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Princess Diana and Charles Spencer, 1985

Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Earl Spencer, Princess Diana’s brother who did the moving eulogy at her funeral, has revealed the true story behind a rare photo showing him with his late sister.

Earl Spencer, the youngest of the four Spencer siblings, was forwarded the image by one of his Twitter followers. The monochrome photograph shows Diana – Tatler’s June cover – looking uncharacteristically dower and the Earl equally stone-faced. The photo was captioned: ‘That time Diana and her brother looked like they were on the cover of a Smiths album. So cool.’

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Charles Spencer was quick to put the record straight and correct the narrative. He replied to the Tweet saying: ‘Thanks for forwarding this: it was late 1980, I was 16 and 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.’

The truth alters the narrative considerably. Followers responded to Earl Spencer’s Tweet saying: ‘So interesting to hear the backstory of photos. It’s way too easy to misinterpret them in the way one wants to.’ Another person said: ‘That must’ve been unsettling, enough to make you both look as cool as cucumbers, somehow. We love the photo. Thanks for giving some context.’

Diana and Charles Spencer, 1968

PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

At the time the picture was taken, Diana was married to Prince Charles. The couple married in July 1981 at St Paul’s Cathedral and welcomed their first son, Prince William, in June the following year. Prince Harry was born in September 1984.

Charles Spencer and Diana were close siblings – significantly younger than their two older siblings, Sarah and Jane – they grew up at Althorp House, the family’s ancestral home, and had a shared sadness at their parents’ separation.

Earl Spencer told the Sunday Times in September last year: ‘Diana and I had two older sisters who were away at school, so she and I were very much in it together and I did talk to her about it. Our father was a quiet and constant source of love, but our mother wasn’t cut out for maternity. Not her fault, she couldn’t do it. While she was packing her stuff to leave, she promised Diana [then aged five] she’d come back to see her. Diana used to wait on the doorstep for her, but she never came,’ he recalled.

Earl Spencer shared this image on his Twitter on the anniversary of her death

Twitter: @cspencer1508

A temple with Diana’s name inscribed on the top is situated across from the lake at Althorp – where Diana was laid to rest – where visitors can lay down their floral tributes to the late Princess.

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