Joan Elaine Medlicott and her Relationship to Lady Diana Spencer, The Princess of Wales

Lady Diana is the daughter of John Spencer, 8th Earl of Spencer and Frances Ruth Roche and the mother of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry of Wales. She was born July 1st, 1961 in Park House Sandringham, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom. Often referred to as “Lady Di”, “Princess Di” or simply “Diana” her popularity has given rise to intense scrutiny of her life and her ancestry has become subject matter of close examination by genealogists around the world. The Internet has numerous sites endeavoring to document her royal heritage and great effort has been made in documenting her distant relationship with famous people.[1] 

Those related to her include royalty-King Edward I, (20th great-grandfather) William the Conqueror, (24th great grandfather), King Henry VIII, (13th great-granduncle via Henry VII). Some other famous notable relatives include: Sir Winston Churchill (4th cousin 4 times removed), Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (3rd cousin 6 times removed) Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U.S. President (4th cousin 7 times removed).  

The Spencer family is one of the distinguished aristocratic families in England with many of the family members being made Knights, Baronets and Lords. The hereditary titles include the Duke of Marlborough, the Earl of Sunderland and Spencer, and the Viscount of Weymouth[2] The most prominent members of the Spencer family by far are Sir Winston Churchill and Lady Diana Frances Spencer, Princess of Wales. She became very popular as a result of her “story-book” marriage to Charles, the Prince of Wales and has been the subject of tremendous enquiry following her divorce and her subsequent tragic death, all of which has been well documented.

Imagine if some how, one of your relatives could be identified as a relative of Princess Diana. It would make for a great talking point.

My genealogical research has discovered that my wife Joan Elaine Medlicott of Medicine Hat Alberta, Canada, retired schoolteacher is RELATED to Diana Spencer, the   Princess of Wales.

In a previous article entitled “ The Medlicott Family History- A Family of Knights, Lords and Ladies”, I traced my wife’s family pedigree as far back as 985 to Roger de Montgomery, “Roger the Great” of Normandy. He was a cousin to William the Conqueror, who led the Norman invasion and through his battlefield success at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 became William I, King of England. Intrigued by this close connection to royalty, I have examined more closely the “royal” connection and began documenting in greater detail this side of the Medlicott family tree.

De Botevyle, De Boutville, de Botevile, de Botevile Family

Roger de Montgomery (985-1040) and his son Roger Montgomery II (1022-1040) like their cousin, William the Conqueror were from the nobility of France and through marriage became related to what became a well recognized family of British aristocracy-De Botevyle/Thynne.

As I have noted in my earlier article, much like the Medlicott surname, this family name had many alliteration’s, which was quite common at the time, but the family history despite its many variations has been well documented.[3] 

Around 1400, the Boteville surname was interchanged with the name “de La Inn” apparently referencing a name or a place, where one of the descendants resided. Gradually over the next few generations this name was converted into the surname THYNNE.  The Thynne family became one of the pre-eminent names in British aristocracy and it’s connection the Spencer family heritage is well established.

The Thynne Family and the Medlicotts-The Connection to Royalty

Sir John Thynne (1449-1479) married Lady Joan Bowdler and they had two sons-Ralph Thynne (1465-1515) and Roger Thynne (1484-  ).

It is here that the Medlicotts establish a family connection to the Thynne family. Roger Thynne (1484-  ) had a son named William and a daughter named Margaret. William married Margaret Skerry and they had 3 children: Thomas, Joan and Eleanor. Eleanor Thynne married John Medlicott, who became a wealthy landowner and from whom, Joan Elaine Medlicott can directly trace her ancestry.[4] There is evidence that the daughter Margaret Thynne, daughter of Roger also married a Medlicott, a male person identified in early archival records as “A. Modlicott”. But this ancestral connection remains unsubstantiated.

Ralph and his branch of the Thynne family, not to be out done by his brother Roger, went on to fame and fortune and a life within the aristocracy of Britain, with many of his descendants having a direct and strong connection to the Royal family. Ralph Thynne [Botevile] (1464-1515) has been identified in many sources as being the 14th Great grandfather of Lady Diana, Princess of Wales.

In summary, Eleanor Medlicott (Thynne) was the granddaughter of Roger Thynne and her descendants can be clearly traced directly by blood to Joan Elaine Medlicott. Eleanor’s great Uncle Ralph Thynne, brother of Roger is the great grandfather of Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales. Therefore, the Medlicott family and in particular, Joan Elaine Medlicott and her siblings have an established connection to royalty- to Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales.

Both Ralph and Roger Thynne can trace their ancestry back through the Botevile family to Roger, the Great (Roger de Montgomery) of France, who was a first cousin to William the Conqueror, who became William I, the King of England. Reliable sources have identified him as the 24th great grandfather of Lady Diana Spencer[5], and Edward I as the 20th great grandfather of Lady Di, thereby establishing this branch of Medlicott family as having an ancestral connection to at least two Kings of England, the Princess of Wales and the current Royal Family.

To the amateur genealogist, tracing a famous family pedigree and their various branches and their particular connection to your own family tree is quite fascinating. Let’s examine the Spencer lineage more closely and identify with greater precision the Medlicott family pedigree and some famous ancestors.

To establish the connection to British aristocracy and the royal family (Lady Diana Spencer), it is necessary to follow the Thynne family tree or pedigree, which has been well documented by others and identify famous or other notable relatives. [6]

  1. Ralph Thynne (1480-1515) married Lady Anne Higgons and they had 3 children: Thomas* (1502-1546), William, Richard, and Agnes.

  1. Thomas Thynne married Margaret Heynes and they had a child named John*, who was knighted and became Sir John Thynne.

  1. Sir John Thynne (1513-May 21st 1580)[7] married twice during his lifetime and had several children from both his spouses. He first married Christian Gresham, who was the daughter of Sir Richard Gresham[8] and they had 6 children: Anne, Dorothy, Francis, John*, Thomas and Catherine. He also married Dorothy Wroughton (1548-1635) and had 2 children from this relationship.

  1. John Thynne (1578-1639) married Joan Hayward[9] and they had a child named John, who also knighted and became Sir John Thynne* (1578-1639).[10]

Longleat House Built by Sir John Thynne


  1. Sir John Thynne married twice in his lifetime. He first married Mary Tuchet and they had 2 children: Sir James Thynne, (-1670) and Sir Thomas Thynne (1610-1669).[11] His second marriage was to Catherine Lyle–Howard and from this union there was a child named Henry, who became known as Sir Henry Frederick Thynne (1615-1680)*.[12]

  1. Sir Henry Frederick Thynne married Hon Mary Coventry[13] and they had two children: Lady Katherine Thynne and Thomas Thynne *(1640-1714).[14]

  1. Thomas Thynne married Lady Francis Finch (1761-1838) and they had 3 children: Frances* Thynne (1671-1750), Henry Thynne (1674-1708) and James Thynne (1680-1709).

Lady Frances Finch -portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds 1791

  1. Frances Thynne married Robert Worsley (1669-1747) and they had a female child: Frances Worsley*. (1693-1743).

  1. Frances Worsley married John Carteret (1690-1793)[15] and they had 4 children: Grace, Louisa, Georgina Carteret (1715-1780)*, George and Frances E.

Sir John Carteret-2nd Earl of Granville

  1. Georgiana Carteret married John Spencer [16](1708-1746) and they had 5 children; John Spencer *(1734-1783), Margaret G Spencer (1734-1783), Lady Diana Spencer (1735-1843), Elizabeth Spencer (1736-1831) and George Spencer (1738-1817). [17]

Georgiana Carteret-wife of John Spencer

  1. John Spencer married Margaretha G Pyntz (1737-1814) and they had a child named George John Spencer*(1758-1834).

  1. George John Spencer[18]married Lavinia Bingham, (1762-1831) daughter of Charles Bingham, first Earl of Lucan and they had nine children including a child named Frederick Spencer* (1798-1857) [19].

Sir George john Spencer, 2nd Earl of Spencer

  1. Frederick Spencer married Adelaide H E Seymour (1815-1877) and they had a child named Charles R Spencer* (1857-1923).

Adelaide Horatia Elizabeth Seymour

  1. Charles R Spencer married Margareth Baring[20] (1868-1906) and they had 6 children including a child named Albert E J Spencer* (1892-1975).

Sir Charles R Spencer

  1. Albert E J Spencer[21] married Cynthia E B Hamilton (1837-1972)[22] and they had a child named Edward J Spencer (1924-1992).

Sir Albert Edward John Spencer, 7th Earl of Spencer

  1. Edward J Spencer (1924-1992) married Frances Ruth Roche (1936-2004) and they had 5 children. They were married on June 1st 1954 in Westminster Abbey and Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal family attended.

Sir John Edward Spencer, father of Diana, Princess of Wales

  1. Edward J Spencer and Frances Roche had a child-Diana Frances Spencer (July 1st 1961-August 31st 1991), who married Charles Phillip Arthur George Windsor[23] (1948-  ) and who became Lady Diana Spencer, the Princess of Wales.

The Real Princess-Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales

 “A Dream Come True”

My genealogical research into the Spencer family tree and the Medlicott family tree has established a clear and unmistakable connection between these two families and in the case of the Medlicott family a clear link to royalty, including among others Lady Diana, Princess of Wales.

This kind of discovery from the standpoint of the amateur genealogist, much like Diana’s romance and marriage to the Prince of Wales is like a fairytale and undoubtedly like “a dream come true”.

William J Anhorn QC, ICD.D

Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada

[1] see, https;//famouskin.com/ search Lady Diana


[3] Stemmata Botevilliana: Memorials of De Boteville, Volume I (1858) by Beriah Botfield

[4] see, Henry Edmundstone Medlicott, at www.fam.medlicott.uk.co

[5] Supra, famouskin.com-Lady Diana

[6] * denotes the direct descendant for our purposes.

[7] Sir John Thynne was the steward to Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset (1506-1552) and a member of the British parliament. He is famous for building the Longleat House and his descendants became the Marquesses of Bath. He was with Seymour on military expeditions between 1542 and 1544, and was knighted after the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh of 1547.

[8] His Father-in-law, Sir Richard Gresham (1485-1549) was a member of the British Parliament (1539 & 1545) and Lord Mayor of London.

[9] Joan Hayward was daughter of Sir Rowland Hayward, who was twice Lord Mayor of London.

[10] On May 11th, 1603, King James I knighted John Thynne, four days after James arrived to take up the British throne.

[11] He was an English lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons on 1660. He entered Middle Temple in 1629 and was called to the bar in 1637. He was pre-deceased by his brother Sir James Thynne and as a result his son, Thomas inherited the vast estate at Longleat. Thomas was assassinated in1682 while in a coach in Pall Mall.

[12] In 1641, Sir Henry Frederick Thynne was created a baronet in the Baronetage of England and became the 1st Baronet of Kempsford.

[13] She was the daughter of Thomas Coventry, 1st Baron Coventry of Aylesborugh and Elizabeth Aldersey.

[14] In 1682, Henry’s son Thomas Thynne became the 2nd baronet and became the first Viscount of Weymouth. In 1789, Thomas Thynne (1734-1796) the 3rd Viscount of Weymouth became the 1st Marquesses of Bath, a line and title, which continues today with Alexander Thynne, 7th Marquess of Bath (1932-  ).

[15] John Carteret, 2nd Earl of Grandville or Lord Carteret was a British statesman and member of the House of Lord (May 25, 1711) worked closely with the Prime Minister, Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington. The family was originally from the Channel Islands and of Norman descent.

[16] Born the Honorable John Spencer, he was the youngest son of the 3rd Earl of Sunderland and his wife Lady Anne Churchill. He was a British nobleman and a member of the British Parliament. He became the 1st Earl of Spencer. This family connection establishes Sir Winston Churchill as a relative of Lady Diana.

[17] It is here that the Thynne family becomes connected to the Spencer lineage. It is interesting to note here that that there is another Thynne family connection.

[18] George John Spencer was a British politician and the 2nd Earl of Spencer and Viscount Althorp

[19] Frederick Spencer was a British naval commander who served in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars and the Greek war of Independence, who rose to the rank of Vice-Admiral. He became a Knight of the Garter in 1849.

[20] She was the daughter of 1st Baron Revelstoke and married Charles Robert Spencer, 6th Earl of Spencer on July 23 1887.

[21] Albert E J Spencer is the 7th Earl of Spencer and grandfather of Lady Diana, Princess of Wales.

[22] Cynthia E B Hamilton was the second daughter of the 3rd Duke of Abercom, James Albert Edward Hamilton (1869-1950) and became the first Governor of Northern Ireland (1922-1945)

[23] Charles Phillip Arthur George Windsor is the first Child of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip and the current heir to the British throne.