Jane Fellowes, Baroness Fellowes

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The Lady Fellowes
Born
Cynthia Jane Spencer

(1957-02-11) 11 February 1957 (age 65)
NationalityBritish
EducationWest Heath Girls' School
Known forOne of two older sisters of Diana, Princess of Wales; maternal aunt to William, Prince of Wales, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
Spouse
(m. 1978)
Children3
Parent(s)John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer
Frances Shand Kydd
RelativesDiana, Princess of Wales (sister)
FamilySpencer

Cynthia Jane Fellowes, Baroness Fellowes (née Spencer; born 11 February 1957), is one of the two older sisters of Diana, Princess of Wales, the other being Lady Sarah McCorquodale.

Early life and education[edit]

Lady Fellowes is the second daughter of Edward John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer (1924–1992), and the Hon. Frances Ruth Burke Roche (1936–2004). Her parents married in 1954 but divorced in 1969. She has always used her middle name of Jane (just as her elder sister also uses one of her middle names). One of Jane's godparents is Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. She was a bridesmaid at his 1961 wedding to Katharine Worsley.[1]

Like her sisters, Lady Fellowes was educated at West Heath boarding school near Sevenoaks in Kent. Sources say she was an excellent student, achieving the status of school Prefect and passing a good number of A-level exams. To paraphrase Andrew Morton, Lady Fellowes acquired a "hatful" of O-level and A-level exams.[2]

Marriage and children[edit]

On 20 April 1978, Jane married her distant relation Robert Fellowes (b. 1941), then assistant private secretary to the Queen. During the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, Jane's sister Diana was a bridesmaid.

On 12 July 1999, Robert Fellowes was granted a life peerage as Baron Fellowes, of Shotesham in the County of Norfolk, after first being knighted as Sir Robert Fellowes.[3]

Lord and Lady Fellowes have three children and four grandchildren:

  • The Honourable Laura Jane Fellowes (19 July 1980); married Nicholas Peter Pettman on 30 May 2009. The couple has two sons.
  • The Honourable Alexander Robert Fellowes (23 March 1983); married Alexandra Finlay on 20 September 2013. They have two children:
    • Robert George Fellowes (10 April 2015)
    • Rose Jane Fellowes (10 August 2016)
  • The Honourable Eleanor Ruth Fellowes (20 August 1985)

These children are maternal first cousins of Prince William and Prince Harry and also paternal second cousins of Sarah, Duchess of York. Laura is godmother to Prince William's daughter, Princess Charlotte.[4]

Relationship with Diana, Princess of Wales[edit]

After Diana's death, conflicting views about the two sisters' relationship were voiced. Diana's butler Paul Burrell stated that the relationship was strained because of Lord Fellowes's position as secretary to the Queen, and that by the time of Diana's death they had not spoken in a number of years.[5][page needed] On the other hand, Diana's childhood nanny, Mary Clarke, author of memoirs about her experience raising Diana, stated that the relations between Lady Fellowes and Diana were not as bitter as Burrell and others have said or assumed.[6] It is not clear when their relationship deteriorated (if it did), but the sisters were neighbours on the Kensington Palace estate, with Diana living at numbers 8 and 9, and Lady Fellowes living at a house called the Old Barracks.[7]

Lady Fellowes and her sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale flew to Paris with their former brother-in-law Prince Charles to escort the Princess's body back for the public funeral. Witnesses reported that Lady Fellowes was very upset and needed to be assisted into a chair after seeing Diana's body at the hospital in Paris. Lady Sarah[8] and Lady Fellowes played a part in the public funeral ceremony.

Since Diana's death, Lord and Lady Fellowes have led a largely private life along with their three children. Lady Fellowes attended the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on 29 April 2011.[9] She also attended the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on 19 May 2018, at which she delivered a reading.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Duke of Kent and Katharine Worsley Wedding". Friends Reunited. Archived from the original on 24 May 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  2. ^ Andrew Morton, Diana: Her True Story.
  3. ^ House of Lords, Minutes and Order Paper – Minutes of Proceedings, 26 October 1999.
  4. ^ "Princess Charlotte is christened at Sandringham church". BBC News. 5 July 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  5. ^ Paul Burrell, A Royal Duty, 2003.
  6. ^ Mary Clarke, Little Girl Lost: The Troubled Childhood of Princess Diana by the Woman who Raised Her.
  7. ^ Lady Colin Campbell, Diana in Private...[full citation needed]
  8. ^ Polianskaya, Alina (20 November 2020). "What happened to Princess Diana's sister, Sarah Spence, who dated Prince Charles in The Crown". inews.co.uk. Retrieved 2 March 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "He said, she said: What the lip-readers saw at the royal wedding". The Telegraph. 2 May 2011. Archived from the original on 16 April 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  10. ^ "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding: the order of service in full". The Telegraph. 19 May 2018. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 19 May 2018.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Williamson, D. (1981a). "The Ancestry of Lady Diana Spencer". Genealogist's Magazine. 20 (6): 192–199.
  • Williamson, D. (1981b). "The Ancestry of Lady Diana Spencer". Genealogist's Magazine. 20 (8): 281–282.