Princess Diana’s Brother Charles Spencer Recalls the Rare Moment He Escaped from Boarding School—Thanks to the Queen

He was her godson

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The revelations shared in Charles Spencer’s brand-new memoir, A Very Private School, about the abuse he endured at Maidwell Hall, the U.K. boarding school he was sent off to at the age of eight, are tough to read.

But in an exclusive conversation on the Royally Obsessed podcast, Princess Diana’s brother reflected back on a momentary bright spot: When his father—who was unaware of what was going on behind closed doors at Maidwell—sprung him from school for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s 25th wedding anniversary.

Under normal circumstances, breaks from school were quite limited, Spencer describes. But Spencer—who was also Queen Elizabeth’s godson—was given special privileges to attend the royal occasion.

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“It was November 1972 and it was the Queen and Prince Philip’s silver wedding anniversary,” Spencer reflects. “I was invited, but this was a bit of a problem for the school because they didn’t allow us out. But you couldn’t exactly decline an invitation from the Queen.”

So, Spencer dressed in his Sunday best—a suit. “I remember I was standing next to my father and the Queen and Prince Philip processed up the aisle of Westminster Abbey. My father noted with very great affection for Her Majesty the fact that she looked down at me and gave me an enormous smile. I worked out subsequently that I must have been the youngest person in Westminster Abbey that day because I’m about a month younger than Prince Edward. It was rather lovely and very charming of [the Queen] to do that.”

Beyond getting a momentary break from the trauma he was enduring at school, Spencer shared that this experience celebrating the Queen and Prince Philip may have also launched his journalism career. “There was an annual magazine [at Maidwell] and I wrote about [the occasion],” he says. “I later became a journalist—for a decade, I worked on NBC’s Today show as a reporter—but my very first piece of journalism was my account of that day.”

He adds, laughing: “It’s very much an eight year old’s take on a rather grand occasion. I’m not sure I nailed all the details quite correctly.”

Like we said, a bright spot in an otherwise dark time in Spencer’s life.

Charles Spencer Shares Intimate Childhood Story of Sister Princess Diana Acting As His Protector

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