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Rare photo shows Princess Diana and Charles Spencer on first day of school

Charles Spencer posted picture of him and his sister the late Princess Diana to Instagram (Charles Spencer/Instagram)
Charles Spencer posted picture of him and his sister the late Princess Diana to Instagram (Charles Spencer/Instagram)

Charles Spencer has shared a rare snapshot of his early years alongside his sister Princess Diana on his first day of school.

Earl Spencer shared the touching photo dating back to September 1968 on Instagram with the release of his new memoir A Very Private School.

The siblings are pictured in matching red blazers emblazoned with the school’s logo and knee-high grey socks.

He revealed that he and Diana attended Silfield, in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, which he looks back on fondly as a “really lovely primary school.”

He wrote: “My first day of school, in September 1968: my father took this photograph of me and my sister, Diana, just before he drove us to Silfield, a really lovely primary school in King’s Lynn, Norfolk.

Earl Spencer shared the touching photo dating back to September 1968 (Charles Spencer/Instagram)
Earl Spencer shared the touching photo dating back to September 1968 (Charles Spencer/Instagram)

“The headmistress was Miss Jean Lowe, a warm and thoughtful lady who loved her boys and girls. I was there till 1972, when I headed off to the place I call - in my memoir - A Very Private School.”

For secondary education, Spencer, 59, attended Maidwell Hall an all-boys boarding school where he says he fell victim to harrowing abuse which led to relentless trauma in later years.

His memoir A Very Private School released on March 14, he wrote he was abused by an assistant matron when he was 11.

He detailed:  “There seemed to be an unofficial hierarchy among her prey… she chose one boy each term to share her bed and would use him for intercourse. Her control over mesmerised boys was total, for we were starved of feminine warmth and desperate for attention and affection.”

Later, Spencer claims he lost his virginity to an Italian prostitute as a result of the experience. He also said he was physically beaten by the spikes of a cricket boot by the school’s Latin master.

He told People: "I had always felt that I had dealt with this chapter of my life and had put it to bed. But talking to classmates and hearing their experiences was very triggering for me. I’d be very struck by the horror of what they had shared. And that was the hardest bit."

Despite being extremely close with his sister, he says he never told her about the horrors that unfolded behind the school gate.

The 59-year-old only opened up to his other sisters Sarah and Jane 18 months ago, who were “stunned and appalled”.

In a statement to media, Maidwell Hall said it was “sorry” about the experiences Earl Spencer and some others had at the school.

“It is difficult to read about practices which were, sadly, sometimes believed to be normal and acceptable at that time. Within education today, almost every facet of school life has evolved significantly since the 1970s. At the heart of the changes is the safeguarding of children, and promotion of their welfare.

“Although we have not directly received any claims from ex-pupils, considering what has been reported, the school has followed the statutory process and made a referral to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).”