Why Princess Diana's niece doesn't mind being in the spotlight

During Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in May, Lady Kitty Spencer managed to do the impossible — steal the spotlight from the bride.

The 27-year-old stunned onlookers with her likeness to her late aunt Diana Spencer, with photos of her walking into St George’s Chapel in custom Dolce & Gabbana going viral.

But just who is the woman who made headlines after finding herself thrust center stage at the biggest event of the year?

Like Princess Diana, Kitty’s childhood was also marred by her parents’ messy divorce.

The daughter of Charles Spencer, now the 9th Earl of Spencer, and former model Victoria Lockwood, Kitty was born in London but raised in Cape Town alongside younger siblings Eliza, Katya and Frederick.

Charles Spencer moved his family to South Africa in the early 1990s in a bid to escape the media spotlight that came with being Princess Diana’s brother.

Despite enjoying a comfortable upbringing thanks to the Spencer family’s $177 million fortune, Kitty’s parents split acrimoniously in 1997, with her father moving back to the U.K. soon afterwards and marrying two more times since then.

“Sometimes I feel like my family should be on The Jerry Springer Show,” Kitty told Hello! Magazine in 2008.

“From the outside, the structure looks so dysfunctional. However, every single member of my family is part of my happiness.”

Kitty also admits she doesn’t really remember Princess Diana — who died when she was just six years old — despite the model having a striking resemblance to her famous aunt.

“I was so young [when Diana was alive]. There are only a few memories, but special memories and happy memories, and I’m so lucky to have those,” Kitty told Vanity Fair in 2016, soon after she decided to move from South Africa to London.

It was after moving to the United Kingdom that Kitty’s profile took off, with the model becoming a regular on the London social scene and making her debut modelling for Dolce & Gabbana in 2017.

Unlike her father, who famously slammed the paparazzi’s obsession with Diana at her funeral, Kitty has said she doesn’t mind being in the spotlight.

“The media attention gives you the platform to speak about the things that are important to you,” she told Vanity Fair.

The socialite has also called Australia home for a brief period, spending several months down under during the summer of 2015-2016 while working as an ambassador at racing and polo events.

But Kitty’s rise to fame hasn’t been without its speed bumps, with the model causing controversy for her comments about the homeless in 2016.

While working as an ambassador for Centrepoint — a charity which helps young homeless people find jobs — Kitty told reporters she envied their situation.

“The young people that have come out of Centrepoint are so focused on one thing,” she told The Times.

“They know exactly what they want to do and what their talents are. So for that I envy them. “I do battle with what it is that I really want to set my mind to.”

Kitty’s love life has also seen her in the headlines, with the model splitting from father of three Italian property tycoon Niccolo Barattieri after four years together in July 2017.

According to the Daily Mail, Kitty and Niccolo, who is 20 years her senior, parted ways because of her wish to marry and have children.

But since attending Meghan and Harry’s wedding in May, Kitty doesn’t appear to have time for romance, with her modelling career at the highest.

Opening the Dolce & Gabbana’s Lake Como fashion show earlier this month in a dress worthy of any fairytale princess, it was clear Kitty has arrived.

This article originally appeared on news.com.au.