As very young girls, my sisters and I were well aware of our Spencer roots. We are among the descendants of Michael Spencer, who is one of the four Spencer brothers who, along with their sister, came to America together, leaving behind all they knew in England. Michael was our 8th great grandfather. The information about our English heritage was passed down from generation to generation. We knew that we were related to Winston Spencer Churchill. We knew that we were related to Princess Diana, who is our 18th cousin, and her children, William and Harry, and now William’s son George. We always knew about all of the things that tied our family to the Spencer line in England.
Mom and Dad were always very proud of our Spencer background…of anything Spencer, really. I remember as a little girl, being allowed to stay up late, even on a school night, to watch the movie “Spencer’s Mountain” whenever it came on. It always felt like it was a story written about our family, even though the number of children didn’t match, and there were no boys in our family. Our family values, and the closeness we all shared, just meshed so well with the family in the movie, that it really was like they were a part of our family. We watched the movie many times, and it was almost like they were our alter egos.
“Spencer’s Mountain” was not the only late night viewing, that occurred in my life, that had to do with the Spencer family, however. When Diana Spencer married Prince Charles, I stayed up late to watch the ceremony, and when Prince William married Kate Middleton, I stayed up late to watch the ceremony, which took place on my birthday…something I really liked. Could I have recorded these events for viewing at a more normal time of day? Yes, and I did record them, but that would never be the same as watching the event live. Maybe other people would think I was crazy, but to me, that’s what growing up Spencer was all about. These people are my family, and this was an important event in their lives. I wanted to watch…first hand. When it was announced that Princess Kate was in labor with George, I was glued to the television set. I couldn’t wait to hear the happy news. I know many people aren’t interested in the English Royals, and I wasn’t really either…until Princess Diana married into the family. That connected my family to the royal family…in modern times at least…the Spencer family has royal ties centuries back too, but I didn’t know of those and wasn’t around then anyway, so Princess Diana was the first royal I knew of.
Every time the name Spencer showed up in a product, movie, or even the phone book, we felt an immediate connection. In reality, for the people in the phone books at least, there is a real likelihood that we are related. I have run into many people over the years that bear the name Spencer, and I only wish that there had been a way to find out for sure what our relationship is. I know it would be something that would be of interest to all of us, because everyone becomes intrigued by the possibility of being related to someone they didn’t know about before. There are a number of Spencers in Casper, and I’m sure we are related, but it would take time to trace the ties and find the connection that I have no doubt exists. It is another aspect of growing up Spencer, that will have to wait for another day.