Princess Diana's aunt, Lady Anne Wake-Walker, has died at age 99-and-a-half

By Heather Cichowski

Lady Anne Wake-Walker, the aunt of Princess Diana, has passed away at the age of 99-and-a-half. The sad news was shared by her nephew and Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, on Instagram on Feb. 25.

Charles Spencer posted an old black-and-white photo of his late aunt and father, John Spencer, circa the 1920s playing at Althorp House, the Grade I listed stately home of the Spencer Family in Northamptonshire, England, which has been their home since 1508.

"Aunt Anne and my father, playing at @althorphouse in 1925," Earl Spencer captioned the post. "A wonderful lady, she was an officer in the WRENS in the Second World War, and was a much loved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother - as well as sister and aunt, of course.

"Aunt Anne died last night, aged 99 1/2. 'The end of an era' is the phrase I’ve heard repeatedly today. Indeed it is."

On Twitter, Earl Spencer explained how the the Spencer flag was being flown at half-mast at Althorp House on Feb. 25 ⁦to mark the passing of Anne.

The Spencer family, including Lady Anne (second left) and Diana (centre) in 1969. Photo: © Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Lady Anne Wake-Walker was also the great-aunt of Prince William and Prince Harry, so the brothers will no doubt be mourning her loss, too.

MORE: Princess Anne pays tribute to late dog breeder in statement

Lady Anne Wake-Walker, née Spencer, was born in 1920 to Albert Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer and Cynthia Hamilton, Countess Spencer. Lady Anne was the elder sister and only sibling to Earl Spencer's father, John.

There are a few early photos of Lady Anne as a child and a young adult on the National Portrait Gallery's website.

She became Lady Anne Wake-Walker upon marrying Christopher Baldwin Hughes Wake-Walker, a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, in 1944 at Westminster Abbey. They had five children: daughters Elizabeth Duckworth-Chad and Diana Macfarlane, and sons David Spencer, Richard Spencer and Michael Spencer.

Lady Anne's husband Christopher passed away in 1998 after being diagnosed with Parkinson's. Her brother John died in 1992, which points to Charles's reference in his Instagram post about her passing being the "end of an era."

MORE: In Memoriam: Celebrities who died in 2020

In other sad news, Princess Anne's dog trainer, Debbie Zurick, passed away over the weekend from injuries she sustained from a gunshot wound. The Princess Royal paid tribute to the 56-year-old in a statement.

"The Princess Royal is saddened to hear of the death of Mrs Debbie Zurick," a spokesperson for the Queen's daughter told HELLO! UK. "She will be sorely missed as secretary of the Working Clumber Spaniel Society, of which Her Royal Highness is Patron."

Don't miss a beat with HELLO! Canada's Daily Hits newsletter, your daily dose of royal and celebrity news, fashion, weddings and more. CLICK HERE to sign up for free!