Princess Diana's stepmother Raine Spencer dies aged 87

Countess Raine Spencer was stepmother to Diana Princess of Wales Credit: PA

Raine Spencer, the stepmother of Diana, Princess of Wales, has died aged 87 following a short illness, her family has said.

Countess Spencer died peacefully at her London home on Friday morning, her son William Legge, the Earl of Dartmouth and a Ukip MEP, confirmed.

Born Raine McCorquodale, she was the daughter of Alexander McCorquodale and romance novelist Dame Barbara Cartland.

She had a succession of marriages to aristocratic figures, including in 1971 to John Spencer, who later became Earl Spencer.

It was at this point that she was stepmother to Diana and he siblings, including Charles, now Earl Spencer.

It was an often strained relationship, but she and Diana reconciled in the 1990s.