Princess Diana's `Wicked' Stepmother

Princess Diana's `Wicked' Stepmother


Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes notes wryly of his friend Raine Spencer, Diana, Princess of Wales’s supposed hated stepmother, in this enjoyable documentary from 2017, “Nobody is a countess three times by accident.”

Indeed Raine, daughter of Barbara Cartland, formidable local politician, a sterling supporter of marginalised teenagers and even a recording star (her charity fund-raising record, I’m in Love, was deemed the worst single of the year by the New Musical Express) went through life with force and precision.

With an astounding bouffant hairdo and a cut-glass accent, Raine launched herself on London society where she eventually bagged the dour, abandoned (by his bolting wife Frances) Johnnie Spencer. But his children, including Princess Diana, despised their stepmum, and would sing, “Raine, Raine, go away.”

Yet a surprising and very close friendship grew between Raine and Princess Diana after the collapse of the royal marriage.


An examination of the turbulent relationship between Diana, Princess of Wales and her formidable stepmother Raine Spencer, who rose from humble origins with the help of her larger-than-life mother, the novelist Barbara Cartland, to become a countess and a member of the royal family. Raine was a divisive figure, who was doted on by her husband Johnnie Spencer but loathed by Diana and her siblings. Yet as the princess's marriage collapsed, she reached out to her stepmother for support, marking a change in the women's relationship.

Cast & Crew

Director Stephen Finnigan
Executive Producer Iain Scollay
Producer Stephen Finnigan