Cynthia Ellinor Beatrix Hamilton was born 16 August 1897 to James Albert Edward Hamilton, 3rd Duke of Abercorn (1869-1953) and Rosalind Cecilia Caroline Bingham (1869-1958) and died 4 December 1972 Althorp, Northamptonshire, England, United Kingdom of a brain tumour. She married Albert Edward John Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer (1892-1975) 26 February 1919 in Piccadilly, England, United Kingdom.


Cynthia Elinor Beatrix Spencer, Countess Spencer, DCVO, OBE (16 August 1897 – 4 December 1972), known as Lady Cynthia Hamilton until her marriage, and from then as Viscountess Althorp until 1922 when her husband inherited his father's title of Earl Spencer, was a British peeress.

Life and family

She was the daughter of James, Marquess of Hamilton, later 3rd Duke of Abercorn (30 November 1869 – 12 September 1953) and Lady Rosalind Cecilia Caroline Bingham (26 February 1869 – 18 January 1958). Her maternal grandparents were Charles Bingham, 4th Earl of Lucan and Lady Cecilia Catherine Gordon-Lennox, a daughter of Charles Gordon-Lennox, 5th Duke of Richmond and Lady Caroline Paget.

Cynthia Hamilton married Viscount Althorp on 26 February 1919 at St. James's, Piccadilly, London.[1]

They had two children:

  • Lady Anne Spencer (born 4 August 1920) who married Christopher Balwin Hughes Wake-Walker, a Captain of the Royal Navy.
  • Edward Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer (24 January 1924 – 29 March 1992).

Countess Spencer was a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth from 1937 to her death[2], and was the grandmother of Lady Diana Spencer, later the Princess of Wales. Cynthia, Countess Spencer died at the Spencer’s ancestral home, Althorp[3] of a brain tumour, aged 75.

She was little known outside court and local circles until, twenty years after her death, Andrew Morton wrote that the Princess of Wales "believes that her grandmother looks after her in the spirit world."[4]

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Offspring of Cynthia Ellinor Beatrix Hamilton and Albert Edward John Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer (1892-1975)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Anne Spencer (1920)
Edward John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer (1924-1992) 24 January 1924 London, England, United Kingdom 29 March 1992 Humana Hospital, Wellington, London, England, United Kingdom Frances Ruth Burke Roche (1936-2004) Frances Ruth Burke Roche (1936-2004) Raine McCorquodale (1929)

Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General



  1. ^ Williamson, D The Ancestry of Lady Diana Spencer In: Genealogist’s Magazine, 1981; Vol. 20 (#6) pp. 192–199, and Vol. 20 (#8) pp. 281–282
  2. ^ Mosley, C (ed.) Burke’s Peerage & Baronetage, 106th edition (Burke’s Peerage, Crans, Switzerland, 1999) vol. 2 p. 2673
  3. ^ The Times (London), Wednesday, 6 December 1972; p. 32 col. A
  4. ^ Andrew Morton, Diana: Her True Story (BCA, 1992) p. 24