Princess Diana’s famous relatives, from Audrey Hepburn to Winston Churchill – even George Washington was a distant cousin through her British aristocratic lineage

Princess Diana was related to style icons past and present – Audrey Hepburn and Kitty Spencer – as well as many royals and public figures. Photos: AP,; @kitty.spencer/Instagram

Gone but not forgotten, Diana, Princess of Wales would have turned 60 years old this week, and as her sons Prince William and Prince Harry unveil a statue of their mother in the gardens of Kensington Palace to honour her life, we find out who, besides the British royals, she was actually related to.

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Princess Diana with Prince Harry. Photo: @oprahdaily/Instagram

Before Diana became a princess, she was known as Lady Diana Spencer, daughter of Edward John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, and Frances, who was the younger daughter of the 4th Baron Fermoy.

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The Spencers are a British aristocratic family with more than 500 years of nobility. The family ancestral home Althorp in Northamptonshire, a 5,260-hectare (13,000-acre) estate, was built in 1508 by John Spencer, who was knighted by King Henry VIII. Diana moved there in 1976 when she was 14. It is also where the late princess is buried.

Princess Diana’s niece, Kitty Spencer. Photo: @kitty.spencer/Instagram
Diana’s niece Lady Kitty Spencer is a socialite and model. She is the daughter of Diana’s brother Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, and former model Victoria Lockwood. Kitty’s younger twin sisters Eliza and Amelia – who announced her engagement late last year – are following in her footsteps as models, having scored several front covers in recent years.
Britain’s Sir Winston Churchill flashing the V-sign for victory in January 1950. The legendary former prime minister comes from a family with a long relationship with Princess Diana’s family, the Spencers. Photo: AFP Photo

Besides the Spencers, Diana has a slew of famous relatives and ancestors. The Spencer family’s relationship with the Churchills (the Dukes of Marlborough) dates back 300 years when Charles, 3rd Earl Spencer, married Anne Churchill – Diana’s great grandparents (seven generations back) and former British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill’s great grandparents (five generations back). The Churchills have since been called Spencer Churchill, with Sir Winston’s full name being Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill. The Duke of Marlborough’s ancestral home, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, is also technically a Spencer ancestral home.

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In this November 1954 photo, Elizabeth of England and prime minister Sir Winston Churchill wait at Waterloo station for the queen mother on her return from a month in the US. In front stand Prince Charles and Princess Anne. Photo: AP Photo

The Spencers are also related to early Scottish and British royals. Diana was related to England’s King Charles II through two lines of illegitimate children – Henry FitzRoy and Charles Lennox – when two great-grandmothers Adelaide Seymour and Rosalind Bingham married into the family. Charles II was also the uncle to Mary Queen of Scots, making Princess Diana a descendant of both English and Scottish royalty. But her royal Scottish line goes even further back, to the king of Scotland from 1306-1329, Robert the Bruce, via the Churchill line.

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Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Photo: Paramount Pictures

Diana was also related to the late actress and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn, whose mother was from Dutch aristocracy and her father a descendant of Mary Queen of Scots through her third husband James Hepburn.

Hollywood star Humphrey Bogart was Diana’s seventh cousin, actor Oliver Platt was her second cousin once removed, and other famous links included the writer of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott, and silent movie stars Rudolph Valentino and Lillian Gish.

Even George Washington was her eighth cousin, seven times removed. The present Earl Spencer wrote that before the family of George Washington left England they had an estate near Althorp.

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Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the Warner Brothers film Casablanca (1942). Photo: Getty Images

In all, four of Diana’s ancestors were mistresses to British kings, while she herself was the first British citizen to marry an heir to the throne since 1659 when Anne Hyde married James II.

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  • Diana was related to King Charles II, and through him to Mary Queen of Scots, but her Scottish line goes back to Robert the Bruce through the Churchills
  • Humphrey Bogart was her seventh cousin while other famous links include writer Louisa May Alcott and silent movie stars Rudolph Valentino and Lillian Gish