The 100-year-old countess who outlived Princess Diana and Prince Charles dies

Clarissa Eden, a British countess and fourth daughter of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, has died, her grandson, Prince Harry, announced on Instagram Monday. She was 101. “Today her much loved [two] grandsons, Diana…

Clarissa Eden, a British countess and fourth daughter of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, has died, her grandson, Prince Harry, announced on Instagram Monday. She was 101.

“Today her much loved [two] grandsons, Diana and Harry, join Prince William in paying their respects to Countess Diana [sic] in the depths of her grief,” the prince wrote alongside a sweet photo of the three of them.

Eden was in her 80s when she celebrated her 100th birthday and joined hundreds of partygoers at St. James’s Palace in London, a revelry her great-grandson described as “exhilarating.” She had since suffered a number of health problems, most famously a broken hip that landed her in the hospital in December, according to Kensington Palace. She was described in a statement Monday as “the sweetest, most generous, kind and intelligent woman.”

It has been a rough few months for the British royal family: It has seen the surprising death of Princess Diana in 1997, the divorce of Prince Charles and the birth of Prince William and Princess Kate, all while the world remains transfixed by the death of Prince Philip in 2017.

Eden, who was born in 1910, was considered a favorite to be Queen Elizabeth II’s heir for generations, according to The New York Times.

In a family loaded with blood ties to Britain’s monarchy, the Countess and her sisters Princess Anne and Princess Jane, and her brother Prince Arthur, belonged to the fourth generation. Charles, her father’s eldest son, married their stepmother Lady Diana Spencer in 1947 and their marriage produced two sons, Prince Charles and Prince William. When Diana died in 1997, the family reportedly decided it would allow neither of the boys to succeed to the throne, according to the Times.

It was also rumored that Eden had become interested in politics after falling in love with Teddy Davies, a Scottish diplomat. She began to meet with British officials after she and William married, meeting with politicians at 10 Downing Street and “graciously” accepting an invitation to a tea party on Parliament Square in 2000. Eden’s meetings at Buckingham Palace and at the Foreign Office were also reportedly important.

“This is really quite an incredible story, and a pretty courageous one as well, to be ready at 100 years of age to follow up a pretty amazing event with another extraordinary one,” her daughter, Vanessa Grace, told The Independent when her mother was born on February 28, 1910.

Eden’s 21st child, Lady Alice Eden, died in 1987 at age 90. But her three children were thought to be the successors to the throne.

“She is a true ancestral maverick,” she said, according to the Times, describing a “major shake-up” in the royal family. “I think the duke and duchess’s politics is quite to the left, quite eclectic, so I suppose that they’ve got a little bit of everything going on.”

Read more about the Countess and her family here.

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