Researchers have found evidence proving a 100-year-old rumour that one of Princess Diana’s ancestors was buried in Cork.
The discovery was made at the Corkbeg graveyard in Whitegate, where researchers unearthed plaques proving that Edmond Roche, 1st Baron of Fermoy, the great, great grandfather of Diana Spencer, was buried in the grounds.
The true location of Roche’s resting place had always been unknown. For a century, residents of Cork had claimed he was buried in the town.
Roche held the title of Lord Lieutenant of County Cork, and was their representative in the House of Commons, so the claim was always feasible, but never proven. Now the find has confirmed it, and a real sense of excitement has swept through the town.
Several locals were helping with the Historic Graves project, which will restore derelict and dilapidated graveyards across Ireland.
Grace Fox, who was taking part in the dig, said: “The volunteers found the plaques by accident while they were cleaning around the mausoleum and the tree.”
Edmond Roche lived in Cork for several years in the mid-1800s. He married Elizabeth Caroline Boothbym, and their grandson, Edmund Roche, was the grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Diana was an iconic figure around the world. Her natural beauty and kind spirit made her hugely popular with all. She once spoke of her desire to visit Ireland one day over dinner with celebrity fitness trainer Pat Henry.
He described his meeting with the Princess: “I told her she was more beautiful in person, and she got embarrassed. She had been really nice to talk to; we talked about Ireland. She would have loved to come visit, she would have made a great ambassador to Ireland.”
“She gave us a beautiful signed photo of herself and it had written on it ‘love Diana’. It was something the press had never seen and is very special.”
The village of Whitegate now has another claim to fame. In addition to this latest discovery, it can also boast to be the birthplace of Irish writer William Wall, and novelist Maeve Binchy and poet William Montague both also have homes nearby.
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