Princess Diana's Brother Charles Spencer and Wife Karen Are Ending Their Marriage

The 9th Earl Spencer and his spouse are calling it quits after nearly 13 years.

Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer and Karen Spencer arrive at the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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Charles Spencer and his wife Karen Spencer are getting a divorce after nearly 13 years of marriage.

The 9th Earl Spencer confirmed he is divorcing the Countess of Spencer on Saturday, June 9, telling the Daily Mail that the split "is immensely sad."

"I just want to devote myself to all my children, and to my grandchildren," Spencer told the publication at the time. "And I wish Karen every happiness in the future."

According to the publication, the pair broke the news of their impending divorce to staff at Althorp—the Spencer family estate in Northamptonshire—back in March. The same report claims that Spencer's relationship with the Countess started to break down "amid the strain of writing his harrowing memoir detailing the physical and sexual abuse he suffered 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 Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England.

Earl Charles Spencer and Countess Karen Spencer attend the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Daily Mail reports that Spencer told his staff that the "five years of work on his memoir" impacted him greatly, which led to him "undergoing residential treatment for trauma late last year."

In the book, Spencer details the discovery of a diary he kept as a young boy in 1976, which detailed the alleged sexual abuse he claims to have endured by an assistant matron at his childhood boarding school.

In a previous interview with People, Spencer opened up about how supportive his wife was while he wrote his memoir.

"Karen has been supportive," he told the publication at the time. "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.

"I think she always hoped I would come out happier and healthier," he added. "And that seems to be the case very much. So, I'm grateful to have her standing by me while I went through this, what I now realize was an essential process."

Most recently, the Daily Mail notes that Karen has been noticeably absent from various recent public-facing events, including a mid-March launch of the Earl's memoir in London.

Charles Spencer—the younger brother of the late Princess Diana—married the Countess, a Canadian philanthropist, founder and CEO of Whole Child International, in June 2011 at the grounds of Althorp, where his sister Princess Diana is buried. The pair tied the knot just two months after Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding.

The couple met a year earlier on a blind date, the Daily Mail reports, at a Los Angeles restaurant. The pair share a 12-year-old daughter, Charlotte Diana, who is named after Princess Diana.

The Duchess of Spencer also has two daughters from her previous, while the 9th Earl Spencer has four children with his first wife and two children with his second wife.

Danielle Campoamor
Weekend Editor

Danielle Campoamor is Marie Claire's weekend editor covering all things news, celebrity, politics, culture, live events, and more. In addition, she is an award-winning freelance writer and former NBC journalist with over a decade of digital media experience covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mortality, gun violence, climate change, politics, celebrity news, culture, online trends, wellness, gender-based violence and other feminist issues. You can find her work in The New York Times, Washington Post, TIME, New York Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, TODAY, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, Mother Jones, Prism, Newsweek, Slate, HuffPost and more. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two feral sons. When she is not writing, editing or doom scrolling she enjoys reading, cooking, debating current events and politics, traveling to Seattle to see her dear friends and losing Pokémon battles against her ruthless offspring. You can find her on X, Instagram, Threads, Facebook and all the places.