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Charles Spencer's wife Karen's real feelings about 'damaged' Earl's former marriages

The couple got married in June 2011

charles spencer wife
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
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Charles Spencer is celebrating his 11th wedding anniversary with Karen Gordon, who previously spoke out about her feelings about being his third wife.

READ: Princess Diana's brother Charles Spencer's love life: Everything you need to know

Princess Diana's brother, the 9th Earl of Spencer, met Karen on a blind date through a former colleague of Charles. They got married at Althorp House in June 2011, with the bride, who was 38 at the time, looking radiant in a white fitted dress while 47-year-old Charles was dapper in a navy pinstripe suit.

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It marked Charles' third marriage, but that didn't phase Karen who said the breakdown of his former relationships with Victoria Aitken and Caroline Freud - which were reportedly impacted by his abandonment issues - simply made him "motivated" to work on himself.

When The Sunday Times quizzed Karen on being Charles' third wife, she replied: "I've been a first wife and a third and - trust me on this - you really want to be the third because men are so motivated at this point. They are really, really paying attention.

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charles karen

The Earl and Countess got married in 2011

"The most appealing thing about Charles for me was how willing he was to work on himself, and continue to do so. We both do."

She added of his previous relationships: "It’s pretty obvious why Charles found me. His mother left when he was two and I understand that wound because of my [NGO] work. There were always women who would have been a good match for him, but he wasn’t interested. It was the ones who couldn’t love him back who were magnetic for him. 

"When you’re damaged, you look for damage. If you’ve experienced trauma and abandonment to the degree Charles did, your brain is hard-wired. I think we are particularly suited to each other."

charles spencer victoria lockwood wedding

Charles with his first wife Victoria

Charles tends to keep his relationship out of the spotlight, but he shared a rare 50th birthday tribute to the Countess just weeks before their anniversary, describing her as a "timeless beauty" and "mother to three fabulous daughters."

The couple share daughter Charlotte Diana Spencer, who was born in 2012, while founder of Whole Child charity Karen is mum to Emma and Kate from a previous marriage. Meanwhile, Charles is the father of six more children.

Charles proposed to Victoria Aitken after just six weeks of dating and presented her with a very unusual heart-shaped diamond and a ruby engagement ring. They tied the knot in 1989 at the family's Grade I listed property in Northamptonshire, where Charles still lives.

The former couple welcomed four children: Lady Kitty Spencer, twins Eliza and Amelia Spencer and Louis Spencer, Viscount Althorp, before they split in 1997. 

charles spencer ex wife caroline

Princess Diana's brother married his second wife Caroline Freud in 2001

In 2001, Charles tied the knot with Caroline Freud and during their six-year marriage, they had two children together, Edmund and Lara.

During their joint interview with The Sunday Times, Karen revealed how Charles offered her some words of advice before she took on the role of stepmother. "Charles gave me the best advice, which is to say nothing and do nothing about anything, ever."

She continued: "I don't get to have an opinion about his children. I can have an opinion and give it to him, in our bedroom, but not to them. I just wish I could say I'd adhered to it the whole time. Stepparenting plays to Charles's strengths and my weaknesses…

"Charles's older four were pretty much grown up when I came on the scene, so my job, which I hope I've achieved, was simply to make everyone feel welcome."

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