Frances Shand Kydd

How are you related to Frances Shand Kydd?

Connect to the World Family Tree to find out

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Frances Ruth Burke Shand Kydd (Roche)

Also Known As: "The Honourable Frances Ruth Roche"
Birthplace: Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk, England
Death: June 03, 2004 (68)
Seil, Argyll and Bute, Scotland (United Kingdom) (Parkinson's, brain tumor)
Place of Burial: Pennyfuir Cemetery, Oban, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Maurice Roche, 4th Baron Fermoy and Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy
Wife of Peter Shand-Kydd
Ex-wife of John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer
Mother of Lady Sarah McCorquodale; Jane Fellowes, Lady Fellowes; John Spencer; Diana, Princess of Wales; Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer and 1 other
Sister of Mary Cynthia Burke Roche; Edmund Roche, 5th Baron Fermoy; Private and Private

Occupation: Frances Shand Kydd
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Frances Shand Kydd

" The Honourable Frances Shand Kydd (20 January 1936 – 3 June 2004) was the mother of Diana, Princess of Wales. Biographer Max Riddington, who was the writer of Frances: The Remarkable Story of Princess Diana's Mother, described Shand Kydd as a woman who was "certainly complicated" and also "funny, warm, intelligent, and energetic". After Diana's death on 31 August 1997, Shand Kydd devoted the final years of her life to Roman Catholic charity work." Parents : Edmund Maurice Burke Roche, Ruth Sylvia Roche Baroness Fermoy, DCVO OBE (née Gill)





[S3] Marlene A. Eilers, Queen Victoria's Descendants (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1987), page 172. Hereinafter cited as Queen Victoria's Descendants.

[S300] Michael Rhodes, "re: Ernest Fawbert Collection," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 8 February. Hereinafter cited as "re: Ernest Fawbert Collection."

[S125] Richard Glanville-Brown, online <e-mail address>, Richard Glanville-Brown (RR 2, Milton, Ontario, Canada), downloaded 17 August 2005.

[S124] Mabel Iris FitzGeorge, online <e-mail address>, Robin Balfour ("FTW - Mabel Iris FitzGeorge-John Baring" emailed to Darryl Lundy), downloaded 17 August 2005, Date of Import: 18 Dec 2004.

[S37] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003). Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.

[S8] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes (Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 1999), volume 2, page 2674. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition.

[S130] Wikipedia, online http;// Hereinafter cited as Wikipedia.

[S37] Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition, volume 1, page 1414.

Frances Ruth Shand Kydd was the mother of Diana, Princess of Wales. Her biographer, Max Riddington, who was the writer of Frances: The Remarkable Story of Princess Diana's Mother, described Shand Kydd as a woman who was "certainly complicated" and also "funny, warm, intelligent, and energetic." Following her divorce from John Spencer, Viscount Althorp in 1969, and Diana's death in 1997, Shand Kydd devoted the final years of her life to Roman Catholic charity work.

Shand Kydd was born Frances Ruth Roche in Park House, on the royal estate at Sandringham, Norfolk, on 20 January 1936. Her father was Maurice Roche, 4th Baron Fermoy, a friend of King George VI and the elder son of the American heiress Frances Work and her first husband, the 3rd Baron Fermoy. Her mother, Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy, DCVO, was a confidante and lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother). In her own right since birth she held the style of The Honourable as the daughter of a baron.
Her paternal grandmother, Frances Ellen Work, was an heiress and socialite from New York City. Shand Kydd was a direct descendant of Kitty (her great-great-grandmother), daughter of Eliza and Theodore Forbes.
Shand Kydd's Irish aristocratic and royal roots are related to a Prince, who was Donal MacCarthy Reagh, 9th Prince of Carbery, but also to James de Barry, 4th Viscount Buttevant, to Murrough O'Brien, 1st Earl of Thomond, to Gerald FitzGerald, 8th Earl of Kildare through Donal IV O'Donovan who is descended from all these. It also happens that O'Donovan was Edmond Roche, 1st Baron Fermoy's maternal great-great grandfather.

On 1 June 1954, Frances Burke Roche married John Spencer, Viscount Althorp (later the 8th Earl Spencer), at Westminster Abbey. The Queen and other members of the royal family attended the wedding ceremony. Shand Kydd was 18 years old and became the youngest woman wed in Westminster Abbey in the last five decades.

They had five children: Lady Sarah McCorquodale (born 19 March 1955), who married Neil Edmund McCorquodale, a nephew of Raine, Countess Spencer Jane Fellowes, Baroness Fellowes (born 11 February 1957), who married Baron Fellowes The Honourable John Spencer, who died within 10 hours after his birth on 12 January 1960 Diana, Princess of Wales (1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997), first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer (born 20 May 1964), who married Victoria Lockwood, then Caroline Freud (née Hutton and former wife of Matthew Freud). Charles is now married to Karen Spencer, Countess Spencer, his third wife.

The British media made comparisons between the lives of Shand Kydd and Diana because they were both inexperienced young women who were thrust into the spotlight by marriage to much older men in higher stations. Her marriage to Viscount Althorp was not a happy one and, in 1967, she left to be with Peter Shand Kydd, an heir to a wallpaper fortune whom she had met the year before. His half-brother was the former champion amateur jockey William Shand Kydd (1937-2014), who was the brother-in-law of John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan. Subsequently, she was named "the other woman" in Janet Shand Kydd's divorce action against her husband.

On 14 July 1976, Viscount Althorp married Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, the daughter of the novelist Dame Barbara Cartland. He eventually won a bitter custody battle over his children. Frances and Peter Shand Kydd were married on 2 May 1969 and lived on the Scottish island of Seil. (Clachan Seil 10 kilometres from Oban and easily reached by road. Although she lived a quiet life, she was forced into public view following the engagement of Diana to Prince Charles on 24 February 1981. Shand Kydd and her second husband separated in June 1988 after he left her for a younger woman. She blamed the pressure of media attention for the breakdown of the marriage. In 1996, she was banned from driving after being convicted of drunk-driving, but denied she had a problem with alcohol. She and Diana quarrelled in May 1997 after she told Hello! magazine that Diana was happy to lose her title of "Her Royal Highness" following her controversial divorce from Prince Charles. She was reportedly not on speaking terms with her daughter by the time of Diana's death. Following Diana's death, Shand Kydd made a point of visiting the family of Henri Paul, the driver of the Mercedes which Diana and her companion, Dodi Fayed, were in when it crashed in Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris, killing all three of them. She stated, "Strange though it may seem, my daughter's funeral was probably the proudest day of my life. Proud of her, proud of my elder daughters who were rock steady in their readings, and my son who gave the ultimate tribute of brotherly love for her." She spent her later years in solitude on Seil. She became a Roman Catholic in 1994 and devoted herself to Catholic charities. She eventually became involved with the Handicapped Children's Trust, the Royal National Mission for Deep Sea Fishermen, the Mallaig and Northwest Fishermen's Association, and the National Search and Rescue Dogs Association.

Shand Kydd died in a Scottish hospital at the age of 68 on 3 June 2004 following a long illness that included Parkinson's disease and brain cancer. Her funeral at the Roman Catholic cathedral in Oban on 10 June was attended by many of her children and grandchildren, including Princes William (who gave a reading) and Harry. Their father, her former son-in-law, Charles, Prince of Wales, did not attend because he was on the way to another funeral—going to Washington to lead the British delegation at the state funeral of the former US President Ronald Reagan the following day. Shand Kydd was buried in the local graveyard on the outskirts of Oban in Argyll.

view all 15

Frances Shand Kydd's Timeline

January 20, 1936
Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk, England
March 19, 1955
Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk, England
February 11, 1957
King's Lynn, Norfolk, England
January 12, 1960
Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk, England
July 1, 1961
Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
May 20, 1964
Marylebone, London, England