Thursday, 28 April 2011
What's in a Name?
It's always interesting being called Spencer during any big royal event.
Of course, we're not actually related to the Spencers - or at least I don't think so. My father, bless him, is secretly still convinced that if we scour the old family tree hard enough, we will run into the Spencer-Churchills and he can enjoy being fourth cousin five times removed to Winston himself - the fact that our ancestors seem to come from rural Derbyshire and number furniture making and customs officers amongst their occupations does not appear to dim his expectation.
I first felt the weirdness of having a famous-name-by-proxy during the aftermath of Princess Diana's death. I was working in London at the time and the headlines in the national press and The Evening Standard seemed to permanently carry my name. Even though I knew I had nothing to do with the stories themselves, there was always a split-second delay whilst my brain worked this one out. And it wasn't just me - I was actually asked on a couple of occasions if I was 'a Spencer': I always said no (although I am, of course, literally, A Spencer), and, in one memorable instance, I came out of court to see two ushers look at me and one say 'well, she does have a family resemblance...'
In fact the nearest I ever got to Diana was almost running slap-bang into her, my arms full of files, at the solicitor's office where I worked and where she had instructed one of the partners to act for her. As I approached a set of double doors that led out onto the stairwell, they were flung open from the other side and a small entourage marched passed me, including the princess herself in a yellow suit. Thirty seconds later and she was gone; ships in the night and all that malarkey.
The name thing has now passed on to one of my brothers whose work colleagues have made the leap that he is, in fact, one of those Spencers. They made the assumption all by themselves but he is - happily - playing along with it and cryptically mentioning that he's busy this weekend because he has to go to a wedding.
However, unless my invitation turns up at the last minute, I shall - like the rest of the world - be watching the other Spencers and their chums rock up to the wedding of the year without me. Hope it goes well for Wills and Kate and, even more, I hope she enjoys being part of the family! We're not so bad once you get to know us.