies are a form of self-pity.’
Charles Spencer discussed his grief on Radio 4, saying he ‘braced’ each year ahead of the anniversary of the late royal’s death (pictured alongside Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Charles at Princess Diana’s funeral)
Earlier this month, Charles spoke out about Princess Diana’s death last week during an appearance on Radio 4.
Princess Diana died at the age of 36 when the car she was travelling in crashed in a Paris tunnel on August 31, 1997, with this year marking the 23rd anniversary of her death.
Diana and her mother had a rocky relationship and weren’t on speaking terms before her death in 1997.
Discussing his loss, he said: ‘Everyone’s personal loss is so intensely personal. And 23 years ago, it was very much a public outpouring.’
Charles said he is ‘always surprised by how difficult’ the anniversary of her death remains as he revealed it continues to ‘take him out at knees.’
He explained: ‘I’m always surprised by how difficult August 31 is each year actually. I always slightly brace myself for it and it does take me out at the knees. It is a very poignant time.’