Everything We Know About Princess Diana’s Brother, Charles Spencer

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princess diana brother charles spencer
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There’s no denying that Princess Diana's main priority was always her family. While we know a great deal about King Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry, we know little about the rest of her family members, including her younger brother, Charles Spencer.

The 59-year-old author and journalist keeps a relatively low profile, but he's made quite the life for himself. To date, he has published eight books and he currently hosts the podcast, The Rabbit Hole Detectives. Plus, the 9th Earl Spencer continues to offer glimpses of his home Althorp Estate and share throwbacks of his late sister on social media. He even hosted The Diana Award ceremony in the princess's honor in 2021.

He said in a statement, "I've always been delighted that my sister's name has been the catalyst behind the brilliant Diana Award, and to have the Legacy Award Ceremony at our family home seems not only very fitting, but also rather wonderful. I chaired the selection of the winners, so am aware how truly admirable their achievements are. This will be a celebration of these exceptional young people, but also, of course, of Diana herself."

Given how much he's accomplished over the years, we imagine his big sis would be proud. Keep reading for everything we know about Princess Diana's brother.

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1. Charles Spencer Is the Youngest of Four Siblings

Born Charles Edward Maurice Spencer on May 20, 1964, Charles is Princess Diana's only brother, making him Prince William and Prince Harry's maternal uncle.

He’s also the youngest among his siblings. Aside from Diana, he has two older sisters Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes.

2. Charles Spencer Had an Older Brother Who Died Shortly After Birth

His parents, John and Frances, welcomed their first son and third child, John, on January 12, 1960. Unfortunately, John died a few hours after he was born.

In May 2022, Charles shared a pic of his late brother's tombstone on Instagram, after getting it restored. He wrote in the caption, "Looking as it should, now…I never knew my older brother, John, and live 100 miles from his grave—but, seeing it last summer, realised serious action was required. Thank you, BB, for making it look as it should."

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3. Queen Elizabeth Was His Godmother

In addition to once being Prince Charles’s brother-in-law, the youngest Spencer also has some other royal ties. In fact, Queen Elizabeth was his godmother.

On an episode of his podcast Rabbit Hole Detectives, he revealed that the late queen had a knack for giving great gifts. He said, “The best present ever got from her was when I was at boarding school, and it was quite a tough boarding school. I got from her a very small radio that looked like a book, so I could sneak into my dormitory and listen to [it] under my pillow, to radio Luxembourg.”

Spencer also confirmed that the queen signed the present, saying, “To Charles, from his godmother Elizabeth R.”

4. He Has a Royal Title

Charles is formally the 9th Earl of Spencer, a title he inherited when his father passed away in 1992. His other titles include 9th Viscount Althorp, 9th Viscount Spencer of Althorp, 9th Baron Spencer of Althorp and 4th Viscount Althorp.

5. He Studied History in School

That's right—he was educated at Eton College and he earned his degree in modern history at Magdalen College, Oxford. This pretty much explains why the author's Instagram page is filled with historic photos and portraits.

6. He Was a Journalist and Television Reporter

In addition to his royal duties, Charles has quite the resume. He started his career as a journalist and television reporter with NBC News where he worked between 1986 and 1995 for Today and NBC Nightly News.

7. He's Also an Accomplished Author

He's an experienced author and has published a number of titles that analyze British history, including Sunday Times bestsellers Blenheim: Battle for Europe and Prince Rupert: The Last Cavalier. His 2021 book, The White Ship, became a #1 bestseller on Amazon.

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8. He Is Quite the Philanthropist

Charles has been involved in over 40 charitable organizations, and according to Philanthropy Journal, he often hosts major fundraising events at Althorp for charities he's passionate about.

Among those organizations is Northampton Hope Centre, a homeless shelter, which he discovered after listening to a radio bulletin. He said, “It all sounded so desperate, I felt compelled to help. That’s often what happens is that I am just hit by the tragedy of a story.”   

As for what motivates him to give back, he revealed that he supports “philanthropic causes that are innovative and that make perfect sense.”

9. He Is Happily Married to Karen Anne Spencer

Yup, he married Canadian native Karen Anne Spencer (formerly Karen Villeneuve) in 2011 and has been happily married ever since. However, this isn’t his first marriage. He divorced his first wife, Victoria Aitken, in 1997 and his second wife, Caroline Freud, in 2007.

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10. He Has Seven Children

With those three marriages came seven children. The Earl shares four children with Lockwood: Lady Kitty Eleanor Spencer (32), Lady Eliza Victoria Spencer (31), Lady Katya Amelia Spencer (31), and Louis Spencer, Viscount Althorp (29). With Freud, he shares Edmund Spencer (20) and Lady Lara Caroline Spencer (19). And with Spencer, he shares 11-year-old Lady Charlotte Diana Spencer.

Lady Kitty Spencer got married during a gorgeous ceremony in Italy in 2021. She and her now-husband, Michael Lewis, exchanged vows at the Villa Aldobrandini country mansion in Frascati. Meanwhile, her sister, Katya Amelia Spencer, tied the knot with Greg Mallett in 2023.

11. He Launched a Podcast in 2023

In February 2023, the Earl of Spencer teamed up Reverend Richard Coles and Dr. Cat Jarman to premiere their podcast, The Rabbit Hole Detectives (which, FYI, boasts a near 5-star rating on Spotify). The trio takes listeners on an exciting journey as they dive into mysteries of the past and "showchase the provenance of historical objects, both real and metaphorical."

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Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a wide range of topics, like career...