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Charles Spencer reveals 'immensely sad' news he is divorcing his third wife

Charles and Karen wed in 2011 after being set up on a blind date in 2010 in LA

Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
Los Angeles correspondentLos Angeles
6 days ago
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Charles Spencer has revealed the "immensely sad" news that he is divorcing his wife, the Countess of Spencer, Karen Gordon, whom he wed in June 2011. 

The 59-year-old brother of the late Princess Diana shared the news with the Mail On Sunday, adding: "I just want to devote myself to all my children, and to my grandchildren, and I wish Karen every happiness in the future." 

It is thought that Charles and Karen's marriage broke down in recent years amid the strain of the Earl's memoir, A Very Private School, in which he detailed physical and sexual abuse while at boarding school. 

Earl Charles Spencer and Countess Karen Spencer attend the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor © Max Mumby/Indigo
Earl Charles Spencer and Countess Karen Spencer attend the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor

The divorce news comes days after Karen announced the death of her beloved father who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, and revealed she was on Vancouver Island, in Canada supporting her family.

"My father passed away today after a long battle with Alzheimer's," she shared on social media. "I was happy to be there to support my mother and brother who have been doing the bulk of the heavy lifting in dealing with his care here on Vancouver Island.

Who Is Charles Spencer? Everything To Know About Princess Diana's Brother

Karen, 51, is a Canadian philanthropist who wed Charles on the grounds of Althorp, where the Earl's older sister Princess Diana is buried, in June 2011, four months after Charles proposed. They had met after being set up on a blind date in Los Angeles in 2010.

The couple share one daughter, Lady Charlotte Diana Spencer, whom they welcomed in 2012, and whom they have been raising at Althorp.

 Karen, the founder of Whole Child charity is also mum to Emma and Kate from a previous marriage with Mark Gordon from 1997 to 2003.

Karen Gordon (L) and Earl Charles Spencer attend Ubuntu Gala: Healthy Bodies, Inspired Minds, Bright Futures benefiting the Ubuntu Eduction Fund at Battersea Power station on May 4, 2011© Dave M. Benett
Karen and Charles attend Ubuntu Gala: Healthy Bodies, Inspired Minds, Bright Futures Gala in 2011

Charles is father to Lady Kitty Spencer, twins Eliza and Amelia Spencer and Louis Spencer, Viscount Althorp, with his ex-wife Victoria Aitkin. Charles is also the father to Edmund and Lara, whom he shares with his second wife Caroline Freud.

Charles is the 9th Earl Spencer, and the maternal uncle of Prince William and Prince Harry

A historian, journalist and broadcaster, he also lovingly manages the Althorp estate, the Spencers' ancestral seat in Northamptonshire. and proudly shares pictures with followers across social media.

Earl Charles Spencer with his son Louis (left) and wife Karen in 2012© Max Mumby/Indigo
Earl Charles Spencer with his son Louis (left) and wife Karen in 2012

In his memoir, the 59-year-old said that he was abused by an assistant matron at the school when he was a child, during the 1970s. 

"There seemed to be an unofficial hierarchy among her prey… she chose one boy each term to share her bed and would use him for intercourse," he wrote. "Her control over mesmerised boys was total, for we were starved of feminine warmth and desperate for attention and affection."

Earl Charles Spencer and Countess Karen Spencer attend day 3 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 18, 2015© Max Mumby/Indigo
Earl Charles Spencer and Countess Karen Spencer attend day 3 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 18, 2015

Charles also alleged he was beaten with the spikes of a cricket boot by the school’s Latin master, and described reliving his experiences at the school as "an absolutely hellish experience", writing: "I’ve frequently witnessed deep pain, still flickering in the eyes of my Maidwell contemporaries. Many of us left Maidwell with demons sewn into the seams of our souls."

Karen was absent from Althorp in March for the book's launch events, and the Earl later revealed that he had admitted himself for residential treatment for trauma late last year.

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