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Princess Diana's Brother Charles Spencer Recalls Shared Childhood Trauma after Parents' Divorce

Jaimie-lee Prince
Sep 15, 2020
05:00 A.M.
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Princess Diana's brother recounted the challenging time he and his sister went through when their parents separated. The two were "in it together" as their older siblings were away. 


In a new interview with the Sunday Times, Charles Spencer, Princess Diana's brother, talked about his childhood. As a young boy, Charles confided in his older sister, Diana.  

Princess Diana was five years old when her parents, John Spencer and Frances Ruth Roche, ended their marriage in 1969. Her two older sisters were away studying, so it was just Diana and Charles.

Charles Spencer and Lady Diana Spencer in a family photo circa 1960 | Photo: Getty Images



"I did talk to her about it," noted Charles, who looks forward to the release of a new book, "The White Ship," in September. He described his father as a "quiet and constant source of love." 

On the other hand, their mother was not up to the task of maternity. When the pair split, things were incredibly challenging for Diana. As for Charles, he has been in therapy on and off for 20 odd years. He recalled

"While [Frances] was packing her stuff to leave, she promised Diana she'd come back to see her. Diana used to wait on the doorstep for her, but she never came." 


Charles Spencer attends the Memorial Service for Princess Diana in London, England on August 31, 2007 | Photo: Getty Images


Roche and John, the 8th Earl Spencer, went through a custody battle which resulted in the children staying with their father. Their mother was replaced by a series of nannies. 


Charles appreciates the help he received despite the agony he went through on his therapist's couch. He is now in a much better place and realizes that his mother may not have had bad intentions.

Charles Spencer attends the ICAP charity day in London, England on December 9, 2015 | Photo: Getty Images


Meanwhile, Dianna once admitted that the crunch of the gravel as her mother left haunted her for years. Royal family experts believe she developed a sense of neediness because of her childhood. 


Over the years, Charles' childhood trauma caused him to seek out partners that he could work towards saving. He married twice before settling down in 2011 with social entrepreneur Karen. 

Karen is most appreciative of her husband's willingness to work on himself and of their supportive union. Charles still needs support now and then in dealing with the loss of his sister. 


Charles and Karen Spencer attend the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in Windsor, England on May 19, 2018 | Photo: Getty Images


In 2017, Charles revealed that he continues to have nightmares following Diana's funeral in 1997. During the event, Charles gave a eulogy for his beloved sister. The task knocked the wind out of his stomach. 


However, the worst part of it all was when the Palace insisted on making Charles and Diana's sons Prince William and Harry walk behind her coffin. "It was just ghastly," said Charles. 


Charles honored the 23rd anniversary of his sister's death last month by sharing a photo on Twitter. He showed his family flag flying at half-mast at his home, the Althorp House in Northamptonshire.

"My first family duty on 31 August. Never forgotten," he captioned it. Spencer still resides at his childhood home, which is also the location of Diana's burial site following her untimely death at age 36.