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Princess Diana's brother Charles Spencer reveals reason for 'endless nightmares'

The Earl is a supportive uncle to Prince William and Prince Harry


Charles Spencer standing outside in a blue suit
Diane Shipley
Senior Online Writer
27 March 2024
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Charles Spencer recently shared the sweetest childhood memory from his family home Althorp House, where he grew up alongside his late sister, Princess Diana. 

He also opened up to one of Diana's close friends in a heartfelt admission about why he'd experienced "endless nightmares"

Speaking to Prince George's godmother Julia Samuel on an episode of her podcast Therapy Works, the Earl opened up about writing his bestselling new book, A Very Private School, and the difficulty it caused him. 

WATCH: Earl Spencer reveals how school abuse affected his relationships

The Earl said: "During the writing, I don't think I was much fun to be around, because it was so intense and I was having endless nightmares and all of that." 

Opening up about his journey with drinking, Charles also shared: "But I've come out so much calmer, in the last, say two or three months, I suddenly noticed this huge change. I used to drink too much, I haven't touched a drop since January just because I don't want to." 

Charles Spencer in black tuxedo© Paul Archuleta/WireImage
Charles opened up in a candid conversation

Therapist Julia responded: "You're not looking for an anaesthetic against the rage," to which Charles agreed: "Well that's what it was of course, it was an anaesthetic." 

The father-of-seven's moving memoir is in part about the physical and sexual abuse he experienced while attending Maidwell Hall Prep School between the ages of eight and 13. 

Charles, Earl Spencer, Brother Of  Princess Of Wales,  With His Children At the Opening Of The Princess Of Wales Memorial Playground In Kensington Gardens In London. Louis Viscount Althorp, Eliza, Kitty, Amelia© Getty
With his eldest children at the opening of the Princess Of Wales memorial playground

Elsewhere in the podcast interview, the author shared by his eldest son and presumptive heir, Louis Spencer, had to stop reading because it also gave him nightmares. 

Charles also reveals that his experiences have kept him "on guard" when it comes to his youngest daughter, Charlotte Diana, who he shares with his third wife Karen. 

kitty spencer louis althorp© Getty
Louis with his eldest sister Kitty

The doting dad commented: "I have an 11-year-old, I have many children, and my youngest one I do the school run with her in the morning and it's a hoot, she's really funny and fun. 

"She's quite bored of me asking, 'Are there any strange teachers at school?' She sort of rolls her eyes and says, 'For goodness' sake, we've been through this,' but I will always be on guard." 

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

Charles is now historian of the Spencer estate, where his sister was laid to rest. Earlier this month, the 59-year-old uploaded a scenic video of the ornamental lake which is home to Princess Diana's tranquil gravesite

The majestic Oval Lake looked breathtaking in the spring sunshine as the sunlight rippled across the water. Perfectly manicured grass hugged the water's edge and a cacophony of birdsong pierced the silence. 

Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer (L) and his wife, Karen Spencer arrive for the wedding ceremony of Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and US actress Meghan Markle © Getty
Charles with his wife Karen at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding

"Such an exquisite morning at @althorphouse today - birdsong providing the high notes, with woodpeckers on percussion," Charles wrote in his caption. During another brave interview ahead of the launch of his book, the Earl revealed one of Princess Diana's biggest fears

Charles opened up about how his late sister cared for him after their mother left the family home and explained that one of her great fears was the dark. 

Charles Spencer at his home, Althorp House© Instagram
Charles at his home, Althorp House

Charles said: "Diana looked after me because she was nearly three years older than me. "She said that the worst part was hearing me cry down the hall because she was terrified of the dark and couldn't come to me."

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