The niece of Princess Diana and cousin to Princes William and Harry, Lady Kitty Spencer talks to Jessica Jonzen about how continuing her aunt’s charitable legacy keeps her feet on the ground.
There are certain assumptions that could be made about Lady Kitty Spencer. From her title and covers for Tatler magazine, to her jet-set lifestyle glamorously captured for her 36,000 Instagram
followers, she appears to be the archetypal It Girl. But beyond the parties and front-row seats at London Fashion Week, there is far more to the eldest of Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer, and his first wife, Victoria Lockwood’s four children.
Next month, the 25-year-old will join over 1,000 people at this year’s Centrepoint Sleep Out in London, where she will swap her bed for a sleeping bag and take to the streets to experience first-hand some of what the nation’s homeless young people endure on a daily basis. As an ambassador for the charity, Lady Kitty takes her role extremely seriously and wants to be involved at grass-roots level. ‘We have a huge problem with youth homelessness in Great Britain and it’s not a warning of a problem coming down the road, it’s a crisis that our country faces now, so I’m very emotionally invested in this cause,’ she says.
There are family ties to Centrepoint, too. Her cousin, the Duke of Cambridge, is Patron, a role he took on to continue the work of his mother, Princess Diana, who herself was Centrepoint’s Patron. ‘It’s lovely for me that there’s family history there and it’s nice to carry on the tradition,’ she says. Lady Kitty is also trustee of the military charity Give Us Time and clearly has a deep-seated sense of public duty. ‘Charity work is something that my family has done for generations, so it’s kind of in my blood, and we’ve always been believers in giving back, especially
for causes we believe in,’ she says. ‘Personally, I like the balance that charity work brings to my life. I get to meet people that I wouldn’t otherwise get to meet, and it’s a conscious reminder to
have perspective and gratitude, and I feel that it keeps me in tune with what’s really important in life.’
Perhaps her sense of self-awareness stems from the trials and tribulations her family has had to withstand. Born in London in 1990, Lady Kitty moved to South Africa five years later with her
parents, twin sisters Amelia and Eliza, and brother, Louis, the heir to Althorp. Two years later, her parents divorced, and her father returned to London while she and her siblings remained with their mother in South Africa. In the same year, her mother was treated for addiction and her aunt, Princess Diana, died in a car accident in Paris.
Despite these huge personal tragedies, Lady Kitty looks back on her childhood fondly. ‘It was a wonderful upbringing and we’re such a close family,’ she says in her South African lilt, which hasn’t faded despite living in London for four years. Her father has remarried twice since his divorce from Lockwood and has had three more children. She and her mother are ‘extremely close’ and are in touch via Facetime most days.
Educated at Reddam House, a private school in South Africa, Lady Kitty remained in the country until 2012, when she moved to Florence to study Art History and Italian. On returning to the UK, she completed her Masters in London in Luxury Brand Management at Regent’s University. ‘Cape Town was such a wonderful place to grow up and it’s a place that feels comfortable and familiar, but that’s not necessarily what I want now,’ she says sagely. ‘Going from a small-town existence in Cape Town to a big city like London was daunting at first, but it felt exciting and appropriate to be exploring a new city in my twenties.’
Having recently signed to Storm model agency, and with a Masters to her name and an influential platform on social media, Lady Kitty is now at that fabulous juncture where the world is her oyster: ‘I’m very driven and motivated, so I look forward to what’s to come.’
✻ Lady Kitty Spencer will be supporting Centrepoint’s fundraising event at Kensington Palace on Thursday 10 November. Guests will be treated to an exclusive dinner and drinks in the grounds followed by live performances from top artists (names to be announced soon) and the Centrepoint Awards. For more information, please visit centrepoint.org.uk