Princess Diana's brother Charles Spencer reveals the real reason she looks so sad in unearthed photo

Princess Diana At A Banquet In New Zealand Wearing A Blue Chiffon Evening Dress Designed By Fashion Designers David And Elizabeth Emanuel
(Image credit: Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images))

Princess Diana’s brother Charles Spencer has shared the real reason she looks so sad in an unearthed family photo - and it’s truly heartbreaking.

Princess Diana’s brother Charles Spencer has spoken out about the real reason his sister looks so sad in an unearthed photo. The Earl often gives us intriguing glimpses into his family, from posting an adorable Mother’s Day tribute (opens in new tab) earlier this year, to sharing a family portrait (opens in new tab) that bears an astonishing resemblance to his late sister.

Based at Althorp House, where he and Diana grew up, his daughter Lady Amelia Spencer has even revealed her plans to marry there (opens in new tab) at the family home. 

1968: Lady Diana Spencer (Diana Princess of Wales) with her brother Charles, Viscount Althorp, (Earl Spencer) at their home in Berkshire

Whilst these insights into the Spencer family largely inspire happy memories, he’s now shared the heart-wrenching backstory behind a sweet photo of him and Diana. Taking to Twitter, Charles responded to someone who posted the unearthed snap.

He revealed that the reason for his sister’s expression was sadly not one restricted to this time in her life.

‘That time Diana and her brother looked like they were on the cover of a Smiths album. So cool’, the Twitter user originally captioned the image.

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Charles then responded, ‘Thanks for forwarding this: it was late 1980, I was 16, & my sister was taking me out from @Eton_College for lunch in @HindsHeadBray Her Mini Metro was followed by 12 cars & 1 motorbike of tabloid journalists. Enough to make any teenager look as disdainful as Morrissey, frankly.’

At the time the photo was taken, Diana was not yet Princess of Wales as she and Charles married at St Paul's Cathedral (opens in new tab) in July 1981. However, it’s understood that the two were courting, as Diana was invited to spend time at Balmoral with the Royal Family, sometimes called The Firm (opens in new tab), in September 1980.

Whilst royal fans were delighted at getting to see this stunning photo, many also expressed sadness at the press attention Diana was already getting at this time. 

‘[W]ow, these are clearly expressions of yearning for lost anonymity’, one wrote, whilst another replied: ‘A little emotional looking at it.’

Someone else commented: ‘The most beautiful Princess we ever had, will have. Thanks for background story.’

Princess Diana, Princess of Wales with her sons Prince William and Prince Harry attend the Heads of State VE Remembrance Service in Hyde Park on May 7, 1995 in London, England

This unearthed photo becomes even more poignant given how much the tabloid attention increased throughout Diana’s life. The Princess of Wales tragically passed away in 1997, leaving behind her sons Prince William and Prince Harry, who's described the loss of mother as leaving a "huge hole" (opens in new tab)

Whilst some have now suggested Harry could change his plans, it’s understood that the brothers will reunite on what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday for the unveiling of a memorial statue. 

Emma Shacklock
Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, Goodto.com, and My Imperfect Life.