The devastating way Princess Diana's brother Earl Charles Spencer found out about her death

Charles Spencer shares the tragic way that he found out about his sister Princess Diana's death

Charles Spencer is Princess Diana's brother
(Image credit: Getty)

Princess Diana's brother Earl Charles Spencer told CNN how he found out about his sister, Princess Diana's, tragic passing after she was involved in a car crash in 1997.


In May 1999, Charles Spencer revealed during a CNN interview with Larry King how he discovered that his sister Diana had been killed in Paris.

The Princess of Wales was involved in a car accident on 31st August 1997. Yesterday marked the 24th anniversary of Princess Diana's tragic death.

At the time the Princess was in Paris and Charles was in Cape Town in South Africa. Charles revealed that he struggled to find out how severe Princess Diana's injuries were after he discovered that she was involved in a car accident.

"I was in Cape Town, South Africa with my four children, just the five of us in the house, and the telephone went very early in the morning, and somebody from my property in England said, 'Look, I've got some bad news. It seems as though your sister and Dodi Fayed have been in a car crash in Paris.'"

He then revealed that at first, he believed Princess Diana had survived the accident. He explained that broadcasters from CNN reported that the Princess had been seen walking away from the accident.

Charles Spencer

Lady Diana Spencer with her brother Charles, Viscount Althorp, (Earl Spencer) at their home in Berkshire in 1968.

(Image credit: Central Press / Stringer / Getty Images)

"So I went downstairs and turned on the television and was following, in fact, on CNN, and watching the broadcast, and they were quite adamant at the time that she had been seen walking away from the car and was obviously hurt, but fine," said Charles.

He then said that his sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, then called to tell him that the Princess had suffered from severe injuries. 

"And then one of my other sisters called me a little later while I was watching this unfold on television, and she said, 'Look, I'm afraid it's bad news. We think she may even have brain damage.' And that was obviously a huge blow.

"And then I called my other sister, my middle sister, who was actually married to somebody who was working for the Queen, and I said, 'Look, what's going on?' And she said, 'Well, he's on the other line, right now.'"

Charles then explained that he finally found out about his sister's demise from his sister Lady Jane Fellows. He continued, "And then she stopped talking, and I'll always remember hearing my brother-in-law Robert say 'Oh, no,' and then my sister Jane said, 'I'm afraid that's it. I'm afraid she's dead.'"

Charles Spencer

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales follow the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales, on September 6th 1997

(Image credit: Anwar Hussein / Contributor / Getty Images)

Prince Charles was accompanied by Diana's sisters, Lady Jane Fellows, and Lady Sarah McCorquodale, to Paris as he chose to bring the Princess home with the royal plane. 

The Queen initially denied Prince Charles’ this important request for Princess Diana after her death, but the Prince was insistent that he brought his ex-wife home himself.

Charles Spencer joined members of the royal family during the funeral procession in London behind Princess Diana's coffin. 

Since her passing, he has remained close to her children Prince William and Prince Harry, and even joined his nephews at the Princess Diana's statue unveiling to commemorate what would have been her 60th birthday. 

Earl Spencer also shared a childhood photo of Princess Diana ahead of the statue unveiling through the Althorp House Twitter account.

Laura Harman
Laura Harman

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty and fashion news, and her favourite stories to cover as anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.


Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found baking, hiking with her dog, shopping, and practicing yoga.