Princess Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, died on Thursday morning in a Scottish hospital.
The 68-year-old's son, Earl Spencer, said his mother passed away peacefully. Speaking from his home at Althorp, he said it was a private time and asked that the family be allowed to grieve in peace.
Mes Shand Kydd had fought a lengthy battle with a degenerative brain condition but, insisting her Catholic faith made her strong, she refused to leave her beloved home on the remote Scottish island of Seil. Coming to terms with her illness, just a few months ago she bought a burial plot nearby.
"My family want me to move south, but I will not leave Seil," she said. "I have to confront and accept the limitations of the condition I have."
Earlier this year, Diana's mother was said to be devastated by the death of her stepson Adam Shand Kydd, who died of a suspected drug overdose. She has also had to cope with the recent release in the US of TV pictures of her daughter following the car crash which took her life.
Despite these traumas and her ailing health, the aristocrat remained philosophical and upbeat. "I think I've had a wonderful life," she said. "Certainly, there have been lows. Certainly, there have been own goals. I think sadness only makes you more realistic about what life is. You take less for granted."
"It takes very little to make you happy if you've had real sadness. It's a very enriching experience, really. I have loved, been loved and laughed a lot. And I still think life's