Earl Spencer Divorce: A Deep Dive into the 9th Earl’s Recent Separation

The recent announcement of Earl Spencer’s divorce from Karen Spencer has captured significant media attention. Charles Spencer, the 9th Earl Spencer and younger brother of the late Princess Diana, chose Fiona Shackleton as his legal representative, the same barrister who handled Princess Diana’s high-profile divorce from King Charles in 1996.

The Divorce Announcement

On June 9, news broke that Earl Spencer had retained Fiona Shackleton for his divorce proceedings. Shackleton’s notable clients have included not only Princess Diana but also Prince Andrew, Paul McCartney, and Princess Haya bint al-Hussein of Jordan. Her reputation in handling high-stakes divorces is well-established, having earned the title Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia in 2010 and currently serving in the House of Lords.

Charles Spencer and Karen Spencer married on June 18, 2011, and their union lasted nearly 13 years. The couple has a 12-year-old daughter, Charlotte Diana, named in honor of her late aunt, Princess Diana. The announcement of their divorce came shortly after Charles revealed his childhood trauma and the emotional challenges he faced while writing his memoir, “A Very Private School.”

The Role of Fiona Shackleton

Fiona Shackleton’s involvement in the divorce is significant given her history with the Spencer family. Shackleton’s legal expertise and experience with royal and celebrity divorces make her a formidable advocate. Her role in Princess Diana’s divorce from King Charles was crucial, as she navigated the complex legal and public relations aspects of the case. Shackleton’s presence in Earl Spencer’s divorce signifies the seriousness with which the Earl is approaching this separation.

The End of an Era

Charles and Karen Spencer’s relationship began with much promise. They met in 2010 and married a year later at Althorp House, the Spencer family’s ancestral home. This historic estate, where Princess Diana is buried, became Karen’s residence after their marriage. Karen, a Canadian social entrepreneur, founded Whole Child International, a charity aimed at improving the care of vulnerable children worldwide.

Despite their shared commitment to philanthropy and their blended family, the couple’s relationship began to unravel. Charles has four children from his first marriage to Victoria Lockwood and two children from his second marriage to Caroline Freud. Karen has two daughters from her previous marriage to Hollywood producer Mark Gordon.

The Impact of Charles Spencer’s Memoir

Charles Spencer’s memoir, “A Very Private School,” delves into his traumatic experiences at boarding school and his subsequent journey through therapy. This personal exploration revealed deep-seated issues that have influenced his relationships throughout his life. In March, Charles spoke about the support Karen provided during his writing process, highlighting the emotional strain it placed on their marriage.

The memoir also brought to light Charles’s struggles with intimacy, a consequence of being sent to boarding school at a young age. This revelation has been pivotal in understanding the dynamics of his marriages and his need for therapy. The discovery of a diary entry from 1976, in which an assistant matron who allegedly abused him wrote a hauntingly intimate message, further underscored the profound impact of his past on his present life.

Karen Spencer’s Perspective

Karen Spencer, known for her philanthropic work, has maintained a dignified silence on the details of their separation. Her focus remains on their daughter, Charlotte, and her ongoing charitable initiatives. The couple’s announcement was handled with grace, emphasizing mutual respect and a desire for each other’s happiness.

Moving Forward

Charles Spencer’s divorce from Karen Spencer marks a significant transition in his life. The Earl, who has become close to Norwegian archaeologist Dr. Cat Jarman, co-hosts a history podcast, “The Rabbit Hole Detectives,” with Jarman and Rev. Richard Coles. This new chapter in his personal life reflects his ongoing journey of self-discovery and healing.


The divorce of Earl Spencer and Karen Spencer is a poignant reminder of the complexities of personal relationships, especially within the public eye. Charles Spencer’s candid revelations about his past and the emotional challenges he faces offer a deeper understanding of the man behind the title. As both Charles and Karen move forward, their commitment to their children and their respective endeavors remains unwavering.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is representing Earl Spencer in his divorce?
Earl Spencer has retained Fiona Shackleton, a renowned barrister known for handling high-profile divorces, including that of Princess Diana and King Charles.

2. How long were Charles and Karen Spencer married?
Charles and Karen Spencer were married for nearly 13 years, having wed on June 18, 2011.

3. What is the significance of Althorp House in their marriage?
Althorp House is the Spencer family’s ancestral home and the burial site of Princess Diana. It became Karen’s residence after their marriage.

4. What revelations did Charles Spencer make in his memoir?
In his memoir, “A Very Private School,” Charles Spencer revealed his traumatic experiences at boarding school and the impact of these experiences on his relationships and emotional well-being.

5. What is Karen Spencer’s role in philanthropy?
Karen Spencer is the founder and CEO of Whole Child International, a charity focused on improving the care of vulnerable children globally. She has continued her philanthropic work despite the separation.

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