UK police probe sexual abuse claims at school of Princess Diana’s brother

0

Princess Diana’s brother Charles Spencer claimed he suffered abuse at the school in the 1970s. – AFP photo

LONDON (June 11): UK police on Monday said that a probe had been launched into claims by Princess Diana’s younger brother of sexual abuse at the boarding school he attended in the 1970s.

In a memoir released earlier this year, Charles Spencer recounted the difficulties he faced at the Maidwell Hall school, including claims of having been sexually abused and beaten.

Police in Northamptonshire, central England, confirmed that they had launched a criminal investigation into “allegations of non-recent sexual abuse” at the school, which Spencer attended from age eight to 13.

“The move comes after the Force conducted preliminary enquiries into allegations of abuse that are said to have taken place in the 1970s at Maidwell Hall School earlier in the year,” Northamptonshire Police said in a statement, adding that the investigation was in its “early stages”.

In the memoir, “A Very Private School”, Spencer, now 60, recounted that sexual abuse and beatings at the school left him with lifelong “demons”.

The school said after the book came out in March that it was “very sobering” to read about the experiences of Spencer and others at the time.

“We are sorry that this was their experience. It is difficult to read about practices which were, sadly, sometimes believed to be normal and acceptable at that time,” it added.

Spencer described being molested by a female assistant matron at the school when he was 11.

In the forward of the book, he wrote that it had been “an absolutely hellish experience at times, this chronicling of casual cruelty, sexual assault and other perversions from long ago”.

A godson of the late Queen Elizabeth II, Spencer is uncle to princes William and Harry, Diana’s two children with King Charles III.

The ninth Earl Spencer earned worldwide acclaim for his emotional eulogy at Diana’s funeral in 1997 when his attack on the press for hounding his sister set off a wave of applause among the crowds watching outside Westminster Abbey. – AFP