Lady Diana’s brother Charles Spencer has shared a touching tribute to their aunt Lady Anne Wake Walker, who died on Monday night at the age of 99.
The 9th Earl Spencer took to Instagram to share a childhood photograph of his aunt and father, John Spencer, playing on the family’s estate of Althorp in 1925, when Anne was five and John was one.
In a sweet social media post, he described his aunt as a ‘wonderful lady,’ who served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service during the second World War, and said her death marked ‘the end of an era.’
Lady Anne Wake-Walker, nee Spencer, was the eldest child and only daughter of the 7th Earl Spencer Albert Spencer, also known as Viscount Althorp, and his wife Cynthia Hamilton.
The 9th Earl Spencer, Charles, 55, paid tribute to his aunt Lady Anne Wake-Walker, who died yesterday aged 99, by sharing a picture of her as a child with his father John Spencer as children in Althorp (pictured) on Instagram
The Earl wrote a touching tribute to his aunt, calling her a ‘wonderful lady’ and highlighting her work as an officer for the Women’s Royal Navy Service during WW II
Charles wrote: ‘Aunt Anne and my father, playing at Althorp House in 1925. 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.’
He added: ‘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.’
Four of Lady Anne’s aunts were Ladies-in-Waiting to the Queen Mother, and her own mother, the late Countess Spencer, was a Lady-to-the-Bedchamber for 35 years to the Queen Mother.
In the picture shared by the Earl Spencer today, Lady Diana’s grandfather is seen playing in the grass as a toddler, while his big sister sits quietly on a swing.
A picture of Lady Anne dating back to 1923 can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery in London and captures her as a toddler, then three, with her parents Albert Spencer and Cynthia Hamilton.
Four other portraits immortalise her as a young woman aged 19, taken in May 1939 and reveal a gentile woman with a stylish hairdo and dream-filled eyes.
Earl’s Spencer, pictured in February 2018. Lady Anne Wake-Walker was the sister of the 7th Earl of Spencer, Lady Diana and Charles Spencer’s father, John Spencer
From left to right: Richard Wake-Walker, Lady Anne Wake-Walker, Elizabeth Wake-Walker, Christopher Wake-Walker, Earl Spencer, Countess Spencer, Lady Sarah Spencer, Viscount Althrop, Lady Jane Spencer. Lady Diana Spencer and Charles Spencer stand in the front
Lady Anne married Christopher Baldwin Hughes Wake-Walker, then a lieutenant in the Royal navy at Westminster Abbey on a windy 10 February 1944, and lived in East Bergholt.
The couple had five children, born between 1944 and 1958: Elizabeth Duckworth-Chad, David, Richard and Michael Spencer and Diana Macfarlane – named just like her cousin Diana Princess of Wales.
When Diana tragically died in a car accident in July 1997, Lady Anne remembered her as a ‘sweet, thoughtful and very kind girl’ with a marvellous sense of humour.
Diana used to visit her aunt and uncle as a child with her brother Charles.
In Diana: The Portrait By Rosalind Coward, Lady Anne revealed that when her husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, Lady Diana wrote her a letter, desperate to help her uncle. Diana also worked for the Parkinson’s Disease Society.
Captain Christopher Wake-Walker died in 1998 following his disease.
Lady Anne was very found of her niece Lady Diana, whom she called ‘marvellous’ and ‘caring’ (pictured, Lady Diana Spencer in Coleherne Court, Kensington, London in 1980)
Four of Lady Anne’s aunt were bridesmaids at the Queen’s wedding on June 2 1953. Pictured from left to right: Lady Moyra Hamilton (now Lady Moyra Campbell), Lady Anne Coke (now The Rt Hon The Lady Glenconner), Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill (now Lady Rosemary Muir), Lady Mary Baillie-Hamilton (now Lady Mary Russell), Lady Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby (now The Rt Hon The Baroness Willoughby de Eresby), Lady Jane Vane-Tempest-Stewart (now The Rt Hon The Lady Rayne) ; The Queen