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Princess Diana's brother Charles Spencer shares 'poignant' family discovery in emotional new post

The Earl found the moving memento at his family home, Althorp House

Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, attends the UK premiere of "Dancing At The Vatican" at BAFTA
Diane Shipley
Senior Online Writer
6 March 2024
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Charles Spencer and his wife Karen have discovered many touching family artifacts at the Spencer family estate over the last few months, including a picture of Charles' grandmother which bears a stunning resemblance to his late sister, Princess Diana. 

On Wednesday, he revealed another special memento from his family past – and it's so moving

The Earl, 59, shared a short video to Instagram documenting the special find and its loving inscription, which you can see below… 

Charles moved fans with the incredible discovery
View post on Instagram

Alongside the clip, the dad-of-seven wrote a caption that read: "My 'going away' present, from my father to me, the day I was sent off to boarding school, when I was aged 8. 

"I unexpectedly rediscovered this Prayer Book in the attics at @althorphouse within an hour of completing the final edit of the manuscript of my upcoming memoir, A Very Private School – wanting a complete change of pace after writing a particularly emotionally demanding book, I decided to go to the top of the house to help move books out of a room that was marked down for redecoration. 

Charles Spencer in black tuxedo© Paul Archuleta/WireImage
Charles found the memento after working on his new book

"I'd in fact quoted what my father wrote here, inside the Prayer Book, in my upcoming memoir - and now, suddenly, I was holding the gift that I'd not seen for decades (I assumed it was long thrown away) in my hands. 

"The coincidence of finding the Prayer Book at that particular moment, on that final day of writing, made me start so much that the @althorphouse curator asked me if I was OK." 

Aerial view of Althorp, this grade 1 listed stately home was the home of Lady Diana Spencer who later became the Princess of Wales, it is located on the Harlestone Road between the villages of Great Brington and Harlestone, 5 miles north west of Northampton. © David Goddard
Charles is custodian of the family estate, Althorp House

As the video showed, a young Charles had sweetly attempted to imitate his father's handwriting, although he admitted he now regrets that decision, continuing: "One of the many childhood regrets I have is trying to copy my father's handwriting, here… 

"A shame to have unthinkingly defiled such a heartfelt message from a father dealing with sending his son to live with strangers, 100 miles from home." 

Charles Spencer and his sisters at their father's funeral in 1992© Getty
The Earl and his sisters at their father's funeral in 1992

Charles' fans rushed to share their love for the post, with one calling it "both heart-warming and heart-breaking" and another commenting: "Poignantly sad that you were trying to imitate your father's handwriting."

The author's upcoming book will mark a change in direction from his typical historical non-fiction, being a memoir about his time at boarding school between the ages of eight and 13. 

Lady Diana Spencer and Charles Spencer in 1968© Getty
A young Charles with Diana in 1968

It also talks more generally about the life-changing impact of sending young children away to be educated at such a young age. 

After recording the audio version earlier this year, Charles shared an image of himself behind a microphone, which he captioned, in part: "It's an uncompromising book - the saddest parts come not from me (I'm just the way in to the tale), but from my contemporaries, who've suffered in silence for 50 years. 

Charles' new book is out later this month
View post on Instagram

"Last week one of my friends there told me that my writing this book had prompted him to tell his wife of 38 years, for the very first time, what he went through as a boy. They cried together, for an hour." 

Charles at Royal Ascot with his wife Karen© Getty
Wife Karen has been so supportive

Karen shared her support for her husband's emotional endeavour on social media, as she posted: "I can't even begin to express how proud I am of him for writing this book. It was hard even watching him write it…"

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