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Charles Spencer's wife Karen in tears as he reveals childhood trauma that shaped him as a father

Princess Diana's brother spoke about his experience with boarding school


charles spencer karen childhood confession
Andrea Caamano
Website Editor
September 13, 2022
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Charles Spencer has revealed marked 50 years since he was forced to go to a boarding school at the age of eight, revealing the memory of spending his first ever night away from his family has "been with me ever since".

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Taking to Instagram, Charles shared a photo of himself in his uniform looking stern, and wrote: "50 years ago today, on 12 September 1972, I was sent to boarding school for the first time. I was 8, and had never before spent a night away from my family.

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"Today I'm having lunch with 2 others from my year there. In this photograph, taken by my father a few weeks before I was packed off, I am particularly stern of face, as I try on the 'Sunday best' flannel suit that we had to wear to church on Sunday mornings at the school."

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He continued: "I was dreading the enforced move from home. As a result, I've not expected any of my children to board, although two chose to "weekly board" (ie, board in the week and come home every weekend), in their teens. Best to break the chain, and the pain."

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Charles Spencer when he was eight years old

Reacting to Charles' emotional confession, his wife Karen, Countess Spencer, shared several crying emojis alongside a broken heart.

It's not the first time that Charles has spoken out about his childhood, once calling it "ruptured".

In a profile for The Sunday Times back in 2020, Princess Diana's brother said: "My mother left home when I was two and I was sent to boarding school at eight, so I had quite a ruptured childhood emotionally."

charles spencer diana childhood© Photo: Getty Images

Charles and Diana pictured alongside their family in 1969

Although Charles and Diana had two older sisters, Sarah and Jane, he noted that they were away at school, saying, "So she and I were very much in it together and I did talk to her about it."

He added that their mother "wasn't cut out for maternity," noting, "She was in love with someone else — infatuated, really."

"While she was packing her stuff to leave, she promised Diana [then aged five] she'd come back to see her," he wrote in his profile. "Diana used to wait on the doorstep for her, but she never came. She could hear me crying down the corridor but was too scared of the dark to come to me."

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