9th Earl Spencer, DL
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Charles became the Ninth Earl Spencer on the death of his father in 1992. He was educated at Eton College and obtained his degree in modern history at Magdalen College, Oxford. He is a peer, an author, a print journalist and broadcaster. A Godson of Her Majesty the Queen, he was also one of her Pages of Honour in the 1970s.
He was a reporter on NBC’s Today show from 1986 until 1995, and is the author of five books, including the Sunday Times bestseller ‘Blenheim: Battle for Europe’ (shortlisted for History Book of the Year at the 2005 National Book Awards) and ‘Prince Rupert: The Last Cavalier’. His latest book, ‘Killers of the King’, was the second-highest selling history book in the UK in 2014.
Lord Spencer inherited Althorp, his family’s ancestral seat in Northamptonshire, upon his father’s death, and in the 24 years he has been in charge, has striven to make a positive difference by taking an uncompromising approach to the continued wellbeing of the Estate.
The house was built in 1508, by the Spencers, for the Spencers, and contains one of Europe’s finest private collections of paintings, furniture and ceramics – assembled by nineteen generations of the family over more than five centuries.
In 2003 he founded the Althorp Literary Festival, which is now in its 13th year and has established itself as one of the key events of the English Summer Season. The annual Althorp Food Festival, which was set up in 2015, takes place in September.
Lord Spencer is a strong supporter of charitable and humanitarian causes, both near and far. In 1989 he became a patron of the Friends of Cynthia Spencer Hospice in Northampton and in 2011 he became one of the patrons of Northampton Hope Centre, a local homeless charity. He is also a patron of Thomas’s Fund, a charity founded in 2007 that provides music therapy in Northamptonshire for children and young people with life-limiting illnesses or a disability.
From his first two marriages he has four daughters – Lady Kitty, Lady Eliza, Lady Amelia and Lady Lara – and two sons, – Louis, Viscount Althorp, and the Hon. Edmund Spencer (known as ‘Ned’). He married the Canadian philanthropist Karen Gordon in 2011. Their daughter, Lady Charlotte, was born at Althorp in July 2012 – the first Spencer child born in the house since 1793.
Lady Spencer is the founder and Chief Executive of Whole Child International, a charity that is devoted to improving the lives of orphaned, abandoned, abused, and neglected children worldwide. Through partnerships with leading academics, technique innovators, and local service providers, Whole Child International brings the latest research and innovative training to care providers in the most resource-challenged regions in the world.
Thank you! You were absolutely heroic. To say that you charmed everyone is a great understatement. I was so thrilled to see how enthusiastic the students were! Karen Curry, Executive Director, Entertainment Industry Studies, Drexel University, Philadelphia, 2015
You made a magical evening even more special, and the feedback I had about your presentation was fantastic. Alison Weir, organizer of tours of England for HNW Americans, after speech at Leeds Castle, 2015.
Your talk last night was, truly, one of the very best I have ever seen or heard given by an author--authoritative, engaging, fluid, making history come alive. I would gladly hear it many times over. George Gibson, veteran head of Bloomsbury, New York City, 2015.