Charles Spencer: Princess Diana’s brother to be divorced for the third time

Charles Spencer, Princess Diana’s brother, has announced he is getting divorced for the third time. He has now revealed what he thinks caused the split...

Charles Spencer divorce third time
© Chris Jackson / Getty Images
Charles Spencer divorce third time

Charles Spencer is Princess Diana’s younger brother. Charles is the 9th Earl Spencer and lives at Althorp, the Spencer family estate in Northamptonshire. Recently, he has revealed that he is divorcing his third wife, Karen Gordon.

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Speaking to Daily Mail, Earl Spencer has shared what he believes the cause of his divorce was, and what he plans to do for the future. In March, Spencer published a memoir where he talks about the abuse he suffered at school. According to him, this could be the cause of his third divorce.

As we dive into Charles Spencer’s third divorce, let’s look at his and Karen’s relationship, as well as his other two marriages.

Charles Spencer to be divorced a third time

As reported by Daily Mail, Charles Spencer, who regularly shares photos of his family on social media, and his wife, Karen first announced their divorce to staff at Althord back in March 2024. Earl Spencer has now shared the news with the rest of the public, and spoke to Mail on Sunday about it.

He told the tabloid on Sunday, June, 9 that he was ‘immensely sad’ over the divorce, but he now plans to devote his time and energy to his children and grandchildren.

I just want to devote myself to all my children, and to my grandchildren, and I wish Karen every happiness in the future.

According to Daily Mail, Charles and Karen had met in 2010 on a blind date in a restaurant in Los Angeles. A year later, the two were married on the grounds of Althorp, where the late Princess Diana is buried. In 2012, they welcomed a daughter, Lady Charlotte Diana Spencer.

However, after 13 years of marriage, the two separated, after Karen, a Canadian philanthropist, was notably absent at events to promote the Earl’s memoir about his time at boarding school at Althorp and Spencer House in London.

Several media, including The Express and The Sun have reported that the memoir put a strain on their relationship.

How the memoir impacted Charles Spencer

Charles Spencer himself explained to Daily Mail, that the five years of writing it took to write his memoir had deeply impacted him. He revealed that he underwent residential treatment for his trauma in 2023.

It has been said that Earl Spencer went through a very difficult time when he stumbled upon his old diary from when he was a schoolboy. Within the diary, he reportedly found a letter from the assistant matron who he claims abused him while at school.

While the memoir was taxing on their relationship, Charles Spencer did praise Karen for her support as he was writing his memoir.

Karen has been supportive. I think it was very challenging for her to have a husband going through what was essentially four and a half years of the most profound therapy with very difficult undertones to it. And she supported the idea of me doing it.

Charles Spencer hires same divorce lawyer as King Charles

Shortly after the divorce was publicised, it was also reported that Charles Spencer has allegedly hired the same divorce lawyer as his former brother-in-law, King Charles. It is believed that Ealr Spencer has hired Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia, who is best known for helping King Charles separate from Princess Diana.

Baroness Shackleton, also known as the ‘demon negotiator’ and a ‘steel magnolia’ has previously been hired for several high-profile divorces, including Sir Paul McCartney, whose ex-wife poured a jug of water over Shackleton’s head in court after winning £24m, as per The Independent.

Charles Spencer has been married twice before

This is not Charles Spencer's first time dealing with divorce, Charles Spencer was married twice before his divorce from Karen Gordon.

Charles Spencer’s first marriage to Victoria Lockwood

His first wife was Victoria Lockwood and the two were married for eight years. According to Hello!, Victoria was a British model and worked for Dior and Levi. She has previously been described as ‘the most beautiful woman in the world’ by renowned fashion designer, Ralph Lauren.

Charles and Victoria married rather quickly. Indeed, the Earl had proposed to Victoria just six weeks after meeting one another, as per Hello!.

Their wedding took place at St Mary's Church, Great Brington. While they were married, Victoria was known as Viscountess Spencer.

During their eight-year relationship, the couple welcomed four children, Kitty, in 1990, twins Eliza and Amelia, in 1992, and son Louis, in 1994. As per Hello!, Charles and Victoria divorced in 1997. The two had just started a new life in South Africa when they announced their divorce.

Following the announcement, Earl Spencer moved back to the UK, while Victoria decided to stay in South Africa and their four children lived in Cape Town for most of the year.

Charles Spencer’s second marriage to Caroline Freud

There is less information concerning Charles Spencer’s second marriage to Caroline Freud. As per Hello!, the two married in 2001 and two years later, they welcomed their first child, Edmund.

Edmund, who goes by the nickname ‘Ned’, is currently studying at university and prefers to stay out of the limelight. In 2006, Charles and Caroline welcomed their second child, Lara Caroline Spencer, who, like her sibling, prefers to stay away from the eyes of the media.

However, Lara was present at Earl Spencer’s book launch, the two posed together as Charles finished signing a copy of his memoir. Charles and Caroline split in 2007 and officially divorced in 2009.

Charles Spencer reflected on his first two marriages in his memoir

According to The Independent, Charles Spencer reflected on his first two marriages in his memoir. He revealed that he sought professional help to figure out his relationship patterns. He explained that he has ‘no understanding of intimacy’ due to being sent away to boarding school.

When looking at the wreckage of my first and second marriages, I learned early in therapy that being sent away to boarding school at eight years of age meant that I had next to no understanding of intimacy.

Read more:

Charles Spencer: The controversial reason behind the divorces of Princess Diana's brother

Lady Diana and King Charles' divorce settlement: From payments to child custody, all the terms explained

Eamonn Holmes: Friends express worry about the presenter as they say he is ‘struggling’ with divorce

Sources used:

Daily Mail: ‘Charles Spencer reveals 'immensely sad' divorce from third wife who he met on blind date - amid strain of writing harrowing memoir’

The Sun: ‘Princess Diana’s brother Earl Spencer reveals ‘immensely sad’ divorce from third wife & reason behind marriage breakdown’

People: ‘All About Charles Spencer, Princess Diana’s Brother and Closest Sibling’

The Independent: ‘Earl Spencer hires same divorce lawyer used by King Charles to separate from Diana’

Hello!: ‘Everything you need to know about Charles Spencer's first wife Victoria Aitken’

Hello!: ‘Charles Spencer's children: everything you need to know about the Earl of Spencer family life’

Charles Spencer: The controversial reason behind the divorces of Princess Diana's brother Charles Spencer: The controversial reason behind the divorces of Princess Diana's brother