Even in a pandemic high society abhors a vacuum. For too long there has been an empty space where an It girl should be and now, hallelujah, we have two for the price of one: twins Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza Spencer. The 28-year-old daughters of Earl Spencer, baby sisters of fashion darling Lady Kitty Spencer, the twins are a genetic miracle of big eyes, shiny blond hair, long, tanned limbs and Cape Town joie de vivre. If posing for the cover of Tatler isn’t a statement of It girl intent, what is? And if it was good enough for the original It girl, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, then it’s good enough for the Spencer sisters.
This is not, however, the first time they have caught the eye. It was at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge that society first sat up and took notice. Amid a sea of St Andrews pals and stolid family friends from the home counties there, in a prime pew, were three insanely glamorous blondes. Who on earth were they? True, Kitty had been on the cover of Tatler two years before, aged 18, but the sisters had yet to make much of a splash. Ten years on, while Kitty has become a catwalk staple and muse of Dolce & Gabbana, Amelia and Eliza are stepping up to the plate.
They were brought up quietly in South Africa, well away from the reflected glare surrounding their father’s sister, Princess Diana. Their mother, Victoria Lockwood, and father decamped to Cape Town in 1995 from Althorp, the family seat in Northamptonshire. The couple divorced two years later, amid reports that Spencer had been serially unfaithful and Lockwood was struggling with an eating disorder and substance abuse, from which she has since recovered. Spencer went on to marry twice more and produce three more children. Meanwhile Kitty, Amelia, Eliza and Louis — aged seven, five and three when their parents divorced — remained out of the spotlight in Cape Town.
“They told me they didn’t love one another anymore, but they still loved me,” Kitty said later. After school the girls became staples of Cape Town nightlife. Amelia and Kitty went on to study at the University of Cape Town, Eliza at Varsity College. At university Amelia met the man to whom she has recently become engaged, estate agent Greg Mallett. The groom asked the bride’s father for permission; the bride announced her engagement, as is traditional, on Instagram, with the caption “I can’t wait to marry you”. With Kitty also engaged, to businessman Michael Lewis, glossy magazines are salivating at the prospect of a double wedding in 2022. Where it might take place is another matter.
“Althorp is our family home, it’s beautiful,” Amelia mused to Tatler. “We would be very lucky to get married there, but Cape Town is where we grew up, and there is a possibility that we might do it here too.”
If posing for the cover of Tatler isn’t a statement of It girl intent, what is?
Like most of their generation, they had little idea growing up just how famous their aunt was. Now, with a sympathetic spotlight once again on Princess Diana after the recent series of The Crown, the twins are perfectly poised to capitalize on their status as beautiful, royally connected girls about town. They have only a mediocre 10,000 or so followers apiece on Instagram, but that is likely to rocket.
A brace of weddings, when the pandemic allows, will be the society events of the year on two continents. The guest list will include Prince William and Prince Harry, their first cousins, and naturally their wives, Kate and Meghan. Walking down the aisle in front of the fab four is It girl gold. Watch this space.
Hilary Rose is a longtime columnist for The Times of London, and the author of the weekly column “How to Get Dressed”