EARL Spencer took to the pulpit at his sister the Princess of Wales’s funeral in 1997 and delivered a eulogy that went down as one of the most famous speeches of the 20th century.
Diana’s younger brother was also central in the scandal surrounding Martin Bashir’s interview with Diana. Here’s all you need to know…
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Earl Spencer is Princess Diana’s younger brother[/caption]
Who is Earl Spencer?
Born Charles Edward Maurice Spencer on May 20, 1964, Earl Spencer is Princess Diana‘s younger brother and Prince William and Harry‘s maternal uncle.
Queen Elizabeth II is his godmother and his parents were the Viscount and Viscountess Althorp.
Earl Spencer had two other sisters, Sarah and Jane, and an older brother, John, who died within hours of being born.
He studied at Eton and then read modern history at Magdalen College, Oxford.
Earl Spencer has seven children from three marriages.
He first married Victoria Lockwood in 1989 but the marriage was over in 1997, after four children – Kitty, Eliza, Amelia and Louis.
His second marriage was to Caroline Freud from 2001 until 2007.
They had two children, Edmund and Lara.
He is now married to third wife Karen Gordon and the couple had a daughter – Charlotte Diana – in 2012.
What does Earl Spencer do for a job?
He started his career as a journalist with NBC News where he worked between 1986 and 1995 for Today and NBC Nightly News.
Earl Spencer also worked as a reporter for Granada Television from 1991 to 1993.
He has written book reviews for several newspapers and a number of books about the family estate Althorp in Northamptonshire.
On March 29, 1992, Earl Spencer succeeded as 9th Earl Spencer, 9th Viscount Althorp, 9th Viscount Spencer of Althorp, 9th Baron Spencer of Althorp, and 4th Viscount Althorp after his dad’s death.
He was a member of the House of Lords until hereditary peers were excluded on November 11, 1999.
Earl Spencer is a patron of homelessness charity Northampton Hope Centre and also helped establish Althorp Living History – a furniture line reproducing pieces from the collection at Althorp.
What was Earl Spencer’s eulogy?
Princess Diana died on August 31 1997, after suffering fatal injuries in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris.
Her funeral was held six days later at Westminster Abbey and was shown on British television, attracting an audience of 32.1 million viewers.
With the eyes of the world on him, Earl Spencer delivered an infamous eulogy to his sister where he lashed out at the media for how they treated Diana.
He also used the speech to make a thinly veiled attack on the Royal Family for stripping Diana of her status.
Earl Spencer said: “Diana was the very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty.
“All over the world, she was a symbol of selfless humanity. All over the world, a standard bearer for the rights of the truly downtrodden, a very British girl who transcended nationality.
“Someone with a natural nobility who was classless and who proved in the last year that she needed no royal title to continue to generate her particular brand of magic.”
He also pledged to Princes William and Harry that their “blood family” would protect them from the problems of being royal.
The public reaction when he delivered the speech made him a temporary hero – and it has been nominated as one of the greatest of the 20th Century.
How was Earl Spencer involved in the Martin Bashir scandal?
Disgraced Martin Bashir was found to have used fake documents and false allegations to win Diana’s family’s trust
Bashir told Diana’s brother – falsely – that she was under surveillance and those close to her were plotting against her, all to make her feel increasingly paranoid.
Earl Spencer said: “The irony is that I met Martin Bashir on the 31st of August 1995 because exactly two years later she died, and I do draw a line between the two events.”
“It’s quite clear from the introduction that I sat in on the 19th of September 1995 everyone was going to be made untrustworthy, and I think that Diana did lose trust in really key people.
“This is a young girl in her mid-30s who has lived this extraordinarily turbulent and difficult time in the public eye.
“She didn’t know who to trust and in the end, when she died two years later, she was without any form of real protection.”
What has Earl Spencer said about Diana’s funeral and resting place?
Earl Spencer claimed a royal courtier lied that Princes William and Harry wanted to walk behind their mother’s coffin, in an interview with BBC Radio 4.
He blasted the “truly horrifying” public spectacle saying that it still gives him nightmares.
He said: “I was liaising with some courtier at Buckingham Palace and he mentioned it and I said, ‘Of course they’re not going to do that’ . . . he said, ‘Well, it’s been decided’.
“I said she would not want them to do this, and there was lots of embarrassed coughing at the other end and various other conversations.
“Then eventually I was lied to and told that they wanted to do it, which of course they didn’t but I didn’t realise that.”
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In the interview ,the Earl also revealed that ghouls had tried to break into Diana’s grave four times, but the family had “seen them off” from their estate in Althorp, Northants.
Diana is buried on an island at the gated estate.
Earl Spencer explained: “Originally we were going to bury Diana in the family tombs nearby but it wasn’t to be.
“Both because it was impractical and because it would mean the local village being overrun.”