Af­ter three years,why is there no head­stone for Diana’s step­mum?

Scottish Daily Mail - - Comment -

SHE LED an ex­tra­or­di­nary life, mar­ry­ing two earls and a count — and, along the way, be­came step­mother to Diana, Princess of Wales. But, in death, the vi­va­cious Raine, Count­ess Spencer (pic­tured, right, with Diana) is lan­guish­ing in near anonymity.

Three years af­ter she died aged 87, ‘Acid Raine’ — as she was bit­terly dubbed by her step­son Charles Spencer — lacks a head­stone on her grave.

In­stead, her rest­ing place in North Sheen ceme­tery, West Lon­don, is marked by a pro­saic wooden cross — a year af­ter Raine’s only daugh­ter, Char­lotte, as­sured me that the fam­ily was ‘in the process of com­mis­sion­ing the right stone’.

Alas, that process has ‘not been straight­for­ward’, ex­plains Char­lotte’s brother, Henry, youngest of Raine’s four chil­dren by her first mar­riage to Ger­ald Legge, 9th Earl of Dart­mouth.

But Henry, 50, a dis­tin­guished barrister, be­lieves that a head­stone wor­thy of his mother is fi­nally in the off­ing.

‘I un­der­stand from my sis­ter that we are now quite close to hav­ing a tan­gi­ble prod­uct,’ he tells me, adding that the fam­ily wants some­thing which does jus­tice to Raine’s ‘in­ter­est in and knowl­edge of the vis­ual arts’.

Char­lotte de­clines to com­ment, but her hus­band, Old Eto­nian Alex Car­caci, the 13th Duke of Car­caci, con­firms that progress is at last be­ing made.

‘The per­son [work­ing on the head­stone] has a lot of things on. Ev­ery­thing’s been ap­proved; he’s done all the sam­ples and he’s go­ing to make it when he can. It looks very good.’

A well-wisher has placed red roses on Raine’s grave. Rather poignantly, they are not real — but plas­tic. But per­haps Raine, who be­came Diana’s step­mother when she mar­ried John­nie, 8th Earl Spencer, in 1976, wouldn’t have minded.

De­spite her suc­ces­sion of ti­tles, she al­ways re­mem­bered that she was a McCorquo­dale — the only child of flam­boy­ant nov­el­ist Bar­bara Cart­land by her first hus­band, Alexan­der McCorquo­dale.

‘Who were the McCorquo­dales?’ Raine used to ask. ‘Print­ers from Manch­ester.’

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