Who Is Princess Diana's Sister Sarah Spencer?

Princess Diana is undoubtedly the most famous of the Spencer sisters. Once she became Princess of Wales that was pretty much to be expected. But since Netflix's The Crown highlighted Diana's eldest sister, Sarah Spencer in the series, more and more people want to know about the mysterious older sister who first captured the eyes of eligible royal bachelor Prince Charles. 

What is Sarah like? Does she share similar mannerisms to her late sister? Did she and Prince Charles really date? And how did she feel about her sister eventually being the one to make Charles put a ring on it? So many questions and yet so little info on Sarah. 

While Sarah mostly remained out of the public eye, we did manage to come across a few nuggets of info about Diana's secretive older sister. Keep reading to find out all there is to know about Princess Diana's eldest sister, Sarah Spencer!

Sarah Spencer has always rubbed elbows with the royals

Sarah Spencer was born in 1955 in Norfolk, England, as the eldest child of John Spencer and Frances Shane Kydd. She was named Elizabeth Sarah Lavinia Spencer, per Town & Country

Sarah and the rest of her siblings, Jane, Diana, and Charles Spencer, were born into an aristocratic family and were reported to run in the same circles as many of the royal family — including Prince Charles, per Marie Claire. It's also rumored that Diana actually played with the younger royal children as a little girl since she was closer in age to them (via The Oprah Magazine).

And while the Spencers instilled a solid work ethic into each of their children, it's no surprise that all of them — including Sarah — led very privileged lives. Take their opulent homes, for instance. Sarah grew up in two homes, including the lavish Park House at Sandringham and the official Spencer estate, Althorp, which boasted a whopping 90 rooms and 550 acres of land. So naturally, Sarah felt right at home hobnobbing with other British aristocrats.

Sarah Spencer dated Prince Charles first

If you're wondering if Netflix's The Crown got it right when they portrayed Sarah Spencer as being the first person to catch the wandering eye of Prince Charles, they did!

As reported by Marie Claire, Sarah entered into a relationship with Charles in 1977 when she was 22 years old and Charles was 28. But what is it about Sarah that charmed the royal during their initial first meeting at a party at Windsor Castle? Author Sarah Bradford wrote in Diana: Finally, the Complete Story, that it was "Sarah's sparkiness and irreverent wit" that attracted him to her. She also noted that the pair "made each other laugh."

After their initial meeting, the two started spending more and more time together. In the book Diana: A Princess and Her Troubled Marriage, author Nicholas Davies wrote that the two were often spotted together at polo matches, the theater, and even "country house parties." It's rumored that the two got so close that Sarah was extended an invitation to Balmoral by none other than the queen herself. 

Unfortunately, after only one short year of dating, the two called it quits and went their separate ways. 

Sarah Spencer unknowingly played matchmaker to Prince Charles and Princess Diana

As it turns out, Sarah Spencer is responsible for the romance between Princess Charles and Princess Diana in the first place. 

Per Town & Country, Diana first met Charles in 1977 while he was visiting Sarah for a pheasant shoot at the Spencer estate, Althorp. Diana was only 16 years old at the time. 

As you may recall in The Crown, Sarah was not exactly thrilled when Charles appeared to take interest in her kid sis, especially after he asked her for her phone number. And it appears that scene may not be all fiction, as the book Diana in Search of Herself: Portrait of a Troubled Princess echoed those same sentiments. Diana is quoted as saying that Sarah "resented it terribly because I accepted to go out with Prince Charles." 

Yikes. Just imagine how awkward that must have made things at home for awhile.

Sarah Spencer went on to marry Neil Edmund McCorquodale

Luckily for Sarah Spencer, she eventually got over her boyfriend moving in on her younger sister and went on to date again and eventually settled down and accepted a proposal from Neil Edmund McCorquodale. The couple wed in 1980. Happily ever after at last! 

Per POPSUGAR, while Sarah did take her husband's last name, she opted to retain her title as he didn't have one. Definitely a far cry from Prince Charles! Lady Sarah McCorquodale and her husband went on to have three children: George, Celia, and Emily.

And while Sarah's husband may have not had a title, it appears he did have money, honey! According to Sally Bedell Smith, author of Diana in Search of Herself: Portrait of a Troubled Princess, he was a wealthy farmer. In the book, a friend described him as "solid, very steady, private, quiet, with a good sense of humor." 

According to Smith, the very "opposite of Sarah, who was ebullient and enterprising, with an unpredictable streak." But you know what they say ... opposites do attract. 

Big sis Sarah Spencer got a lot of Princess Diana's hand-me-downs

Typically it's the younger sister who's stuck with the older sister's hand-me-downs, but that all changed the day Diana became Princess of Wales. 

As reported by Town & Country, Sarah was seen sporting Diana's recycled outfits on many occasions. Due to royal customs, it's imperative that Diana never be seen wearing the same outfit more than once, so naturally, her old clothes went to her sister Sarah. 

On one instance in 1987, Sarah was photographed wearing a blue-and-white striped suit that Diana had worn just two years before during a trip to Australia. On another occasion, Sarah was caught sporting a green-and-white midi dress that had previously belonged to her younger sister — get this — SEVEN years earlier. Wow, after that many years, it's no wonder it was already back in fashion. 

But it doesn't appear that Sarah minded bearing Diana's hand-me-downs. Who could blame her? 

Lady Sarah McCorquodale became sheriff of Lincolnshire

While Princess Diana accomplished many things in her short life, Sarah also went on to achieve some successes of her own.

As reported by The London Gazette, Sarah was appointed as the High Sheriff of Lincolnshire in 2009 by the queen. No small honor, eh?! But don't get it twisted — she wasn't actually the sheriff of a town named Lincolnshire. Instead, the title is more of a ceremonial one in which she was expected to attend various charities and public events. 

It's also reported by The Telegraph that Sarah was appointed as a joint master of the Belvoir Hunt in 2010, a role that is "responsible for the overall management and conduct of the hunt, in particular they are responsible for liaising with local farmers and landowners" (via the Hunting Act of 2004). 

It should also be mentioned that upon the death of her sister, Sarah fought to keep the legacy and memory of her sister alive by creating a foundation called Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. The premise of the charity was to raise money for organizations that her sister was passionate about. Per People, the fund has gone on to distribute $12.8 million to eight of Diana's "favorite causes." Bravo, Sarah! Bravo!