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Memories of a future Princess

PUBLISHED: 22:23 21 October 2003 | UPDATED: 17:11 24 February 2010

PRINCESS Diana is remembered by her aunt as a "sweet, thoughtful and very kind girl" with a marvellous sense of humour.

The Princess visited Lady Anne Wake-Walker's 400-year-old East Bergholt home often during her childhood, although she only stayed there once – the Spencer family visits were usually just for the day.

PRINCESS Diana is remembered by her aunt as a "sweet, thoughtful and very kind girl" with a marvellous sense of humour.

The Princess visited Lady Anne Wake-Walker's 400-year-old East Bergholt home often during her childhood, although she only stayed there once – the Spencer family visits were usually just for the day.

Diana's father John, the Eighth Earl Spencer, Lady Anne's brother, was equerry to the Queen.

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.

Between 1962 and 1964, while Lady Anne's husband Captain Christopher Wake-Walker was naval attache in Paris, the whole family stopped off in East Bergholt during their journey to France.

Princess Diana was only about three at the time.

Lady Anne previously told the EADT: "She was a lovely baby. In fact all through she has been lovely."

As a child, Diana was said to be fond of animals – Peanuts the pet guinea pig which reminded her of home during her three years at Riddlesworth Hall prep school, near Diss, and Marmalade the ginger cat.

She also had a love of swimming and later skiing during her finishing school days at the Chateau D'Oex near Montreux.

Diana was said by her aunt to have been fond of dancing and developed her love of children while she was a teenager during her job at the Young England Kindergarten in Pimlico.

One of the Wake-Walker's children is also named Diana, but she is three years older than the Princess.

The children were at school together at West Heath in Sevenoaks and were described as "close friends" although with Diana being younger than her Suffolk cousins, in later years everyone went their separate ways.

Lady Anne and her husband, along with their five children, were present at St Paul's for Diana's wedding to Prince Charles.

"As long as they are in love that is all that matters," said Lady Anne at the time.

Lady Anne was confident of her niece's ability to cope with the pressures of becoming the Princess of Wales even before the royal marriage.

She told the EADT at the time: "She has shown great poise – she has tolerance and patience."

Speaking after news broke of Diana's first pregnancy, Lady Anne said the Princess would make the "most perfect mother".

"We are obviously absolutely delighted. She will be absolutely perfect as a mother – she's marvellous," she said.


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