“Johnnie” is John Spencer, the eighth Earl Spencer: an Eton-educated nobleman and member of the House of Lords who had served as squire (a sort of attendant) to both King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. The connection to royalty is old: Diana’s maternal grandmother was a friend of Elizabeth’s mother, and Diana was named after an ancestor who was destined to be another Princess of Wales. The two families literally couldn’t have been closer: Diana was raised on the estate of one of the Queen’s private residences: Sandringham, in Norfolk. Essentially, the Queen was the owner of the family, until they inherited their own palace when Diana was 14.
As author Bell Hooks noted, the fact that Diana “came from the upper class has been obscured, and hers has become a ragged affair.” Writer Hilary Mantel observed in a recent collection of essays, “Mantel Pieces,” that in some ways the Spencers were more entrenched in British aristocracy than royalty: “Although she was not born royal , his ancestors were former power brokers. , dug deeper into these islands than the Windsors, ”she wrote.
By the time Charles had started dating Diana, the royals and the press were thrilled with the match’s suitability. “His pedigree is perfect,” cooed a reporter. “At that time, it seemed imperative that the Prince of Wales marry an aristocrat,” Penny Junor, who has written biographies of Elizabeth and Diana, said in an email. “Diana looked perfect in every way.
Having experienced an aristocratic rural upbringing similar to that of Prince Charles, Diana understood life in Balmoral. “Diana had no difficulty integrating into the royal family,” Junor said. “She knew how to hold her knife and fork and was used to servants. She seemed to fit in perfectly and seemed to enjoy all the outdoor activities. A private secretary to the Queen praised Diana’s “wonderful instincts”.