The twins, 28, discussed the late royal in a new interview with Tatler, where they reflected on Princess Diana’s legacy while revealing that they did not know “how significant” the Princess of Wales was before her death when they were five.
“We always just knew her as our aunt. Growing up in South Africa, I really had very little idea of how significant she was in the world until I was much older,” Eliza told the outlet.
However, the royal does remember her aunt as being “incredibly warm, maternal and loving,” adding: “She always made an effort to connect with us as children and had a talent for reading children’s hearts.”
One example that has stuck with the twins was an incident that occurred during a beach trip with Princess Diana, when they were approached by a photographer.
According to Eliza, the situation could have been “quite terrifying,” but Diana managed to distract the twins, even turning the situation into a game.
"Obviously it could have been quite terrifying for us, being so young and not understanding what was happening. But she turned it into a game of who could get back to the car first,” Eliza said, according to People. “It was amazing how she protected us in a way that made us feel safe and not frightened.
“We had no idea what she was doing at the time."
When Diana died in August 1997 at the age of 36, Eliza said she recognised the “enormity” of the loss for her father, Diana's brother Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, and the rest of her family, but not what the Princess of Wales’ death would mean for the rest of the world.
She recalled: “As a child, I realised the enormity of the loss for my father and family. It was only later that I came to understand the significance of the loss of her as a figure in the world."
Diana’s brother and his ex-wife Victoria Aitken, who also share daughter Kitty Spencer, moved the family to South Africa in 1995, to “raise their children as far as possible from the glare of the British tabloid press,” according to Harper’s Bazaar.
The March issue of Tatler is on newsstands on Monday 1 February.