The aunt of Princess Diana has passed away aged 99, her family have confirmed.
The news was shared on Instagram by the 9th Earl Spencer, Lady Diana’s brother. He described the death of the 99-year-old the “end of an era” in a moving post.
Accompanying the caption, Charles Spencer posted a childhood photograph of his aunt and father, John Spencer, playing on a swing at the family estate of Althorp in 1925.
Lady Anne Wake-Walker, nee Spencer, was just half a year away from hitting a big life milestone and receiving a birthday letter from the Queen.
In the post, Earl Spencer paid tribute to his aunt, describing her as “a wonderful lady”.
“She was an officer in the WRENS in the Second World War, and was a much loved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother - as well as sister and aunt, of course. Aunt Anne died last night, aged 99 1/2. ‘The end of an era’ is the phrase I’ve heard repeatedly today. Indeed it is.” He continued.
While there aren’t many public pictures of Lady Anne in later life, there is one dating back to 1923 on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
The picture captures her as a toddler, then three, with her parents Albert Spencer and Cynthia Hamilton.
Lady Anne married Christopher Baldwin Hughes Wake-Walker, then a lieutenant in the Royal navy at Westminster Abbey on a 10 February 1944.
The couple went on to have five children: Elizabeth Duckworth-Chad, David, Richard and Michael Spencer and Diana Macfarlane.
It won’t just be the Spencer family in mourning. Lady Anne was great-aunt to Prince William and Prince Harry, too.
She also shared a close relationship with Princess Diana.
In Diana: The Portrait by Rosalind Coward, Lady Anne said that Lady Diana wrote her a letter when her husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, desperate to help in any way she could. Diana also worked for the Parkinson's Disease Society.
When Princess Diana tragically died in a car crash in 1997, Lady Anne paid tribute to her niece describing her as a “sweet, thoughtful and very kind girl”.