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Edward John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, MVO (24 January 1924–29 March 1992) was the son of Albert Edward John Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer and Lady Cynthia Elinor Beatrix Hamilton, the daughter of James Albert Edward Hamilton, 3rd Duke of Abercorn, and the father of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Education and military career

Lord Spencer was educated in Eton Collegemarker, in the Royal Military Collegemarker at Sandhurstmarker, and in the Royal Agricultural College. A Captain in the Royal Scots Greys, Lord Spencer fought in the Second World War from 1944 to 1945. From 1947 to 1950, Lord Spencer served as Aide-de-Camp to then-Governor of South Australia, Willoughby Norrie.

Politics and Royal service

Lord Spencer held the offices of County Councillor for Northamptonshiremarker (1952), High Sheriff of Northamptonshire (1959) and Justice of the Peace for Norfolk (1970). He served as Equerry to King George VI (1950-52) and to Queen Elizabeth II (1952-54), and was invested as a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (M.V.O.) in 1954.


On 1 June 1954, Lord Althorp and the Hon. Frances Ruth Roche, the younger daughter of the 4th Baron Fermoy, were married in Westminster Abbeymarker by Percy Herbert, Bishop of Norwich. They had five children:

Lord and Lady Althorp were divorced in April 1969. Lord Spencer later won a bitter custody battle for his children. On 14 July 1976, Lord Spencer married Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, the former wife of the 9th Earl of Dartmouth, and the only daughter of the romantic novelist Barbara Cartland and Alexander McCorquodale.


Lord Spencer died at Human Hospital, Wellington, London, at the age of 68, and was succeeded as Earl by his son, Charles, the younger brother of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Titles and styles

  • 24 January 1924-9 June 1975- Viscount Althorp
  • 9 June 1975-29 March 1992 The Right Honourable The Earl Spencer



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