Elizabeth Sarah Lavinia Spencer was born with the honorific "The Honourable"'; she acquired the courtesy title "Lady" in 1975, when her grandfather died and her father became the 8th Earl Spencer. She suffered from the eating disorder anorexia nervosa in her early twenties. She was educated firstly at Riddlesworth Hall School in Norfolk and secondly at West Heath boarding school near Sevenoaks in Kent. After passing O Level exams she left West Heath to work in London.
Sarah married Neil Edmund McCorquodale (born 4 October 1951), son of Alastair McCorquodale and Rosemary Sybil Turnor, on 17 May 1980 in Northamptonshire, England. Neil is a 2nd cousin once removed of Lady Sarah's stepmother, Raine Spencer.
Neil and Lady Sarah McCorquodale have three children:
Lady Sarah was accompanied by her husband and their children to the funeral of Diana at Westminster Abbey on 6 September 1997.
She and her family reside near Grantham, Lincolnshire where she served a one-year term as High Sheriff of Lincolnshire in 2009. She became a master of the Belvoir Hunt in May 2010. Lady Sarah was also president of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, which raised £100 million for various charities. The Fund unsuccessfully took legal action in 1998 against the Franklin Mint over the unlicensed use of Diana's image. The Fund closed at the end of 2012.