Princess Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, reveals devastating family secret (2024)

Charles Spencer was 42 years old when he first revealed he wassexually abusedas a child.

The younger brother of Princess Diana, now 59, initially made the revelation to a therapist after he “hit rock bottom.”

Seventeen years later, the 9th Earl Spencer is detailing the alleged trauma he endured in a new memoir,“A Very Private School.”

“I was doing a 10-day course of very deep introspection and therapy,” he told Fox News Digital. “My therapist said to each of us, ‘Whisper to me one secret you’d never told anyone.’ I whispered to him that I was sexually abused as a child by an adult. And I remember him looking so shocked, and he had heard it all. Afterward, he took me aside and said, ‘This is very serious stuff.’”

“By that stage, I had children,” the father of seven shared. “I suddenly put it into context. Wat if one of my children of either gender had been subjected to this as an 11-year-old? It made my blood boil. I then started to allow myself to feel the full devastation of what had happened to me.”

At age 8, Spencer was enrolled at Maidwell Hall, anelite English boarding school.

The historian said meeting with other former pupils compelled him to revisit painful memories of the past.


“As I listened to their stories, I was appalled,” he recalled. “There was one [former student] I met with after not seeing him for 40 years. I knew from his wife that he had never talked about his timeat the schoolbecause it was so traumatizing. He told me how he was made to feel worthless every day, how he’d been seriously sexually assaulted as a 9-year-old three times by somebody who was meant to protect him.

“I took 10 pages of notes, stopped and said, ‘This is too terrible — I can’t tell this story.’ He reached across, grabbed my arm and said, ‘Somebody has to do it – it’s got to be you.’ That convinced me, the truth needed to be shared with the world.”

Spencer said he found family records dating back 300 years of fellow Spencers attending boarding school.


“It was considered essential to send your children away to places where they would meet the right people,” Spencer explained. “These privileged kids would meet and form lifelong bonds at a price. You were ripped away from your family, and you’d probably be subjected to pretty brutal behavior.

“But this was a trade-off that was in place and still is, I guess, among the upper classes of England. You don’t have to bother with child-rearing, and you can get on with your pampered lives. At the same time, the kid will come out with huge social advantages and a network of friends that will support those social advantages for a lifetime.”

Spencer claimed it didn’t take long to witness – and experience – incidents of alleged abuse behind closed doors.


“It was a brutal experience,” he claimed. “The headmaster was a sad*stic pedophile. He staffed a very small number of teachers in this place who were either … perverted or would never tell tales against him. There wasn’t really anyone to go to.

“I think my parents had no idea of the level of cruelty and perversion that was going on. They would never have sent me there. I think they probably had an old-fashioned view that corporal punishment, the beatings, would probably be part of the school. But they were such a ritual part of every day. There were 72 boys and at least a half dozen of us would be beaten every day. Your time came around very quickly. I don’t think the parents had any knowledge of that.”

Spencer claimed that one student was whipped so badly he struggled to take off his underpants at night because the dried blood and clothing stuck to his skin.

The boy had to sit in a warm bath until the fabric came loose.

The wounds took two weeks to heal.

Spencer alleged in his bookthat, after tea time, dozens of boys would disappear into a private wing, where they endured nightly beatings.

There wasn’t hope that pajama pants would provide any protection.

Spencer said the pain he experienced from his beatings was “shocking in its intensity.”

“There were certain things you would get beaten for,” Spencer reflected. “If you spoke after the lights had been turned off. If you spilled water or milk accidentally. I remember one boy was at the school gymnasium. He was standing against these bars on a wall when he put his arms back and said, ‘Look, I’m Jesus Christ!’

“He was whipped very badly for blasphemy. He was just a little boy having a moment of humor. … These were perverted adults taking advantage of these boys … and we had no communication with the outside world.”

Spencer claimed he was allowed to write a letter to his parents once a week.

The messages were supervised, and he was unable to tell them what was happening.

Spencer later learned that the parents of one student, who recently died from a long terminal disease, still had his letters.


They were stained with tears.

“We were just left there at the mercy of some really dangerous people,” Spencer alleged.

Spencer was also plagued by loneliness.

He often thought of his older sister,Diana.

The Princess of Waleswho died injuries she sustained in a car crash in 1997. She was 36.


“She was the closest person to me growing up,” he said. “We had two much older sisters and a baby brother who had died. Then there was Diana and me. We were very close. And, actually, that was one of the devastations of being sent away. She was sent a year ahead of me, but for the first few years of my life, we went everywhere together.

“We did everything together. We went to a very gentle primary school together, a day school, [before boarding school]. She was an absolutely lovely older sister to a little boy whose parents were divorced and had quite a traditional English upbringing. We were allies.”

In the book, Spencer claimed he was groomed and sexually abused at age 11 by an assistant matron at the school.

She was about 19 or 20, Spencer said.

He alleged that the unnamed matron preyed on other boys who were under 13 years old.

According to Spencer, the alleged abuse led him to lose his virginity by secretly paying a sex worker while on a trip to Italy with his mother. He was 12 years old.

Over the years, Spencer kept the abuse a secret.


But after two failed marriages,Spencer realized he needed help.

“I was so confused by my endless romantic disasters, deep unhappiness and two divorces,” he explained. “I also wanted to do something for my children. Actually, that was the spur. I wanted to get better for them, so I could be a better father. I don’t know if they would agree that I managed it, but that was my aim. And I think, if I hadn’t been a parent, I probably would have just gone on … coping. [Saying it out loud] was surprisingly helpful. It didn’t get to the root of the problem, but it sent me on a course of more honest therapy.”

A spokesperson for Maidwell Hall didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

It previously told “Today” it has notified authorities who investigate possible crimes against children.

School officials are also encouraging any past students with similar experiences to come forward.



Today, Spencer said, he’s “really turned a corner” in the last three to four months, especially after writing his book.

He’s still doing “a very effective” post-traumatic stress disorder treatment, as well as Tai Chi and breathing exercises.

“I’ve got a whole armory of support techniques to try and get to a better place,” he shared.

According to “Today,” Spencer hired a private investigator years ago to track down the woman in question. While she was alive at the time, he felt it would be “too much” to confront her.


The outlet notedthat, under British law, there is no statute of limitation for rape and sexual assault.

Today, Spencer lives about 10 miles from Maidwell Hall.

He hopes the school will now deal with its past “in an honest way.”

“I would tell [my younger self] it wasn’t his fault,” Spencer said. “As a child, you’re always thinking it’s your fault. I used to think I must have failed as a son to be sent away to such a place and not be part of the family. … But I would tell him, ‘You’re fine. You’ve come out on the other side.’”

Princess Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, reveals devastating family secret (2024)
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