Lady Kitty Spencer, Princess Diana’s niece, admitted she was not prepared to become an online sensation after attending the wedding of her cousin Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle last May.
And while the 28-year-old is a member of the British aristocracy, which is often scrutinized by the press, Spencer told HarpersBazaar.com for their spring issue that she was not ready for the sudden influx of attention she received after the royal wedding.
“It was definitely unexpected,” admitted Spencer. [My Instagram followers] went from 17G to half a million in one night. I thought I had someone else’s phone when I woke up the next morning. I had to turn my notifications off because my phone was doing to die… Can I still FaceTime my cat and put it on my Stories?”
According to Spencer, she mainly uses her social media to promote her modeling work while fiercely protecting her private life. She also refuses to discuss her royal cousins, brothers William and Harry, “out of respect.”
Spencer also won’t reveal whether she’s single or not, nor her split from 47-year-old real estate developer Niccolo Barattieri di San Pietro after three years in 2017.
“I’ve been really lucky,” she explained. “I’ve always had really lovely, straightforward boyfriends. Whenever anything exciting happens in my life, or sad, the serious boyfriends I’ve had will be the first to get in touch and the first to be supportive.”
She did, however, provide some insight on her taste in men.
“I don’t see the appeal of going for anyone who’s too complicated or not trustworthy,” she shared. “I just like people who are kind. If you haven’t got kindness you haven’t really got much. The men that I’ve been with have been kind and still are. And it’s lovely because it’s like a greater form of friendship in a way.”
According to the high fashion publication, Spencer is the daughter of Charles, the late royal’s brother, and Victoria Lockwood, a former model. She grew up in South Africa but has been based in London since signing with Storm Management four years ago, the same modeling agency that launched the careers of Kate Moss and Cara Delevinge. She made her runway debut for Dolce & Gabbana in 2017.
Since the royal wedding, Spencer has been a sought-after model for events and runways across the globe.
“I do feel like I sort of snuck through the back door and no one’s noticed yet,” said Spencer. “That’s the feeling I get, especially at shows. I keep thinking that this is potentially short term and a really exciting moment, so I’m trying to embrace it for what it is. And then when it does end, just being grateful because it was something I never imagined in the first place.”
Despite being in the spotlight, Spencer insisted life was different growing up. Spencer’s parents were determined to raise their children as far as possible from the ruthless British tabloids, so they relocated to South Africa in 1995 when she was 5 years old. While the couple divorced a year later, Spencer, along with her siblings – twins Amelia and Eliza, 26, and brother Louis, 24 – have been traveling between their mother in Cape Town and their father in England on a regular basis.
“I’m really glad I had a childhood in Africa,” said Spencer. “There are not many places in the world where you can actually have something that’s so free, just natural and relaxed. I was lucky to have a childhood there.”
Spencer was 6 years old when Diana died in 1997 at age 36 from injuries she sustained in a Paris car crash. But the magazine noted that the comparisons between the two women have remained constant over the years. Makeup artist Mary Greenwell, who regularly did Diana’s makeup in the ‘80s and ‘90s, created Spencer’s look for Harper’s Bazaar. Greenwell has since worked with Spencer’s mother, as well as Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s sister Pippa Middleton.
“To have Kitty with me in my makeup chair — it just took me back in time,” said Greenwell. “Diana was so willing and open… as is Kitty. Just sort of free — there’s a sense of freedom with all of them. I think the sense of freedom is actually very important, that they didn’t feel stifled by their upbringing and their circumstances.”
And like Diana, Spencer is dedicated to philanthropic work. She’s an ambassador for the U.K.-based youth homelessness charity Centrepoint. Diana was a patron of the organization, a role now held by her older son William, 36. Spencer is also a trustee and patron for the U.K. military-family charity Give Us Time.
Spencer said she is determined to raise awareness on the importance of a healthy well-being. Diana suffered from bulimia and her mother has previously spoken out about her struggles with anorexia.
“I guess I’m doing these things on my own terms,” said Spencer about pursuing modeling. “I don’t think it’s my job to starve to fit into an outfit. If I’ve agreed to do something for a brand or whatever, I look after myself but I’m not obsessive or unhealthy. If a brand wants to work with me, and think their designs look good on me, then they can give them to me in my size.”
As Spencer’s career continues to flourish in the fashion world, she’s already thinking about the future — and the one thing she truly wants.
“I just want a happy family, and I want to be married with children,” said Spencer.