The Earl Spencer
|Preceded by||Albert Spencer|
|Succeeded by||Charles Spencer|
Edward John Spencer
24 January 1924
Bayswater, Paddington, London, England
|Died||29 March 1992 (aged 68)|
(m. 1954; div. 1969)
Raine, Countess of Dartmouth
|Parents||Albert Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer|
Lady Cynthia Hamilton
|Education||Eton College |
Royal Military College, Sandhurst
Royal Agricultural College
|Known for||Father of Diana, Princess of Wales|
Edward John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, MVO (24 January 1924 – 29 March 1992), styled Viscount Althorp until June 1975, was a British peer and nobleman. He was the father of Diana, Princess of Wales, which makes him the maternal grandfather of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, respectively second and sixth in the line of succession to the British throne.
Lord Spencer was born Edward John Spencer, Viscount Althorp, the only son and younger child of Albert Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer, on 24 January 1924. He was educated at Eton, the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, and the Royal Agricultural College. Popularly known to his family and friends as Johnnie Althorp, he served as a Captain in the Royal Scots Greys from 1944 to 1945, and was Mentioned in Despatches. From 1947 to 1950, he served as Aide-de-Camp to His Excellency Lieutenant-General Sir Willoughby Norrie, then Governor of South Australia.
Spencer held the offices of County Councillor for Northamptonshire (1952), High Sheriff of Northamptonshire (1959) and Justice of the Peace for Norfolk (1970). He served as Equerry to King George VI (1950–52) and to Queen Elizabeth II (1952–54), and was invested as a member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) in 1954. He was known by the courtesy title Viscount Althorp until 1975 when he became the 8th Earl Spencer upon his father's death. He was Member of the House of Lords from 9 June 1975 (the day his father died and he inherited the peerage) until his own death.
On 1 June 1954 Spencer and Frances Ruth Roche, the younger daughter of the 4th Baron Fermoy, were married in Westminster Abbey by Percy Herbert, Bishop of Norwich. Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the royal family attended the wedding ceremony. They had five children:
John and Frances Spencer divorced in 1969. Frances later married Peter Shand Kydd and in 1976, Lord Spencer later married Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, the former wife of the 9th Earl of Dartmouth, and the daughter and only child of the romantic novelist Barbara Cartland and Alexander McCorquodale.
In 1978, Spencer suffered a severe stroke, from which, at one stage, he was not expected to recover, and which kept him in hospital for eight months. He died of a heart attack on 29 March 1992, and was succeeded by his son Charles, the brother of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Earl Spencer was Equerry to George VI from 1950 to 1952, and to The Queen from 1952 to 1954.
Sir Gyles Isham, Bt
| High Sheriff of Northamptonshire
|Peerage of Great Britain|
| Earl Spencer
9 June 1975 – 29 March 1992