Saturday, July 15, 2017

Raine, Countess Spencer

From The Irish Times:
Born in 1929, with the proverbial silver spoon, she was, reputedly, seen as an infant by the young Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth who observed: “What a lovely, fat baby”. Raine grew up to be voted ‘Debutante of the Year’ during ‘the Season’ in 1947 and, the following year, married the future Earl of Dartmouth. She dabbled in politics and was elected a councillor for the Conservative Party in London having canvassed voters dressed in her jewellery and furs. Her obituary in ‘The Daily Telegraph’ noted that until the late 1960s - at the height of ‘Swinging London’ - she still had “a footman wearing white gloves in attendance at even the most informal lunch”.

She divorced her husband in 1976 and swapped one earldom for another - by marrying the also-divorced 8th Earl Spencer. She nursed him for years after he suffered a stroke but also, controversially, funded a redecoration of Althorp, the Spencer estate in Northamptonshire, by selling some of the family heirlooms. She was reputedly disliked by Earl Spencer’s children who cruelly dubbed her ‘Acid Raine’. That didn’t prevent her attending the fairy-tale wedding of her step-daughter Diana to Prince Charles in 1981.

Earl Spencer died in 1992 and Raine was forced to leave Althorp. She remarried, for the final time, a year later, the French aristocrat, the Comte de Chambrun - but the marriage didn’t last. She died in London in October 2016 and was survived by three sons and a daughter from her first marriage. (Read more.)

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