King Charles’ coronation snub for Princess Diana’s brother
The King has snubbed Earl Spencer, Princess Diana’s brother, by leaving him off the invitation list to the coronation, The Independent has learned.
The decision has shocked many close members of the earl’s family who assumed that William and Harry‘s uncle would be asked to attend the service.
Twenty-five years ago in Westminster Abbey, where the coronation will take place, Charles Spencer swore in his historic address at his sister’s funeral to always look after her sons. It was assumed that he would remain part of the inner royal circle.
The bitter irony for Diana’s family is that had she remained married to Charles she would have been crowned Queen on Saturday, of which her two sons are only too aware.
The failure to invite the King’s former brother-in-law will revive the tension between the Diana and Camilla camps, which were so bitterly opposed to each other during the break up of his marriage and his renewed relationship with Camilla. Diana was very bitter about her rival for the love of the then Prince of Wales and Camilla felt the full fury of her scorned rival.
A friend said: “What’s galling is that Earl Spencer may well have turned down the invitation for obvious historic reasons, but this brutal exclusion left no option for any elegant diplomacy.”
The snub follows the decision not to invite many of the aristocratic old guard, especially half of the 24 dukes who were a key part of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953. Celebrities Ant and Dec, singer Nick Cave and magician Dynamo have been included on the guest list, making some feel that tradition has been sacrificed over celebrity.
There has long been a close relationship between the Spencers and the royal family, with both owning stately homes in Norfolk and Earl Spencer being a godson of the late Queen.
The decision to leave him out is a sign of the new power shift in the royal family as the court of Charles and Camilla makes its mark and sets a new agenda as to who retains their favour. The new Queen’s ex-husband, Brigadier Andrew Parker-Bowles, is among the guests attending.
It was earlier revealed by The Independent that a second former in-law, the Duchess of York, had also been dropped from the guest list, despite still sharing a home with Prince Andrew and being the mother of princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, ninth and eleventh in line to the throne.
The cutting of the earl is a dramatic break in tradition for the Spencer family as the present earl’s father, and Princess Diana’s, was an equerry to the late Queen and so played a part in her coronation.
A close friend said: “It is pretty brutal, even though it would have been tricky for him had he been invited. But that would have allowed him to decline rather than being dropped and snubbed.”
The Duchess of Sussex was invited to attend but declined and is staying in California with Prince Archie, who turns four on the day of the coronation, and Princess Lilibet.
Earl Spencer has kept to his word to support the two princes as he promised at their mother’s funeral in 1997 and to always defend her ‘blood family’.
At the time, he told the abbey: “On behalf of your mother and sisters, I pledge that we, your blood family, will do all we can to continue the imaginative way in which you were steering these two exceptional young men so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition but can sing openly as you planned.”
The earl was alongside the princes when they unveiled a statue to their mother at Kensington Palace in July 2021, an event he described as “a good day”.
The guest list for the coronation has been controversial with top Chinese diplomat Han Zheng – linked to the crackdown of civil liberties in Hong Kong - and the head of Sinn Fein Michelle O’Neill added to the list.
Some royal watchers have voiced concerns that the list is too restricted, with cabinet ministers among those not allowed to bring their partners.
Lord Mowbray, Segrave and Stourton, the oldest English baron, has been invited but other ancient titles have found themselves excluded.
The royal family has been holding last-minute rehearsals for Saturday’s ceremony, with the King spotted in the abbey with grandchildren Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
The Prince and Princess of Wales were out in London on Thursday, where William was asked how he felt before the coronation: “If all goes well, good. Fingers crossed.”
Lord Spencer did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment.