The Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex are mourning the loss of their great-aunt Lady Anne Wake-Walker, the sister of their late maternal grandfather John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer. William and Harry's uncle Charles Spencer, who is the younger brother of Princess Diana, announced the family death on Twitter, while sharing a photo of a flag at half-mast at his home and ancestral seat, Althorp House.
WATCH: Prince Harry asks to simply be called 'Harry' as he launches travel project in Edinburgh
Earl Spencer explained: "The Spencer flag at half-mast at @AlthorpHouse today, marking the death of my father's older sister (& only sibling) Anne, aged 99 1/2. An officer in the WRENS in World War 2, she was the mother of 3 sons and 2 daughters. Lady Anne Wake-Walker (née Spencer), 1920-2020."
He also paid tribute on Instagram by sharing a precious family photograph that showed Anne and her younger brother John – Princess Diana's father – playing in the garden at Althorp House as children. "Aunt Anne and my father, playing at @althorphouse in 1925," the Earl wrote. "A wonderful lady, she was an officer in the WRENS in the Second World War, and was a much loved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother - as well as sister and aunt, of course. Aunt Anne died last night, aged 99 1/2. "The end of an era" is the phrase I've heard repeatedly today. Indeed it is."
Lady Anne Wake-Walker, far left, has passed away aged 99
MORE: Prince William and Kate enjoy starry night at the theatre - best photos
Lady Anne was married to Christopher Baldwin Hughes Wake-Walker, a lieutenant in the royal navy. The couple said "I do" at Westminster Abbey in February 1944. They had five children together: Elizabeth Duckworth-Chad, David, Richard and Michael Spencer and Diana Macfarlane, who shared the same name as her cousin, Princess Diana.
Anne and Princess Diana's father John playing at home
MORE: Victoria Beckham reveals hilarious parenting fail with daughter Harper
When the People's Princess tragically died in a car accident in 1997, Anne remembered her as a "sweet, thoughtful and very kind girl" with a wonderful sense of humour.
Make sure you never miss a ROYAL story! Sign up to our newsletter to get all of our celebrity, royal and lifestyle news delivered directly to your inbox.