Princess Diana’s Nieces Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza Make Their Cannes Film Festival Debut

Their red carpet appearance comes 35 years after Diana first attended.

Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza at the Cannes Film Festival.
(Image credit: Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images)

Prince William and Kate Middleton weren’t the only ones to see Top Gun: Maverick this week—the Cambridges stepped out in London to see the new Tom Cruise movie last night, but earlier in the week, Princess Diana’s twin nieces took in the film at the Cannes Film Festival, 35 years after their aunt made her own Cannes debut.

Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza Spencer at the Cannes Film Festival.

(Image credit: Gisela Schober / Getty Images)

Lady Amelia and Lady Eliza—twin daughters of Diana’s younger brother, Charles Spencer—wore coordinated black gowns on the red carpet on Wednesday night, following in the footsteps of Diana, who attended the event herself in 1987.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles at the Cannes Film Festival.

(Image credit: Tim Graham / Getty Images)

The late Princess of Wales walked the famous Cannes red carpet when she was 26 years old, attending a gala night honoring actor Sir Alec Guinness alongside then-husband Prince Charles, according to PEOPLE. The princess turned heads in a powder blue Catherine Walker strapless gown paired with a matching scarf that flowed behind her. (Diana wore ample Catherine Walker throughout her royal life, and, today, her daughter-in-law Kate Middleton frequently wears the brand.)

Amelia and Eliza were just five years old when Diana died in 1997.

“We always just knew her as our aunt,” Eliza told Tatler, via PEOPLE. “Growing up in South Africa, I really had very little idea of how significant she was in the world until I was much older.”

That said, the twins shared a special connection with their aunt, who never had daughters of her own. Eliza said Diana was “incredibly warm, maternal, and loving. She always made an effort to connect with us as children and had a talent for reading children’s hearts.”

Eliza remembered the ever-intrusive photographers that surrounded her aunt, including one who approached Diana during a beach outing.

“Obviously it could have been quite terrifying for us, being so young and not understanding what was happening,” she said. “But she turned it into a game of who could get back to the car first. It was amazing how she protected us in a way that made us feel safe and not frightened. We had no idea what she was doing at the time.”

Because Diana died when the twins were only five years old, “as a child, I realized the enormity of the loss for my father and family,” Eliza said. (Her father spoke memorably at his sister’s funeral at Westminster Abbey.) “It was only later that I came to understand the significance of the loss of her as a figure in the world.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.