Earl Spencer hires same divorce lawyer used by King Charles to separate from Diana

Earl Charles Spencer has moved to end his third marriage to Karen Spencer

Athena Stavrou
Monday 10 June 2024 16:27
Comments
Earl and Countess of Wessex speak to well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace

Earl Spencer is understood to have hired Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia, the renowned divorce lawyer who King Charles once used to separate from Princess Diana, as he announced the breakdown of his third marriage.

Spencer, 60, is said to have instructed the “demon negotiator” branded a “steel magnolia” to end his marriage to Canadian philanthropist Countess Karen Spencer, 52, after 13-years together.

Shackleton has acted in a number of the most high profile divorces in recent history, including for Charles, then the Prince of Wales, to divorce Diana in 1996.

Other former clients have included Sir Paul McCartney, whose ex-wife poured a jug of water over Shackleton’s head in court after winning £24m.

The 9th Earl Spencer announced his split from the Countess of Spencer to the Mail on Sunday on Saturday.

Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia
Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia ( UK Parliament/Creative Commons)

“It is immensely sad,” Spencer told the Mail on Sunday. “I just want to devote myself to all my children, and to my grandchildren, and I wish Karen every happiness in the future.”

The couple reportedly announced their divorce to staff at Althorp House, the Spencer family estate and Princess Diana’s childhood home in Northamptonshire in March.

Charles and Diana on their last official trip together in November 1992 before separating the following month
Charles and Diana on their last official trip together in November 1992 before separating the following month (Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty)

According to the paper, their relationship became strained by the writing of his memoir, in which he revealed he was physically and sexually abused as a student at an elite boarding school.

In the book’s acknowledgments, he thanks his wife and family for standing by him when he was “tetchy and wrung out”.

Elsewhere in his memoir, Spencer reflected on his previous divorces and revealed that he sought professional help to understand his relationship patterns.

Earl Spencer and Karen Spencer leave St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle after the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle on May 19, 2018
Earl Spencer and Karen Spencer leave St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle after the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle on May 19, 2018 (Getty Images)

“When looking at the wreckage of my first and second marriages, I learned early in therapy that being sent away to boarding school at eight years of age meant that I had next to no understanding of intimacy,” he wrote, per an excerpt obtained by People.

In an interview with the outlet, Spencer praised his wife Karen for supporting him during the difficult process of writing his book.

Lord Charles Spencer at Althorp House
Lord Charles Spencer at Althorp House (Getty Images)

“Karen has been supportive,” he told People. “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.”

Spencer married Karen in June 2011 after meeting on a blind date at a Los Angeles restaurant the previous year. They were married on the grounds of Althorp House, where Princess Diana is buried.

Karen is the founder of Whole Child International, a US-based non-governmental organization that works to improve the quality of care for vulnerable children.

 The couple share a 12-year-old daughter Charlotte Diana, while Spencer has four children with his first wife, Victoria Lockwood, and two children with his second wife, Caroline Freud.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in