Sarah Spencer Introduced Prince Charles to Diana While They Were Dating

Lauren Puckett
·3-min read
Sarah Spencer Introduced Prince Charles to Diana While They Were Dating
Sarah Spencer Introduced Prince Charles to Diana While They Were Dating

From Harper's BAZAAR

Minor spoilers for The Crown ahead.

If there was one person Prince Charles likely did not expect to change his life forever, it was the Lady Sarah Spencer, whom he briefly dated in 1977. They enjoyed a short courtship that ended after Sarah spoke to the press, apparently telling a reporter she wasn’t interested in marrying the heir to the throne. But before their relationship concluded, she did make one decision that would change the royal family for years to come: She introduced the prince to her younger sister.

In Netflix’s newest season of The Crown, the young Diana Spencer makes her long-awaited appearance in a Midsummer Night’s Dream costume. Prince Charles is visiting Sarah, and while he waits for his then-girlfriend to reappear, her sister steps into the room.

Photo credit: Serge Lemoine - Getty Images
Photo credit: Serge Lemoine - Getty Images

Diana hides from the heir, with whom her older sister has ordered her not to interact. The result is a charming, almost magical first meeting, in which Charles’s first glimpse of his future wife is through a plant she’s hiding behind.

In reality, their first interaction likely wasn’t so whimsical. According to The Guardian and The Independent, Sarah actually introduced the prince to Diana during a visit to Althorp, the Spencers’s ancestral home. “I introduced them; I’m Cupid,” she reportedly said of the meeting. Prince Charles was there for a pheasant hunt, and Diana remembers them meeting in “the middle of a plowed field,” according to an article in The Daily Times.

Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Graham - Getty Images

Prince Charles was known at the time for his string of romances, his girlfriends dubbed “Charlie’s Angels” by the press. Sarah was only one in a row of reportedly more than 20 relationships in the span of a decade, but when the young heir met Diana, he decided she was a suitable future queen.

But Sarah did not disappear. She continued to be—and still is—a key part of the royal family’s history.

What happened to Sarah Spencer?

After briefly dating Prince Charles, Sarah married Neil McCorquodale in 1980. The couple have three children: Emily, George, and Celia.

Sarah remained mostly out of the royal spotlight until Diana’s tragic death, after which she flew to France with Prince Charles and her other sister, Lady Jane Fellowes, to retrieve Diana’s body from Paris. Sarah conducted a reading at Diana’s funeral, and an estimated 2.5 billion people watched the broadcast from around the world, according to Town & Country.

Photo credit: Princess Diana Archive - Getty Images
Photo credit: Princess Diana Archive - Getty Images

After Diana’s death, Sarah became the president of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, a charity devoted to continuing Diana’s humanitarian work, which eventually closed in 2012. The fund, which still received money from donors through the Royal Foundation, was later split between Prince William and Prince Harry for their respective charities.

During and after her years helming the charity, Sarah stayed close to her nephews, attending the weddings of both princes to Duchess Catherine and Duchess Meghan, respectively. "Harry has always kept in close touch with the Spencers and they have all received invitations [to the wedding]," a source told Vanity Fair ahead of Prince Harry’s nuptials. "Harry gets on well with his aunts and uncle and they have met Meghan."

Sarah also was present for the christening of Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, son of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. According to E!, Diana often referred to Prince Harry as “my little Spencer” due to his “striking resemblance to his aunt Sarah,” which has clearly been passed down to Archie.

Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

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